Organizing user manuals, warranties and receipts

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Coffee MakerIn days gone by you would purchase an appliance or electronic device and it would come with a user manual that included troubleshooting tips and care instructions along with a how-to-guide to the item you bought. If you were really organized you took your receipt for that purchase and stapled it into the cover of the user manual and put that manual with all your other manuals. You would do this so that if something went wrong with your purchase within the warranty period you would have proof of your purchase date. Nowadays you’re lucky to get a hard copy manual at all especially if you’ve bought something that has software associated with it.

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Pick your own farms in the Greater Boston Area

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Here in New England we tend to think about visiting area farms to pick fruit and vegetables in the fall when its apple picking season, but there’s also plenty to harvest during the summer months. We’ve just passed the cherry and strawberry picking month of June as well as spinach picking. But don’t despair; July brings blackberries, blueberries and peaches. Vegies are also plentiful now. Beans, broccoli, cabbage, cucumbers, eggplant, peas, peppers, tomatoes and potatoes are available, and if you go soon you may still be able to score some rhubarb and snap beans. Come the beginning of August sweet corn arrives along with fall raspberries, peaches and nectarines. By mid to late month you’ll be able to pick pears, collard greens,and okra.

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These are the apps you need when moving to Boston

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When you’re new to a city it can be hard to get acclimated. In Boston you can find a lot of information on the city’s web site, but do you want to wade through an entire web site every time you need some information? How long will that take, and while the City of Boston’s web site is mobile friendly I prefer to use it sparingly and only on a laptop or tablet. For instant information and information on the go I prefer to use apps. These are the ones I find most useful:

Trash Day: if you won’t be living in a high rise you’ll need to know when to put your trash out for pick up. Trash days vary from neighborhood to neighborhood and even within a neighborhood. You’ll need to know if you can put out both trash and recycling on the same day. There are also designated days for leaf and yard waste pickup as well as paint and motor oil drop off dates/locations. This app also tells you if trash will be picked up when your regular day falls on a holiday. Not sure you’ll remember to put out your trash on the right days? No problem. The app can notify you the day before or the day of at a time you specify. Find the app here: Android version of Boston Trash Day, iPhone version: Boston Trash Day

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Decluttering your financial records

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According to industry statistics, in 2015 9.5% of US households rented a storage unit. People rent storage units to keep all types of items when they don’t live in a home with adequate storage. Some of the items are seasonal like holiday decorations, seasonal linens, or ski equipment. Some of the items are used sporadically like suitcases or camping paraphernalia.

And then there are things that end up in storage never to be looked at again. That was the case with the storage unit pictured here. A few years ago, my client, a newly widowed elderly woman moved from her apartment into assisted living. She and her husband had a small storage unit while he was alive. When the time came to move she wasn’t able to think about sorting through their possessions and discarding things that she wouldn’t have room for or didn’t need in her new location. She took with her anything that was of value and rented a larger storage unit for everything else refusing to discard anything at all.

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Downsizing the bathroom vanity

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Medicine CabinetBathroom vanities come in many configurations. Some have double sinks and lots of storage space, others are small with either double doors or many draws. In many bathrooms there’s a mirror over the sink but no medicine cabinet. If you own your home and need more storage space its possible to remove the mirror and replace it with a medicine cabinet. I have a client left the mirror over her vanity and had a medicine cabinet put in the opposite wall. In one apartment I lived in I replaced the vanity with a pedestal sink and hung a rather large cabinet on the opposite wall. Continue reading

Personal Concierge or concierge apps?

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With increased work loads seen by many professionals along with an increasing desire for more play time, many are looking for faster ways to get their everyday personal tasks done. This means “outsourcing” everything from grocery shopping to resolving insurance claim issues, to planning a baby shower. A lot of services and apps have sprung up to provide concierge type services, but how do they compare to hiring a personal concierge?

Let’s go back to the original concept of a concierge. In the Middle Ages, concierges were the “keepers of the keys” at castles. The comte des cierges was the person in charge of catering to every whim and desire of a palace’s visiting nobility. Noted government buildings also employed comte des cierges during this time.

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When decluttering doesn’t necessarily mean getting rid of.

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Original dining room table

English Gathering table in its previous location.

Traditionally when we think of organizing or reorganizing our living space we think about discarding things that don’t work and purchasing new things that work better for our current situation. However depending on why you are decluttering or re-organizing, you may have the option of re-purposing some of your belongings.

Last year I downsized from an 1100 sq ft apartment to an apartment that was only 768 sq feet. When I moved into my former apartment my dining room table was a tad to big for the width of my dining area, and then to long after I inherited by mother’s china cabinet. The table was a pine English gathering table that seated 8 people, and filled most of the allotted dining space in the apartment. When I knew I was moving I tried to sell the table but had no takers. It pained me to put it out as trash, and as I didn’t have a replacement for it yet, I moved it to my new apartment where it was a tight fit.

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The hidden cost of moving without decluttering

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Cluttered LivingroomIts April, and here in Boston we’re coming into the start of prime moving season. Moving is something most people dread, and with good reason. If you’ve lived in your current home for a few years, chances are you’ve collected things that you no longer use or need. They could be in your basement, garage or attic, or they could be in closets, under beds, or out in the open taking up floor space. You may even be renting external storage. Continue reading

Moving, Downsizing, Getting Organized

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RollinsThis spring I was totally thrown for a loop when I suddenly found out I was going to have to move. I had been renting a lovely 2 bedroom condo in downtown Boston for the past 4.5 years and now the owner was coming back. Conventional wisdom has it that spring/summer May – Aug are the best time to find new digs in Boston because people tend to move based on the school year. Continue reading

Gift Shopping in Somerville Massachusetts

SomervilleDid a little shopping today and if you haven’t finished yours and are in driving distance of Somerville I’ve got some suggestions for you.

I got a couple of things at Magpie in Davis Square. This is a charming gift shop that specializes in handmade items from local vendors. You’re bound to find something delightful for the child, pet or adult on your gift list.

I also stopped in at Davis Squared. They have a lot of nice gift items including candles from Sympatico that come in lovely hobnailed glass containers and smell wonderful. They also have an outpost in Arlington Center called Arlington Centered.

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