Home Designs For Life: Remodeling Ideas To Increase Safety, Function, And Accessibility In The Home.

Learn How to Declutter and Organize your Home with Amy Tokos, CPO, in Order to Age In Place Successfully.

May 19, 2022 Janet Engel, OT/L, CAPS Season 1 Episode 14
Home Designs For Life: Remodeling Ideas To Increase Safety, Function, And Accessibility In The Home.
Learn How to Declutter and Organize your Home with Amy Tokos, CPO, in Order to Age In Place Successfully.
Show Notes Transcript

Amy Tokos, CPO is a Certified Professional Organizer. She is also the president of the National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals (NAPO). Amy is the owner of Freshly Organized, LLC in Omaha, Nebraska. Amy's organizing tips have been featured in The New York Times, Forbes, AARP, and Good Housekeeping. Please listen to learn how decluttering and organizing your home can enable you to age in place successfully. 

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[00:00:00] Janet: And today we have Amy Tokos with us. She is a CPO certified professional organizer. She is also the owner of freshly organized in Omaha, Nebraska. She is the president of the national association. Productivity and organizing professional also known as NAPO and her organizing tips have been featured in the New York times, AA, RP, Forbes, and good housekeeping.

[00:00:39] Janet: Amy, thank you for being with us 

[00:00:40] Amy: today. Thank you for having me as so fun to get to talk about. Organizing. I just love to talk about organizing and productivity. It's like my favorite thing. I can talk all day about it, so. 

[00:00:54] Janet: Okay, great. Great. I'm so excited to have you on today because I [00:01:00] believe that what you do specifically decluttering organizing.

[00:01:06] Janet: Is such an integral part of aging in place. I really don't think that you can age in place successfully unless you're able to declutter your home because it plays such a big part in fall prevention and home safety. So. Being an occupational therapist and working in home health for so many years, I saw this over and over again where clients can access their closet or they couldn't safely walk into their bathroom because there was just so much stuff.

[00:01:42] Janet: And so I'm sure that one big challenge that you have as a professional is just getting people to let go of. Of their stuff. So can you tell us, how do you approach that challenge? 

[00:01:57] Amy: Oh there's many approaches, but [00:02:00] the way I like to do it is I like to talk to the person about their goals. And typically they'll say, I want to be able to stay at home.

[00:02:08] Amy: I don't want to have to move to whatever other type of living there is that there, the options are, but they want to stay at home. They want to age in place. And so then it's okay, what are the obstacles for you doing that? What is, what's the goal? Do we need to get. Your left.

[00:02:31] Amy: Do we need to have better access to things that you use all the time? Do we, so what does that look like? If you're going to stay in your space? Where does it at? What's the goal? So once I can identify the goal with them, then it's easy. Every time we get to a stumbling block, like they come across that thing.

[00:02:54] Amy: They feel obligated to keep the maybe they have a hundred plants and [00:03:00] they're not able to maintain them and they're in the walkways. And so it's like we come back to the goal and we're like, all right. So if our goal is to stay in space and this place, and we need to minimize how much time you're spending with your plants.

[00:03:16] Amy: So how can we do that? So are we going to delegate. To give friends away. Are we going to minimize the plants? So I'm always giving them choices along the way, because I do think that's the key, especially for elderly, they want to have some control. They don't want to be told what they have to do. They want to have the choice.

[00:03:41] Amy: So the choice is always, do you keep it? If you keep it, what are we going to do with it? Or can you share it with them? I like that. I like that suggestion. Can you share it with someone? Because often people were happy to take their things. I, in fact, one of the plants that I have in my living room was [00:04:00] given to me by a patient that loved plants.

[00:04:03] Janet: And I was admiring this one plant that she had. And before I left, it was in my hand.

[00:04:13] Amy: Yeah. And part of that good job taking the plan because a lot of times when when they're trying to give things away, we're all like no, I don't want it. But then it's if we will accept it, it doesn't mean we have to keep it forever. We can pass it onto somebody else.

[00:04:34] Amy: Accepting. It means that we're taking it. We're going to honor it. We're going to let it live on and they don't have to make another decision on how to get rid of it. 

[00:04:43] Janet: Yeah. Yeah. I like that. So in your website, I was going through the whole website, which is very pretty, it's very easy to navigate yeah, that you did a really good job with that.

[00:04:57] Janet: So I was reading. [00:05:00] About real and you describe it, you explain every part of it. So I want you to explain to our listeners what does real mean or the real, keep it real. Okay. I have to write down. I need to make sure real. Okay. Awesome. Is a realistic this is about your time and your space and being realistic on what's actually can happen in this space.

[00:05:28] Amy: What can be in this space and with time what actually do you have time to maintain and do? Sometimes we We guess how much we can have in a space. And so being realistic. Knock walls down. Most people can't, some people can, but you have to like, the space is defined. And so to make it function well, it can't be overstuffed.[00:06:00] 

[00:06:00] Amy: You think of a kitchen cabinet, that's overstuffed and you open it and things fall out, or you have to pull stuff out to get things from behind. So to be realistic, actually, you would want to just have. Things sitting there that fit well, that nice and that are easy to reach. That's being realistic. Cause you'll notice if you're not being realistic of things that are stuck back in the corners are stuff that you never actually use.

[00:06:30] Amy: But you think you use them because you weren't being really realistic and making those decisions. Does that make sense? So you have to be realistic. Bathroom drawers. 

[00:06:39] Janet: As an example, I have a lot of items in there that I thought I was going to use, but I don't. 

[00:06:49] Amy: Right. And even measuring if you actually do use them, so they're your bathroom items put them all in a shoe box [00:07:00] and pull out the things that you use.

[00:07:03] Amy: Put a date on that shoe box and say, okay, I put this all in the shoe box. June 20, 22, we use it. And then maybe an August or September, you can say, okay, everything's still in that shoe box. I'm obviously not really using. So then you can start making some decisions giving yourself the reality check of what you're really using and what your space can really hold this.

[00:07:34] Amy: And with time, our time changes too. And we have to acknowledge that we can't do everything we have. We only have certain amounts of time. So we have to be realistic about that and being realistic about how long task actually take. I I tend to overestimate. When I have a task I don't like to do. And so to be realistic [00:08:00] about it, I start timing myself and tying my activities emptying the dishwasher.

[00:08:05] Amy: I thought took me a good 15 minutes and it only takes me five minutes once I timed it. So that's helping me be realistic when I'm thinking about it tomorrow. Oh, it only takes me five minutes to do this, which is helpful for any kind of task that feels overwhelm. 

[00:08:25] Janet: Yes, that's I saw your little video on that, the dishwasher, and I thought that was helpful because I agree when I don't want to do something.

[00:08:36] Janet: I just think over and over oh, I just don't have time to do it. If you just weigh the amount of time that you, the mental energy that you've wasted in thinking about not doing that task versus. Getting it 

[00:08:51] Amy: done. Right. Right. And I worked with, I was working with someone who was diagnosed with cancer recently and [00:09:00] we went through his schedule and he is trying to work and go through treatment.

[00:09:07] Amy: And his D getting realistic about his time was really hard of. How much energy do you have? Are you really going to do phone calls in the afternoon? And we had to dwindle it down. And another piece of this, it's not a perfect science, this real keeping it real with your time and stuff like that.

[00:09:30] Amy: It's a learning, it's a constant learning and evolution. It was a lot about balancing being tired and being nauseous with. And do some work. So trying to find the times that he was the most productive and then the times that he just needed to check out and just be offline for a bit to rest and recover.

[00:09:57] Amy: So finding that balance in that sweet [00:10:00] spot in it was changing depending on where he was in his cycle of treatment. So I'm noticing that too, when you're most productive and being realistic about it, 

[00:10:12] Janet: Okay. Yeah. That's great advice. 

[00:10:15] Amy: The E do you want me to tell you what the ear is? So that's I 

[00:10:18] Janet: do 

[00:10:20] Amy: stick is just the first one.

[00:10:21] Amy: Just be real about what your time and your space, the E is essential. And this is all about identifying what's really essential. And the things that are essential are things that you use all the time. And then the things that you love. Okay, so Everett, nothing else is essential if you're not using it and you don't love it, then you don't need to keep it.

[00:10:48] Amy: If you it's also for your time and your energy is essential and what you're spending your energy on. There's a book essential ism, and he has [00:11:00] a diagram of a circle and he's 

[00:11:05] Janet: their energy. 

[00:11:09] Amy: You have 12 arrows coming out of it. The arrows are all going to be short because you're sharing your energy among these 12 things.

[00:11:18] Amy: But if this is your energy and you only have two arrows, they're going to be two longer arrows. So it's about focus on what's essential, putting your energy towards what essential what's essential, giving your space to what's essential. Everything else to go. So that's essential ism now. Not easy to do, but it takes practice.

[00:11:41] Amy: This is all of this is none of this is a perfect science. It's not black and white and very easy. You just have to practice going through a home. You might go through it all once and you're going to recognize some things as a center. And then the second time you go through everything, you're going [00:12:00] to be like, okay, why did I keep that?

[00:12:01] Amy: That's not really essential. I don't use it. I'm not need, it's not functional. I don't love it. I can let it go now. So it's sometimes an evolution. Yeah. 

[00:12:14] Janet: Okay. About authentic 

[00:12:16] Amy: a as authentic a is all about Being yourself and being true to yourself. A lot of times we're told what we need to keep. We're told what we need to have in our space.

[00:12:33] Amy: We're told how to arrange our spaces. We're told what kind of clothes we need to have. We're told what we need to, where we're told. We're just. There's all these outside influences telling us, marketing a lot of marketing, telling us the things we need and being authentic to yourself just means that you're [00:13:00] not listening to us without telling us what we need.

[00:13:03] Amy: You're paying attention to what you really think you need. So you don't need 30 shirts. You. You need to, you really only need enough to get between laundry cycles. You don't need an over abundance of shoes. You don't need every gadget. Somebody says it's a great tool. Doesn't mean you have it.

[00:13:32] Amy: I'm just going to tell you. I, at one point was a huge fan of pampered chef and I brought all sorts of tools into my kitchen. Cause somebody told me I needed that. And what I realized as I had tools that I already loved and used all that time. And I never used a lot of those tools that they told me I needed.

[00:13:52] Amy: They're great tools, but I just had my go-tos and then my kitchen was over full with just all the little [00:14:00] gadgets that somebody had told me I needed. So being authentic to yourself and using what you use and keeping what you love and letting everything else go. And that's also along with that is guilt.

[00:14:13] Amy: Sometimes we're hanging on to things because we feel guilty. We could be, feel guilty because The clothes don't fit us anymore. We could feel guilty and we wish they did. We could feel like they're too small. We could feel guilty because we spent a lot of money on something at some point in time.

[00:14:34] Amy: And so we hang onto it because we know that it has a value or it had value when I bought it. Or we feel guilty because somebody gave us something It's not something we love or use, but it was a gift. So we feel guilty. Like we need to keep it. So there's all sorts of things that keep us from being authentic.

[00:14:55] Amy: And letting that stuff go will lighten your load. [00:15:00] Like it'll just help you be just lighter and it'll make your space feel better when it's just really what you are is truly you, the things you. So that's authentic. All right. 

[00:15:18] Janet: So my favorite word in there is livable. 

[00:15:22] Amy: Yeah. I'm not surprised.

[00:15:25] Amy: That's your, 

[00:15:28] Janet: so tell us what does livable mean in real, 

[00:15:33] Amy: a level means that It has to work for you. It has to be livable. It has to be maintainable. It has to be functional. I'll tell you a little story. I had an interior decorator come help with my house. So she's a friend and she helped me. And at this point I have little kids.

[00:15:53] Amy: My kids are older now, but they were small and she was helping me. I was having a hard time with this one [00:16:00] space. With the furniture layout, it just wasn't flowing. Right. It wasn't working well. And I had this cabinet and in the cabinet, I had all sorts of craft supplies. I was like a, almost a built-in on a wall and it had lower cabinets and all the kids craft supplies were in there.

[00:16:20] Amy: And she was like I think putting your couch along this wall in front of that cabinet would look the best. Okay. And so I was like, oh, and so we did it. And I said, but my kids need to be able to get into those cabinets. And so we tried it, we floated it and we put it about a foot away from the cabinets.

[00:16:40] Amy: So you could still kind of get into the cabinets. I'm going to tell you what it looked fabulous. Like I was like why didn't I think of that spot for my couch? And it looks good. It made the room flow. But we can get into the cabinets and my kids were hanging over the couch, trying to pull stuff [00:17:00] out.

[00:17:00] Amy: Then it made it hard to put stuff away. And so they were leaving stuff laying around because it was an obstacle to get stuff put away. So it wasn't livable. Like I was like, it looked great, but not livable. So that was my bit of a light bulb moment. Looks, don't always matter. It has to function for it to be maintainable and livable means that it's easy to access and use.

[00:17:29] Amy: And it's easy to put away because that's actually the hardest part. We're if we need something, we'll get it out and use it, but actually getting it put away. If there's too many steps, To get it put away at all. It won't get put away. It'll get dropped somewhere. You have time to put it away. 

[00:17:47] Janet: Right, right.

[00:17:48] Janet: Yeah. That's a great explanation and I totally agree with you that your house has to be functional. Otherwise you just won't use it efficiently. [00:18:00] And I think the best, this space that. To me as an OT matters, the most in terms of function is the kitchen that you want it to function. You want to be able to work in it well and efficiently.

