Decluttering to start the new year off right:

“You can’t get there from here
But if you prepare the here,
There comes here.” (A. Hicks)

Organizing and Decluttering your spaces and rooms is a great way to take control of
your new year and bring back into focus your dreams and goals for yourself.
Here are some tips and tricks to help you get there:
● As you pack away your holiday decorations, determine your favourites. Let
go of those that you no longer love, want or need. Take a photo to keep the
memory of these items and then donate them or start a box for your children’s
future homes.
● Keep in mind the ‘one in, one out rule’. For each of the gifts you received
this holiday season, let something else of that size or greater go so that you
can respect the equilibrium of space in your home. Donate or give these
items to a family member or friend who could use them.
● If you received gifts that you really won’t use, donate them and let
someone else enjoy them. For options on where to donate them, check out
www.declutter4good.ca/charities/
● Take a walk around your home and let go of those items that no longer add
to your life (ie. the duplicates, clothes you no longer wear, art that you’ll never
put up, kitchen gadgets that you never use, excess linens, old tech items,
unmatched tupperware, etc).
● Set up a donation bin or box in your home. Make it easily accessible and
make it a habit to drop excess or unwanted items into it.
Remember that when you clear out items that you no longer need, use, love or want you
become more clear and more focused on those things and goals that matter to you now.
Life is short. Get rid of the excess and start truly enjoying your ‘now’ and your dreams for
the year to come.



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Letting go of expensive items:

Do you have items that you spent a lot of money on but that didn’t live up to your expectations?  By letting them go you can focus on those items that remain and that truly are your treasures. Benefits of letting go of expensive items you don’t use:#1. With the holiday season around the corner perhaps consider gifting or donating these items. Or sell the item (so someone else can have it in time for the holidays.)#2. By letting go of items you don’t use or want you’ll have more focus on your life goals with less distraction.#3. You’ll immediately gain back valuable space.#4. You’ll increase your mental well-being by removing the bad feelings associated with these unused purchases.
Remember no one talks about their material possessions with their last breath. Be selective and keep the things you love and use.  Going through life with intention and lightening your load whenever you can is always beneficial. 



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Donation places in Ottawa:

What a lovely surprise finding myself in an article in the August edition of the Glebe Report!

The article highlights the Great Glebe Garage Sale and an initiative that was a collaboration between Della Wilkinson and Kate Reekie from the GCA Environment Committee, GNAG and City staff at the Glebe Community Centre, with input from me on some of the charitable organizations where items can be donated (you can find the full article on page 13: https://www.glebereport.ca/…/Glebe-Report-August-19…

Below are some of the donation places mentioned:

Caldwell Family Centre: caldwellfamilycentre.ca

Charity Wish List charitywishlist.ca

CompuCorps: compucorps.org

Diabetes Canada diabetes.ca

Dress for Success: ottawa.dressforsuccess.org

Friends of the Ottawa Public Library Association: fopla-aabpo.ca

From House to Home: facebook.com/FromhousetohomeOttawa

Habitat for Humanity habitatgo.com/restore

Hakim Optical: hakimoptical.ca

Heartwood House: heartwoodhouse.ca

Helping with Furniture: hwfottawa.org

Highjinx: Neighbours Helping Neighbours twitter.com/highjinxottawa

OrKidstra: orkidstra.ca

Ottawa Outdoor Gear Library: ottawaoutdoorgearlibrary.com

Ottawa Tool Library: ottawatoollibrary.com

Resettlement Resource Service Volunteers 613-791-3877 (Paul)

Salvation Army: thriftstore.ca

Secondhand Stories: secondhandstories.ca

The Well: the-well.ca

Twice Upon a Time: twiceuponatime.ca



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Organizing and Decluttering a GARAGE:

#1.  Pick a day where you can take everything out of your garage.

#2.  Lay out all the items on your driveway or lawn.

#3.  As you bring items out from the garage, sort the items into

       categories (ie. gardening, tools, sports, holiday decorations,

       luggage, car accessories, lawn and snow equipment, toys, etc).

#4.  Review items in each of these categories and determine the

       items that you want to keep, items that are trash/recycle, items

       that you are able to donate/sell, items you have duplicates of,

       etc.

#5.  Working with the ‘keep’ items, determine how much you have in

       each category and then set up zones for those categories.

       Items that are used the most often should be in the most

       accessible zones.

#6.  Install additional shelving, hooks and (clear) bins as needed

       so that you can find ‘homes’ for the items you are keeping.

#7.  Label your bins – masking tape and a sharpie work great!



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Getting Started-Organizing & Decluttering made easy

Getting started

  • Pick a small space (ie. nightstand, drawer, pantry, etc.)
  • Have 5 boxes at the ready: 
  1. items that belong elsewhere or to someone else in the home 
  2. items that belong to someone outside the home
  3. ”maybe” items
  4. items to donate/sell
  5. items for trash/recycle
  • take all items out of the area you want to declutter
  • sort items into your 5 boxes.  NOTE: for the ‘maybe’ items put them in a box and date the box.  Review in 3 to 6 months.  If you’ve not needed those items in that time, consider donating them
  • now working with the items you have left, determine if those items are used daily, weekly or monthly and then assign them areas in your based on their frequency of use
  • in the area you are working on, consider using bins, shelf risers, drawer dividers etc to keep ‘like with like’ items together. 


