The world is a different place right now for most of us.  With the threat of Covid19 and the need for mass self-isolation and social distancing we find ourselves with a lot more time on our hands.  I have read lots of blogs and articles on how to work from home and what to do with the kids during this time.  But what about those who are retired and live alone or with a significant other?  There are no kids around to distract, there is no work to do.  So now what?

If this is you, then this post if for you!  I have asked my friends, family and clients who are in that same situation what they are doing and they shared some great ideas.

Stay Connected

For the most part now a days most of you have a phone, tablet and or computer.  This is a great time to learn to expand what you can do with them and how to stay connected with friends and family.

Here are some connection Ideas:

Facebook

if you are not already on this is a great time to join and connect with family and friends. It is a great way to see what everyone is up to…you don’t need to be the one posting much but can stay in the loop of what your loved ones are doing.

Facebook Groups- I know friends who have created specific Facebook groups for just family and friends so they can share privately pictures, videos, jokes, trivia, stories, recipes and more. There are thousands of groups for every interest too so you can connect with people who are interested in the same things are you - cooking, knitting, sports, photography and well everything!

Facetime/Zoom or Messenger Video Chat

Part of my family had a virtual wine party the other night, my parents in Cap Pele, my sister and brother in law in Blue Rocks NS, my niece in New Zealand, my nephew and his family and myself here in Moncton.  All together to chat and laugh virtually on Zoom, it was a lot of fun.  (check out zoom and learn to use it if you can, it’s being used for a LOT of online connection at this time)

Read your grandkids a story through video chats

Check in face to face with people to make sure they are okay

If you are on a board or involved in an organization, stay connected with them through video meetings.

Old Fashion Call

I know some people who will sit back and wait for someone to call them.  I remember having a conversation with my grandma one day when I was feeling bad for not calling her more often…he response was ‘Well I have a finger too and know how to use the phone’ so I should call you too.  So stop waiting for someone else to call you and pick up that phone and call them.  I promise most people will be thrilled with the call. 

I have an extroverted friend who was in self quarantine after a trip and was in need of connection.  She decided to call at least one person a day who lived alone and may want someone to chat with.  She was thrilled with the result of each call, chatting with those that may not have too many people to talk to, listening to stories and making others laugh.  Those on both sides of those phone calls felt so much better after.

 

Spring Cleaning and Organizing - You all know I had to add this one right?

With all this down time it is a great time to do all those tasks you always say you have no time for.  If you want some assignements and ideas join my 50 Day Challenge for 50 days of small tasks to tackle.

Here are a few quick ideas:

Clean out the fridge and freezer.  Take inventory while you go and plan a menu to use up all those things that have been waiting to be eaten (if they are still good). Here is a video of my organized fridge and freezer for some ideas.

Tackle that closet, basement or spare room if you are up to it (set aside a space for all those things you will donate so you can drop them off when things open again)

Pictures – it’s a great time to organize those pictures and maybe even get them into digital form.  Make sure you organize those digital ones too.

Paper Organizing – who doesn’t have a few files that need purged and shredded.

Keep You Mind Sharp

A challenged mind stays sharp so try to keep your mind working while secluded at home.

Ideas:

Play games  and cards – even if they are just solitary.

Wordsearch, Soduko, Crosswords

Read

Puzzles

Virtual games can be fun too – a few of the favourites apps – Wordscapes, Lumosity and Elevate – brain training.

Online Puzzles- J E Puzzles FB group https://www.facebook.com/groups/441664023144618/

Alicia Marie Puzzles - https://www.facebook.com/Alicia-Marie-Puzzles-110356163802167

Embrace Music

Studies show that listening to music can benefit overall well-being, help regulate emotions, and create happiness and relaxation in everyday life.

So go listen to some music

If you play an instrument then go play or go learn how! There are lots of programs and Youtube videos to help you learn.

Turn up the tunes and Dance, it's great for the body and the spirit.

Try listening to some new stuff, expand your listening.

Write a song - get your creative hat on and revamp a song with your own word for fun! My aunt Pierrette loves music so she wrote a song about the Covid19 check it out here.

Learn something new

There is SO much stuff out there that you can learn.  My dad taught me that as long as you are alive you can continue to learn.  So why not take this time to immerse yourself in learning something new.

My dad learned to use zoom because he is a consummate learner.  Due to this pandemic all the Seniors courses he was going to do this spring were cancelled…so he is now looking for learning online.  He is currently participating in online Art Lectures

There is a LOT to pick from. 

Here are a couple of places to look for free stuff: Youtube,

Learn a new language

Play new card games

Take up a new craft or hobby

Learn more about how to use your computer/tablet and things it can do.

Share your memories and ideas

You have done lots of living and I am sure you have loads of stories to tell.  Nows is a great time write them down.