[00:18:17] Janet: And and it's really, I think one of the spaces where. Help the clients out with the most because it's not functional. It's not safe. It's not accessible. 

[00:18:29] Amy: Yeah. Yeah. I was just helping my mom was very fortunate. She just got to do a remodel of her kitchen and she loves to bake. Okay. But her mixed.

[00:18:45] Amy: Was cumbersome and it was hard. She had to push it back. She had to pull it in and she's in her upper seventies. And it was hard because it's so heavy. And one of the things that we found for her was a lift shelf. [00:19:00] So it's spring loaded and she just has to kind of pops up, makes it countertop, Haight height, and the mixer sits on it.

[00:19:09] Amy: And then I was able to put her things supplies in the drawer, like a lower cabinet pullout right behind her. So she can stand there and bake. She said, it's fabulous because all of her baking stuff is on one side of her, the mixers in front of her and our sinks on the other side. So she goes, it just as this whole Clair process, complete control.

[00:19:32] Amy: And she's now getting to do a hobby that she loves to do, and hasn't been able to do as much. As she has now in her new kitchen. 

[00:19:42] Janet: That's great. You say that's a perfect example of how aging in place design universal design has allowed her to be more functional. Yeah. Yeah, exactly. That's great. I always think of gardening [00:20:00] because I think that's one of the first hobbies that.

[00:20:02] Janet: People lose access to, because going outside can be dangerous. You have uneven terrain. If you have grass now that's a more dangerous surface, but let's say that you have some kind of flooring it's not level. So if you have a cane or a Walker, or even if you don't use an assistive device, your chances for falling have now gone up.

[00:20:29] Janet: And so I think the yard is just one of the places where I think we need to pay more attention to, and to making it more functional so that people, if they like gardening, they can still do that. Right. But how about, have you just want to sit outside and get some sun for 15, 20 minutes?

[00:20:49] Janet: That's such a huge part of quality of life. Being able to spend time outside. And so many of my patients, they can't do that anymore [00:21:00] because they can't access the outside. 

[00:21:03] Amy: That is something. So I don't do a lot of organizing them, but what a light bulb moment for me as I was just thinking of my mom and we were just, I was just with her over the weekend.

[00:21:16] Amy: We were in Chicago and noticing just the uneven of sidewalks and how hard it was. For her to be paying attention, to make sure she wouldn't trip on a little uneven sidewalk and yeah, any kind of rough surfaces makes it a little bit less accessible and less enjoyable if it's stressful. And you're worried about being out.

[00:21:40] Janet: Right, right. So I want to talk about decluttering and how you think decluttering relates to aging in place. 

[00:21:54] Amy: Oh gosh. That's such a good question. I think it relates to [00:22:00] aging in place because. It helps you have access to the things you use more often, and you don't have to shift through the things that you don't use and don't need.

[00:22:15] Amy: So an example is a shelf in a living room and you've acquired, you've been in your house 20 years and you've acquired memorabilia and you have acquired. Lots of knickknacks and things like that. And just to dust a shelf like this requires you to pick everything up and get all the desks and clear it off.

[00:22:42] Amy: Whereas if you declutter it and you only have the things that you really love, so you would think instead of having 10 things on a shelf, maybe you have two things. It makes that simpler, less time. More [00:23:00] enjoyable because it's not as big of a task because as you age in place task become bigger and take more time just because of our energy levels, our our ability to do things as quickly.

[00:23:16] Amy: And so you have to make it easier to get stuff done and things taken. That's all the stuff in your space, it just sucks all your energy. So the less you have, the more energy you have. I like that 

[00:23:33] Janet: you said that. Because the way that I, I hate clutter and the way that I look at home design and how you decorate your home is more, less is more.

[00:23:47] Janet: Because it will look more beautiful because you can actually see what you have as opposed to looking at every item, if you have many items. And I think of it [00:24:00] as how it affects my mental space. Decluttered home is a decluttered mind. Yeah. How do you see. But mental clarity and clutter.

[00:24:18] Janet: Yeah. What's the relationship 

[00:24:19] Amy: there? Yes. So much. So I was working with a lady one time and. The clutter just kept reminding her of all the things she needed to do. So she had a stack of papers over here, things she needed to do. She had returns over here. She needed to do, she had little projects she wanted to do cause she'd been getting the items to do these projects.

