Guest Post By: Jane Moore
Starting a business is a great way to give yourself more freedom and flexibility in your career, but if you’re going to be working from your home, it’s important to make sure you have the right environment to be successful. Most entrepreneurs need a workspace that’s quiet, distraction-free, and away from the main traffic flow of the house, as well as room to store inventory or the tools of their trade.
If your current home doesn’t meet your business needs, it’s time to connect with a real estate professional to begin the process of buying a new home. Once you start outline your plan, you’ll need to start preparing your home for sale and for the big move. When it comes to the business side of things, there are several ways to make sure you can tackle both the move and work with ease. Simplify Me invites you to read on for a few tips that can help you through the transition.
Consider forming an LLC
Forming an LLC, or Limited Liability Company, can give you more flexibility when it comes to starting your business by not requiring you to have a board of directors. It also protects your personal assets. There are several steps to take when you’re ready to file with the state. Start by choosing the right name for your business. After that, make sure your business is registered with your state. This is the most important step!
It’s crucial to hire professionals to help with the move, especially if you have large pieces of office furniture. A good moving company will provide boxes, packing services, and an in-home estimate of fees and costs so you’ll know what to expect.
If possible, come up with some ideas for your office space in the new house to make moving day easier. Think about where you’ll place furniture, what you’ll need immediate access to, and how to pack efficiently so you’ll be able to find whatever you need quickly and easily. Don’t forget to set up internet services early so you won’t be left without a connection for days or weeks after the move.
Keep up with your web presence
While the move will keep you busy, it’s important to keep up with your customers and potential clients during the process. Staying active on social media and maintaining a blog or website will help you stay in contact, and makes it easy to update everyone on the changes your business is undergoing. Even new businesses need to ensure that their web presence is a steady, especially if they pay for ads through social media channels. To make advertising easier during the move, look into setting up automatic promotions.
Take care of legalities
Each state has its own rules and regulations regarding tax forms for entrepreneurs, as well as deadlines for filing and making changes. Make sure you understand the process of changing your address through the proper channels to avoid any problems down the road, keeping in mind that there may be costs associated with the process.
Starting a home business and moving at the same time can be an overwhelming task, so it’s a good idea to break down each step to keep stress at bay. Start off on the right foot by hiring the best professionals and protecting your assets so you’ll have peace of mind from the start.
Simplify Me can help simplify your life as well as your move and home office setup! To learn more, call 720-515-7195.
Photo via Pexels
Home organization can be taxing and overwhelming, especially when there’s a lot of clutter involved. But it doesn’t have to be that way. There are several quick and efficient ways to organize your home. Here are a few:
- Keep, trash, or donate: No maybe piles; apply this rule in every room as you begin organizing.
- Make a plan: Once you’ve decided on all of the items you’re going to keep, make a plan for the function of the room housing them. Think about how the items will complement that plan.
- Put it where you use it: For maximum functionality, store items where they’re going to be used. This will reduce the time you spend searching for them.
“If you are overwhelmed and not sure where to start, begin by removing any garbage and recycling from the area and then work to declutter one small space in the room such as a single drawer, shelf or corner. You will feel empowered when you get through your first declutter and it will motivate you to keep moving forward.” Koralee Pearson, Organized Inspiration
“Organization is mostly about minimizing what you don’t use or love. Only after we go through that process of decluttering can we organize and find a proper spot in our home for our belongings. And when we only keep things we truly want, we create abundant space not just in our house, but in our minds.” Brooke Moore, Simplify with Brooke
If you apply these steps to every room in your home, it should be easy to get things in order. Here are some additional plans to ensure maximum organization:
Organize your kitchen with cooking in mind. If you bake often, have all of the baking items in the same place. If you often cut up meats and vegetables, keep those items close to the functional area (i.e., island or sink). Here are some other tips for getting your kitchen in order for your home organization project:
- Hang big utensils: If you don’t have room in the drawers for all of your utensils, use peg boards or hooks. This makes them easy to find and access.
- Minimize your cookware: If you don’t use it, get rid of it. Keep only what you really need and use on a regular basis.
