Monday, December 31, 2012

Collector Care's 4.5 Tips: Fun Things To Do With Kids For New Years

It's here again, New Year's! Being a parent means being creative. Let your kids take part of the New Year's celebration and make it a time to remember. 


Below are 4.5 fun ideas to do with your little ones tonight.

  1. New Years resolutions. Explain what this means to your child and help them find an appropriate "resolution" for the New Year. Whether or not they keep it, encourage their thoughts and ideas.
  2. Take a family photo. New Years is always a great time to take a yearly photo. 
  3. Watch New Year movies.
    Pop some popcorn snuggle up and watch any of the following:
    After the Thin Man (1936)
    Repeat Performance (1947)
    La Bonne Année (1973)
    Rudolph's Shiny New Year (1975)
    New Year's Day (1989)
  4. Start a tradition. There are some GREAT ideas at http://www.fathertimes.net/traditions.htm
  5. Make virgin strawberry daiquiri's!
Ingredients
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can pineapple chunks in juice
  • 1 (12-ounce) bag frozen strawberries
  • 2 tablespoons superfine sugar
  • 2 medium limes, juiced
  • Fresh strawberries, optional, for garnish
Directions
In a blender, combine pineapple, frozen strawberries, sugar, and lime juice and puree until smooth. Pour into glasses, garnish with fresh strawberries, if desired, and

Have a wonderful and safe New Years eve with your family! See you next year! 
 
Rachel Seavey, Professional Organizer
I specialize in Hoarding Disorder, Chronic Disorganization and helping the overwhelmed with clutter. I love what I do, and I provide realistic expectations and timelines. Don't suffer in chaos any  more. Every breath is a new beginning! Please visit my site at www.collectorcare.com
Tweet me on Twitter : Like my Facebook page : Find me on Pinterest or call me at 925-548-7750

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Collector Care 4.5 Tips:
A Safe & Happy New Years Eve

HAPPY NEW YEARS COLLECTORS!
Below are 4.5 tips to help you stay safe tonight on New Year's Eve.
    freedigitalimages.net
  1. Don't drink and drive. It's that simple. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, it was predicted that more than 10,000 people would die in drunk-driving accidents in 2011 alone. Some people may argue that they can handle the wheel, even after a few drinks. Although their record may be squeaky clean now, most drunk drivers have driven 80+ times before they actually get busted for the first time.
  2. Call a taxi. New Year's Eve is a time when cab drivers are expecting to be called upon. Don't waste the resources for a safe and sober ride home. Add a taxi cab phone number to your phone before you leave so you have a number on hand.
  3. Plan ahead by naming a "designated driver." Make this your responsibility! 
  4. Love your pets. Keep your pets indoors and safe from loud noises and drunk drivers. Many animals are afraid of the sound of fireworks and gunshots.
  5. Love yourself. It's a new year and time to start a



Rachel Seavey, Professional Organizer (and blogger) For Collector Care

Collector Care specializes in hoarding disorder, chronic disorganization and professional organizing. We  love what we do, and  provide realistic expectations and timelines. Please visit our website at
www.collectorcare.com  or call 925-548-7750
Tweet us on Twitter : Like our Facebook page : Pin with us on Pinterest

Friday, December 28, 2012

Seven 15 Minute Clutter Busting Ideas



SEVEN 15 MIN CLUTTER BUSTING IDEAS

We’ve all been motivated to de-clutter our homes but don’t have the time.
I believe if you take 15 minutes a day dedicated to clutter busting a specific area - your results will be visible at the end of the week.
Visible results provoke enthusiasm and consistency making you more motivated and less stressed. 


Below are 7 “things” that you can easily get rid of in 15 minutes or less.
  1. Hangers from the dry cleaner. Go into your closet(s) and remove all of those wire hangers from the dry cleaners. Most dry cleaners recycle these back - or toss them into the recycle bin. They are awful for your clothing not to mention unsightly. If you have clothing wrapped in those plastic dry clean bags, remove the bags and recycle them right away. According to Mary Marlowe Leverette from About.com “Leaving freshly cleaned laundry in the bag can cause yellowing, staining and weakening of fibers”.
  2. Plastic stadium cups. Faded from love, who knows what’s in them. Recycle them. This counts for plastic children’s cups too.
    Are we positive that the BPA standards are being met here?
  3. Clothes with stains. These do not double as rags. They are not donate-able. Toss them.
  4. Florist’s vases. Great for donating or tossing. Keeping these only take up valuable space in your kitchen or pantry.
  5. Expired coupons. As a single mom I coupon a lot. I do not have a binder or a stock room. I have one envelope where I keep the most relevant coupons. No matter how detailed your couponing is you are bound to have a lot of expired ones. Go through them and recycle the ones that have expired or that you really won’t use.
  6. Junk Mail. It’s easy to spot, easy to recycle folks and not helpful to anyone! Do not bring junk mail into the house. Immediately put it in the recycle bin if you can.
  7. Receipts from the grocery store. If the receipt is over a week old, you’re probably aren’t planning on returning anything. With the price of gas plus time and effort, would that return be worth it?
    Shred or recycle these out of your purse, pockets, drawers etc.
Rachel Seavey, Professional Organizer
I am located in Pleasanton Ca, and serve the San Francisco Bay Area.
I specialize in Hoarding Disorder, Chronic Disorganization and helping the overwhelmed with clutter. I love what I do, and I provide realistic expectations and timelines. Don't suffer in chaos any  more. Every breath is a new beginning! Please visit my site at www.collectorcare.com
Tweet me on Twitter : Like my Facebook page : Find me on Pinterest



Thursday, December 27, 2012

5 Tips On Keeping Your Car Organized As A Single Mom

Whether you are a single parent or not, we all know that having kids means
having to bring a lot with us.

Added expenses such as snack stops, and entertainment add up. Below are five tips that I use personally to stay organized and prepared when my little one is in the car. Don't get caught spending time or money on items that you can have right at your fingertips. I like to keep one bag in the trunk full of all of the following. Before we embark, I grab what I need for that specific outing.


  1. Snacks. Bring snacks that travel well and won't spoil. I like to bring a box of crackers (the box will protect), fruit snacks (lasts about two months) and bottled water is a must. Keep a handful of small garbage bags in your glove disposal box to have on hand for trash.
  2. Games. Interactive games like "eye spy" or singing together is a great way to kill time in the car. I have been known to bring an iPad on long trips. There are a lot of free educational apps to chose from. Bring a book your child hasn't read yet. This will either keep them engaged or put them to sleep (depending on your motive).
  3. Music. Satellite radio has Kids Place Live and Radio Disney. Bring music that both you and your child like. Don't get stuck listening to Barney over and over. It's okay to mix in music that you like as long as it's appropriate.
  4. Wipes. No matter what brand, antibacterial or not, please don't forget the wipes! Your children's hands are disgusting, let's face it! Whether it be a juicy strawberry mess or a nose picking frenzy, having wipes at hand is a beautiful thing. I just wish they made a size that fit in your car cup holder.
  5. Safety. Always take your car in for maintenance to avoid annoying situations. Make sure you have at least a half of a tank of gas. Your child is in the car, there is no reason why you should run out of gas. Adjust your child's car seat and harness each time they get into the car. Bulky sweaters can make for tight squeezes as swimming suits can leave straps loose and dangerous. Always have your cell phone charged and with you. When is the last time you saw a working payphone in the Bay Area?!
Another great thing I do is "pump and dump"! Every time I go get gas, I purge all garbage out of the car. It' s an extra bonus if I have time to run it through the car wash. I am on a ROLL if I can vacuum it out at the self serve there too. Try it out folks. It will make your drive and life much more pleasant.
From my car to yours folks!

Rachel Seavey, Professional Organizer
I am located in Pleasanton Ca, and serve the San Francisco Bay Area.
I specialize in Hoarding Disorder, Chronic Disorganization and helping the overwhelmed with clutter. I love what I do, and I provide realistic expectations and timelines. Don't suffer in chaos any  more. Every breath is a new beginning! Please visit my site at www.collectorcare.com
Tweet me on Twitter : Like my Facebook page : Find me on Pinterest

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

3 Tips To Avoid Excessive Clutter After The Holidays

Does your house look like a holiday explosion?

www.freedigitalphotos.netHere are three simple tips to help you tidy up your home before the New Year.
  1. Pick up and recycle all wrapping paper and boxes immediately. Do not save used wrapping paper to use for next year.  My great grandmother used to ever so carefully open her presents so that she could reuse the gift wrap for another gift. Rip your gifts open folks, enjoy yourselves! Tearing the wrapping is part of the fun. Keeping used wrapping adds to clutter. Do make sure you recycle responsibly.
  2. For each item brought in, take one item out. This includes you, your kids, your spouse and your pets - every family member has there own equal amount of "stuff". 
  3. Put away those decorations.  Remember your tables when you could see the surfaces? Yup folks it's time to put away those nutcrackers, snowmen and bling. Aim to have your house "holiday free" by January first, embracing the New Year with less to worry about and less to put away!

Rachel Seavey, Professional Organizer
I am located in Pleasanton Ca, and serve the San Francisco Bay Area.
I specialize in Hoarding Disorder, Chronic Disorganization and helping the overwhelmed with clutter. I love what I do, and I provide realistic expectations and timelines. Don't suffer in chaos any  more. Every breath is a new beginning! Please visit my site at www.collectorcare.com
Tweet me on Twitter : Like my Facebook page : Find me on Pinterest

Friday, December 21, 2012

4 Things You Should Know When Preparing Your 2012 Taxes

Here are 4 things you should know for this upcoming tax season:

 1. Fiscal Cliff – If the fiscal cliff and the corresponding late tax legislation issues are not resolved soon there can be a delay in tax season for some or all taxpayers. The IRS is currently scheduled to start accepting tax returns on January 22, 2013.   

2. New Taxpayer Refund Timing – The IRS Refund Cycle Chart, which showed expected dates for tax refunds, will no longer be available. Replacing it will be a new standard message that “most taxpayers will receive their tax refund in less than 21 days”. The IRS predicts that 90% of refunds will be delivered within 21 days like they were last tax season. 

3. New IRS “Where is my refund” tool. – The IRS has improved their “Where is My Refund” tool on IRS.gov.  The displayed tax return statuses will include Tax Return Received, Refund Approved, and Refund Sent.  It will also show the taxpayer the expected date of the refund.

4. Education and Testing – Starting this year all paid tax return preparers must have 15 hours of continuing tax education for every tax season.  They must also pass an IRS standardized basic skills competency test by the end of 2013.

Source: Western CPE

Keep checking this blog for more helpful tips on organizing your taxes!

Rachel Seavey, Professional Organizer
I am located in Pleasanton Ca, and serve the San Francisco Bay Area.
I specialize in Hoarding Disorder, Chronic Disorganization and helping the overwhelmed with clutter. I love what I do, and I provide realistic expectations and timelines. Don't suffer in chaos any  more. Every breath is a new beginning! Please visit my site at www.collectorcare.com
Tweet me on Twitter : Like my Facebook page : Find me on Pinterest

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Local Self Help Group For Clutterers - Pleasanton and the Entire BayArea Ca

Hello Locals! Join me as I present "Clutter Busting - 15 minutes a day" on January 14, 2013 at 7pm. I will provide information, tips and ideas all using the Time Timer. Hope to see you there!!!

I have had the pleasure of attending the Clutterless.org group of Pleasanton several times this year, and feel they deserve a very special place on my blog.

This group has been going on for many years, as an anonymous hoarding and clutter self help group.
They follow very strict guidelines on confidentiality, and the facilitators are genuine and helpful.

Being overwhelmed with stuff is a tough place to be, we all know it. It's great to know there are others out there that suffer from the same challenges. Some of these folks have become friends for years. The group is inviting, honest and their expectations are reasonable.

The group started out by author Mike Nelson at www.clutterless.org. This is the only group like this in the area. Specific information such as dates and times are listed on my homepage as well as below.

PLEASE NOTE: CLUTTERLESS OF PLEASANTON WILL BE CLOSED FOR THE HOLIDAYS AND STARTING UP WITH FULL FORCE ON JANUARY 7TH 2013!

Local Self Help Group for Clutterers!
ClutterLess (CL) is a nonprofit, peer-based, self-help, support group for people with difficulty discarding unwanted possessions.

Room 7 at 7 pm. 
NOTE We meet EVERY MONDAY 
(Except some Holidays  like Labor Day - Please come before or after)

7:00 to 8:30 pm at the: 
St Mary & St. John Coptic Orthodox Church 
RM 7, 4300 MIRADOR DR.
PLEASANTON, Ca. 
(The building was formerly the Pleasanton Presbyterian Church)*

Feel free to download these 10 commandments which the group goes over each meeting!
 
Hope to see you there folks!
Rachel Seavey, Professional Organizer
I am located in Pleasanton Ca, and serve the San Francisco Bay Area.
I specialize in Hoarding Disorder, Chronic Disorganization and helping the overwhelmed with clutter. I love what I do, and I provide realistic expectations and timelines. Don't suffer in chaos any  more. Every breath is a new beginning! Please visit my site at www.collectorcare.com
Tweet me on Twitter : Like my Facebook page : Find me on Pinterest

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Collector Care Interviews A&E's "Hoarders" Experts:
Geralin Thomas and Cory Chalmers


Collector Care's Rachel Seavey Interviews Emmy-Nominated A&E's Hoarders Experts: Geralin Thomas and Cory Chalmers

Geralin Thomas A&E Hoarder's Show ExpertCory Chalmers A&E Hoarder's Show Expert
I am thrilled to have the opportunity to interview A&E's Emmy Award Nominated Show "Hoarders" Specialist's Geralin Thomas  and Cory Chalmers  before they arrive at the 7th annual NAPO Organizing Awards in Los Angeles CA. 

If you watch A&E's  "Hoarders" show often, these two have very unique and effective styles.

Geralin Thomas, often labeled “Steel Magnolia” by viewers, comes across with a gently lady-like manner and grace. Dr. David Tolin has called her, “Our Lady of Perpetual Patience” which she demonstrates on the show time and time again.
I am honored to ask her some personal questions.

Cory Chalmers looks like he should be in a Lands End Catalog (right ladies)!
Besides being easy on the eye, Cory conveys our thoughts, to the client with kindness and class. He truly cares about everyone around him, and he is absolutely awesome for allowing me to ask him personal questions. 

With no further delay, let’s get this interview started!

Rachel:  How many hours a night do you typically sleep?

Geralin:
  Typically I sleep about six hours per night; I'm most definitely a morning person and can barely function after 11 pm however, if you need something at 6 am, I'm your go-to gal!  I'll be wide-awake and fully-functional.

Cory:
Well, this varies quite a lot due to our business phones. Since we are one of the largest biohazard companies in California, we have a lot of calls for immediate service to clean crime scenes, suicides, and other bad things that happen throughout the day and night. I would be perfectly happy getting 5 to 6 hours of sleep at night, but whenever that phone rings it usually cuts at least 2 hours out of my sleep. After I receive the call, I have to dispatch a couple of my techs, then when they get on scene they call me to give an estimate on the job based off their description. I typically get a couple of calls throughout the cleanup as well from my techs with questions or concerns so just one job after hours can totally screw up my sleep.  

Rachel:  If you've got five minutes to organize something, what's it going to be?
Rachel Seavey and Cory Chalmers

Cory:
 
My short organizing spurts are usually spent in my closet. That is the one place that can get disorganized quickly and I can't stand it so I am constantly doing small regular maintenance type work in there just to keep it nice and organized.

Geralin:
  The fridge!  I start in the upper left, make my way across left to right, top to bottom - like reading a book.  I'm also pretty enthusiastic about organizing my own pantry too.  I it's rewarding, or therapeutic, or whatever to have the fridge and pantry in bristol condition.
Rachel Seavey and Geralin Thomas

Rachel: Name one "go to" fast-food that you depend on when home.


Geralin:
  It's gotta be cous-cous! It cooks in five minutes, it's inexpensive, plus it's very healthy.
I always have it in my pantry and it goes well with everything.

Cory:
Cereal! I will always eat a bowl of cereal when I don't want to have to cook. It is just too easy. Plus, having a 9 year old at home, his cereal is like desert. I mean small little chocolate chip cookies, Lucky Charms, Captain Crunch? While not the best for me, it is pretty delicious :)

Rachel:  The best thing at the end of a long, hard day after working in a hoarded house?

Cory: 
Ok, this is not a canned answer I promise but for me, it is the appreciation from the customer that makes it all worth it. When you can turn total chaos into a comfortable, functional, safe place for them to live, there is no better feeling. After that, an ice cold beer is great too!

