How we moved my 79 year old mother-in-law: tips on moving, downsizing and getting your home ready to sell

March 29, 2017
Pin It


Are you planning to move any time in the next 20 years? This blog post is for you! We recently helped my mother-in-law (Tine – Dutch for Tina) move from Texas to North Carolina. She has been living in Houston for 23 years and lost her husband 15 years ago; she’s never moved or sold a home by herself.

Moving is the 3rd most stressful thing a person can experience. You are often changing your zip code which means getting used to a new area, making new friends, finding new doctors and getting a new driver’s license (yuck). It does not have to be a terrible experience; follow these steps to make it easier:

Step 1: Decide where you want to live?

Do you want to move into a smaller space? Maybe a condo, apartment or independent living is right for you. Is the yard work too much or the stairs to get to your bedroom? A one-level ranch may be your perfect fit.
Tine decided to come back East and live closer to family. She did not want to be responsible for a house or yard anymore and she is physically and mentally fit. The best option for her was an apartment.

Step 2: What do you want to take with you?
Moving is the perfect time to purge! If you are moving into a smaller space, you can’t take everything. Stick to the necessities and irreplaceable keepsakes such as photos. Go through each room and make a list of your “must have’s” and your “really wants”.

I recommended 4-6 of each dish, glass, a few pots and pans, one of each used small appliance (coffee pot), the clothing you wear, the furniture that will fit in your new space, framed photos and art, linens, towels, toiletries, cleaning supplies, electronics, etc.

Don’t worry, anything you don’t take can be donated or maybe even sold.

Step 3:Plan ahead for the move: Get moving and packing quotes ahead of time.

Movers will come to your home and give you a free quote. I highly recommend getting at least 2-3. You may find that storage pods are a better fit or renting a truck yourself.

We decided to hire movers and rent a truck that my husband and his brother drove from TX to NC. This is not the best option for everyone but they wanted a bro road trip and we were able to save Tine some money on a cross-country move. I packed her belongings for her 2 days before the move, the movers loaded everything onto a U-Haul we rented, the guys drove to North Carolina and another team of movers unloaded at her new apt. I also hired unpackers for her so she could be completely ready to spend the night in her new place.

Step 4: Estate sale or donation pick up

Anything you don’t want or need anymore is much appreciated by charities. There are many who will pick up your house hold items for free and give you a letter for your taxes. Go to to find a charity near you. Would you rather try to sell your items? Contact some estate sale companies in your area and get them to come give you an estimate ( will have a list). Most have minimum requirements and take a % of profit. If you are living in your home, there are some online estate sale options too: try max sold or everything but the house.

For Tine’s house, we went with an auction clean out company. Her HOA does not allow estate sales so this was a good option for her. What they did not take, we had a charity pick up.

Step 5: Getting your home ready to sell

You may have to do this step while you are still living in your current home. If so, just move this to step 1 or 2. The key in this day and age is to make your home as neutral as possible for the buyer. You will want to start with a budget; how much can you afford to put into the home without losing too much. The most important thing is to fix anything that needs an obvious repair: leaky roof, water stains in the ceiling, stains or bad odors in the carpet, etc.

For Tine’s house, I interviewed and hired a roofer, painter and floor company to give the house a fresher look without breaking the bank.

For detailed tips see my blog:

You will also want to hire a reputable real estate agent. I interviewed 3 in Texas and chose her neighbor who is experienced, knowledgeable about the neighborhood and can keep an eye on the house for us.


Step 6: Enjoy your new home

After you have done all this hard work, made your repairs, sold your house, moved into your new place and unpacked, it’s time to sit back and relax! Yes it’s hard to make big changes in your life but you have your future to look forward to. Life is not about the stuff you had to part with, it’s about the memories you have made and the new ones you are going to make.

Need help with project management, packing, unpacking, pre-staging or more? Contact us at 404-825-2105 or

Continue reading...