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How and Where to Donate your Stuff. (as seen in the Glebe report )written by Martha Tobin

How and where to donate your stuff

Dear Martha,

My husband and I are going to be downsizing to a two-bedroom retirement residence in January. In anticipation of this move, we have started decluttering our current four-bedroom home and realize we have too much stuff! We would like to donate much of it, but we don’t know where we can take our books, CDs, clothing and linens.

We also have some working electronics that we would like to donate (i.e., a couple of old laptops, a monitor, keyboards and a fax machine).

Where can we take items like these and know they will have a second life?

Signed,
Determined to Donate

Dear Determined,

Thank you very much for making donations a priority as you downsize. By finding homes for items that can have a second life, you are not only diverting them from landfills and helping our planet, but you are also ensuring that others in need in our community have access to them. Thank you very much for making a difference!

There are many charitable organizations in Ottawa that will give your donations a wonderful second life. A site called Charity Wish List (charitywishlist.ca) is a great resource for determining where you can donate items. Just click on their “Find Charities by location and types of items wanted” button and plug in “Ontario and Ottawa” and you’ll get a list of items and where you can take them.

For books, you can reach out to Friends of the Ottawa Public Library, St. Joe’s Women’s Centre, Saint Vincent de Paul, Second Hand Stories, Twice Upon A Time and Ability First Ottawa.

For CDs, you can reach out to Friends of the Ottawa Public Library or Ability First Ottawa. You can also take them to thrift stores like Saint Vincent de Paul, Value Village and Salvation Army.

For clothing and linens, you can donate to Shepherds of Good Hope, Caldwell Family Centre and Big Brothers Big Sisters Ottawa.

For working electronics, you can donate them to Hartwood House, Immigrant Women Services Ottawa, Ottawa Valley Search and Rescue Dog Association and thrift stores like Saint Vincent de Paul and Salvation Army.

To protect your personal information, it’s a good idea to wipe your devices clean before you donate them. You can find out how to do this on the Recycle My Electronics site. (click here!)

For e-waste (electronics that cannot be used again), you can ensure the parts are recycled by bringing them to retailers who participate in a “return to retail” initiative. You can find these authorized locations at the Recycle My Electronics program link (Click here!).

To donate other items like used appliances, baby clothes, magazines, vehicles, food, furniture, musical instruments, pet-related items, sports equipment/sports clothing, office, home and school supplies, new and used toys and other miscellaneous items, you can also refer to the Charity Wish List site.

If you need further help finding a charity for a specific type of item not mentioned in the list, you can email info@charitywishlist.ca. A great resource indeed!

As Aesop said, no act of kindness, however small, is wasted.



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Kudos from the Glebe Zero Waste Committee

Donations That Do Good

By Katie Fice

Martha Tobin is thrilled that her new business not only helps clients get rid of clutter, it also helps the environment by turning up a wealth of unwanted items that are recycled for others to use instead of being dumped in a landfill.

“I love that we transform lives for the better every single day,” says Tobin, who started Room2Breathe, her organizing and decluttering business, in July 2020 when COVID-19 steered her to a career change. Never looking back from that decision, she has helped countless clients throughout the National Capital region to reduce stress and feelings of being overwhelmed by helping them organize and declutter their homes.

“I decided to follow a lifelong passion and pursue organizing and decluttering,” she says. “I love it, and it’s been successful since day one.”

Tobin says the Room2Breathe team is sometimes asked just to declutter a basement, kitchen or garage but it’s often contracted to do an entire house. While helping clients get rid of excess things they no longer want or need, Tobin realized there were many wonderful and worthy items that could have a second life with others who could use them. Through this realization, the Donations That Do Good program was born.

The program decreases the waste sent to the landfill and gives back to the community by donating items clients no longer want to local charities. In many cases, clients are more willing to let things go when they realize it can help someone else through the donation program. “We are proudly committed to making a difference in our clients’ lives as well as in the lives of those in need in our community,” says Tobin. Her enthusiasm for her work and the donation program is obvious.

She explained that due to the challenges of finding places and time to drop off donations, unwanted items removed during decluttering would usually be put out on the curb on garbage day. To avoid that waste, the Room2Breathe team pack up their vehicles at the end of the day and take the items on behalf of their clients to local charities that are looking for those specific items (e.g., clothing, dishes, toys, small appliances, etc.) When there are larger items, like furniture, that Tobin’s team cannot handle, they recommend charities that the client can contact for a pickup.

“Our Donations That Do Good program is a win-win for our clients and our community,” says Tobin, “and it’s also a huge win for our planet in that we ensure that these donated items have a second life and are not going into landfills.” The charities that they can currently donate to are the Ottawa Boys and Girls Club, Immigrant Women Services Ottawa, Caldwell Family Services, CompuCorps, EcoEquitable, Bruevére, Heartwood House, Salvation Army, Diabetes Canada and Habitat for Humanity.