[00:24:47] Amy: It was just so much. And yet she was trying to, she was trying to age in place. She was older. And she had cluttered her to do [00:25:00] list with things that she didn't even actually need to do. She had just her to do list was very cluttered and she had paper was kind of a big one. She had a lot of things to read and to so it was just a little.

[00:25:15] Amy: And so with her, we spent a lot of time simplifying in simplifying her life because what we identified, there were things she actually loved to do. And she thought she wanted to do all of that stuff, but she actually felt obligated to do all of it. So she was adding it to our list and she was spending her time doing the things she loved, but all this other stuff was weighing her down.

[00:25:42] Amy: So we came to the realization through many conversations of this is what was happening. And so I helped to give her permission to let some things go and be , authentic to herself and say you're doing the things you love. [00:26:00] You don't have to do this stuff anymore. You don't have to read every article about beekeeping or whatever it was.

[00:26:10] Amy: I read the ones that you want in the time that you get on, but don't feel obligated to keep learning about it. If you're not doing it anymore, it's not where your passion is anymore. Which I think sometimes that's the hard part about aging in places. Letting things go letting your interest go because our interests do change.

[00:26:33] Amy: We evolve. And sometimes it's sad when that interests, like you mentioned gardening when you have to let that go, or if you just don't identity more in the heat. And so it's not as enjoyable as it used to be, but you feel like that was a part of you and that's what defines you as sometimes. It's hard to let that stuff.

[00:26:55] Amy: yeah. Or figure 

[00:26:57] Janet: out how you can modify the task [00:27:00] or the environment. So you can still do that, but just do it in a different way. Right. So like your 

[00:27:07] Amy: mom. Yeah, exactly. Quantify it. So you can still enjoy it or really enjoy it, or reinvigorate your interest because you're doing it at 6:00 AM when it's cool outside instead of at three in the afternoon when it's hot.

[00:27:22] Amy: Yeah. 

[00:27:23] Janet: Yeah. So so what about safety and full prevention? And as that relates to decluttering, I want your perspective, cause I have mine as an OT. So I want you to explain yours. 

[00:27:39] Amy: I like to get everything off the floors. That's me personally. I don't like baskets on the floors. I don't like I like clear walkways.

[00:27:50] Amy: I like things. Off the floor only furniture on the floor, everything else off the floor. So that [00:28:00] means I'm modifying some things and like I just like a magazine holder. So a lot of people will have a basket with magazines on the floor that becomes a trip hazard if it's in the wrong space. So if you agree the better space or elevating it, so it's easier to access.

[00:28:20] Amy: So that's my thought. What's your thought on it? 

[00:28:23] Janet: It matches yours, so I agree. Nothing should be on the floor other than furniture. One big no-no is paper on the floor. Paper is one of the objects that is the easiest to slip on and. And I see it all the time, especially with people who have limited mobility and they kind of create a life around the space that they occupy the most.

[00:28:54] Janet: So often a chair in the living room and they have everything that [00:29:00] they need around them. And oftentimes that includes paper. And so you see paper on the floor or you see paper that has a potential to be on the floor. And it just creates a big fall hazard for that person. And they think that they need to have all of these items there.

[00:29:22] Janet: But they don't, like you said, yeah. They just need help help, like from someone like. And 

[00:29:29] Amy: even I know we said furniture is okay to have on the floor, but having less furniture because even little side tables, if there's just too much I'm thinking of a client I worked with whose she had everything up.

[00:29:48] Amy: Off the floor, but she just had a lot of furniture. So all of her walkways were tight, which made it hard. If she was off balance a little bit, she was [00:30:00] bumping into it, it just didn't flow well for her. And so we I think we eliminated a whole couch because again, she wasn't using the couch.

[00:30:10] Amy: It just, she felt like she needed to have it like. Something that was required to have in a living room, but she had a love Steven and Sharon, that's all she really needed. And we did that and we created open walkways was clear to walk and comfortably through the whole space. I agree. I 

[00:30:33] Janet: have a similar story.

[00:30:35] Janet: This woman that she lived alone and she had a beautiful house. Okay. It was not cluttered. But what she did have was a piece of beautiful furniture that was at the beginning of a hallway. And so you had to kind of get around it to get to the hallway. And when I went through her home doing the home evaluation, I S I told her [00:31:00] you're not going to like what I'm going to say, but this, even though this piece of furniture is very beautiful, it should not be there.

[00:31:08] Janet: You should find a new home for it. And she said, oh no, this, it was an antique. And it was the reason why I was there was because she fell and had a fracture 

[00:31:21] Amy: because she tripped over 

[00:31:23] Janet: that 

[00:31:23] Amy: same piece of furniture. Right. Right. And 

[00:31:27] Janet: so I'm telling her to remove it after she already tripped over it. And she's still.