Donate, Shred & Trash Oh My

January 26, 2017
Pin It


I get asked every single day about charitable donations. You don’t want your stuff anymore and you can’t seem to sell it so who should you give it to? Charities will pick up everything from furniture and clothes to dishes and décor. Most people have their favorite charities but they don’t all take everything. Because I like to “keep it simple”, I find making one call to one place who picks up almost everything, is the best way to go.

There is a website where you can find a list of charities who will pick up items at your home: Most will need 1 week – 1 month notice to get you on their schedule. The only caution I will give you is not all charities will pick up all of your items. Remember, the charity has to sell your items at their store in order to donate money to the greater cause.
Items most donation companies will NOT accept:

Damaged furniture (scratches, mildew or stains)
Recalled items (children’s car seats, cribs, bumper pads, etc.)
Under wear
Trash, paperwork, magazines, family photos

In the Metro Atlanta area where we live, the best place I have used is a thrift store who contributes to an abused women’s shelter. They pick up just about everything (if it’s in good condition) and they bring trucks and men to do the lifting. The thrift store is called Cheaper By The Dozen 5261 Buford Highway, Norcross, GA. You can contact Bruce Carter at 770-873-6058 to schedule a pick up.

What if you have items like tile, lumber, cabinets, lighting or appliances?

Habitat for Humanity ReStore free pick up 770-962-4200

So what do you do with items you can’t donate? Their are tons of trash removal companies who will come to your home for a fee ($85-$600+). They take anything from old paint cans to whole house clean outs. Here are some companies in my area who can help:
Stand Up Guys 770-369-0305
College HUNKS 888-689-5999
Hullaway 404-380-9395

Need someone to shred your personal documents? Google “free shredding events” and the name of your city first to save tons of money. Shredding companies will also come to your house for the same price as taking it to the local office supply store! Eco Shredding: 770-826-5459

Have further questions or need help figuring out what to keep? sell? donate? or trash? Call us at 404-825-2105 or send us an e-mail:

Continue reading...

Instead of Resolutions in 2017

December 22, 2016
Pin It


I hate New Year’s resolutions! They set us all up for certain failure. My 2017 resolution is to have no resolutions at all. I realize I’m not the first person to say this but why does everyone keep shelling out money on gym memberships in January only to quit by February? Using words like “always” or “never”, “all” or “none” are not realistic words.

I love the idea of working on yourself and having hopes and attainable goals. Do me a favor and try something new this year. Instead of saying “I’m going to lose 20 pounds” focus on what you can do to be more healthy. For example, drink more water every day, move your body more times per week, reward your success with something other than a fattening treat. All of these examples are simple, attainable and will make you feel better. You will also be more likely to continue these goals because you won’t feel the disappointment of the scale if you haven’t reached your goal weight after only 1 month of trying.

Here are other ways you can use attainable action steps instead of resolutions:

  • I would like to read more books in 2017. I’m shooting for 1 per month but in my busier months will be ok if I don’t finish.
  • Giving makes me feel good. I’m going to donate 2 hours of my time each month to my favorite charity. You don’t have time to give? Give some money you would have spent on an unnecessary item.
  • I’ve always wanted to learn a new language. I’m going to take a language course in 2017.
  • My sister is so crazy busy all the time. I’m going to offer to baby sit for her at least once per quarter.

The only thing stopping you is your imagination. Dream big but set goals you can achieve without feeling bad or sacrificing too much of your day.

We wish you a very happy 2017!

If one of your goals is to work on your time management, de-clutter or get more organized, call us at 404-825-2105 or email:

Continue reading...

Travel tips – How to simplify your vacation

November 30, 2016
Pin It


We just returned from the trip of a lifetime. My husband Tim and I went to Italy. We spent 2 days in Rome, 7 days in Florence and 1 day in Venice. Our friend moved to Florence a few months ago and we wanted to surprise her for her birthday by visiting her new home town. While we were away, we posted lots of photos of our trip on social media. Many of my friends commented how jealous they were or how they have always wanted to go on an amazing trip but never would be able to. I want to give you some tips so you can plan that trip of a lifetime. Never say never.