- Free up counter space: You shouldn’t keep a lot of countertop appliances out in the open, especially if you barely use them. Keep appliances in cabinets or in the pantry to make room for food prep and other kitchen tasks.
- Add pull-out shelves: Install pull-out shelving in cabinets to make reaching cups, plates and other hard to reach items easier.
- Parse through your cookbooks and recipes: “On average, people make the same 9 recipes over and over. Copy or pull out your most frequently used recipes and donate the books to the library or to friends.” Julie Coraccio, Reawaken Your Brilliance
- When you organize, categorize: “By placing the same or similar items together you can see firstly, how many you have and secondly, realize you don’t need quite so many.” Sally Walford, Declutter Me
- Don’t waste what you already have on hand: “Repurpose attractive containers leftover from gifts or food, such as small tins, boxes, sturdy paper packaging, fancy champagne boxes, glass jars, etc. Use them, and their lids, to organize drawers and shelves. You’ll be doing your part to keep trash out of landfills and save money that would’ve gone to new containers.” Tanya Hipona-Pereira, Intelligent Organizing
Your living room is one of the most popular places in the house; it’s also among the most prone to clutter. Minimize the mess with containers and bins, and get creative with other organization tools too, having a clean and uncluttered living room can be important for your home organization:
- Repurposed bookshelves: Use bookshelves to store bins and baskets of frequently used items. It’s a quick and easy way to organize, and it also adds to the visual appeal of your living room.
- Calendar all of your decluttering and moving projects: “Most people don’t know how long it takes them to complete a project, let alone plan, and activate a decluttering plan. For every hour you spend decluttering an area, you need an additional hour to pack what you plan to keep or remove. If you put each aspect of your project on the calendar you will increase the likelihood of achieving your goals.” Regina Lark, A Clear Path
- Cubbies: Made of fabric or plastic, cubbies are a good way to efficiently organize different people’s items for the best home organization. You can also do this in the entryway for shoes or jackets.
- Storage ottoman: A storage ottoman is both furniture and organization in one complete package. It’s a great place to store linens and accessories.
- Declutter before you buy bins, baskets, or other storage containers: “Decluttering first gives you a better idea of what you need to buy. You’ll also save money because you won’t need to buy as many containers.” Anita Chastain, Owner, Simple Life 365
Your bedroom should be extra tidy since it’s where you start and end the day and will make your home organization easier. Make use of space underneath your bed and in your end tables. Other tips to consider include to make your bedroom a sanctuary:
- Clear off your dresser: Don’t let your dresser get cluttered. Store items on it that you use on a daily basis — jewelry box, hand creams, etc.; otherwise keep it clear.
- Start small: “Choose a dresser drawer or a desk drawer that has been organizationally frustrating and go from there. Purchase drawer inserts to fit your lifestyle. So often, tackling a space no matter how small will only encourage one to continue to organize.” Sarah and Tami, Simply Organized Solutions
- Clean up the inside of your dresser: Use an organizer to get your clothing in order. Keep socks, underwear, tees, sweaters, and other clothing in neat piles. That way, you can find clothing more easily when you get ready for work in the morning.
- Don’t overuse hidden space: Having open space doesn’t mean you should fill it to the brim with stuff. Keep it organized and use little bins if needed.
- Organize your nightstand: “Organize your nightstand by keeping items that promote restful sleep more accessible (ie books, eye pillow, journal). Keep electronics away by creating a charging station on the dresser or other surface across the room.” Katie Siefermann, Fall Into Place Organizing
- Don’t use a hamper: Hampers seem like a good idea, but oftentimes they end up filled with clothes, spilling more on the floor. Try to get your clothes to the laundry room instead, and keep your bedroom clear of dirty clothes.
- Go Vertical: “If you don’t have a lot of floor space to work with, utilize your free wall space. Adding floating shelves is a trendy way to display your favorite books, art, or collectibles.” Nichole Allard, iOrganize4U
Closets should be organized for maximum functionality and excellent home organization, which is especially helpful when you need to find clothes and shoes in the morning. If your clothes are strewn on the floor — or your shoes are mismatched – trying to find everything adds extra time to your routine. The key is to get rid of everything you don’t wear and hang what you do wear. Shoes should be in their proper place – right next to one another. If you have clothes that you don’t want to hang, fold them neatly and put them on shelves.
