Garage Sales: Clutter Buster or Magnet?

garage sales clutter buster or clutter magnet


Poll time!  Raise your hand if you’ve ever held a garage sale.

Kudos to you for following through with the monumental task of collecting up all of your stuff, finding a day in your schedule that worked to have the sale, then enduring hours of haggling.  After all was said and done, you then boxed up all of the stuff that didn’t sell.

I’m exhausted just typing out all of those steps! Good job dealing with all of that! But what’d you do with the boxes then?  Did they just sit in your home until the next garage sale?  (Did that next garage sale ever happen?)

On the flip side, have you ever planned to have a garage sale, and kept mounds of stuff around  to sell, but the garage sale never actually happened?


Turns out, you’re not alone, my friend.  This happens all the time.

What’s that? Our best intentions turn into clutter.  And the clutter holds us back from doing or having what we truly want in life.  All of the stuff you’re keeping in anticipation of having a garage sale is most likely cluttering up your life.

So before you decide to have a garage sale, think about this: is it really worth your time to do everything you gotta do in order to have a successful sale?


Take an honest look at your things.  How much would you pay for the item at a garage sale?

If the entirety of all that you’ve decided to sell is under what you’d consider it’d be worth it on a good day, then maybe you’d be better off donating the stuff instead and taking the charitable donation tax-write off.

For me that number has to be north of $250.  But that’s because what I know to be true in life is this: what you expect will sell right away at a garage sale never actually does.  It’s true!  The stuff you almost tossed into the donation pile is what gets snapped up faster than a hot Krispy Kreme donut.


If it’s worth it

If you decide that yes, you do want to have a garage sale, then this is what you have to do:

1. Pick a date.  NOW.  and keep checking to make that date works.  Consider the weather too and maybe even pick a back up date.

2.  Corral all of your stuff in one area of your home.  Don’t let items live out and about with everything else.  It’s just clutter at this point.

3.  Make a plan for what to do with anything that doesn’t sell.  May I suggest scheduling a donation pick up with the fine folks at the day after your sale?  If it didn’t sell, let it go.  It’s simply not worth it to keep trying to sell stuff that no one wants any more.


If not a garage sale, then what?

And of all of the garage sales I’ve ever had, I know that it was only worth my time once.  So for me, I’ve decided to never have a garage sale again.  Does that mean that I donate or give away all of the things I no longer want/need?  Nope.  I’ve just figured out a better way.


Watch this video

So, what do you think?  Will having a garage sale help you get organized?  Or could it sabotage your organizing efforts?  I dig a little deeper into this issue in this video!

How to Conquer Kid Clutter

Tired of dealing with toys and other kid stuff?  Me too!  Read this for quick tips you can really use to get rid of clutter and get organized, despite your kids!


Overwhelmed by kid clutter?  The crap stuff kids accumulate certainly seems to multiply like bunnies overnight.

Before you know it, you’re drowning in a sea of plastic junk.  What to do with it all?  You can’t just pitch it all and be done with it, unfortunately.

Read on for some quick strategies for conquering kid clutter:


Wait for the right chance

Look for opportunities to get rid of items they’re not using.  Like nap time.  You might think I’m joking, but I’m totally serious.  Chances are they won’t miss the plastic do-dad acquired from the fast food joint.  When I get called on this, I usually just say, “oh, I’m sure it’s around here somewhere” and 5 seconds later they’ve forgotten all about it!

Truth is, I regularly cull this kind of crap-eola from my house.

The secret is to get rid of it when they’re not looking.  Sneaky, yes, but totally necessary.  There’s simply some junk they’ll never voluntarily get rid of and in reality, they have no use for it.  It’s just junkity junk.  Get rid of it and feel no guilt!

Pro tip: use a dark colored bag to dispose of the aforementioned junkity-junk.