1. Come up with a budget and savings plan today. Give yourself 1 year (or whatever you need) to save the money so you don’t feel guilty about spending while your trying to enjoy your vacation. Decide where you want to go and estimate at least $3000 for flights, hotels, food, etc.

2. Ask for time off from work ASAP. The quicker you ask, the better chance you have of getting the time.

3. Enlist the help of a travel agent. Travel agents know the best places for you to go, stay and tour guides while your there, train schedules, luggage rules, plus they save you loads of money. You do not pay for their services, they get a percentage from the airlines and hotels. The best travel agent I know is Melissa IntVeldt with My Traveling Panda. You can contact her at

4. Now that you have your trip booked and are saving towards it, come up with your home back up team. You will want people to help you with child care, pet care, house sitting (getting your mail) and in my case running Simply Organized while I was gone.

5. When you are within a week of your trip, check weather at your destination so you can plan ahead with packing the right clothes. We had to buy water proof jackets for Florence and I was so glad we had them. Get a converter for your electronics and find out if you need an international phone plan if you are going over seas. Schedule your dates for out of office messages on your e-mail and voice mail. Figure out how you will get to the airport (parking vs. Uber).

6. Go on your trip of a lifetime! I could spend days telling you what to pack, how to pack light, or how to get the most time out of each day but instead I want you to experience your trip. Part of the fun of a new destination is the little hiccups, the detours and figuring it out.

Please call me if you want any help: Heather 404-825-2105 or


Continue reading...

Tips for seniors and anyone downsizing

October 28, 2016
Pin It


It seems like October has been senior month for Simply Organized. I gave three presentations to 55 and older groups and also had an elder care panel at our NAPO meeting. Not only did I give a lot of advice, I learned a ton too!

I usually tell people what to keep, what to donate, what is worth reselling and help with creative use of space in their new smaller home.  I’m usually the bearer of bad news when it comes to value of “antiques” and letting people know that most of their adult children do not want all of their stuff. I have zero attachment to my clients belongings so it is much easier for me and sometimes comes across as very unsentimental.

During our elder care panel, one of our speakers, Valerie Darling from Home Care Matters told us that most seniors want to leave their legacy. It’s important to them to know their memories will be passed on. I needed to be reminded of this so I will now use more patience and compassion with my senior clients.

Owner of Life After Loss, Doris Vaughans, taught us that older people are more emotionally strong than we think. They have experienced a lot in their life time and have handled more than we know. We should not assume that they can’t get through a loss or a move. We should also give everyone the time they need to grieve and adjust to their new surroundings; it takes some more than others.

The estate attorney on our panel, Meridith Bush, made us all more aware of estate planning. Tell someone you trust where you bank, prepare a notebook (or two) with account information, your will, your living will wishes and any other documentation that will be needed if you are in an accident or in preparation for your loved ones. Don’t assume someone knows your passwords or can find your safe deposit key.

If you are planning to downsize in the next 5-10 years, if you are planning to move, if you need help with home health care, grief counseling, estate planning, packing, unpacking, de-cluttering or anything else, please contact us. We have many resources to help solve most of your problems. 404-825-2105 or

Continue reading...

Need gift ideas for the holidays?

October 28, 2016
Pin It


We are about to enter what most people think of as the most stressful time of the year – the holidays. With so many parties to plan and go to, shopping, wrapping, cooking, family and travel, don’t let gift giving stress you out.

Last year I encouraged you to give and ask for time, memories and or gift cards to reduce the amount of stuff we don’t really use or need. This year, I’m doing it again! Here are some of my favorite ideas for giving and receiving gifts:


Babysitting = give the gift of a night out for your friends or family

Memorable outing = take your loved one to a play, tree lighting, concert or holiday festival.

Gift certificates = massage, nail salon, dinner, movies or 3 hours of help from Simply Organized (gift certificate on the home page)

Amazon or Barnes and Noble gift card = If they love books, tv, music, or movies

Potluck dinner = My friends and I do a potluck dinner instead of gifts each year. We get to spend a few hours face-to-face with each other and it doesn’t cost a lot of money. Sometimes we have it in January because December is too hectic.