- Organize your clothing by function: “Group and separate clothes into categories like work clothes, casual clothes, dressy clothes, etc. Within each category organize them by sleeve length instead of color. When you wake up in the morning, you’re likely to select your clothes according to the weather, not the color.” Julie Gutman, Simplify Me
- Keep a donation bin in every closet: “Having donation bins in all of your closets will help prevent a total overhaul of your closet if you are able to continually let go of items that no longer fit you or your lifestyle.” Stephanie Blair, Simplify with Steph
- Hang clothes by category first: “All shirts with the shirts, sweaters with sweaters, pants with pants, etc. I would then do the shirts & sweater by sleeve length, all long sleeves together, etc. Then arrange them by color. I personally go by the rainbow, red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, then gray, then black, and put the whites before the reds.” Anne Lucas, Ducks In A Row
- Review your wardrobe twice a year: “Only keep clothing that fits well, looks good on you, and you like wearing. Toss or rehome anything that doesn’t fit, is torn or stained, or you just don’t like. The goal should be that everything in your closet is something you want to wear, which makes getting dressed in the morning much easier.” John Odalen, Organize and Maintain
Bathrooms are where we like to relax or get ourselves ready for the day. Keeping everything you need within reach makes it easier and is great for home organization. Here are some ideas:
- Clean out the medicine cabinet: There are probably a lot of medicines you don’t need or use anymore. Trash what you don’t use and put the rest in a drawer.
- Clear off the counter: Keep most items off of your counter. Akin to your dresser, it should only hold your essentials — soap, toothbrush, and toothpaste, razor, etc. Put the rest in a drawer.
- Hang soap and shampoo: Use organizers and hanging baskets in your shower/tub combination to free up space on the floor and prevent injury.
- Tackle your towels: If your linen cabinet seems cluttered, try rolling your towels or putting them in a basket. It will make them neater and easier to access.
- Clean out your medicine cabinet: “Responsibly discard all medicines you no longer use or that have expired. Remove all remaining prescription medicines and move them to a location that is not hot or humid. Heat and humidity can affect potency.” Jonda Beattie, Time Space Organization
When you have children it is common that their play area can become consumed in toys, crafts, or games. If you have all of your children’s toys in one room it may become overwhelming and overly cluttered. Using storage bins that are easy to access is a great way to incentivize your children to put away their toys when they are done playing, and great for home organization.
- Spread out the toys: “Place toys strategically and inconspicuously around the house for optimal use and to avoid one room becoming crowded and overwhelming. If your kids like to read while you make dinner, place some kids’ books among your cookbooks. If puzzles are best completed on the dining room table, stash them in the cabinets of your buffet table.” Lisa Eckerle, Sort Support
- Label Storage Bins: “When labeling storage bins, attach labels both onto the short end and the long end. That way you can store the bins so the labels always show. I like see-through plastic stick-on label sleeves that easily allow the insert to be modified when you use the bins for other things down the road.” Thalia Poulos, Organized Beautifully
- Pack up some toys and store them away: “Many playrooms are packed with so many toys, it’s a challenge for the kids to see and choose what to play with. Pack up some toys into containers and store in an out of way place like a hall closet, garage, or attic. Then, every now and then, pull out the containers and swap out the toys.” Laura Ellis, Organized by Ellis
Originally Published on Redfin
By David Lahav of Advanced Locksmith
If you ask people about home security, they’ll tell you it’s all about having the right cameras, locks, alarms, and other devices that protect homes from danger. Those are good suggestions, but they leave out a key component. In fact, security experts will tell you that the most essential part of any residential security system is a well-thought-out plan. That’s because it’s essential to know exactly what you need, why you need it, how much you can afford, and the amount of time you’re willing to devote to maintenance.
Whether you hire a professional team to do the installing or you do it yourself, the effort is bound to end in chaos without a detailed plan. In fact, that’s what an installation expert does first. When the one or two-person team arrives, they inspect the property, take extensive notes and make a step-by-step written plan. It includes a list of any trouble spots, what’s already in place, what new items of equipment you might need, and more.
