Decluttering the Home

Decluttering the Home

My blogging friend, Rebecca Phillips, who is in her 2nd Act, is taking over the blog today with some great tips on organizing and decluttering our homes, or our loved one’s home. This is near and dear to my heart, as one of my mantras around our home is “everything has a place and everything in it’s place”. If I’m feeling particularly kind, I might add PLEASE to the end of that mantra:) . Consider joining her FREE 2019 Home Organization Reboot.

Women are moving from their first act and beyond retirement. Most are now exploring their strengths and true talents and passions. This movement is both amazing and joyous to watch…and better-to join in on.

My 2nd Act

I have always loved to help tidy up or as we say nowadays, declutter. I think the two are more alike than different. I helped Mom, who had three jobs as a single mother, clean, cook, and iron. I love to iron. Just relaxes me and it’s my Think Time!

I graduated college with my Master’s Degree in Social Work at a very young age. It was my career for 20 years. What did I do? I managed housing and case management programs for families in crisis. Drugs, alcohol, violence, poverty, lack of education, etc…

Being responsible for 80 housing units and 80 families meant we did a lot of home maintenance and home organization training. I taught lots of home maintenance classes. And did many home inspections. I loved my career, but it was time for ME!

So, when I got married for the first time, at 39, I moved to Kansas. I was too young to retire and didn’t know anyone in the area. I joined several local non-profit boards and got to know some great people. Some are now my dear friends.

And did I mention that my hubby and I totally gutted our home? Oops. Yep, that took up my time too. After 7 years, I decided to start a blog. But what about? Off and on over the years, I helped friends and a few clients declutter their homes and reorganize them. I loved it. It was my passion.

And so RYouReadytoOrganize was born. My 2nd Act. It’s a work in progress. Yet very clearly, I want a strictly online business with a few very valuable program memberships. Memberships where subscribers pay a nominal monthly fee and get step by step info on decluttering each room in the house. I’m launching my first program, a free beta One Room a Month Home Organization Reboot in March.  Participants get a room by room calendar, info, tips and fun engagement on my Facebook Page. Members can follow easy instructions and tips to re-organize each room each month. And, should someone need more help, I provide one on one coaching, for those tough jobs!

What do I mean by coaching? Here is a testimonial from one of my clients.

Downsizing-A case for our 2nd act!

Home downsizing can come at you like a train wreck. And it usually does.

For empty nesters of a certain age, like Hughes and her husband, the idea of downsizing makes so much sense. Lower housing and insurance costs. Less maintenance. Fewer people to pay to help with the upkeep of a home, inside and out.

And yet, parting with possessions is sorrowful, not sweet — even when we know that many things we’ve held onto hold little usefulness to us anymore.

If you’re lucky enough to still have one or more parents or stepparents alive, it would be wise to start figuring out what you’ll do with their furniture, china, crystal, flatware, jewelry, artwork and tchotchkes when the mournful time comes. Otherwise, you might be forced to act quickly to avoid owing an extra months’ rent on dad’s apartment, hire a hauler to cart away nearly everything you don’t want or wouldn’t be donating.

Most antique dealers (if you can even find one!) and auction houses have little appetite for your parents’ stuff, either. That’s because their customers generally aren’t interested. Even charities like Salvation Army and Goodwill frequently reject donations of home furnishings, I can sadly say from personal experience.

Someone close to you, your parents, children, loved ones can suddenly fall ill or god forbid, pass away. You could be left with an entire home to move into storage, or in Lori’s case, into her garage! Let’s learn from our coaching sessions…

My parents suddenly died! Now, what will I do with their belongings?
Home downsizing emergency…Lori’s story

This is a true home organization intervention with Lori B. Let me summarize my first consultation with Lori B. when she contacted me last May 2017. Lori and I knew each other on Facebook. She sent me an instant message last spring. She was in trouble, stressed and overwhelmed. Her dad passed away a few years earlier and now her mom moved into an assisted living facility. She was left with an entire home she lived in for over 30 years full of their belongings. She moves all of her parent’s things into her garage. That’s when I got her first message!  Here is her story.


Home downsizing-Grief First

First, we addressed her grief. That is the most important thing to do. Face your grief before trying to sort and declutter your parents (or your own) things. We talked about where she and her family were with their emotions. How she felt and at what point she could grieve enough and start decluttering the garage. We talked about making a journal to write her feelings and thoughts. This is critical. Sit quietly and write. Write, write, write. Get the family to accept the grief as normal. Even a given!!

I set Lori up with my “tried and true” Four Quadrant Declutter Methodfor Organizing. Read How to Organize the Garage using my Four Quadrant Declutter Method. She went through her grieving like a champ and then got to work.