Write down your stories

Press record on your phone and video yourself telling family stories

 

Embrace your creative side

If you are a creative embrace that and allow yourself to create. Creativity is not about the end result or even finishing stuff…it’s all about the process, the fun and the freedom. It’s about just being and doing!

Do your crafts or learn a new one

Paint

Take pictures

learn how to create cool pictures and collages. If you want to do it online Canva is one of my favourite tools for creating.

One of my good friends has a crafting group that always got together one afternoon a week…during this time they have embraced technology and get together on Zoom to continue to craft together and chat.

Get Your Hands Dirty

Nature is a great way to get grounded and reduce stress.  This year might be a great year to start a garden if you don’t already have one.  Even a few planters on a patio can feel great.  You can order seedlings to get you started online and have them delivered to you.

Keep Your Body Strong

It is easy to fall into a slump and forget to take care of yourself during isolations but it's important to take care of you.   

Keep moving

Walk if you can even if you can't go far

Dust off that treadmill and get on

Follow an online exercise class

Stretch those muscles

Eat healthy

I hear the groans now lol.  I know eating and baking is a favorite pastime when we are bored. Baking is a comfort task for me.  The problem is I don’t have a house full of people to share those baked goods with so I am trying hard to resist doing too much so I don’t gain too much during this time.

One great idea is to try some new healthy recipes.  Get creative!

If you can’t resist that baking then at least break up the goodies and freeze the excess for a time when you can share!

 

 

 

 

Selling Your Home

Are you overwhelmed with the thought of all that needs to be done to put your home on the market?  Maybe worried about getting enough out of your home for the next phase. 

Preparing to sell a house can be a big undertaking and we all want to get the maximum price we can.  We have spent the last few months getting ready to put our house on the market.  The sign is officially up and we are ready.  Preparing your house to sell can be broken down into steps and doesn’t have to be overwhelming with a plan.  Taking time to prepare will pay off in the end.

We have done this before, our last house we spent 6 weeks getting it ready and it sold in 24 hours for asking price!  This time around we have spent the last 6 months preparing to put it on the market (it is much bigger than our first house).  

Here are the steps to use to prepare your home for sale:

#1 DECLUTTER – there is no surprise there as it is the number one thing you can do to make your home feel clean and spacious.  Remove all excess stuff, reduce the amount of furniture in rooms and clear out those closets so they look like there is lots of room.  Ideally you donate or sell all those extra things you don’t need or use.  If you are planning to keep some of that stuff, temporarily you may need a small storage space to keep it for the next home.  But I challenge you to let go of as much excess as possible. We are preparing to downsizing so we have let go of a lot of stuff.  We have asked our kids what they want (and they wanted very little if anything) and we have donated van loads of things that will not be making the move with us.  it feels to let it all go!

#2 STAGE for the type of home you have - From my experience most people have a hard time visualizing being in your home so your goal with staging your space is to set the scene so they can actually see how they would live there. A family home needs to be inviting to kiddos whereas a condo in Toronto needs to look professional.

Your goal is to take people on a journey when they view your house. Think from beginning to end what people will see when they visit and how they will flow through your space. Go on that journey yourself and do your best to see it with new eyes. 

We have done some big ticket items that we had deemed necessary to make the feel of the place right - all new flooring on the main level and every room has had a fresh coat of paint.  and we have done some rearranging to make the space flow better.  Overall we are trying hard to look at it from someone elses perspective not our own.

#3 CLEAN – Clean everything, every nook and corner.  Hire a cleaner if you have to. People see a sparkling clean home as something that has been well looked after and cared for.  It goes a long way to getting your home sold. 

#4 MENTALLY LET GO – This one is a hard one but before you put that sign up and start letting people come through your home it is important to mentally let go and be ready to move.  Detaching as much as possible and thinking about the house being someone else’s is a great way to go into the selling process.  My thought as we get ready is that this house belongs to someone else now, it is just waiting to meet them.  It has been good to us but it is time for another family to fill the rooms with laughter and love. 

Realtors will give you a huge list of what you need to do to sell, that is their job.  The trick I believe is to do what you can – declutter, clean, stage the space as best you can.  Hire someone to help if you cannot get it done yourself, the investment in preparing before you put it on the marker will go a long way in getting the best value out of it.

The goal is to make it feel appealing to the potential next owner so you can move on to the next stage! We are ready!! Are you?

Do you have a closet that needs organized and maybe a little refresh?  This Closet refresh was done in 2 days. Cost was a can of paint and $175 worth of container cubbies from Bed Bath and Beyond.

