Spring Cleaning: Get Organized, Get in Control

Spring Cleaning

8 MIN READ

Tackling Your Kid's Closet

Is it just me, or does making a bed instantly provide a feeling of accomplishment? For me, it doesn’t have to be perfect (far from it in fact), it just has to be tidy enough that I wouldn’t be embarrassed if someone walked in (which is funny because that never happens).

To answer my own question, it’s definitely not just me. In fact “84% of recently stressed Americans say they worry that their home isn’t clean or organized enough." This lands home organization on the top 5 list for stress triggers, according to a Huffington Post online survey.

So what’s specifically my problem, and potentially yours? I’m chronically putting laundry into draws and calling it a day. Somehow I had trained myself to only look for clothing in drawers. The closet was a place for outdated, formal, or seasonal pieces. This created a pattern of rarely entering the closet and if I did feeling like I had nothing to wear.

I carried this bad habit to my child’s closet. In ONE DEEP drawer I was stacking all the pants to one side, shirts to the other, and PJs crammed somewhere in between. Accessories were parceled into smaller drawers. Bulky items were put into the second large drawer. Clothes that were too large were put in the closet, typically on the store hanger with tags. This seemingly non-issue created a lot of headaches.
 
To Be Specific…
  • By the end of the week the drawer was a stew of clothing making it extremely difficult to find any type of coordinating outfit.
    • This is stressful when you have a wriggling baby on the changing table or child giving you exactly 2 seconds of focused energy toward dressing.
    • A total waste of time because you’re doubling your efforts on laundry day having to re-fold the entire drawer, not just laundry.
  • Bulky blankets and linens were barely fitting into the second available drawer.
  • I was bursting at the seams with stuffed animals. I bagged them all up and put them in guest bedroom closets. This was clearly ridiculous because it meant they were out of sight and therefore out of mind. Good for me, but a total waste of enjoyment for my child.
  • The biggest sin of all, when I did go into the closet I’d find the brand new upcoming clothing were already past season or too small. I had forgotten about them and missed their brief 3 month window.
Can we all agree this is way too much bad energy at the start of your day? Maybe your issue isn’t a drawer, but figuring out what’s inhibiting a successful morning allows you to direct your energy toward productivity instead of mood stabilization.

I spoke with Nancy Patsios, owner of everyday ORGANiZiNG, about best practices when taking on a major overhaul like this. For me this seemingly simple project was actually reorganizing 2 closets plus fixing the mess I had spread into two other rooms. She pointed out that “having a goal in mind and envisioning how you want to use your space are key ingredients in any organizing project.”

What to Pick During Your Next Trip to the Store... 

  • Plenty of kid hangers – Nancy says, “shifting from folding to hanging clothes supports the organizing adage, "vertical is visible; horizontal is hidden." Go crazy, they’re $1.99 at Target for an 18 pack.
  • Stacked clip hangers – I found mine at HomeGoods costing $7.99 which hold 8 bottoms. The stacked feature saves room and provides a surprisingly great preview of options (as you’ll see in my video).
  • Shoe Organizer – I had one already but bought a second one for my older child. It’s significantly helped sort real shoes from princess shoes. I’ve also heard they’re great snack organizers for a pantry, just something to consider.
  • Hanging cubes – I received this for free on a Facebook “Buy Nothing” group. Check to see if your area has one. It’s been great to hold spare diapers and wipes. I envision using it for other practical purposes once they’re potty trained.
  • Accessible bins for all the stuffies and/or toys – On local Facebook yard sale sites I’m constantly seeing racks with movable bins for half the retail price. I happened to have something similar in a guest bedroom closet that was much better utilized in my toddler’s room. Also, by hanging the clothes to the closet I could utilize the dresser for puzzles and crafts.
    • Don’t be afraid to get creative! everyday ORGANiZiNG promotes “thinking outside the box and using everyday items in unconventional ways to make a child’s bedroom uniquely functional.”
  • Tupperwares – If you’re hanging onto clothes for another child, invest in some storage bins. These are routinely on sale and I’d suggest buying a set so the lids and sizes are stackable and interchangeable. I’d overestimate how many you’ll need given the amount of sizes, accessories, socks, shoes, etc related to dressing a child. Once you get rid of the clothing you’ll be useful for something else.
    • Be sure to LABEL THE BIN. For example, “CLOTHES 9-12 MONTHS / SIZE 2-3 SHOES” Every time you see it you’ll be reminded of owning said items in the bin which begs the question on if they’re still worth keeping. For your next child you’ll thank yourself for being so specific. If it’s not labeled consider the items left for dead.
This article originally appeared on POWWOW, LLC

 

Are My "Collectibles" Worth Keeping?

As my husband rolled coins the other day he started muttering about the value of wheat pennies and who’s actually buying these. We both grew up believing that a wheat penny was special and worth squirreling away, same with a half dollar or buffalo nickel. The reality? You likely have what the coin industry refers to as “junk” – commonly available circulated coin with no special strike date.