Home Downsizing-Lori B. The exact transcript!

September 2017 Lori wrote to me after following up with her to check on the garage:

“I was waiting until today to answer… My son can park in his garage again! It’s not done, but big strides! I’ve taken three loads to Goodwill with another ready to go!

I need to put the donation items in the suburban, store the empty moving boxes, and spend another couple of hours with what remains. I have left a stack of boxes at the back. I am committing to five boxes a week. I will bring them in, sort, toss….. too overwhelming now.


Me too Lori: You’re a rock !!!! Yay!!! That is so impressive Lori…kudos!!!!

Lori to me: Update: hubby took pity on me and stopped his yard work to load the donations. This is what’s left on the other garage…. right side is all empty boxes.

Me too Lori:

Tearing it up… Yay!

May 2018

Lori to me: Guess what!!!!???

Me too Lori: What???

Lori to me: THE GARAGE IS EMPTY!!!

The garage with all of my parent’s shit.. you can park a car in it!

Me too Lori:

Ha..yes…before and after pics…priceless…you are the boss lady. Congrats !!!!!

Send me after pics and we can post soon.

Lori to me (regarding her participation in my 30 Day Home Decluttering Challenge in April):

I’ve meant to reach out to you…I started the challenge strong… the second day in we heard that my brother-in-law had stage 4 pancreatic cancer with weeks to live.

Somehow the crap in our pantries meant so little. He is 56 with four children…we are devastated.

I think the push today in the garage kept us both occupied and focused.

Such an awful thing to deal with…. had spread to bones, lungs, liver etc before diagnosed.

Me too Lori: You know how to rank “on the dime” now. You’re getting the feel of organizing. Great work Lori!

Lori to me:

I guess when your life is in chaos you try to organize. I will say this is the first time my husband has helped!

I just wanted you to know… I’m not a total slacker!!

Me too Lori: No. I knew you were chiseling away at it Lori. Not slacking.

Lori to me: He actually broke down all the empty boxes and took them upstairs to the attic. He also confirmed my “we don’t need to save this, do we?”

Was also very supportive of the army of boxes lining the wall that I haven’t fully been through.

Me too Lori: So much progress!!!

Lori to me: I feel amazing!!! It’s such a relief!

Me too Lori: Fabulous. I feel good too. So happy.


Lori to me: When one is living day-to-day, as we are… Today I have a brother, tomorrow I may not…. these accomplishments feels so much better. It has been an excruciating journey. How to keep living when one so close is quickly dying. 

What do you change in your own life? How do you make each day count? It forces you to make a lot of changes…. hopefully for the better! He had back pain for several weeks… nothing crazy…

Me too Lori: Right. We clear out stuff and only keep what we love. Only what truly matters.

Lori to me: Pain meds, steroids, finally testing… tumors everywhere….too far him he to do anything… although he had gone through three weeks of experimental chemo.

Me too Lori: You are an angel Lori. Truly!

Lori to me (about the 30 Day Declutter Challenge in April 2018) I just wanted you to know that I am still committed to your program. Our sidetrack was significant but I’m so proud that we came back and finished our earlier challenge in the garage!

Me too Lori: You betcha!

So proud of you.

Lori to me: Shhh….. honestly? Me too! Good night!!! P.s. I’m in LOVE with your garden!!

Lori B.’s testimony of her overall experience:

“After my father passed away and my mother moved into an assisted living home, I was left with the task of clearing out and selling their five-bedroom home. Many items relocated to my house, turning my garage into a storage unit. Rebecca was so supportive throughout, offering tips on how to sort, how to attack the chaos. With so many emotions attached to the objects, I did take the winter off. Following her organizational strategies, I can now park in the garage again!! Still some boxes to sort through but there is progress! Thank you!”

Where is Lori now?

She’s thrilled that her daughter graduated from law school. She is even

more thrilled that her garage was empty as her daughter moved back home until she hears about her results from the bar exam. Way to go Lori!

Join my free 2019 home organization reboot challenge and refresh your home.

We organize one room a month using a calendar for each room, emails, and videos.

I am so excited to launch my 2019 Home Organization Reboot. We can safely say this is Part 2 of the post-2019 Home Organization Resolutions that I published a week ago. We continue chatting about how we are going to refresh and reboot our homes…from decluttering each room and organizing to our taste. What can be a better start to our New Year?

My mantra for January is “Start Fresh”. If you haven’t already, start by joining the 2019 Home Organization Reboot here! We’ll focus on one room a month, use a calendar with tasks that easily help you declutter and reboot. I usually work one on one with folks and declutter their homes by category-like paper, books, pictures, clothing, kitchen, and bath. This is incredibly intense for an online challenge.