If you’re interested in creating a security plan yourself, here are the steps to follow. You’ll save a good deal of money by being organized, and will gain a new understanding about your home’s security.
Typical Six-Part Security Plan
- Do an inside walk-around: Take a camera and clipboard while you walk around the entire inside of your home, noting any points that might allow an intruder to enter. Check basements, attics, skylights, and any spot that someone might be able to climb through.
- Check front and back doors: Note the type and condition of your front and back door locks. Are they worn, slightly ‘wiggly’, or in need of replacement? Do you know exactly how many keys exist and where each one is?
- Inspect windows: For windows that open, does everyone have a secure lock? Is there any broken or cracked glass? Do you have screens on every window?
- List all exterior security points: Do the outside walk-around and make detailed notes. What are the most vulnerable places? Check window wells (a favorite for burglars), attempt to lift ground-floor windows, and see if your pet door is big enough for someone to crawl or reach into.
- Check other doors: Are there utility or sliding glass doors? What about an outside cellar door or an attic entry panel that someone with a ladder could access?
- Make a wish list of security equipment: Finally, write down every security device you think would add a layer of protection. Then, go online and price each item to determine your overall cost.
Never underestimate the value of organization and planning! It always pays to create order out of chaos, whether you’re cleaning your basement, making your home secure, or taking a long vacation. Why let chaos interfere, when a modest amount of organizing can make everything go smoothly.
By Natalie Jones of Home Owner Bliss
Moving can be exciting, but it’s also incredibly stressful for most of us, especially settling into a new city or state. In addition to the hassle of packing and unpacking, moving forces us out of our old routines, which can leave us feeling stressed and anxious. However, there are some things we can do to alleviate moving stress and settle into our new surroundings more easily. For tips on how to do it, keep reading!
Set Up Your Utilities in Advance
Even if you’re an expert procrastinator, you’ll want to set up your utilities in advance of your move-in date — including your internet, phone, cable service, trash and recycling collection, As well as gas, water, sewer, and electricity. If possible, The Spruce recommends setting up your new utility services about two weeks before your move-in date, as this will give each utility company ample time to get things connected so you’re not left without vital services
When setting up utility services in your new home, be sure to take some time to compare available providers to determine whether you’ll need to meet any special requirements. Depending on where you’re moving to, you may have several utility providers to choose from, or you may be limited to just one. Additionally, some utility companies require a security deposit, while others will perform a credit check.
If several internet service providers are available in your new area, you’ll also want to compare speeds and prices to ensure that you’re getting the best service for your needs. In the Mile-High City, for instance, Denver residents can take advantage of Verizon’s 5G Home Internet to experience lightning-fast speeds, high bandwidth, and ultra-low latencies. Other available internet service providers may include Xfinity from Comcast, HughesNet, or CenturyLink.
Get Organized and Unpacked
Once you’ve moved your belongings into your new house, the ConsumerAffairs Research Team recommends unpacking in stages, if you don’t have much time. For instance, you might start by unpacking your bedroom and any toiletries so you can go to bed without having to dig through boxes. Then, you could tackle the kitchen to ensure you’ll have everything you need to cook meals in your new home.
As another option, professional unpacking and organizing services are available through local companies like Simplify Me. By enlisting the help of a professional organizer, you’ll relieve moving stress, save hours of time, and start off on the right foot as you settle into your new home.
Explore Your New City
Whether you’ve moved into an unfamiliar city or a whole new state, it can take some time to settle in and feel comfortable in your surroundings, but there are some steps you can take to expedite this process. Start by locating banks and grocery stores. When you’re a bit more settles look for doctors, dentists, hair salons, and other service providers, and make note of where you’d go in the event of a medical emergency. Then, explore local attractions and seek out new friendships when walking your pup, attending an outdoor yoga class or joining an online neighborhood community like Nextdoor or MyCoop. Making new friends in the age of COVID-19 can be a challenge, but it’s certainly not impossible.
