Archive for ‘Organizing’ Category

Posted on: December 18th, 2019 by Melinda Anderson | No Comments

Forty-six percent of Baby Boomers who sold homes in 2017 were in the process of downsizing, according to Zillow, and the National Association of Realtors reports 12% of those in the 45-64 age group were doing the same.

A large home with a yard requires weekly upkeep and many of us are calling it quits and moving into a smaller home.

There are many reasons to downsize: retirement, kids leaving home, a drop in income, too much house to clean, need a home without stairs, leaving the suburbs for the city and having a shorter commute to work. Not to mention saving money each month on heating and cooling rooms you rarely use.

Keep it simple and follow these four steps to downsizing quickly:

Step 1

Take photos of your current home. It can be fun to look back at your old place after you move and photos can also be a tool to help you select what to take with you. 

Then measure your new home and make the biggest decisions first. Will you move large items like the washer, dryer, and refrigerator or will you buy new ones when you get there? Will you take your dining room set and bedroom set or will these pieces take up too much room in your new, smaller space? Measure other furniture pieces and determine what will fit in your new living space. Don’t forget to account for a home office or a hobby area if these areas are important to you.

Step 2

Make 4 piles: Keep, Giveaway/Donate, Sell, and Trash.

The Keep pile contains the things you need, use, and love.

The Giveaway pile is possessions that will go to friends and family who can use them, and donations go to Goodwill or other charity.

The Sell pile is optional, but if you’re looking for extra cash this is a good way to do it.

MaxSold is an online downsizing and estate sales company that sells furniture, art, and everyday household items quickly and conveniently. You have the option of photographing and listing your items for sale using the MaxSold Ninja app, or the MaxSold team can come to your home or storage unit and do it for you. Use referral code AN0893 and save $100.

Poshmark is an online marketplace for selling gently used clothing, shoes, accessories, and home decor. The Poshmark app is easy to use and you can begin selling your unneeded items in no time.

The Trash pile is for those items that have no value. Some options for removing trash include curbside pickup, bulk waste pickup, and a hauling service like Stand Up Guys and College Hunks Hauling Junk.

Step 3

Prepare to move by contracting for utility service in your new home and completing a change of address form online at the US Post Office.

Step 4

It’s time to Pack all the belongings you are keeping. If you are over 65, you may want to get help from a Senior Move Manager or a packing service. If you do it yourself, you’ll need cardboard boxes in a variety of sizes, rolls of packing paper, and packing tape. Be sure to pack a Day 1 box with essentials you’ll need upon arrival in your new home like paper towels, toilet paper, and hand soap. 

The process of downsizing can be done quickly when you have a tight timetable or it can be accomplished over a period of months.

Posted on: July 27th, 2017 by Melinda Anderson | No Comments

These are the three magic questions to ask yourself when trying to decide whether or not to keep something. If you need it you’ll keep it, and if you use it you’ll keep it. But if you love something, it doesn’t matter if you need it or use it, you’ll keep it. Love has a way of sticking around.

Do I Need It?Many of the things in our homes that we love are keepsakes. Things that help to illustrate a story or bring back memories of the person it used to belong to. I love our Heywood Wakefield kitchen table because of the shape of it and also for the neat way it folds up into a smaller size. I also love the stories Aunt June used to tell about purchasing it with her husband back in the 40’s.

I love the red fleece jacket I wear around the house in the winter to keep toasty warm. My son loved when I wore this jacket when he was little – maybe because it made him warm when I held him. I don’t wear the jacket out in public anymore because it’s showing it’s age, but I love it and use it so I think I’ll keep it a while longer.

Do I Use It?But I don’t love everything I own. Nor do I need or use everything either. The litmus test I use to determine if it stays or goes into the donate box are as simple as asking these three little questions: Do I need it?, Do I use it?, and Do I love it?

This need it/use it/love it principle can be applied to every area of your home. Let’s take the kitchen, for example. Open the gadget drawer and see what you find. How many spatulas, slotted spoons and knives do you have? Are they all useful? Do you need 47 sharp knives in varying sizes? What if you only kept the ones you loved? Would you still have plenty for all your cutting needs?

Do I love it?Once you choose your favorites, place them in a convenient spot where you can use them when you need them. The extras can be put in the donate box or stored in an out of the way area. Your prime real estate should be reserved for the things you use most often.

Let’s take another example – the linen closet. Look at all your bath towels and ask yourself the three need it/use it/love it questions. Are there any you could part with? Next, look at the hand towels, wash cloths, sheet sets, single pillowcases, and blankets and take the ones out that don’t make the cut. Organize the linens you love by type, color, and frequency of use.

Organize the ones u loveMemorabilia tends to fall into the “love it” category. We often don’t use or need items that remind us of the past, but just looking at them makes us happy. I don’t need or use my college ID cards but I love the way they bring back memories of the times when I did need and use those cards. Paper memorabilia can be stored in photo albums where they can be shared with others or they can be kept in a box with other flat memorabilia.

For larger keepsake items like a favorite stuffed animal or blanket, a bin with a tight fitting lid is a good choice. Choose one brand (because they stack nicely and will look visually organized) like the Rubbermaid Tough Totes and give each member of the family their own.

When organizing any area of your home, remember the famous words of poet Virgil, “Love conquers all things, let us too surrender to love”. I don’t think he was referring to home organizing when he said it but if you love something, I encourage you to keep it.