[00:31:34] Janet: Making the argument that no, that piece of furniture needs to stay there. Yeah. So that just doesn't make any sense, but that's how much people hold on to their belongings and value these things. That 

[00:31:51] Amy: could have killed her time. Yeah. 

[00:31:54] Janet: Yeah. So, so yeah, I, I totally understand. It's challenging to [00:32:00] get people to get rid of not just things, but get rid of furniture.

[00:32:04] Amy: Furniture is a hard one because the other piece of it is they've acquired these things they love which I agree with stuff like that and creating the clear pathways Even a recliner. So I have I'm thinking of my mother. She has a recliner, which is lovely. It's comfortable, excuse me.

[00:32:29] Amy: And but she can get it open, but it won't close. Which means as in your seventies trying to use your body to close the recliner 

[00:32:40] Janet: yes. More challenging. And I've come across that a lot too. And so now you've added a fall hazard because if you give up on closing it and you're going to get out of the chair a different 

[00:32:51] Amy: way, right?

[00:32:53] Amy: Yeah. I've seen 

[00:32:54] Janet: that. Yeah. 

[00:32:56] Amy: Excuse me. Sorry. Yeah, so. [00:33:00] Giving up on the furniture that isn't working well for you and buying something that will, or replacing it, bringing, shifting things around in your space. So even that side table, that trip term maybe we can move it to an area that's not near a walkway, move it over to a wall that you don't walk by and it can still be visible and beautiful, but it's not.

[00:33:27] Amy: Yeah, that's a great suggestion. Yeah, that's hard. So it 

[00:33:31] Janet: is, that's why we need professionals like you.

[00:33:38] Janet: So as people are getting older and the baby boomer population is increasing year after year, how have you seen your business change and the age of your clients?

[00:33:57] Amy: Oh, good question. [00:34:00] Yes, the age. I w I do, I have a whole mix, so it's a variety of helping young families. There's all sorts of, so I don't know that my clientele has changed that much. I will tell you I have more, I think a young families are figuring it out more because I am getting more seniors who are trying to stay in place, trying to simplify, trying to make their homes workable for them in their spot, where they are and safe.

[00:34:45] Amy: I don't know if that answers your question because yeah, I know I have such a mix of clients, but I'm just going through the clients and my mind and I've helped. I [00:35:00] hoped one senior stay in place for awhile. Then I helped her move to assisted living or independent living than assistant living. A nursing home.

[00:35:10] Amy: So I helped her go through all many transitions and it was a beautiful process to go through it with her, because what I saw with her was a realization of what was really important and what was really important were the things that made her comfortable, the few pieces. Art that she really loved.

[00:35:37] Amy: And then her family, and it kind of came down to, oh, this is the stuff that's really important. It was pretty beautiful. And going from a home that was super cluttered to that, I was like, okay, you've made it. And what's really important here. It's the people around you and the things. 

[00:35:57] Janet: That's great.

[00:35:59] Janet: So. [00:36:00] I would like you to give our listeners advice on three things that they could do today that would help declutter and organize their home so that it is safer. 

[00:36:18] Amy: Okay. Good question. And I viewed it in prepped me for this one. So the best I can. All right. Number one. I would say identify prime real estate in your space.

[00:36:31] Amy: Okay. And prime real estate are the things that are easy to read. Just so in your kitchen, the prime real estate is your countertop. That's easy to reach then typically in your upper cabinets, your bottom two shelves are prime real estate. The third one up usually gets a little too high to reach. And then if you go to your bottom cabinets, usually the top shelf is [00:37:00] prime real estate, and maybe the front of the bottom.

[00:37:05] Amy: But not the back of the bottom shelf. Okay. And I don't even know if the top shelf down below is completely prime real estate. It may only be the front depends on how much you want to bend over. So once you identify your prime real estate, the things that are easy for you to get to, and this space. Then you need to go through those spaces and make sure the stuff you use all the time.

[00:37:36] Amy: I'm real estate. Okay. If you have things that are in your prime real estate that you hardly ever use, then we need to move them somewhere else and get them out of the prime real estate. So you're working with all this. That you need access to, and it's easy to get [00:38:00] to. So that's kind of the kitchen, the prime real estate for the kitchen.

[00:38:04] Amy: You could also do that with your closet the prime real estate. And then the closet is typically. When you are standing at the front of your closet, the front and center, that's your prime real estate. Those are where the stuff that you wear all the time, the stuff you love is right there. Your dressy clothes that you may wear for special occasions need to go somewhere else.