Instead, we are focusing on one room a month, by type of item. So, you’ll have one room and declutter by category (some of the ones I listed above) until that room is completely rebooted or refreshed. The pace and assignments are much more easy to manage, follow and complete. And we all want that. Trying to do too much at one time causes us to quit. None of that.

So, we’ll take:

Big Goal →2019 Home Organization Reboot and

not let it scare us or stop us,

face the fear and anxiety,

and just start!

Breaking down big goals that can be scary is key. When we fear something our brains to stop us. To protect us. But, we don’t always need to stop in the face of fear. Actually, we need to push forward and face the discomfort. To WIN! Once we do more and more things that are scary, we build MOMENTUM and JOY. Pride in what we can do!

The 2019 Home Organization Reboot is completely free this year. If you are a current member or subscribe to my community and emails, you will need to join and register for this reboot separately here. When you register for the reboot and also want to subscribe to my community and receive even more fun, easy and valuable tips, and services, sign up here. One of my big goals for 2019 is to grow my online community so if you would, and are not a regular subscriber, consider joining and also becoming a regular member here!

Ending on a happy note, we can end each post with spreading happiness. Your challenge today is to do three extra acts of kindness for other people. Ready, steady… GO!

Written By:

Rebecca Phillips, Professional Home Organizer  

R You Ready to Organize

Share this post

Comments (14)

  • sherri preston Reply

    I love this blog, so much inspiration and tips, also ‘liked’ the facebook page. I am in the cleaning out / organizing mode as well so will definitely follow this!! With one in college and one on his way, I find myself wanting everything to be in ‘its’ place!!

    February 18, 2019 at 3:10 pm
    • Melanie Reply

      Rebecca wrote a great blog about decluttering. Thanks so much for stopping by.xxoo

      February 19, 2019 at 2:53 am
  • Rebecca Phillps Reply

    How fun it was to collaborate with you Melanie! So enjoy working with you.
    Thank you again for the special feature!

    February 18, 2019 at 4:29 pm
    • Melanie Reply

      Rebecca….Thanks so much for sharing your expertise on the blog, and for sharing your 2nd Act with us. It’s fun doing this together <3

      February 19, 2019 at 3:00 am
  • Andrea Reply

    My family went through a similar experience after the death of our parents. Married for 63 years , they had accumulated so much stuff. We took time to grieve, then gradually worked through their possessions, keeping what had sentimental value, getting rid of the rest. It’s an exhausting process, and really made me think about the things I hold onto. I love that you help people with this process.

    February 18, 2019 at 6:09 pm
    • Melanie Reply

      Hi Andrea…I’ve been through this process also and Rebecca’s post hit home with me. Because of what I’ve gone through I’m also very conscious of what I hold onto. Thanks for stopping by! Xxoo

      February 19, 2019 at 2:55 am
  • jodie filogomo Reply

    It’s going to be so fun to do this with others…lord knows I need help!!

    February 21, 2019 at 8:54 pm
    • Melanie Reply

      I think it’s going to be a lot of fun Jodie! xxoo

      February 25, 2019 at 4:00 pm
  • jonet wooten Reply

    What a great and helpful collaboration, Mel and Rebecca. I need all the tips I can get on home organizing (not my thing) and your advice on prepping in advance of the loss of a parent is something we all should think about doing. Thanks ladies.

    Xo, Jonet

    February 22, 2019 at 10:50 pm
    • Melanie Reply

      I particularly liked the prepping in advance part. I am so very thankful that my parents have done that for us<3.

      February 25, 2019 at 3:59 pm
  • Lorraine Reid Reply

    Absolutely agree that decluttering and destressing go had in hand and it’s very relaxing. However if your world falls apart, you feel you need to attend to other things ( mainly imaginary things as you brain circles around trying to accommodate the change) challenging this helps and getting more organisation in your life helps to calm your brain. It is very hard though

    February 24, 2019 at 3:51 pm
    • Melanie Reply

      so true Lorraine! I’m playing catch up right now from dealing with unplanned life situation and I’m typically a pretty organized person. It’s a tad overwhelming being a month behind for me, but I’m with you more organization definitely helps calm MY brain

      February 25, 2019 at 4:03 pm
  • Peta Sklarz Reply

    I love learning more about you . I didn’t know you did social work for your career, that is such an important job. My really good friend does that and helps so many people. I can tell you have a good hear and that you want to help people, and I am so glad that you are using your energy to help us!! Great tips on this post, good information. Love, Peta

    February 24, 2019 at 6:10 pm
    • Melanie Reply

      Hi Peta! This was a guest post by Rebecca Phillips. She was a social worker and her contact information and website information are at the bottom of the post! I do love helping people though and appreciate your comment:)

      February 25, 2019 at 3:58 pm

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *