Book Review: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up

In the #1 New York Times and International best-selling book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing, author and Japanese cleaning consultant Marie Kondo leads readers through a step-by-step guide she calls her KonMari Method for simplifying, organizing and storing.

In the book, Kondo promises that once you perform her method of properly simplifying and organizing your home, you will never have to do it again. It must work—she reports that none of her clients have lapsed into their old habits, and continue to improve their spaces.

What differs in her approach is that while many organizing professionals advocate a section-by-section approach that never seems to end, Kondo’s KonMari Method espouses a category-by-category system where everything you own in that particular category is gathered and dealt with, either by storing, recycling or disposal. Categories include clothing, socks, books, papers, sentimental items, photos, and more.

Kondo explores motivations for messiness, psychological benefits of tidiness, and the creation of areas in your home that “spark joy,” (which happens to be the title of her next book released in January 2016.) She also shows readers how the living space affects the body, anxiety levels, relationships, and even your good fortune.

“A dramatic reorganization of the home causes correspondingly dramatic changes in lifestyle and perspective,” she says. “When you put your house in order, you put your affairs in order, and your past in order, too. As a result, you can see quite clearly what you need in life and what you don’t, and what you should and shouldn’t do.”

Let 123JUNK Help

123JUNK can also help you bring peace into your life, by hauling away the items (or junk) you no longer want or need and donating them to charities or disposing of them. Just give us a call!


Let’s Prevent Home Fires

At 123JUNK, we care about the people in our community, so from time to time, we like to share some tips that can keep you safe. Here are some tips to preventing home fires.

Fireplace Safety

Since we use our fireplaces this time of year, let’s make sure we use them safely.
• Use a screen made for a fireplace.
• Don’t overload the fireplace. Small fires are safer.
• Do not burn items not meant for the fireplace or add combustibles like gasoline or lighter fluids.
• Be aware that certain fabrics may not be fire-retardant. Use caution when approaching the fire.
• Keep flammable materials away from the fireplace, including Christmas trees, papers, pillows, blankets or furniture.
• Be sure the fire is extinguished before going to bed.

Space Heaters Safety

A large number of home fires are caused by space heaters. To minimize the risk, remember these tips:
• Use only grounded cord with a three-prong plug, plugged directly into the wall outlet, not into an extension cord.
• Be sure the heater is clean and not covered with dust.
• Always turn the heater off when leaving the room, even for a short while.
• Do not use where flammable or explosive vapors are present.
• Do not place near combustible materials. These include paper, magazines, curtains, drapes, or office furniture. Most guidelines recommend at least 36” clearance in front and 18” clearance from the sides and back of the unit.
• Place the unit on a sturdy, level surface.
• Never run the cord underneath anything, including carpets, clothing or clutter.

Plan Clutter-Free Escape Routes

If there is a fire in your home, you’ll want to know how to exit quickly and safely.
• Create an escape plan and route. Know where to exit in case of a fire.
• Practice your escape. Include plans for pets.
• Maintain a clear clutter-free path to travel in case of emergency. If smoke fills the room, vision may be limited.
• Designate a gathering spot outside the house.

Hopefully with these tips, we can all enjoy winter’s warmth! If you need to remove clutter to make your house safer, just give 123JUNK a call. Your safety is our concern.


Putting away the holidays

If you’re like most people, you’re spending one of your weekends in January putting away the holiday decorations. Instead of tossing them all into a box, take the time this year to organize them. This small effort will keep them safe and make decorating next year so much easier.

Group Items into Categories

Dividing items into categories helps the task of packing up go more quickly. Create piles for outdoor decorations, tree ornaments, decorative items, linens, indoor decorations, and wrappings.

Use Storage Boxes

Purchase divided boxes for your fragile ornaments, roll lights onto a spool, store wreaths and artificial trees in appropriately-sized zippered storage carriers. Cinch trees with an old belt or two and label the sections as you remove them for easy re-assembly next year. Corral gift wrap in a convenient caddy.