Enjoy Your New Home
Setting up utilities, getting unpacked and organized, and exploring your surroundings aren’t the only things you’ll need to do when moving into a new home in an unfamiliar city, but these steps will help make your move a whole lot more enjoyable. It’s hard to imagine when you’ve got a bunch of moving boxes cluttering your living room, but you’ll be settled into your new home and city in practically no time at all.
The last few weeks have been unprecedented in so many ways. We’ve seen what the ravages of a viral pandemic can mean for our health, our economy and our very way of life. Nearly every aspect of our lives has been disrupted and none of us knows when or what “getting back to normal” looks like. As a wealth manager, I’m spending large chunks of time with investors who are experiencing the full range of emotions as they face the uncertainties of a world with COVID-19. While many are cautious, some are opportunistic. Others have expressed fear and a few are downright angry at the recent turn of events.
One thing they all have in common though is that they can use this time to organize their financial affairs. The study of behavioral finance tells us that people want to feel “in control” of a situation. The greater the sense of control a person (in this case an investor) has, the better they will feel about creating a positive outcome. So, what can investors be doing right now to organize their financial lives and create that positive outcome?
For starters, this is a GREAT time to review your financial plan. You do have a plan, right? I’m sure you’ve heard the saying, “If you don’t have a plan, you plan to fail”. While that may not be entirely true of every situation, creating a singular, cohesive and comprehensive financial plan can save you from a multitude of mistakes and ensure nothing in your financial life gets overlooked or left to chance. A comprehensive plan should address current and expected needs around each area of wealth management: Investments, Insurance, Cash Flow, Taxes, Estate Planning, and Charitable Gifting. It’s common to have addressed one or two of those areas while neglecting others. If so, use this time to add to the pieces of your existing plan.
For those of you who have a well-written plan, when was the last time it was updated? I recommend at least annually and, certainly, every time there is a material change or transition in your life. It could be a job change, a move, or perhaps you’ve recently married. Even just the recent fluctuation in the stock market may be enough reason to review your plan. Are your investments performing how they are supposed to? Since the purpose of any plan is to keep one on track to meet certain goals, do you know your next steps if you discover you have strayed from your plan? This is the perfect time to answer questions like that.
What else can you do to organize your financial affairs? Make sure your beneficiary designations are up to date. You may want to leave your ex-spouse your 401(k) but my guess is you probably don’t. While that’s the classic example of *oops*, the action of matching an account to the correct beneficiary also serves the purpose of making sure all accounts have beneficiary designations. Among other things, it might keep your estate out of probate. Also, don’t forget many accounts will allow for both primary and contingent beneficiaries in case you want to name your children or charitable organizations. In conjunction with the beneficiary information, you’ll want to make sure your will and/or trusts have been updated and reflect your wishes.
Finally, as you think about organizing your finances, you may even want to consider using online services where all your documents can be stored safely and securely. Companies like Everplans allow you to digitally store wills, trusts, passwords to accounts, insurance policies and anything else you’d like to place in a centralized location for you or other family members. This can be a real time saver, as well as provide protection for identity theft, ease of transfer to other parties, and serve as a storehouse for both personal and business affairs items.
If you have time on your hands now, make the most of it to get your financial lives in order. Some of the suggestions I’ve made can be implemented on your own, while others may require the assistance of a trusted professional. When seeking help, always find a fiduciary who will put your interests first! At TWM, we do just that.
By Jane Moore
Photo courtesy of Unsplash
Downsizing is a commitment to a simpler life, unburdened by the clutter of accumulated possessions. It means living in a smaller home with more manageable living expenses and reduced property taxes. It also means paying lower mortgage payments, which is welcome in an area like Denver where home prices have jumped (up nine percent since last year). If you’re looking for more freedom, a smaller home also means less maintenance and upkeep inside and outside. However, it’s not always an easy change to make.
Getting rid of belongings that have personal meaning and which elicit memories can be a daunting emotional challenge, and it requires a commitment to see it through. That’s why it’s important to have a plan and to approach the task methodically so you don’t become overwhelmed by its psychological and physical demands.
