You are not connected. The newsletter may include some user information, so they may not be displayed correctly.

What to do with all your stuff - Right-Sizing for Spring Cleaning or a Move | We're Hiring | What's in Store for 2024? | Looking for a Speaker?

What to do with all your stuff - Right-Sizing for Spring Cleaning or a Move | We're Hiring | What's in Store for 2024? | Looking for a Speaker?

Thursday, 14 March 2024‍



Right-Sizing:  What to do with all that STUFF!


As I prepare for two speaking engagements next week at two senior communities, I am preparing my handouts, which includes the article below. This is an article I originally wrote for the Seattle PI in 2008 (if you've lived in the Seattle Area for a while, you'll remember this newspaper - and I used to write a monthly organizing article for the newspaper).

Anyway, I re-wrote this article and updated it for 2024 into three sections for you.


Because spring is just around the corner, and that means a couple of things:

1. Spring Cleaning - which means more than just cleaning, but also downsizing/right-sizing.

2. The start of move season which is the perfect time to "let go." If you are moving in the greater-Seattle area this year, let me know and I'm happy to refer you to the amazing movers we work with.

3. Because I know how hard it is for people to downsize and make those important and difficult decisions and then decide what to do with the stuff.


Downsizing is no longer relegated to the later years. People are beginning to realize the benefits of downsizing earlier on in life.

Two trends that are spurring an increased interest in downsizing are:

·  The need to declutter and simplify an existing home environment.


·  The move to an urban condo environment, where one may be trading space and stuff for a different lifestyle experience.


I like to refer to these trends as "right-sizing."


Your approach to downsizing will depend on your stage in life and your time frame. The following lists will help. You may find that some will cross over.


Decluttering and simplifying and existing home and lifestyle:


·  Identify your vision or goals for the way you want to live in your home. Your goal might be to live in a house, rather than what has become essentially a storage warehouse. Or, your vision might be that you want to downsize some of your collections.


·  Communicate your plan to family members and ask for their buy-in, and participation. Otherwise, you may be the only one doing the work.


·  Set a realistic time frame to accomplish your project. The decision-making process always takes longer than you think.


·  Ensure that the items you donate are in good, usable condition. If you wouldn't give them to a friend, think twice before donating.


·  You will feel better parting with your stuff if you know it will help another family in need. Look for organizations that need your type of donation. At the end of this newsletter there are a few organizations to help you get started, but there are many, many more.  (These organization are in the Seattle-area where we are based. If you are in another part of the world, you will need to search out local organizations that accept similar items.)


·  The lack of a decision leads to clutter.


·  Shift your thinking from "Do I need this item?" to "Does this item need me?"


·  Establish a policy: For new stuff you bring into your home, the same amount or more must leave your home.


·  If your home contains several rooms to be downsized, concentrate on one room at a time or you run the risk of losing focus by running from one room to the next. 


Moving to smaller-space urban living or an adult community:


·  You can't fit 3,500 square feet of stuff into 1,500 square feet. No matter how organized you are, it doesn't work.


·  Instead of pulling your hair out after you move in because there isn't enough closet or storage space, first think about how much storage space you require. If you can't live without certain things, you will need to determine how you can modify the existing spaces to accommodate them. Or you may want to reconsider how much stuff to bring.


·  Most likely the oversize couch and loveseat will need to be downsized to furniture that serves dual purposes. For example, an ottoman that doubles as a filing cabinet, coffee table or storage.


·  Measure the open spaces, such as the living and dining areas, and create a space plan using your existing furniture in the new location. Doesn't fit? Then don't move it. Instead, sell it in advance and use the money to purchase something that will fit.


When packing for your upcoming move, pack your boxes by what will live in each new room -- rather than just boxing up existing spaces in the home you currently live in. This will take longer on the front end, but it will help you estimate what will fit into the new areas. And I guarantee it will take less time when unpacking and figuring out how you want to organize your new home. 