It’s not just coins, there is literally no shortage of things we hold onto thinking they’re valuable with absolutely no evidence beyond perception. We then fret about not having enough space, clutter, and feeling guilty (for likely no reason) if something happens to the collectible. Cue toddler playing with delicate Snowbabies collection.

With some research I came across circles of information about how to sell your collectible or inherited collection. It goes something like this…

  1. Don’t rush or appear to be desperate for cash
  2. Gather and secure the collection
  3. Separate into groups and categories depending on collection size
  4. Identify and inventory
  5. Assign value to inventory

The advice seems to cut off just before explaining WHO is actually BUYING anything you’ve just spent a ton of time valuing. And despite investing in the best guide book or appraiser, the derived “value” will likely be retail (and you’re obviously not a store). In addition, if you’re unable to find a buyer directly it means you’ll be utilizing a middleman to arrange the sale. You’ll now have to factor in their cut and/or willingness to purchase. This could all easily cut 50% off the top of anything worth selling.

If you noticed, I said you’ll likely lose 50% of the value of ANYTHING WORTH SELLING. This may include well kept art, fine rugs, antique furniture, crystal, china, heritage village sets, etc. There are certainly a market for these things, but they become more narrow as tastes change and life gets messy. We personally learned the hard way that no one wants to pay more than half the value of a silk rug we never used because guess what, like us, they want something more durable. Who wants to hold their breathe as their kid or pet runs across the room?

So if actual valuable stuff takes that big of a hit, then perceived collectibles are nearly impossible to profit from, and may actually be difficult to dispose of.

My Advice

Here is how I’m going to tackle the issue of “valuable collectibles” in my house. In this situation, I’m not going to assume I have a rare gem within any given collection. I’m going to assume they’re all similar once I determine the general value of one. This is what any dealer would also assume if you brought in a can full of wheat pennies without doing the heavy lifting of inventorying every single piece. Doing more specific pricing would be easier if you had a smaller collection of a popular brand, so this will have to be a judgement call on your part.
 
Example: A box full of old postcards I’ll assume average the same. Three porcelain Lladro pieces I’ll price out separately.
 
  1. I want to determine what they even mean by valuable apart from the rare exceptions. Are we talking about $1, $100, $1,000? When it comes to something like beanies, a comic series, pogs, you name it… it’s very easy to do a quick eBay search. When doing this make sure to filter the results to complete sold listings. You don’t care what people are asking for, you care what people are buying for.
  2. In doing this with beanie babies I quickly found that you’re better off giving a used one away rather than wasting any additional time in this process. If you’ve done anything to already verify they’re retired, have tags, and are in clean condition then you’ll be able to average about $1/piece if selling a large lot. You’ll then have to account for the 10% eBay commission, 2-3% PayPal transaction, and shipping. I’d argue that your time is way more valuable than $1, but if you have a lot of 100 that you can sell in one listing it’s more palatable.
  3. If you’ve done anything to truly preserve the items, such as put them in a fancy case and identify what makes them special, then you’re looking at $5+. For beanies I noticed $4 is the cost of a box and $1 is still the cost of your basic beanie, so be careful about investing additional money to improve the price. Another quick note, never clean a coin, you’re actually destroying the value.
  4. If you’re now worried about missing out on that rare exception, you can quickly add another filter by selecting to only see completed sales above a certain amount. I put in $100 for fun. I found that some individual pieces were selling at this level but were heavily authenticated with certificates, signed by celebrities, etc. I also quickly noticed I didn’t recognize any of these beanies.
  5. Decide if it’s worth your time in selling these as individuals, a lot, or at all. If you’re not confident with your eBay skills consider a local Facebook yard sale site. You won’t have to pay any fees or worry about shipping, however, the audience is more narrow and they’re looking for a steal, not a deal. With these groups available I’d skip Craigslist and the various aps they’re advertising on TV, like LetGo. Craigslist has significantly lost popularity and my experience with LetGo was awful for multiple reasons.
  6. If you are pleasantly surprised with the pricing, decide if eBay is the right platform or find more specialized sites targeting your market. For instance, Poshmark is great for vintage/designer clothing and Etsy for a vintage tin of buttons (because yes I inherited that collection too…). 
  7. Simply giving away your collection may be the best avenue. You’ll instantly reclaim space and won’t waste additional time or energy deciding how to handle it. Some local thrift stores are begging for items to sell to support their local food pantry and ministry efforts. Others are sending trucks around on specified dates for pick up, making it super convenient to donate. You can also consider gifting locally through a Facebook “Buy Nothing Group.” This option allows you to meet the new owner and potentially provides a little joy in knowing your collection is going to a good home if you have any sentimental attachment.
  8. Prepare to laugh and let go if your items are worth nothing.
  9. Last but not least, enjoy the collection if you want! If you find it’s not worth much but holds a special place in your heart then by all means take the “rare” barbie out of the box and play with it! If you plan to pass it down make sure to document the backstory and value (personal or otherwise).

This article originally appeared on POWWOW, LLC

 

quentaraAbout the Author
Quentara Costa helps the "Sandwich Generation" stay sane. She works with family caregivers who are working toward their own goals while caring for kids and aging parents.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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