Take Your Time
Take the time to do it right. Go room by room, handling each item before deciding whether to keep, donate, or throw it away. Ask yourself why you purchased this object in the first place, and whether it’s serving any useful purpose. Will anyone miss it? Does it have too much personal meaning to get rid of? Do you have room for it at your new home?
Once you’ve answered these questions, make separate piles and follow through on your intention with each pile. Don’t just leave items you intend to get rid of piled up in a corner or shoved in a closet. Put the objects you’re going to donate in your car so you can drop them off at Goodwill or the Salvation Army. If you have belongings you just can’t decide what to do with, consider putting them into storage for a while before making a commitment.
If you have a lot of papers to go through, make a pile for official documents, receipts and things you need to keep or can scan and store on your hard drive. Take the old bills and other papers you can purge to a shredding facility if you aren’t able to shred them at home. Remember, the majority of your papers aren’t important enough to hang onto.
Know Your New Space
If you don’t know how much space you have, you could end up with more stuff than you have room for, so take measurements in your new home before jumping into the downsizing process. If you’re moving into a considerably smaller space, it may be necessary to get rid of a few pieces of furniture or place them into storage. Knowing what you have to work with will also make it easier on moving day, since you’ll know exactly what pieces can go where, and which rooms each box should be left in for unpacking.
Keep Up the Good Work
Once you’ve purged yourself of all those duplicate items, the old keepsakes you can’t remember why you kept and ATM receipts from three years ago, maintain the good habits you’ve begun by downsizing. It’ll keep the clutter under control and help you reap the benefits of fewer belongings. Keep papers separated according to importance, and clean and organize things immediately rather than allowing them to pile up. Go through your clothes at the beginning of each season and decide what you can do without. Throw away or donate all those old ties you haven’t worn for years. And once you’ve finished, consider hiring a maid service for a one-time cleaning, which can cost you between $25 and $50 per hour.
If you still have a few things that you want to keep but simply don’t have room for in your new space, consider renting a self-storage space to house them. However, keep in mind that you’ll need to pay a monthly fee for this service, so make sure there’s room in your budget and that you research rates in your area. For example, in Denver, you’ll pay around $80 a month on average for a 10’x10’ unit, but you can find a same-sized unit for $35 per month.
Be Discriminating with New Items
Be careful not to undo everything you’ve achieved by piling up new objects you may not really need. When considering a new purchase, think through how often you’ll probably use it, how much you really want it and whether you have room for it in your smaller home. This is good advice for young people who don’t have as much experience managing a home as their elders. There’s no sense moving into a smaller house with less storage space if you continue purchasing things you don’t need.
Be Honest with Yourself
Downsizing is a lifestyle decision that can help people of all ages live simply and more efficiently. Be honest with yourself and be ready to ask yourself tough decisions as you assess whether you really need each item. Above all, take the time to do it right. You could easily make mistakes and lose things you want to keep by trying to do it all in one day.
In today’s society, tiny houses have become more desirable than large homes. While living in a tiny house is not for everyone, it offers unique benefits for those who are interested in a more minimalistic lifestyle.
A tiny house is only a couple of hundred square feet. In a tiny house most of your space is within easy reach, so living in a tiny house makes it easier to multitask. However, before you move into one there are some things that you should do. The first of these is to purge most of your belongings. You will not have room for nonessential items and keepsakes, so you have to decide what you can live without. There aren’t many places in a tiny house for knick-knacks. Storage space is at a premium!
On the other hand, a tiny house is a lot less expensive than a regular house. In many cases it is also mobile. A tiny house can be purchased for around sixty thousand dollars. A regular house costs a lot more, plus it cannot be moved. Even with the tiny house being cheaper, there are things that need to be considered, such as:
- Land – Do you have a piece of land to put your house on or do you need to buy/rent land?
- Utility costs – How will you obtain utilities…sewer, water, electricity?
- Upgraded – Any upgrading that you make will add money to the cost of your tiny house.
- Maintenance – Maintaining your tiny home and the land it is on will be an added cost.
- Towing equipment – If you plan on moving your house, does your car have the proper towing capabilities?