Preparing for independent living, assisted living or memory care:


·  Recognize that this is a difficult and stressful time for the person who is downsizing, as well as the adult children. Get help if necessary to put less strain on relationships during these times. Adult children tend to pressure parents to downsize, but then they don't plan enough time for the process and how long it takes.


·  Introduce this idea over time. Some people need longer to get used to the idea and mentally prepare.


·  Make the decision in a time without stress or time pressure, rather than having an injury or illness force an immediate decision.


·  Check into the services provided at the new community, which will help you make decisions about items to bring. For example, if meals are provided, you need very few dishes and cooking items.


·  If items in the home are being given to family members or friends, they should not be urged to take what they know they won't use or treasure. Make sure items taken will be appreciated and used.


·  Give each family member removable colored stickers - one color for each member - and have them walk through the house and mark what they'd like to take.  (Order these removable stickers on Amazon.)


·  Choose an auction or estate sale over a garage sale -- you will have much more success in parting with most of the items if time is of the essence.


Closing Thoughts

·  The meaning is in the memory, not the memorabilia.

·  Collect moments, not things.

·  Young people don’t want old things.


·  A house full of stuff is no gift to a child or family member.


Wishing you sustainable organization and purposeful productivity.


Laura Leist



What's in Store in 2024?

Whether you a moving, remodeling, downsizing, or just want to get your house organized, our team of Specialists can provide their expertise to all of these projects.


Here's a short list of all the ways we can work with you:


Work with you to downsize BEFORE you move - so you don't pay to pack and move things you won't use at your new home.


Pack your home if you are moving, remodeling or building a new home. We can also recommend our trusted movers that we coordinate with to ensure your move project is stress-free and you don't have to meet with multiple movers.


Unpack and organize your home AFTER you move, including setting up your electronics, and hanging pictures.


Project manage your move, or just help you create a plan.


Organize any room in your home; including your garage or storage units.


Organize your paper files to create a system that "works" for you.


Get your passwords and other vital information organized and secure - your family will thank you for this one day.


Design and install ELFA from the Container Store (which is on sale for 30% off until mid-February 2024). 


Our It Specialist, Rob, can work with you to: fix poor Wi-Fi performance, solve spam/junk mail problems, computer backups, e-mail/domain configuration, computer hardware recommendations, network printer setup, password management/computer security issues, VOIP phone systems and more.


Call our office at 425-670-2551 for more information or to scehdule time with our amazing team.  We look forward to helping you achieve your goals in 2024.

We're Hiring!


We are looking for a few new team members.


Organizing Specialist (must be a problem solver, an excellent listener, have an eye for design, possess amazing organizing skills and have excellent computer skills.)


Move Project Manager (must have at least 5 years of proven project management experience) 


Office Assistant (must be extremely detail oriented, tech savvy and have advanced Microsoft Office skills, on a PC.)


If you are interested in one of these positions - email your resume and cover letter as to why you are a good fit for our team to:

[email protected].


If you know someone that may be interested in one of these positions, please forward this e-mail to them.

Looking for an Engaging Speaker for Your Meeting or Conference?



There are a variety of topics Laura speaks on; at a high level the topics are below, but if you click HERE, you will find very detailed descriptions.


Office Organization


Home Organization and Downsizing

Microsoft Outlook


Microsoft OneNote


Productivity Topics


For more information, visit Laura's Speaking/Training/Coaching Website HERE.  (Note: this link takes you to a different website.)


Call our office at 425-670-2551 or e-mail me for additional information and a quote.  

Resources in the Greater Seattle to Help Get You Started


Assistance League of Seattle:  206.547.4680  | [email protected]

1415 North 45th Street | Seattle, WA 98103


Brides for a Cause:  Seattle 206.420.1350 | 6514 Roosevelt Way NE | Seattle, WA 98115

[email protected]

Tacoma 253.272.5000 | 2711 6th Avenue | Tacoma, WA 98406 | [email protected]


Items Accepted:

·       Wedding dress donations must be 5 years old or newer

·       Special occasion dresses from the past 3 years

·       They do not accept prom dresses

·       Clothing must be dry-cleaned before donating if it’s been worn



Exodus Housing:  253.862.6808 |

Helping individuals end the cycle of domestic violence and homelessness.