Dedicate and Label Storage Space

Dedicate a spot in your garage, attic or basement and label boxes as you put them away. Pack the heavy items on the bottom. Hang items from hooks, and use covered bins to keep away bugs and dust and prevent fading. Make a list of anything you need to replace next year and put that in the box marked “open first.”

Give Away or Throw Away

If items are damaged, faded or out of favor, set them aside to give away. This might be a good time to go through all of your holiday decorations and those items you cleared away to make room for them. You might like the new empty spaces once they’ve been cleared.

Simply stack your unwanted items and give 123JUNK a call. We’ll safely remove any items from your property and donate, recycle or dispose of them as needed. All you have to do is point the way.


New Year’s Resolutions

OK, hands up…who has made a New Year’s resolution? Every year at this time we have the opportunity to start afresh. It’s a new year, with the slate wiped clean and endless possibilities before us.

Maybe you’ve resolved to get a better job, be a better parent, eat better, or lose weight. Or perhaps you’ve resolved to create a clutter-free system in the new year. While we can’t help you with the first resolutions, we can help with the last one.

The first step to creating a clutter-free system is to get rid of the clutter that’s clogging your life’s flow. Are your drawers or closets so stuffed that they won’t close? Is every surface in your home covered with items? You’ll actually feel better with a little breathing room.

Step 1: Get Rid of Excess Stuff

The problem is, you own too much stuff. With fewer items in your possession, creating a system will be much easier. Start with easy projects first, like your clothes closet or junk drawer. Then move to larger projects like a basement or attic cleanout.

At 123JUNK, our business is hauling away the items you no longer want or need. We’ll carefully remove items like furniture, appliances, household items, or yard debris from your property and either donate, recycle or dispose of them, as appropriate.

Step 2: Create New Habits

Once you’ve cleared your space, implement new habits to maintain your new lifestyle. Instead of dropping items at the door, or leaving daily-use items on the table, put them back in their place. Tidy the kitchen after each meal, hang up clothing at the end of each day, and develop a daily routine of tidying up. Dedicate previously-clutter-laden spaces like tables and kitchen counters as “clean zones.”

Step 3: Stop Bringing in New Items

The next time you see that shiny new item in the store, ask yourself if you really need it. Will you use it? Do you have a place to store or display it? Walk away when you have the urge to buy, and then think about it when you’re not influenced by the packaging. If you still want and need it, then go back and buy it. Think about adopting a “one in, one out” system where whenever you bring in something new, you get rid of something old. If possible, rent or borrow items for one-time uses, like gardening tools or books.

Once you bust through the clutter and begin living your new habits, you’ll really start to enjoy your clutter-free life. Without all those items to clean and sort, just think of all the free time you’ll have to do something you really enjoy!


Starting the new year right: showing gratitude

Coming into into the new year, we are keenly aware of our attitude of gratitude as we say thank you to all those who opened their homes and hearts to us during the holiday season, and those loved ones who gave us gifts.

It is also important that we say thank you to all of those surrounding us in our business lives as well: our wonderful staff members who work hard all year, our excellent referral sources and charity partners, and our incredible clientele. January 2016 marks the beginning of our eight year in business!

Gratitude is a Core Value

Gratitude is one of our core values here at 123JUNK, and we like to show it as often as we can. We find it is very important to our success as a referral business.

Strategies we use including sending handwritten cards or calls to referral sources, and follow-up calls and handwritten notes to our clients. We even share our client feedback with our referral sources to keep them in the loop.

All of our staff at 123JUNK is trained to genuinely thank our clients as if the gratitude was coming directly from the owner. We put more energy into following up with our clients than we do in searching for new business because we feel our clients can be our sales team if they are happy.

Our Core Values are Who We Are

At 123JUNK, our business is based on a number of core values. Hauling away junk is what we do; our core values are who we are. So as we write our thank you notes to friends and family, we remind ourselves to be grateful for each and every person with whom we interact throughout the year, and look forward to all the new people we’ll meet in 2016.

Happy New Year!