Tobin loves making connections with charities or other organizations that can use the donated items to raise funds or provide them to those in need. Items collected during a recent day of decluttering were donated to a garage sale for a refugee family. All proceeds went to the family, and unsold items were given to Caldwell Family Services. If you are a charity that needs specific items or you know a way the donations could help others, please reach out to Martha Tobin at martha@room2breathe.ca or 613-868-5197.  To learn more about Room2Breathe and their Donations That Do Good program, check out the website at room2breathe.ca.

If you’ve been making efforts to reduce your waste, we may feature you in a future column. Please send a short paragraph explaining how you are reducing your household or business waste to environment@glebeca.ca, attention Katie.

Katie Fice joined the Glebe Community Association’s Zero Waste Committee (a subcommittee of the Environment Committee) to learn about waste reduction and raise awareness of simple changes in our daily living that have a positive impact on the environment.



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Decluttering Tips & Tricks (as seen in the August issue of the Oscar newspaper)

Decluttering -5 Tips & Tricks To Get You Started

by Martha Tobin, Room2Breathe 

Decluttering is a daunting task at the best of times and your feelings of overwhelm may be holding you back from beginning. Here are 5 tips and tricks to get you started:

(1). Start with one room at a time and focus on one section of that room.

I recommend starting with the surfaces and removing all items from these surfaces (ie. desk or counter top).

(2). If you find items that belong in other rooms, just put them in a box labelled ‘other rooms’ and continue to stay in and on track with the room you are working on. 

(3). For each item on these surfaces, determine if you still use it.   For items no longer used, put them in a box labelled ‘to give’, ‘to sell’ or ‘trash’.

(4). For those items that you are keeping, ask yourself about their frequency of use.  Prime real estate in that room is for items used hourly and daily (so placed within arms reach) while weekly and monthly items can be within standing or walking distance respectively.

(5). Once the surfaces of the room are decluttered, then pick another section of that room (i.e. drawers or cupboards) and repeat the above process.

By tackling decluttering one room at a time, you will not only see progress but that progress will keep you motivated to declutter other rooms.



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Dear Martha Column: Too Much Stuff (as seen in the August issue of the Glebe Report)

Dear Martha,
My partner continues to order online or bring home more and more purchases but we
have so much ‘stuff’ that we now have piles everywhere because we have nowhere to
put everything. The more stuff he brings home, the more stressed I feel. Any words of
advice?
Signed,
Ready for calm
Dear Ready for calm,
You are completely correct – an excess of stuff does cause stress. Here are 3 practices
that may help from Sarah Nettleton’s book, The Simple Home – The Luxury of Enough:
(1). Look around your home and celebrate the ‘good choices’ that you have made
when bringing something into your home (i.e installing shelving in your garage or adding
a few woven baskets on a shelf in your entry hall for keys, sunglasses and masks,).
(2). Consider the elimination of non-essentials by reviewing each room’s contents
(start with the surfaces) and determine for every item if it is practical or emotional.
Practical items are kept because you need them while emotional items are kept because
they are sentimental. If an item is neither, consider letting it go (donate, sell or trash).
(3). Celebrate restraint. If you do bring something new into your home, let something
else go that you no longer need or want. Home’s only have a finite amount of space so
by applying a ‘one in one out’ rule, you will be respecting the equilibrium of your home.
“Homes that nurture us are not fortresses of exclusion, but rather clearings in a busy
world that help us to dream new ideas and to be creative in our own way.” (Sarah

Nettleton)

Dear Martha,
My home has too much stuff but how do I determine what to let go of and what to keep?
Signed,
Unsure
Dear Unsure,
Here are 5 questions you can ask yourself to determine if you should keep something:
(1). Do you love it?
(2). Do you use it regularly?
(3). Is the item in working order?
(4). Do you have space for it and does it have a logical ‘place to live’ in your home?
(5). For items of clothing, determine if it still fits and if it still suits your current lifestyle.

Take a look around you and start with a junk drawer, your linen closet or your bathroom
cupboard. Ask the above five questions about each item you come across and if the
item is no longer serving you, let it go. A life well-lived is about experiences not things.

“Removing clutter makes room for a life focused on the things that matter most.
It opens up physical space in our home and mental space in our mind.” (Clear the

Clutter -Donna Smallin)



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Organizing Your Suitcases (as seen in the July issue of the OSCAR newspaper)

This past month’s tips and tricks focused on storing suitcases. I recommend the ‘Russian doll approach.’ Keep three travel bags per family member (preferably only for those family members currently living in your home). Consider keeping a large wheeled one (international travel), a small wheeled one (domestic travel) and a medium sized day bag/backpack or duffel bag (weekend travel).

Using the wooden nested Russian doll sets as your example, place the smaller luggage inside the larger luggage. If you no longer need some of your luggage, take a photo and the measurements and put them on a Buy Nothing online marketplace group.



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