This was my own master closet that was my own personal nemesis lol. I have wanted to redo it for years but the plans were elaborate and expensive so never happened. So I decided we could do it ourselves on a small budget...my hubby thought I was crazy and fought me all the way but he loves me and went along with it anyway. There was no way I felt I could show my home to people with that embarrassment haha.

before closet full

First Step - Clear It All Out

First off we cleared out the closet.  This step was the reason I never took on this project before.  It seemed daunting even to me to take everything out and I did not want to do it more than once.  Hence the procrastination and not wanting to do it until I could do it perfectly.  Well perfect does not exist in my life, so good enough was the goal.

empty red closet

Wow Look At All That Stuff

You never really know how much stuff you have until it all spread out in front of you. WOW, we have a lot of stuff in that one closet. I will be honest, I did not donate a substancial amount of stuff as I am pretty good at getting rid of what I don't use on a regular basis, but I did manage to get one bag of donated clothes gone, a set of plastic drawers that I hated got replaced by these cute cubes and I did get rid of a bunch of dust gathering under things that had not moved in a long time hehe.

messy clothes on bed F

Fresh Paint Makes Everything Better

Once it was all out, my hubby got to work painting and I got to work sorting and organizing all that stuff. A little shopping trip to Bed Bath and Beyond where I scored some great cubby containers - some big some small to put all those loose items.  Full disclosure...I had to go back again to get more as I did not get enough the first time around. 

cubes on bed 

It was so exciting to see the closet painted...I still can't beleive we lived with that red closet for 12 years.  


Scott painting hor view

 

Putting It All Back Together

Once it was dry it was time to put everything back in, this is one of my favourite parts. All the loose clothing that was on the old shelves found a home in the containers. Things we use all the time like jammies, yoga pants, tshirts and sweats shirts went into the cubes on the lower shelves. Seasonal clothing and things that aren't used as often were put in the cubes on top.  All nicely organized, although it did take me a few days to figure out what was in each basket lol.

final closet hor view

I am so happy with the end results. It might not be the 'new' modern fully custom closet of my dreams but it is clean, functional and pretty.  Just goes to show that home organizing or staging does not have cost a fortune or even take weeks! A little elbow grease, some paint and containers is sometimes all it takes.

Happy Organizing,

Kim 

 

home for sale

Are you starting to think it’s time to downsize your home. Maybe monthly maintenance projects starting to creep up and you are worried about keeping up with the demands and cost.   The kids are all gone and a there is lots of unused space that holds memories and stuff but not people anymore. The stairs are starting to become a challenge to manoeuvre.

Imagine being in a space that fits your life today, with no unsused rooms, excess stuff and a space that is easy to maintain and keep up with.  Your time is back in your hands and you can spend it enjoying life.

I am at that stage now, the last of the kids moved out not long ago and my husband and I are bumbling around this big house wondering what comes next for us.  I watched my parents struggle holding on to their home with mounting maintenance cost, mobility issues as they got older and struggling to keep up with all the demands on them until they finally sold it…and LOVE living in their tiny cottage by the water now.  We have decided that we will make the downsizing move sooner rather than later.  We want to free up our time to travel and play between working and not wait till it becomes more of a burden.    

But how do you really know when it’s a good time to sell.

Here is 5 things to look at when deciding if you should sell your home

1. Is the Housing Market Good for the seller?  

One of the main reasons we have decided to sell is that the market in our city is pretty hot right now and homes are selling at a good price. When thinking about selling look at what you owe on the home, what the market is likely to support and do the cost analysis to see if it’s worth selling now.   Part of that financial analysis is to look at the cost of running your current home verses where you would go next. We have a 5 bedroom home with a large pool in the backyard that is virtually unused, the cost is high to maintain for so much that is not even used…it’s time to sell! My parents sold their home for a bit less than they may have been able to get if they held onto it for a bit longer…but the cost to upkeep it and do some needed maintenance had them deciding to sell for a lower cost but quicker sale. it was the right time for them.

2. Are you overwhelmed with the upkeep of the home?

A big house takes effort and time to maintain.  If you are finding it exhausting to try and keep up with the to do list and just don’t have the stamina to do it yourself anymore then it’s time to think about a change. 

3. Is your home an Empty Nest? 

A once bustling home can become a lonely place to be once  everyone is gone. Lots of seniors deal with depression and loneliness especially if they are living in a home that once help a busy family.  Think about how your home feels to you now and decide if it’s time for the next stage. When we made the decision to put the house on the market, it was a feeling that this house needs kids in it again, it’s a family home and we are grateful for all the wonderful time we have spent in it but it is time to pass it on to the next family.

4. Are you dealing with Physical limitations and issues? 

We don’t like to talk about the hard part of aging but the reality is that as we age our bodies do not always cooperate in keeping up with us.  Stairs get harder to climb, bathtubs get hard to manoeuvre, illness may happen making getting around a big house hard. If you are facing physical limitations  and finding getting around your space difficult, it might be time to find a place that supports you and your body now. One of my clients has difficulty with stairs, so living in a home that required her to do stairs everyday started to become an issue.  She is now happy living in an apartment with an elevator to get her up and down and no worries about having to do stairs.