Wish List:

·       Diapers (all sizes)/pull-ups

·       Baby Wipes

·       Laundry detergent

·       Dish washer soap/liquid dish soap

·       Deodorant

·       Toilet paper/paper towels

·       Toothpaste/toothbrushes

·       Shampoo/conditioner

·       Body soap/body wash

·       Pots/pans

·       Bath towels

·       Shower curtain

·       Cleaning supplies

·       Garbage bags



Ruby Room Seattle:  425.553.7116  | [email protected]


Items Accepted:

·       Women’s formal and cocktail dresses in all sizes

·       Formal shoes, handbags, jewelry

·       Unused makeup and hair products

·       Shawls and other accessories

·       Tuxedos, suites, sport coats, slacks and dress shirts in youth and adult sizes

·       Men’s dress shoes, ties, bow ties and accessories


Drop Off your donation at: 

Bakker’s Fine Drycleaning and Laundry | 10575 NE 12th Street | Bellevue, WA 98004 



The Sharehouse:  206.767.5280  |  4408 4th Avenue S | Seattle, WA 98134  |  [email protected]  |

Drop donations off to their warehouse on Monday/Wednesday/Friday (9am - 4pm) OR Saturday (9am - noon)


The Sharehouse is a furniture bank for families and individuals who are transitioning from homelessness into permanent housing.



·       Pots & Pans

·       Cooking Utensils

·       Dishes

·       Glassware

·       Flatware

·       Baking Pans

·       Toasters/Toaster Ovens

·       Coffee Pots/Tea Kettles

·       Microwave Ovens

·       Mixers & Blenders



·       Mattresses, Box Springs & Bed Frames (good condition - NO stains or tears; twin, double/full, & queen sizes ONLY)

·       Dressers & Chest of Drawers

·       Nightstands, End Tables

·       Coffee Tables & Occasional Tables

·       Couches & Futons with Frames (see below for restrictions)

·       Armchairs, Easy Chairs, Recliner Chairs

·       Dining Tables & Chairs

·       Kitchen Tables & Chairs

·       Bookcases (6’or shorter)

·       Small Desks (48’X 24’ or smaller)



·       Bed sheets, blankets, & bed pillows (no stains or tears)

·       Bath towels, hand towels, washcloths, bathmats, shower curtains

·       Kitchen towels, dishcloths, tablecloths, potholders, place mats, napkins


Accessories & Miscellaneous

·       T.V.s (30” diagonally or smaller), VHS players, DVD players

·       Art Work

·       Rugs(6′ x 8’ & smaller)

·       Hair Dryers

·       Clocks, clock radios & alarm clocks

·       Lamps & lampshades

·       Household telephones

·       Vacuum cleaners & bags

·       Household trash cans

Whether you desire to live more organized at home, need to be more productive at work, or are planning an upcoming local or cross-country move; our team of Organizing Specialists will listen compassionately and deliver systems, professional advice and customized organization and productivity solutions that really work. Best of all, you will be able to maintain them easily and seamlessly. You can breathe a sigh of relief as you put into practice systems created just for you that deliver practical, priceless and life changing benefits.

Eliminate Chaos Facebook
Eliminate Chaos Instagram
Eliminate Chaos Twitter
Eliminate Chaos Youtube

Contact Us

Sent to: To stop receiving our newsletter - unsubscribe

This email contains pictures, if you don’t see them, view it online  

Prepared for: | Newsletter 94 | March 2024

‍© 2024 Eliminate Chaos LLC. 
You may reprint this article in its entirety with the following credit:
© 2024 Eliminate Chaos - Reprinted with permission from Laura Leist of Eliminate Chaos.