But what do I do with it?

Boticelli’s map of Inferno

“The road to hell is paved with good intentions.”

While I’ve researched the origin of this quote, I was unable to find the true source. A derivation of the quote has been attributed to a couple of people, John Ray (1670) and Saint Bernard of Clairvaux (1091-1153), but not this exact version of it. If I could, I would amend it to include “…and a lack of information.”

Electronics can and should be recycled

One trait  I have discovered in working with clients is that they are very thoughtful people who are well intended with their possessions especially when they are ready to get rid of them. They want them to be cared for  and utilized but, since they are not sure how to get rid of them,  they don’t and end up with piles, full drawers and closets and even rooms full of ‘stuff.’ I’ve talked a lot about resources for donations (Goodwill, MUST Ministries, Salvation Army) of clothes and other household items but frequently there are items that can’t be donated and clients get stuck on what to do with these items. Here are some examples of things that aren’t trash but they aren’t necessarily treasure, either:

  • Batteries
  • Laptops
  • Cell phones
  • Electronic games
  • Cables
  • Light fixtures
  • Old paint

One option for recycling your computer

The issue of what to do with items is another example of why hiring a professional organizer is worth every penny because THEY KNOW WHAT TO DO WITH THIS STUFF and they can usually help you dispose of it, too. Professional Organizers have a vast network of local resources that can provide a solution to just about any donation or disposal question. Also, if they don’t have the immediate answer, they know how to get it. Professional Organizers love helping clients clear their clutter and want to make sure that it is done in a responsible manner. Part of their service is to provide resources not only for products to aid in the organization process, like containers, shelves, and boxes, but also to help their clients dispose of their excess in a way that benefits as many people as possible. Don’t let yourself get hung up on not clearing clutter because you don’t know what to do with it. Call a professional to help you! You can find organizers in your area by searching on the NAPO (National Association of Professional Organizers) website:

Here are some resources you may want to think about bookmarking for your own clutter clearing projects:

Earth911

ClothingDonations.org

Goodwill

Salvation Army

IRS info on Charitable Donations

So don’t let lack of information halt your good intentions to get rid of the clutter in your home. Call and organizer for help and advice. They are happy to hear from you!

Happy organizing!

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Online designer clothing consignment? Yes, please.

Continuing on the theme of “what do I do with the clutter that I’ve cleared from my closet” I’d like to introduce you to an online consignment store called  The RealReal. The RealReal is a site where you can consign your gently worn and loved men’s and women’s designer clothing. They also provide a concierge service for those looking to consign where they will send a consultant to your house to go through your closet with you. For those who just admire the designer clothing featured in Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, and Elle magazines you can also use this site to buy gorgeous, gently worn, and loved designer clothing. This is yet another example of being green and eco conscious by fully utilizing what is already out there in the market place.

Nanette Lepore, Magaschoni, and JCrew, oh my!

Personally, I’m a huge fan of shopping in consignment stores and have acquired some lovely pieces myself: Jimmy Choo kitten heels, Prada kitten heels (I think there is a trend here), a JCrew cashmere sweater, a Magaschoni cashmere sweater (another trend here) among other things over the years. I’ve paid less than $100 for each of these items so I’m pretty proud of myself for not spending like crazy yet being able to buy good quality and great looking pieces. Everyone’s budget is unique and everyone has things they’ll spend on and things they won’t. Seriously, my sister would spend $100 on books before clothes so go figure. 🙂

Great style at a lower price–no arguments here!

So whether you are looking to get rid of designer clothes that are currently taking up space in your closet or would like to shop more fashionably, efficiently, and eco-friendly go look at The RealReal. You can email Nicole Fornaro at nicole.fornaro@therealreal.com for any additional questions about how they work. Just tell her that Neatsmart sent you!*

If you are looking for help or advice on clearing the clutter from your own closet, just comment below and we’ll start with a free, no risk assessment.  

Happy organizing!

*This is not a paid endorsement. For real.

Wanted: loving caretaker of stuff I no longer need

This was the “before” picture for a client I worked with in July. Yes, the Christmas tree is still up.

