Whether you are organizing one room in your house or decluttering a home full of stuff, knowing how to efficiently sort is crucial to your success. Professional Organizers use the tips and tricks on this checklist to help clients, and now I'm sharing those hacks with you.
Ready to learn a professional organizer's tips for Sorting? Read on...
Set yourself up for success
Before starting any organizing or decluttering job, make sure you have all the supplies you need before you get started.
Tools/ Supplies Needed:
The first step is to sort your "keepers" into a pile or one area. Keep items that you love and actively use. Items that aren't actively used should be moved into a long term storage area, such as a basement or attic.
Tools/ Supplies Needed:
*available space in actively used items
*temperature variation in for long term solutions
*transporting “keepers” to new location, if applicable
Don't love it, but you'd like to make a little money from it? Consider selling online or offline.
6 Things to Not Bother Collecting Anymore
Nobody Wants Family Heirlooms: What to Do When it Happens to You.
Have items that don't need to live with you anymore, but are still in great condition? Give to a local charity.
Some things just need to be discarded. If the items can't be sold or donated, its time for the trash/ recycling bin.
Estate Sales Aren't Always the Answer: Why Estate Clearing Might Better Fit Your Needs
4 Smart Ideas to Sell Your Stuff Offline and 1 Really Dumb One
with free printable How to Sell Items Offline Cheat Sheet
5 Tips to Sell Your Stuff Online
with free printable How to Sell Items Online Cheat Sheet
YOU'RE ready to sort like a pro!
Using this checklist, you now have the tools to Keep, Sell, Donate or Discard when you are decluttering and organizing.
Decluttering your home and donating your items to local non-profit groups is a fantastic way to organize your home...and get a tax deduction.
Disclaimer: This information is compiled from many sources and is not intended as tax, investment, financial planning or legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. For tax, investment, financial planning or legal advice you are encouraged to consult with your personal advisers
Ready to learn how to Declutter, donate and Deduct? Read on...
When the organizing and decluttering bug strikes, separate things out to Keep, Discard, or Donate/Recycle piles.
Trying to figure out what you can easily declutter AND have it make a difference in your local community?
Before donating, be sure you are giving to an organization that is a 501 (c)(3) by the IRS. These are organizations that are recognized by the IRS as being tax-exempt by virtue of their charitable programs.
“Big name” charities (think Goodwill, Habitat for Humanity, or the Salvation Army) are no-brainers, but if you’re unsure about a group you’re thinking of giving to, you can always check their website or a site that vets non-profit groups, like Charity Navigator.
Have big stuff to donate, but no truck and/or the muscles to get it done? Try the website Pick Up My Donation: they will find a non-profit group within 15 miles of your zip code and set up the pick-up, at no cost to you.
Be sure you get a receipt or donation acceptance letter from the non-profit you give to. Keep a file in your glove box or console to organize on-the-go receipts, then transfer them into a permanent file in the house regularly.
Donate or Dumpster?: 3 Tips to Know What to Give Away vs. Throw Away
6 Things to Not Bother Collecting Anymore (and How to Tell What IS Worth Holding Onto)
Even though the standardized deduction for individuals and married couples has increased in 2018, it’s still a good idea to keep records of your charitable giving.
Keep track of what you give!
get organized and do good!
Decluttering, donating and deducting is a great way to organize your home, while making a difference in your community at the same time.
Sometimes You Can’t Do it on Your Own: When it’s Time to Throw in the Towel and Hire an Estate Clearing Professional to Help you Finish the Job.
Nobody Wants the Family Heirlooms: What to Do When it Happens to You
5 Steps to Get Rid of Sentimental Clutter
How do you know which things in your collections have lost value over the years, and which are worth keeping? It can be tough to tell!
Items that your parents (or you) paid a lot of money for back in the day are now worth much, much less than was paid for them. An aging population has caused a heavily flooded market, making "valuables" less so.
As a Professional Organizer and Estate Clearing Specialist, I see a lot of these collectibles in homes. Some are worth keeping, but unfortunately, most are not.