5. Where will you go? 

You need to think about what comes next when you sell your house.  Are you looking at a smaller home, an apartment, moving to your cottage, assisted living spaces?  Think about what is next for you and what you really need and want if you are to move.  My husband and I know we are not ready for an apartment so are now looking at smaller easier to maintain homes as we no longer need 5 bedrooms and a pool.  My parents moved to their beloved cottage. Lots of my clients are now happy in apartments or condos with no worries about maintenance and the ability to go south for the winter if they want.  Think about what you want and need next, it makes the decision that much easier.

I know there is lots of people who would say staying in your home for as long as you can is best but I disagree with this blanket statement.  I believe that where you live has to support your life and who you are NOW.  It should be a place of peace and joy, not a source of stress and overwhelm. 

So take your time when making the decision to sell your home, think about the pros and cons and make the decisions based on what you want and need today. If I can help in any way let me know!

Kim

 

If you are ready to make the move to downsize and sell your home check out my book – Solving The Downsizing Dilemma for guidance along the way.  www.downsizingdilemma.com

moving through the heartache of dealing with a loved ones stuff 300x300The pain of losing a loved one is all consuming, it cuts right to the soul and breaks your heart.  The aftermath of losing a loved one is often hard for anyone to verbalize. Everyone deals with death differently.  From my experience you cannot predict how someone will react and get through it. There are no specific timelines, no specific route to getting through it and I can tell you that you NEVER get over it.  You can just learn to accept it and learn how to live your new normal without your loved ones physical presence.

When a loved one passes, they leave behind not only heartache but also ‘stuff’.  Their presence is felt in all the things that they used, all the clothes that they wore, all their precious mementos they collected.  Those left behind are then tasked with having to decided what to do with all the stuff left behind. I work regularly with people who have to go through their loved one’s possessions, it is a heartbreaking task but a necessary one to move forward. 

Although the task is not simple here are 8 tips to help you move through the heartache of releasing a loved one's stuff after they pass:


Wait if possible - Give yourself some time before you tackle this if possible.  Allow yourself the time to grieve the loved one and feel a little stronger before you take on this task, unless time is limited to settle the space.

Grieve as you go - As you go through the process you may feel like you are giving away a piece of your loved one with every possession you let go. This is normal and part of the whole grieving process. What is important during this time is to allow for the grieving to happen - cry, yell, whatever you need to do to let the emotions out.  Feel the feeling and then move on.

Honour their memory - Choose how you are going to honor the memory of your loved one with the stuff you do keep.  Keep only things that bring you joy when thinking of them. The reality is we cannot keep everything from everyone, so choose wisely what you will keep and ensure you honor their memory by honoring the possessions you keep.  Storing boxes and boxes of their stuff in an attic or basement does not honour their memory, choose to pay it forward and allow others to be blessed by the stuff, giving your loved one’s possession new life.

Take Pictures – If there are things that have great memories but you know you cannot keep, take a picture of the item to keep in a memory file.  Whenever you are missing your loved one, you can look at the pictures and remember the joy without having all the stuff take up space.

Share their stuff with others that loved them – Allow family and close friends to choose something if they want.  Once you have decided what you must keep, allow others that loved them to choose something that brings them joy and reminds them of your loved one.  Keeping the love alive and their memories cherished.

Release the rest to the Universe – it is not your job to distribute each and every item individually.  It is not your job to know where everything is going.  Send possessions off to Goodwill and allow the universe to get those possessions in the hands of those that most need them.  You do not have to do all the work! Send them with love and let them go.


Get Help – If this task is just to big and too much for you to tackle on your own then ask for help.  A trusted friend, family member or a professional.  Getting help can make the process quicker and easier than doing it alone.  Be honest about what you can handle on your own and ask for help when you decide you are not able to do it by yourself.  There is no shame in needing help during a difficult time. This help will need to be firm but loving to keep you moving.

BE PATIENT WITH YOURSELF – there is no easy way to do this task.  Be patient and kind to yourself, take breaks when you need them and don’t forget to breathe as you go. 

You cannot keep everything of a loved ones.  That is the hard truth, but you can keep the memories.  Your memories of your loved ones are yours to keep.  No one can take those from you.  Remember the joy, remember the fun, remember the love.    

If you feel you cannot do this alone, I would be honoured to help you through this process.  Come join our Support Group or contact us for one on one care. With gentle guidance and support we can move you forward through this difficult task. 

Honouring you and your loved ones,

Kim xox

www.ClutterSupportGroup.com