[00:38:27] Amy: Not in that prime real estate. Okay. So prime real estate identify that and then clearly. The next is to really start thinking about memorabilia and memorabilia is the stuff that you are hanging on to. That is your story. That's what memorability is this? The things you love because it brings a memory back or it's something.[00:39:00] 

[00:39:01] Amy: It's photos all of that stuff, those things that are memories start thinking about this less is more. And I know you mentioned this earlier less is more when it comes to memorabilia, because if you have too much, then nobody's going to take the time to know your story. They're just going to, when we're gone and we're all going to be gone at some point, if we have too much stuff.

[00:39:30] Amy: Then it's going to overwhelm the people left behind and take the time to process it and love it and enjoy it and honor it because if they're overwhelmed, they'll probably just start picking it up and throwing it away. Or they're not gonna, they're just not going to have the time to take care of it the way you have taken care of it.

[00:39:53] Amy: Okay. So dwindling your treasures day. And identifying what really is a treasure [00:40:00] and knowing that not everything can be a treasure. Okay. I like that. Okay. So once you do that, though, once you start identifying things that are a treasure, tell the story why, and this is where you can really leave a legacy of, oh, here's an example.

[00:40:21] Amy: My grandfather had a rolling pin. He was a baby. And he had a rolling pen that was solid. And the new rolling pens have. There are separate, like the handles. You can actually hold the handles and the pin and it moves, right? Yes. His was a solid. So you had to, he had to finagle it. I don't know. It's not had to work harder.

[00:40:46] Amy: You had to work harder, but that rolling pin is in our family and it has a story attached to it. And there's a piece of paper written with who's. It was. He [00:41:00] was a baker. He ran a business and this was the name of it was the whole, my aunt wrote a whole story about my grandpa and his rolling pen.

[00:41:11] Amy: And it was about my grandpa, but the rolling pen symbolized it. And it's been passed down to the grandchildren. Now, maybe soon the great-grandchildren is going to go to, but it's kind of a cool thing. So. If you're going to keep things, you're identifying them as a treasure, then let's tell the story, take a picture of it, write a story record it.

[00:41:37] Amy: We all have these little smart smartphones. You can create a note about the rolling pen and just push record and talk about it and then share it with your family. Yeah, 

[00:41:53] Janet: that's a beautiful. 

[00:41:56] Amy: Okay. So those are my three tips. How's that? Okay. 

[00:41:59] Janet: I [00:42:00] do have something since the bathroom is so important when it comes to function.

[00:42:07] Janet: And it's usually where people, once they have issues in that area, they either need to move or they have to have a caregiver or a paid caregiver come and help them. And so. Do you have tips for the bathroom area that will increase how decluttering it and organizing it will increase 

[00:42:31] Amy: your independence?

[00:42:33] Amy: Yeah. The bathroom is the super important space to make sure all the stuff in there is functional and sometimes we've And then moving stuff out of it that's that doesn't have to be there. So an example is as you're like in my bathroom right now, I have body lotion and my bathroom. Okay.

[00:42:59] Amy: [00:43:00] Just because that's the type of thing that I use in the bathroom. But. When I get older, it might be something that I move out near my couch, where I'm sitting and I can put lotion on. And it doesn't just because it's always been in the bathroom, doesn't mean that it has to always stay in the bathroom.

[00:43:20] Amy: We can shift locations and make the stuff that's in there more functional or a one of my clients. She had all of her makeup and hair stuff in her bathroom. And. As she was needing to put different things in the bathroom for self care, her makeup and face lotions and hair stuff. We actually created a space outside of her bathroom to get ready, to help her clear the bathroom out.

[00:43:53] Amy: So we created a new vanity space. For when she does want to put on [00:44:00] all for lipstick and makeup, she had a home for it, but it wasn't taking out the prime real estate on the bathroom that needed to be specifically for the self care, not as much for the makeup and plus standing to put makeup on and to fix your hair was a little too much.

[00:44:18] Amy: So it. Just because that stuff's always been in that space doesn't mean that it has to stay there. Make sure it's really has to be in that space. Yeah. I really like your idea. Yeah. Now I will say the key to that though is you have to clear out other spaces.

[00:44:39] Janet: That's true. What you said about sitting down to put on makeup and doing your hair.