In your tiny house, most areas serve more than one purpose. You may need to store clothing in your kitchen or bathroom area. The stairs should be built with storage areas underneath. Most furniture is built which that locks you into a particular layout, but it keeps cleaning to a minimum.
Living in a tiny house is a whole new way of living. You can spend more time with your family and in the outdoors. Since storage space is minimal, your money will not need to go to buying stuff.
If you like entertaining, you can always build a fire pit with an outdoor barbecue area or have a movie night with a projector in your garden.
The tiny house experience is a minimalist lifestyle. You will find yourself doing more with less and cleaning will be a breeze.
With a tiny house, you can own your own home sooner than expected. If you want to move, you can take your home with you. A tiny house doesn’t have to mean you are giving up anything, instead you are taking time away from things and focusing on experiences.
Living in a small space takes some getting used to, but once you’re comfortable with it, you will wonder why you didn’t do it sooner.
Name: David Lahav
Happy New Year! Our first blog of the year comes from Jennifer Hanzlick of Clutter Trucker. They are a junk removal and hoarding cleanup company in the Denver area.
Most people are familiar with clutter, messy rooms, excess junk in the garage and the occasional backed-up sink or broken refrigerator. Everyone has faced an unkempt home at one time or another, whether it’s the result of a big party or a temporary aversion to house-cleaning.
The point is, for 99 percent of the population, a messy home is a temporary, rare situation. For people who suffer from a psychological problem called “hoarding disorder,” it’s an everyday reality. Professionals have studied the condition in detail and categorize sufferers into five distinct groups, referred to as the “levels of hoarding.”
Here are the key points about each level, beginning with Level One, the least serious of all, and ending with Level Five, the most dangerous of all.
The Levels of Hoarding
- Level One: The sufferer doesn’t
like to throw things away and often buys items for which they have no apparent
need. The space only has light clutter but no blocked entryways or walkways.
It’s hard to notice hoarding at this early stage.
- Level Two: People at this stage
don’t allow visitors, are often embarrassed by the clutter, have a few blocked
walkways or exits in the home, and are unable or unwilling to clean the
- Level Three: Sufferers at this
stage often have emotional problems, eating disorders and live in an extremely
cluttered, unsanitary space. Fleas and other pests can be a problem, bathrooms
might be non-functional and there are strong odors everywhere.
- Level Four: Serious hygiene and
mental health problems are apparent in level four, along with mold, mildew,
sewage problems, excessive clutter, various pests, animal waste, blocked exits
and unusable rooms.
- Level Five: The home is not fit for habitation, sewers are backed up, bathrooms are unusable, all space is cluttered, walls are broken and there are numerous fire hazards within the residence.
How To Deal With the Problem
There are two steps to the process for handling a hoarding situation. The first is to get psychological help for the sufferer as quickly as possible. The second involves cleaning up the residence so that people can live in it without the danger of acquiring an infection or illness of any kind. Proper, comprehensive cleanup also opens the space up and allows for easy passage from room to room, unobstructed entry and exit, and a sanitary living area for all who reside in the home.
Checklist courtesy of Tri-Star Cabinet & Top Co., Inc.
U – Upkeep
While organizing is the crucial first step, upkeep is just as important. No one wants to spend time and money organizing a space just to have it go back to its original chaotic state! Systems (ahem, and following those systems) are the key to upkeep! When organizing any space make sure to:
- Keep ‘like’ things together in categories
- Find a space that will fit each category
- Pick your space based on how you function in the room
- Purge until the items fit into their designated space
- Label spaces if you think you (or someone else) might have a hard time remembering where things go
For upkeep of your organized space, make sure to:
- Assign homes to all new things that come into the space
- Continue to purge old things as new one’s come in
- Put things back into their designated space…every time
- Put things back on a regular schedule of upkeep (daily/weekly/monthly)
- Reorganize if the system you’ve chosen is too difficult to maintain
It’s not enough to simply make a space organized. The organizational system must be created with the people who will be in charge of upkeep, in mind. This is why I like to organize a home/office with its people, so I know how they function in their space and what they are and are not willing to do to maintain it. Organization is only half the battle. Upkeep is other half.