So we’ve all heard of Craigslist, Ebay, Freecycle, Goodwill, and consignment stores but I’d like to show you a new way to sell the stuff that you’ve eliminated from your home or, better yet, “how my stuff can find a good home.” One of the biggest obstacles people have to shedding the extraneous “junk” from their lives is the feeling of guilt associated with letting it go. Hoarders especially will experience panic attacks that their gazillion thing aren’t being properly cared for or won’t be appreciated by anyone else. There is guilt associated with acknowledgng that you need to let go of something that might have cost you a lot of money or was given to you by a friend or family member. My very sweet and admirable grandmother at 94 won’t let a plate, bowl, or scarf leave her already crowded home unless it is going to be loved and appreciated by someone. I think we can all relate to wanting other people to share in the joy a previously owned object brings us (see post here on the 3 lives of a wedding dress) but remember it is just stuff. The stuff doesn’t define who you are; your experiences and how you choose to live your life does.

So here is another way you can let your stuff go that might make parting more sweet with less sorrow: http://www.shook.co. This is a site that allows you to buy and sell to your community of friends on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter with ease and confidence that it will be seen. You can post your stuff easily or even just look at other stuff that is listed and share it with friends that might also like it, or maybe you just want to let them know what you’d like for your birthday. Shook.co also blogs about some of the objects posted to further explain or describe some of the objets d’art. I will say that I have not used this site personally but I plan to in the future. This is not a paid post but I just think it is a great idea and a little less intimidating than going through the lengthy Ebay posting process.

Let me know if you’ve heard of Shook.co or used them recently. Also, what do you think is the best way to get rid of stuff you’ve accumulated but want to find a happy home in which to place it?

Happy organizing!

What do I do with my stuff? Part 2 of the wedding dress story.

Not a hotel I have stayed in but my dress did!

Part 2: So continuing with the last post about what to do with your wedding dress once you are ready to get rid of it. I understand not everyone is ready for this and there is certainly NOTHING wrong with holding on to it.  Just like everything else, though, it costs you to keep it in terms of storage space in your home or elsewhere.

I was a June bride and shortly after I got back from our lovely honeymoon, I received an email from the person from whom I had bought the dress, stating that someone named Lien was emailing her about the same dress. I hadn’t even gotten it back from the cleaners yet and I already had an interested buyer? I didn’t have to take the time to write an ad or take pictures and there was already an interested party? Sign me up! I’ll shorten the story and say that by the end of July I had sold the dress to Lien directly in Los Angeles and she was so excited to have this dress for her November wedding in Hawaii. I did keep my veil which was hand made for me by my lovely friend, Anne, although I have yet to put it on since my wedding day.

So let’s fast forward to November, shall we? I had to go to Hawaii for a business trip. I arrived in Honolulu on a Tuesday afternoon and decided to take a stroll across the street to a very nice hotel called the Westin Surfrider. This property was right on the beach and quite a pretty sight for jetlagged eyes. As I walked in the lobby, I searched for the Directory to see what restaurants they had and they had a display of their Events. I saw Lien and her fiancé’s name listed as having their wedding there in one of the ballrooms! I rushed over to the concierge desk to see if it were happening that day—how cool would it have been to see her in my/Robin’s dress? Of course, she might have called Security to have me removed since I technically would have been crashing her wedding. The concierge replied that the wedding had been earlier in the week and they had not updated the Events Board yet. But how cool was that? My dress and I had been in the same hotel 24 hours apart after it had made history in Lien’s life. When I went back to my less glamorous hotel and emailed Lien, she confirmed that she had gotten married on that Monday and was currently on her honeymoon. What a coincidence!

So I tell you this story for entertainment but also to remind you that it is a dress and this one was worn by at least 3 women who loved and adored how it made them look on that day. It made me feel special to know that others were experiencing the same joy and I did wearing it. Here are some other options:

  1. Your dress may be a little older and not current with the today’s fashion so you might have a little harder time selling it. There are other sites like Once Wed and, of course, EBay.
  2. It could be offered to another family member to use for her own design.
  3. Consignment stores are an option as well but I do have to warn you that you probably won’t get what you paid for it if that is a goal.
  4. Donating to Goodwill or another charitable organization is a great choice.
  5. You could even create a piece of artwork out of it, a la Adrienne Maloof.
  6. Some people save the dress and make a christening gown out of the fabric.

So if you are ready to pass it along, think of these options and know that it is going to a worthy cause no matter what you choose.  Your memories are what last forever, not your possessions.

Happy Organizing!