Geralin:
 
 Getting into a nice, fresh, clean, comfy bed after a long, hot shower; even better if there's a bar of scented soap and conditioning shampoo. 

Rachel:   What is the worst thing about a Hoarders shoot?


Geralin:
  Airports without free wifi!  It drives me crazy when airports want to charge passengers to use wifi? And typically huge airports tend to charge while smaller airports offer it for free. Now, about the shoot itself, I'd have to say the s-l-o-w pace of filming.  There are a zillion interruptions. Background noise is unacceptable which means there's a lot of stopping and restarting due to a dog barking down the street or an airplane flying overhead. Of course this can't be controlled, but, it's frustrating.

Cory:
  This is an easy one...the starting and the stopping. I am wired to work and get the job done. On a typical hoarders shoot, the producers tell us to stop working at least 70 times throughout 3 to 4 days. Just when you start to make a little progress, you have to stop because they have to interview someone, film something in the next room and need it quiet, or a number of other reasons. It is really difficult in the short time we are there to get the job done, but with the constant stopping of all work, it honestly makes it so much more difficult.

Rachel:  Well, I asked you about the worst thing, now I want to know about the best thing. What do you like best about traveling and working on the show?


Cory: 
There are a few things I like about Hoarders shoots. First, I know we are helping (or attempting to) someone that has been very resistant in the past and probably would not be getting help otherwise.   The very best part for me on a  shoot is when you are watching the last 2 minutes and we open the door and show them their new home. The look on their face, as well as their family and friends, is priceless!

Geralin: 
 Both before and after the shoots - hanging out with the organizers.  I've had a lot of great, memorable evenings with organizers. I've gone to dinner, to their homes, to their offices and often I'm invited to see the local scenery, through their eyes.  The POs have been exceptionally hospitable and I've made a lot of new friends all over the country.  In addition, I enjoy knowing that we have helped change a few lives.  There are a few people with hoarding disorders that have continued working with therapists, organizers and aftercare providers. They've made slow, steady progress and continue managing and maintaining a healthier, happier life.


Rachel:  Name at least one show on TV you are absolutely hooked on and watch regularly.


Geralin: 
 Downton Abbey on PBS.  I love historical fiction and everything about this show is a feast for the senses. The music makes me swoon, the landscaping is luscious, the costumes are beautiful, the decor of the house is amazing.  It's total escapism.  Other than that, I love documentaries so that's typically what I watch on my computer in the hotel rooms. 

Cory: 
I can't name just one! My two favorites are Sons of Anarchy and Suits. Totally different shows from one another but they both have me addicted!


So there you have it folks! Fresh from the specialist’s mouth to my blog.

If you haven’t voted for  Nominees Geralin Thomas or Cory Chalmers (or any of your other favorite organizers) please go to the NAPO website and cast your vote!


Napo's 7th Annual Organizing Awards in Los Angeles 2013

I am excited to be attending the event and plan on keeping you all posted throughout.
Stay tuned for more celebrity profiling before, during and after the event.

Rachel Seavey, Professional Organizer
I am located in Pleasanton Ca, and serve the San Francisco Bay Area.
I specialize in Hoarding Disorder, Chronic Disorganization and helping the overwhelmed with clutter. I love what I do, and I provide realistic expectations and timelines. Don't suffer in chaos any  more. Every breath is a new beginning! Please visit my site at www.collectorcare.com
Tweet me on Twitter : Like my Facebook page : Find me on Pinterest

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

4.5 Organizing Tips For Single Moms (and Dads)

As if being a parent isn't hard enough, rowing the boat alone is no walk in the park. Trying to manage life and constant incoming clutter can be overwhelming for anyone.

Below are 4.5 solid tips that I personally use to manage time, paper, stuff and head clutter.
www.freedigitalphotos.net
  1. Incoming Artwork. This is always my most difficult decision. Who wants to throw away their child's artwork? No Mom in the world. But does throwing "it" away throw away the fact that your child had fun making it? Are we as moms, more connected to the artwork then our children? I know in many cases I am. This purging process will get easier as you go on, and you won't be left making a million decisions years down the road.