[00:44:46] Janet: I always recommend you do in a seated position. Number one, it's safer. Number two, you're going to be more comfortable and you're going to do a better job at putting on your makeup and at doing your hair if [00:45:00] you're sitting down. So one thing that if you have the space

[00:45:08] Amy: is to have a 

[00:45:09] Janet: multilevel one that is the right height for standing up brushing her teeth, washing her face, and then another height where you can sit down and it's a luxury. I I know it's a luxury, not everyone has that space, but if you have that space instead of having to double sinks, Hey, maybe that's what you should do.

[00:45:32] Janet: Only have one sink and then have multilevel counter. So that you can sit down to do other activities or not even put on makeup. How about putting in eye drops? Right. That's something that you should do in a seated position. So, or taking your medication maybe you have all your medication organized and if you can sit down and you have good lighting and you make a ritual out of it.[00:46:00] 

[00:46:00] Janet: And so you take your medication correctly at the same time and everything, is there access. 

[00:46:06] Amy: Yeah. Yeah. Medication is one of those things. I'm glad you mentioned that because I have seen the longer that you can organize your medication and take it correctly at the correct time, the correct dosage and follow the regimen.

[00:46:26] Amy: The longer you can stay in place because the peop the. Seniors that I've worked with, who have gone into assisted living. One of the key things was their medication. They were unable to take care of getting there taking it as scheduled and as they were supposed to. So if you can organize that.

[00:46:53] Amy: I agree 

[00:46:54] Janet: with you and it absolutely is doable. Even for people who have [00:47:00] dementia, caregivers can play while they will have to play a bigger role in medication management, but someone can totally live alone while having dementia, depending on what stage they're in. It would of course have to be an earlier stage.

[00:47:15] Janet: But they can continue to live in their homes with the. Things in place to help them function. And so if their ma, if their medication is being managed by either you have an electric medication dispenser that will only allow the medication to come out at the right time and the specific medication, then you just made a medication management that much safer.

[00:47:41] Janet: So the person isn't going to overdose or forget to take their meds. So I love that. I think in fact, I predict that as a CPO, you're going to have more and more business coming your way for medication 

[00:47:56] Amy: management. Yeah. I think it's a big [00:48:00] it's a challenge and everybody thinks about it differently.

[00:48:03] Amy: So you have to figure out what works best for them. I love that electronic one though. I haven't seen the. I haven't seen that. I haven't had a client that has had that. So that's kind of a, 

[00:48:15] Janet: yeah. I've seen him where 

[00:48:17] Amy: they speak to you. Yeah. Yeah. They 

[00:48:20] Janet: speak to you. They open up at only a specific time and yeah.

[00:48:25] Janet: So they speak to you so that they get the person's attention and tell them to come and take their medications. Because caregivers will. So this is one strategy I've seen a lot is that caregivers will call their mom or their dad and say, Hey, mom, it's time for you to take your medication. But the thing is, the person can forget and you don't know for sure that they took their medication when you called them to tell them to take their medication.

[00:48:53] Janet: But here with this dispenser then you have. You know whether or not they took [00:49:00] it. So, 

[00:49:01] Amy: yeah, that's great. Yeah, but Amy, 

[00:49:04] Janet: I loved all your information. Your advice is so valuable and I think more and more people are going to need information and your skills and your services because it just helps in so many different aspects of your life.

[00:49:25] Janet: Yeah. Not just aging in place, but your mental health, your happiness, your safety. 

[00:49:33] Amy: Yes. Yes. Thanks. Great to be here. And if you need an organizer in your area, I know you've got listeners from all over. You can go to nato.net and look for certified professional organizers. We have about 300 in the country, three 50, I think.

[00:49:53] Amy: And we all have to have a certain level of education, a certain level of [00:50:00] experience, and we have to pass tests and understanding of psychology and stuff like that to give. So we're, we can be a great resource to help people agents. 

[00:50:10] Janet: That's great. And how about your business specifically? Freshly organized.

[00:50:14] Janet: How can people get in touch with you and do you do services remotely? Do you provide 

[00:50:20] Amy: services? Okay. I can do virtual or I travel to work with people I've traveled all over the country to work with people. I'm freshly organized.com. And you can email me, amy@freshlyorganized.com. And I can help virtually I can help caregivers, especially health.

[00:50:45] Amy: Be organized for whoever they're helping especially that's, what's really helpful. Remotely is working with caregivers to clear passage pathways and things like that and give them some tools. [00:51:00] But yeah, I can help. I love to help. So I do 

[00:51:06] Janet: well. Thank you, Amy. I loved having you today. 

[00:51:09] Amy: Thank you.

[00:51:10] Amy: It was nice talking with you.