Posted on: June 27th, 2017 by Melinda Anderson | No Comments

When organizing any area of the home,  remember the home organizing basics:
 Tall bookshelves
B=  Begin (you can’t finish if you never get started)
A=  Assess what you have vs. what you want
S=  Sort your belongings out into categories
I=   Inventory what you have and get rid of the excess
C=  Contain the things you’re keeping
S=   Storage (TIP: do steps 1-5 before choosing storage)
You’re just 6 steps to organizing success!

Posted on: May 27th, 2017 by Melinda Anderson | No Comments

Do you live in a small home that’s short on storage space? There’s a “small space bible” to help you get organized and it’s loaded with practical tips and resources for every room in your petite space.Small Space Organizing by Kathryn Bechen

Small Space Organizing: A Room-By-Room Guide to Maximizing Your Space by award-winning author and journalist Kathryn Bechen contains ideas for arranging the furniture, maximizing storage space, and choosing storage products.  The book also includes real life stories of how she and her husband dwell well – and prefer living – in a small space.

“Remembering that in small spaces every inch counts” is a theme she illustrates throughout the book with solutions for homeowners and renters alike.

Kathryn includes resources galore in this new book for everything from double – duty furniture to hooks and baskets to green and organic options for making your small space work for you.

There’s even a home office equipment and supplies list to help you set up a successful system for working from home or for paying the bills. She walks you through the process of setting up a filing system and processing paperwork – information that’s helpful even if you don’t live in a small space.

This book is as sweet and dear as Kathryn herself and you can hear her voice on every page as she takes you on a virtual tour of the beautifully organized homes of her clients, friends, acquaintances and her own.

Kathryn Bechen INKTo find out more about Kathryn Bechen and her new book, Small Space Organizing, visit her at

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher for the purpose of this review.  The opinions stated here are my own and are not solicited nor are positive reviews required.

Posted on: April 30th, 2013 by Melinda Anderson | No Comments


Calling in a pro can help keep emotions out of deciding what to do with all that “stuff”

Downsizing a lifetime of possessions

— Downsizing can be a tough process for anyone, but especially for seniors who find themselves with large homes no longer full of children. More and more are tackling the huge job of downsizing their living spaces. In fact, about six percent of Americans between the ages of 55 and 64 move each year, according to the Over-50 Council of the National Association of Home Builders.

As seniors reach the time to downsize belongings and move into smaller, more manageable homes, many have a hard time figuring out what to do with all of the “stuff ” they’ve accumulated over the years. Local professional organizer Melinda Anderson, member of the National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO®), specializes in downsizing and organizing seniors’ living spaces.

“A major reason seniors have a hard time downsizing is they feel they are the ‘keepers’ of family heirlooms and so they have a hard time getting rid of items which they don’t really have room for anymore,” said Anderson.

Anderson offers the following tips for seniors taking the plunge into a more simplified lifestyle:

  • Start looking for other family members who would like to have heirloom pieces now, especially if they are not being used on a regular basis. There are many organizations that accept donations of valuable heirlooms in support of a worthy cause. Professional organizers can help seniors sort through household items to strategically figure out what will work in their new space. They also can help seniors identify which organizations to turn to that are best at finding new homes for family heirlooms.
  • Find movers specializing in making the transition easier for seniors. Professional organizers can help find the perfect “mover match” for a client, and can help pare down items before the move making the process easier at moving time.
  • Have a professional organizer reassess every five to ten years or as needed to make sure the senior’s home is still working for them. Sometimes seniors don’t realize that everyday activities and household chores can be made easier just by adjusting the setup in their homes. Professional organizers are great resources to help identify easy ways seniors can simplify to improve their overall quality of life.

“We are not trying to tell them what stays and what goes, but we ask the tough questions to help them decide for themselves,” Anderson says. “Sometimes just getting started is the hardest part, and having a professional with an outside point of view to assist is the perfect way to move forward.”

NAPO® members serve both corporate and residential clients specialize in a wide range of services, such as corporate or residential organizing, and many have specialties in niche areas like garages, moving/downsizing, or even helping businesses with time and data management. Melinda Anderson and Southern Home Organizers specialize in downsizing the client’s current home, plus unpacking and organizing in the new home. Additionally, NAPO® offers members education on the most cutting-edge techniques and products.

AFTER Downsizing
AFTER Downsizing

For Further Information:

Melinda Anderson, CPO

Southern Home Organizers


About NAPO® (

The premier national association dedicated to the field of organizing, the National Association of Professional Organizers® (NAPO®) is The Organizing Authority. Formed in 1985 as a not-for-profit professional educational association, NAPO® is dedicated to serving its thousands of members through education, networking, industry resources, and promoting the profession to the public. NAPO’s mission is to develop, lead, and promote professional organizers and the organizing industry. The association is affiliated with the National Association of Senior Move Managers (NASMM), the National Study Group on Chronic Disorganization (NSGCD), and Professional Organizers in Canada (POC).

As the oldest and largest professional educational association for professional organizers, NAPO® supported the launch of the Board of Certified Professional Organizers® (BCPO®) and the Certified Professional Organizer® (CPO®) exam, a separate independent certification program for the entire organizing industry.

ATLANTA, Georgia. (November 2, 2011)