    • Don't dispose of artwork in front of your child. 
    • Do not keep doodles on restaurant menus or scrap paper.
    • Display current masterpieces around the house, and once they have had their run, toss them.
  2.  Homework. As a parent of a young grade-schooler I believe it is my job to make sure homework is done correctly and submitted on time. If possible, make sure your child has everything he or she needs for the assignment before they leave their school. Forgetting to bring home a backpack can be a doozy. Empty all items out of their backpack and set your child up at the table, with no distractions to do homework. Once homework is done and checked, place it back into the backpack and leave the backpack by the door where you can see it the next day. 
  3. Read, Sign, Return. Find these items each day when  you empty your child's backpack. Return them the next day with their homework. There is no reason to hang on to these for any period of time, and your child's teacher will appreciate the promptness.
  4. Volunteering. I like to add all my calendar dates to my free Google Calendar. I can check it from my smart phone or online. Any paper or online calendar will do, just remember to save the dates right away. Agreeing to help and actually helping are two very different things!
  5. Toys. Before you know it you will be drowning in your children's toys. Every year I have my son go through his toys with me for donations. Cheap party favors / machine bubbles/ McDonald's toys - toss em. Besides contributing to clutter, they may contain harmful chemicals that could
By following these 4.5 steps you will be on your way to living a less cluttered life! We do have kids - our house will never be "perfect".

To learn more about Collector Care Professional Organizers, visit our website, follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest! 925-548-7750

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Shout Out To The San Francisco Bay Area NAPO Chapter

This past Wednesday I had the pleasure of attending the San Francisco Bay Area NAPO Chapter Holiday meeting. I can see why people love working in this profession, and attending these events.
I was surrounded by the most amazing women (and men) who were strong, successful and uplifting. I have never felt so at home. Everyone was welcoming, approachable and kind. I left there ready and focused, feeling assured that I had found my place in life. Here was little old me, sitting at a round table with veterans Sandy Stelter, Annie Rohrbach, ANGELA WALLACE ... excuse me if I left anyone out, I was on cloud nine at the time.

To sum it up - our chapter rocks! 

Local Shout Outs To:
Rhonda Elliot who also is an organizer in Pleasanton has so graciously has taken me in, offered carpooling, amazing advice, and support.

Elizabeth Treccase out of Danville has so graciously invited me to the local East Bay breakfast, where I met local women that are determined and strong. 

If you haven't joined our local NAPO chapter and would like to, please go to: http://naposfbac.memberclicks.net/
and join!

Rachel Seavey, Professional Organizer
I am located in Pleasanton Ca, and serve the San Francisco Bay Area.
I specialize in Hoarding Disorder, Chronic Disorganization and helping the overwhelmed with clutter. I love what I do, and I provide realistic expectations and timelines. Don't suffer in chaos any  more. Every breath is a new beginning! Please visit my site at www.collectorcare.com
Tweet me on Twitter : Like my Facebook page : Find me on Pinterest

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

5 Tips To Stay Prepared For The Cold And Flu Season

Cold and flu season is here folks!
Although there is no guaranteed way to prevent catching a cold or the flu, there are 5 simple steps you can take to reduce your chances of getting sick.
Wash Your Hands
Hand washing is key. Wash your hands before eating, after using the bathroom, and after touching your nose or mouth. Hand sanitizer is great but it should not be used as an alternative to proper hand washing. Use soap and warm water every time you wash. Make sure you scrub between fingers and under the nails. Dry thoroughly and use your paper towel to open the bathroom door if at a public restroom. Menu's are filthy - washing after handing it back to your waiter is the best time.
Drink Water
Stay hydrated. Flush out waste and toxins effeciently to keep your immune system running at optimum level.
Get Some Rest
The body repairs itself while you sleep. Try to get eight to ten hours of sleep every night, especially during cold and flu season. The less sleep you get the less fighting power you have against germs.
Eat Healthy Foods
Eating 5-8 servings of fruits and vegetables daily can provide enough nutrients to help your body fight illness.
Stock Up On Remedies
Wether they be over the counter or natural, keep a fresh supply onhand for your family. No one likes going to the drugstore sick, especially kids! The Sunday paper contains coupons with a lot of BOGO items from local pharmacies. Think ahead while being frugal.

For more tips and information about me please visit my WEBSITE