Want to know what is worthless and how to tell the difference? Read On.
Loss in Value: Figurines and Commemorative Plates
You know that in addition to being a tough task physically, downsizing your home is emotionally taxing. You now have your head in the game and know what to expect when it comes to the feelings you'll have.
To help you on your journey, I've created this Downsizing Your Home Emotional Roadmap just for you! Feel free to download it now.
What emotions have you experienced when moving or downsizing? Leave me a note in the comments section!
Mom, We Have to Talk: 5 Ways to Discuss Downsizing with Your Aging Parents
With free Discussion Cheat Sheet
Assess the Mess: How to Plan Out Downsizing Your Home
With free Room-by-Room Checklist
Help Organize Your Aging Parents (While They are Still Young and Healthy)
With free Conversation Guide
Want to help organize your aging parents? Read on.
Start Talking Before It Gets Awkward
I Know Your Excuses...because they’re the Same Ones I Used
- For APs, NOT TALKING about things is the norm.
- Ditto that for many families. And if you come from the Midwest (like me), we truly excel at not talking about things!
- Talking about Later Life Plans means eventually talking about Death. And nobody likes to think about that.
- There is legal paperwork involved and it’s too complicated, expensive, confusing, and/or overwhelming to start.
- There’s some sort of family discord and somebody will definitely object, be offended and/or hurt by the efforts to discuss Later Life.
- Everyone assumes that the adult child living closest to Mom or Dad will take care of it all.
- Money. Discussing financial plans for Later Life is awkward at best, taboo at worst.
Suck it Up, Buttercup.
Timing Is Everything
(aka Don’t Start Talking at Thanksgiving Dinner)
Emphasize Your Role as an Advocate
End the Conversation with a Plan, No Matter How Small
For example, you could say “Next time we talk, I’ll bring along a printed copy of a blank Living Will for us to discuss”. You also want to make sure you have an agreed-upon plan if your loved ones can no longer make decisions or in the event in an emergency.
A great resource is this free conversation guide, created by A Place for Mom.
What’s the Plan for All the Stuff in the House.
- Sterling Silver (but not silver plated items)
- Coin, stamp, artwork, gun, crystal or other valuable collections
- Truly unique, high-end antiques that are in pristine condition
- Family photos
- Sentimental items (christening & wedding gowns, military memorabilia, etc.)
The best way to describe this is to quote this article from Forbes magazine: “Sorry, Nobody Wants Your Parents’ Stuff”. Start planning now for what will become of:
- “Brown” furniture
- Most mass-produced china and glassware
- Organs (the musical instrument, not your innards)
- Greeting cards, magazines and newspapers with no historical significance
- Old Tupperware, appliances with frayed cords, and cookbooks
- Flower delivery vases
- Plastic souvenir cups and empty Cool Whip bowls. Trust me: your aging parents have these.
- Your school papers, textbooks, and every drawing you ever did. Keep your diploma, let the rest of it go.
- 80% of the stuff stored in the garage
- Clothing that hasn't been worn in decades
Want to help your aging parents with clearing out all the stuff in the house?
Clutter Puts the Rage in Garage
The 3 Commandments of Closet Organization
Four Important Legal Papers
There are 4 important legal documents you should ensure your aging parent has.
- Will: An up-to-date Will is an important document.
- Living Will (also called Advance Health Care Directive)
- Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care:
- Durable Power of Attorney for Finances:
- Organ Donation registration
- Final Disposition Instructions (funeral and burial wishes)
- Digital Legacy Plan (learn more about what this ishere)
How can you find out what documents you need in your state?
Want more Advice on Helping your Aging Parents?
They have all the papers in order! Now what?
You've started the process of later life planning!
Coming soon...Later Life Planning Guide, workshops, and one-on-one coaching
Back To Schoool
Before & After
Closet Organization Ideas + Hacks
Downsizing Your Home
Family Schedule Logistics
Garage DIY Organization
Later Life Planning
Organizing Aging Parents
Selling Your Stuff
Weekly Family Routine