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Donating, consigning and buying second hand children’s items just got trickier.  We are going to have to pay closer attention to how these items are distributed once they are no longer needed in our homes.

There is a new law that anyone selling children’s clothing, toys, accessories has to qualify that the any lead content is within legal limits.  For seller’s of  new items this can be easily determined from manufacturers.  For folks selling second hand, it makes it impossible to do so.  Boston Globe article

There still seems to be some confusion between the Consumer Product Safety Commission and store owners.

“The National Association of Resale and Thrift Shops said the commission’s attempt to clear up questions only caused more confusion. Although the commission ruled that resellers don’t have to test products for lead and other chemicals, they “cannot sell children’s products that exceed the lead limit,” the commission said. Since many items found in consignment and thrift shops have never been tested, business owners are left to operate at their own.”

Many stores are closing. Many charities that operate thrift stores are taking children’s items off the floor in fear of breaking the law or being sued.  I know we want to keep our kids safe, but there also a lot of families that need these discount shopping venues with the economy the way it is. All or nothing can’t be the answer.

  • Before you donate to a “thrift store” charity such as Goodwill or Salvation Army call to see if they are accepting children’s clothing.
  • Before you head out to consign at your local kid’s clothing store, call to see if any policies have changed.
  • Charities that give items away for free to needy kids should be unaffected.

In a recent post I spoke about the need for donations for children is spiking.  Don’t let this stop you from donating, you just need to make a quick call to make sure your donations will be accepted.

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Some may say all clutter is negative, but there is clutter that is without a doubt, 100%, truly negative.  It can be physical clutter or emotional clutter.  Either way, it is time to clear it out!

Especially if you have a hard time letting go of things, start with anything that has a negative feeling, memory or experience attached to it.  For some reason we hang on to these items just like we do the positive ones.  Why?  Would we continue to eat something if it tasted bad or made us sick?  Would we continue to do activity if it hurt or harmed us? Start by removing anything that has negativity to it.  Make room for the important and positive things in your life and your space.

I’ve worked with clients who have kept medical letters of former dire circumstances.  They remember the pain all too well without the need of this piece of paper as a reminder.  Let those go.  Photos of relationships that was negative, say bu-bye.  I myself found a legal letter this week that was from a very painful experience.  I actually thought I had thrown it out years ago.  Nope, it was still there.  Was, key word.  I have released that negative energy and it is gone.

Toxic, negative people in your life?  Remove them too.  I call that “people clutter.”

Grab that trash can and start having more room for positive memories, people and energy!

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Surprised I am writing today about holiday decor?  Me too!

I spent a lot of time out and about this weekend, driving in suburbia.  It amazed me to see how many folks still had their holiday decorations up in their yard & on their houses.  I’m not talking folks who have not been able to take down lights from the roof due to safety with all the snow on the ground.

I am talking about wreaths on the door, blow up Santa deflated on the lawn, candy canes outlining the walk way.  People put so much hard work into making their homes look festive for the holidays, but they do not finish the project.  Finishing is not when you are done putting them up.  The completion of the process is taking them down and putting them away in an organized fashion.  It is the FULL process, it doesn’t stop with putting them up.

This can be translated with other projects and tasks….laundry is not done until it is fold and put away.  You get it, right?

I always joke that I want to go around with little holiday citations.  Put them on these people’s doors.  If the Easter Bunny comes and they are still up, I just might!

Happy Monday!

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Oprah Organizes – Again

February 18, 2009

O is for Oprah

O is for Organizing

Set your DVR for Oprah for tomorrow (Thursday.)  Her guest will be organizing expert Peter Walsh.  It is part of their road show series.  You can get some excellent tips from Peter and if you feel that you are disorganized you will also see that you are not alone!

The Container Store is a sponsor.  You can check out their site for air time and also, check back after the show or on the Oprah site.  Last time they offered 20% coupons for the store.  Not sure if they will this time  Now remember, only buy what you NEED.

The Container Store – Clean Up Your Messy House Tour

Have fun watching and saving…and look for a fellow New England organizer Elizabeth Selders in the audience.  She was there an spoke on camera, hopefully she makes the final cut!

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Get Organized, Take Control

February 17, 2009

Last night I visited a friend.  When I arrived they were very busy purging and organizing.  After a super busy week  for this friend I had expected them to be passed out with the remote in their hand.

Why not?  The week was crazy, doom in gloom in the news, whispers of layoffs at work. I was told:

“There is so much out there I can’t control, THIS–my space and my environment I CAN control…it feels good.”

Well said my friend.

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Pop Goes the Balloon

February 13, 2009

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A friend of mine just moved and has been going through things still at the old house.  Doing some good ol’ purging.  He came upon the balloons from his 30th birthday party…he is  now 48 years old.  Finally he was able to throw them away.

He is not the only one of late to do so.  I had a similar experience with a client.  Balloons and decor from a party 15 years or so ago. After a lot of hard work and learning what is really important to keep in her life, she was able to  throw them away.  Believe it or not, it is not uncommon and for some very hard to do.

Items from memorable occasions can be tough to let go.  Prom dresses, flowers from a loved one, mother of the bride dress.  At first we think the memory of the person or occasion is directly tied to these items.  But they are not.  When you come across an item like this think:

  • Do I have the memories for the event in my mind?
  • Do I have photos?
  • Do I really need this item to be reminded of the event or the person?

I bet you will answer no!  It is time to let them go…

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Tax Tip Thursday – Week 4

February 12, 2009

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So…you have or have scheduled time to empty out the 2008 files, set up ones for 2009, sorted receipts and documentation by like category, totaled up receipts or run reports and checked for errors.  You have documented and calculated your charitable donations.  You have made an appointment with your tax professional or bought your Tax software.

Now it is time to complete your return.  Remember, I am an organizer not a CPA.   Here are some links to further help you prepare and beware.

Tax Mistakes

Tax Central From MSN Money

IRS – Frequently Asked Questions

Tax Tip Thursday will resume in a few weeks…where we will focus back on the “organization” of tax related documents, what to keep, what to shred, etc.

For now…I want to give you time to work on your taxes.  Good luck!

Got a question on how to organize for prep?  Just comment here and I’ll give you the answer!

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