ZEN hOMe: Decluttering with Theresa Cashman

SPACE CLEARING means clearing the space on an energy level. It is an ancient art practiced daily in many old cultures – from India and Bali to Peru and Morocco – and there are numerous ways and materials used for space clearing. Today, we are talking with Theresa Cashman about clearing your space and feeling more organized, decluttered and focused. Her company, Clearing Space, is a professional organizing company that can help many different types of folks: 55 + adults often in transition, busy moms and dads, professionals that work from home, just a variety of people that may need assistance with keeping the clutter at bay.

Many of Theresa’s client are senior citizens, or their caregivers. Often this age group is downsizing or moving into a retirement home, and they often need to edit their belongings. Theresa admits this is very overwhelming for all ages. She suggests making a plan and then tackling clutter room by room.

Here is Theresa’s method to GETTING ORGANIZED:

  • Imagine your goals. Why do you want to get organized?
  • Assess what you have and what you need for that particular space?
  • Work out where your things will live. Everything needs a home, whether that’s in your house or elsewhere.
  • Play with different ways of storing that feel good to you.
  • Put the plan into action and make your space YOURS!

How to do you decide what is worth KEEPING, SELLING or GIVING AWAY? You can have an Estate sale person consult and let you know if any antiques, furniture or memorabilia you have is collectible. Another easy step is to look on Craig’s List or Ebay and see if anything you want to sell compares in value to what is already being sold. If you want to give away anything, you can contact ARC or Goodwill. Theresa mentioned these donation places are very inundated, so if you have other local resources or want to post a “free” add on Craig’s List, you will be amazed on how quickly your pile will disappear. Just take a picture of your pile and post it with the general location (for example, in the driveway of this block). If you have a big pile of broken debris or stuff no one wants, you can try 1-800-GOT Junk or fill a bagster (a large trash bag used in place of a dumpster) from your local hardware store and schedule it for pick up.

What to do with all your old financials or private documents? First check with your accountant and/or financial planner on what you should hang on too. The most important items to keep handy are your tax documents, insurance papers, and personal documentation. Tax filing documents should be kept for as long as 7 years. You can securely SHRED your credit card receipts, and bank deposits after a year. Hold onto loan documents until the loan is paid off. For most of these type of documents, you can SCAN and upload with electronic apps such as ones found here. A safe deposit box is good investment for hard to replace documents such as birth certificates, social security cards, passports, life-insurance documents and marriage and divorce decrees.

What to do with all the clothing? Donating is the easiest way to make some closet space. There are online resources for recycling clothing, a company called Thread up will send you a postage paid bag to donate or resell your clothing. Many professional organizations, Dress for Success for example, will take women’s professional clothing for folks just entering the work force. Bella Boutique will recycle your wedding gowns, Soles4soles will recycle shoes…let your Google search find you many local resources for used clothing.

Books, books and more books. Make sure you fan all your books, and check for anything left in the pages: money, photos and many tidbits are often left in books, especially if you are cleaning out a family members library. Be sure to check all the pages before you donate!

Still need more help? Theresa has options!  She offers consultations with hourly rates as well many options for big projects or if you just need initial assistance to get started. If you decide to take this on yourself, it is important to just START the process. Don’t forget to give yourself ample time to take breaks so you don’t loose steam and give up. And forgive yourself! Theresa says this is a big step. You can make your life better by simply clearing your space!


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