Time it wisely

Use the weeks before birthdays and holidays to have your kids voluntarily get rid of things.  I use the carrot of new shiny things as an incentive for my boys to let go of things they no longer want or use.  When this type of de-cluttering is routine, it turns into a fantastic habit.

Pro tip: Use specific language like “Which of these (insert specific category of toys) are you done playing with?” or “Gather all of your baby dolls. You have 10 baby dolls here.  Which ones can leave to make room for all of the new toys you’re about to get?”


Get into a routine

Regularly get rid of things they’ve outgrown.  If you plan to use the item with another child when they grow into it (clothes or toys), pack them away in a labeled container.

Until the right time comes, you’ll be able to keep the extra items out of the way and safely stored.  If there’s no one in your immediate family to keep the items for, pass them along to friends or donate them.

Pro tip: Use big labels so there’s no doubt as to what you have.  I’ve designed the most perfect set of labels and inventory sheets.  Check them out!


The Golden Rule of Organizing

Live by the One-in-One-Out Rule aka the golden rule of organizing.  It’s as simple as it sounds: When you bring something new into your home, say a new stuffed animal, something else must leave, perhaps an unloved stuffy.

Pro tip: Make no exceptions to this rule and you’ll be amazed what a difference it makes when it comes to the amount of clutter you no longer have to deal with.


Over to you!

Want even more tips?  In just under 3 minutes, learn techniques for de-cluttering kid stuff and staying organized in this video!  Among other things, I spill the beans on the best types of containers to use with kids so that you can stay organized!

What Clutter Really Costs You

Beyond being super annoying and slowly draining the life out of you, clutter is actually costing you much more. Learn exactly what do you can put a stop to it right now!

Sure, clutter seems relatively harmless enough, right?  I hate to break it to you, but it’s totally not!

In some cases it is just a pile of papers you meant to file away, a stack of books that need to be retuned to the library, or a hamper full of dirty clothes waiting to be laundered. All delayed decisions.

But clutter is actually a time, energy, and spirit killer.  And clutter kills your pocketbook too.

Say what?

Clutter takes time to maintain and deal with, robbing you of time to do other things.  It causes you to devote time or mental energy that could otherwise be spent on more enjoyable things.

What’s more, clutter is a constant reminder of things that remain undone or unresolved.  And that can be depressing and stress-inducing.  Ugh.


Got money to burn?

I hate to be such a bummer, but you gotta know that clutter can also cost you money.

Here’s how: Have you ever purchased something only to discover you already owned it?  You’ve spent money on the duplicate item that could have been used for something else and now the duplicate is taking up space in your home too!

Money’s also lost due to disorganization and clutter when we get dinged  with late fees, or even worse, lose clients.


Have all the time in the world?

Another excuse I often hear is that they just don’t have enough time to get organized.  But get this: I read recently that the average American spends three weeks a year looking for misplaced items each year and that American executives spend on average six weeks a year searching for lost items.

You read that right.  Time in the order of 3-6 weeks is being lost each year.  That’s at least an hour a day.

Wow!  Imagine if you weren’t wasting time searching for lost belongings!  You could add at at least an hour back into your life each and every day!  Crazy!

In sum, clutter costs you time and money (and probably your sanity too).

Sheesh!  This is all bummer information, am I right?


But here’s the bright side

The good news is that there’s a solution to all of this and it’s totally within your control!

Like so many other things in life, it is cheaper, faster and better to just deal with your clutter now.  Putting it off only prolongs the issue, making the payoff further away and multiplying the cost to you.

In order to slash the costs of clutter, you gotta make a change, stat!

If you don’t know where to start, may I humbly suggest you sign up for the Organizing Jumpstart Challenge.  It’s free and fast and delivers fast results in the form of an email a day for a mere days.  Scroll just a bit down and sign up to get started today!

I love this challenge because it is soooo do-able and you’ll feel like an organizing superstar when you’re all done!


Over to you!

Are there other costs you can identify that stem from clutter or disorganization?  Call ’em out below!

What to Do When KonMari Organizing Doesn’t Work

what to do when konmari organizing doesn't work


Last month, I spoke to a group of entrepreneurs about getting organized.  At the end of the talk, there was time for questions- one of my favorite parts of any speaking engagement!  One entrepreneur, asked what I thought about using the KonMari method to get organized.  (Side note: I’m often asked about this method and I’ll be honest- I’m not a fan!  Because I know that the KonMari method doesn’t work for me.)

So I answered her honestly, but rather brutally: it’s not the best way to get organized if you live in the United States.  We have more space, and much more stuff than Japanese homes, so the process can be utterly overwhelming!  And it can take much longer than just doing it the “non-magical” way.

I asked her if she’d tried the KonMari way.  She hesitated before sheepishly saying yes, but… she’d been working on it for 9 months and she’d only gotten through all the pants in her home!  We all laughed pretty hard and then I suggested it might be time to try something else!

…So what could that something else be?  Well, one thing is to throw your hands into the air, give up and continue to live in clutter and chaos.  But that’s an awful suggestion and I’m only kidding, of course.

Instead, why not take the same principles of the KonMari method and tweak them so they’ll work in your household?  Not everything about the KonMari way won’t work for you. That’s because the KonMari method is only a spin on what every other organizer knows to be true.

Here’s how the “modified KonMari” method (aka my usual method)  works.  And by the by, the following step-by-step advice is no different than the organizing advice I dish out in any other post!

1. Start in one room and de-clutter each part of the room that doesn’t work.

2.  Get rid of things you don’t want, won’t use, aren’t in good condition, or are no longer needed.  Give yourself permission to let go of these things.  It’s ok to let go of these sorts of items!

3.  Work in small areas.  No, this doesn’t mean squeeze yourself into tight spaces, but rather, don’t bite off more than you can chew.  Start with one drawer and get it right instead of dumping out every drawer all at once and having a whole lot to deal with at once.  Work bit by bit and you’ll consistently work your way to being organized.

4.  Put things where you’ll actually use them.  For example, the laundry stain remover should live with your laundry supplies instead of under the sink with general cleaning supplies.  If the stain remover stays under the sink, best case is that you’ll forget you have it and worst case is that you’ll buy a second container and have to store both.  Plus you’ll no longer have the money you spent on the second product.  This is the put like with like rule that I’m sure you’ve heard before.

5.  Label things, especially if you’re using containers that you can’t see through.  It’ll make it easy to tell what’s what without having to look into the containers.

6. Go easy on yourself and don’t put yourself down.  You’re not foolish for accumulating so much.  No one, not even your favorite organizing guru is 100% organized 100% of the time.  Because life.

7.  Think to yourself: You can get organized.  You can do this!  Positive affirmations are the ticket to organizing success.  It worked for the Little Engine Who Thought It Could, and it will for you too.

Now, what are you waiting for?  Go tackle a drawer already!

how to organize kids rooms

How to Organize Kid Rooms

How in the world do kids collect so much stuff?  It’s like their junk multiplies at night when we’re not looking!  The volume of the possessions and the various sizes of things that there are is what is so confounding!

In any kid room, the object is to get rid of the absolute junk (Happy Meal toys, prizes from school and birthday loot bag contents), keep what they need and play with, then contain what’s being kept.  This is the once sentence summary of how to organize a kid room.  Which makes it seem more simple than it actually is!

how to organize kids rooms

Here are some specific solutions that will work in kids room to help keep the organized and clutter free!


Problem:  The room is getting overrun with (stuffed) animals


organize stuffed animals by putting them into a bag chair

Make them into a chair!  This is a fabulous solution fro keeping the animals dust-free and turning them into a function and portable piece of furniture. Your kids will get a kick out of their animals hiding in plain sight!

organize stuffed animals by hanging them on a chair

Hang them from a chain! This is a good solution for a child with a smaller collection of animals- either in amount of size of animal.  The animals are clipped to the chain, so they can be added or removed very easily.

organize stuffed animals by hanging them up in a hammock

Put them up and away in a hammock! I like this options because it’s similar to a concept I use with my kids.  They can keep just a select few animals in their bed.  The rest have to be up and out of the way.  This options get everything up and into a corner that probably isn’t being used.  If you really don’t like the look of the hoard of animals, you can tuck it in the corner behind the door!

organize stuffed animals in a nice basket

Corral them all in a nice basket! I like baskets like these because they will grow with your child.  It would fit in to a teen’s room as well as a younger child’s room.  That’s a big plus in my book!

Problem: You want to make use of the under the bed space for storage


I think the look of these is so lovely and streamlined!  I like how the label is already included so that it’s easy to tell what’s in the drawer without pulling the whole thing out!

Prefer closed top options?

Here’s a lovely option from Ikea! I like that the side of the bin is mesh, so that you can see what’s inside easily.  It’s a must-have feature for any organizer that will live in a kid space.


under the bed storage drawer


Another closed top option is this Iris under the bed drawer.  It has a sleek look to it and it would be easy to add a label to it.


If you’re concerned about having enough clearance for any of these solutions, maybe give the bed a slight boost?

With these risers, the tops of the containers won’t be damaged if monkeys  jump on the bed!


Problem: Storing lots of toys and books


how to organize toys

I love these ClosetMaid shelving units so much that I have two of them!  I use them to store books and toys in my youngest son’s bedroom and to store toys and video games in the playroom.  We do use them very similarly to the picture here, with smaller books living in the canvas bins.  The bins make it more visually appealing and help make full use of the vertical space .

Make the most of these units by putting smaller containers in them. Like these!

how to organize small toys

I also adore these Ikea bins.  They are a really good size for smaller toys and are also good for hair clips (mine, not my boys’).  These bins are also awesome because they stack up very nicely.

One way to use bins successfully with kids is to use them as limit setters.  As in, “you can keep what fits in these bins, and the rest needs to go!”   This forces kids to keep a limited amount of stuff that you very well may consider to be junk, but they view as treasure.

If you want a container that can handle bigger items, try these lovely plastic bins.

how to organize toys

I don’t own these yet, but they’re on my wish list!

Problem: Clothes everywhere


Every bedroom, especially a kid’s room, needs a hamper!  Each of my boys has this hamper:

how to organize kids rooms  They are very durable and have withstood the kids hiding in them, rolling around in them and getting dragged up and down the stairs.

Or, take advantage of the vertical space in the closet:

hanging clothes organizer for kids

Use a hanging clothing organizer to help your child organize their rooms.  We’ve used a similar organizer in a few ways over the years.  First, we used it to store games.  The boxes slid in so nicely and it made it so that the lids stayed on and pieces didn’t fall out.

Next, we used the same organizer (I love to re-purpose organizing products in my home!) to organize clothes for the week.  My oldest son would put his clean clothes away by putting outfits in the bin for the day of the week.  Yes, he wore the pretty much the same thing each week, but he was taking something off of my to-do list AND there were no clothes strewn about his room.

Currently, we use it for all of his extra hockey clothes.  It’s a nice way to separate out his athletic wear and base layers so that he can grab them quickly when it’s time for practice or a game.

Still with me?  You have time for more more problem/solution, combo, right?

Problem: Wrappers and other trash are littering up the room


Make sure that the room has a trash bin.  And make sure that the bin is plastic so that it can be washed out.  Inevitably, something sticky or gooey will be tossed into the bin (when there’s no bag in the bin, of course!) and if the bin is a nice woven bin, it’ll be difficult to clean.

I like this type of bin- it’s small and comes in a variety of colors:

how to organize kids rooms

Over to you!

How’d I do with providing solutions for cluttered kids rooms? What’s the most difficult thing about keeping your child’s room organized?


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