Photo Book = If you have a little extra time, Use (also app) or Free prints, Shutterfly or Snapfish to create a photo book.

The best gift of all (wink wink)= my new book –  A Simplified Life:

No matter what you decide to ask for or shop for this year, try to remember that the holidays is about your loved ones. If you are too busy and stressed you could miss this wonderful time of the year!

Need help? Over whelmed? Call us 404-825-2105 or e-mail


Continue reading...

8 Things Professional Organizers Do Every Night Before Bed

October 28, 2016
Pin It


iStock/Leonardo Patrizi

I was recently quoted in an article by Kirsten Clodfelter in one of my favorite magazines, Reader’s Digest. See Kirsten’s full article at

Here is my tip from the article:

Power up your devices each night before unwinding. “I put cell phone and other electronic devices on a charging station I keep near the entrance of my house,” says Heather Rogers, author of A Simplified Life: How to Achieve Order and Calm So You Can Reclaim Time, Energy, and Control. This way, I never forget it and my devices are always fully charged.”


Need help? Overwhelmed? Call us 404-825-2105 or e-mail

Continue reading...

Procrastination – How’s That Working For You?

September 20, 2016
Pin It


This is a photo of file folders taken at a client’s home recently. They had a file box and inside one file labeled “Do Now” and another “Do Later”. After laughing for several minutes and guessing what would be in the folders, we discovered documents from 3 years ago in both. I see this daily in my work with clients.

It is clear that they were (and still are) trying to come up with a system, tackle their mountains of papers and simplify their lives. The problem is we all tend to put off the things we do not want to do. My favorite part of this filing system is when is “now” and when is “later”? If you are truly going to tackle something “now” there is no need to create a file for it right?

When it comes to paper and especially mail, go through it immediately. The moment you bring it in your house (or in the garage) have trash, shred and bins or folders ready.

  1. Throw away your junk mail – do not keep it
  2. Shred any items you don’t need that have a social security, bank account or credit card number on them.
  3. Put the rest in bins or folders marked for each family member or in order of importance
    1. Weekly = bills to pay, rsvp, permission slips, etc.
    2. Monthly = items to file
  4. Have alarms set on your phone/ calendar to empty your bins every week and do it!

The longer you put things off, the more stressful and overwhelming they become. Do it now, check it off your list, sleep better!

If you need our help tackling something you’ve been putting off, call us at 404-825-2105 or email

Continue reading...

What to Consider When Choosing Contractors

September 15, 2016
Pin It

I call Mark Madans at HOCOA Home Repair Network at least once a week for help with our clients’ homes. He has a list of vetted experienced contractors, cleaners, carpet and hardwood flooring, painters and handymen ready to come to your home and help you.

What to Consider  When Choosing Contractors 

When you need help with home repairs, finding reputable contractors, handymen, painters, plumbers, or electricians can be a headache. Using a trusted company that already has connections with qualified providers can be a lifesaver. There is never a convenient time for things to break in, on, or around your home, but when they do, most homeowners, do not want to spend time searching online or flipping through directories to find the right contractors for the job. And you don’t want to wind up with poor workmanship or an incomplete project.

So, how do you get it done right the first time, and save yourself some time, money, and headaches?

  1. Hire only insured providers who have been vetted by a third party.
  2. Get a detailed written estimate prior to starting the project. Estimates should be specific  about the scope of the project, materials to be used (including colors or brands), clean up, expected completion date, and payment schedule. Legitimate contractors will happily create the written estimate because it protects them as well.
  3. Communicate in writing and summarize phone conversations via a follow-up email to ensure you and the contractor are on the same page.
  4. Review all work to ensure it is completed to your satisfaction prior to making the final payment.

Imagine making one phone call and finding a qualified, reputable contractor for any home repair need you have. No more searching the Yellow Pages. No more hopeful calls to friends. No more Facebook blasts. No more reading reviews, hoping they’re real. Get trusted contractors quickly and easily with HOCOA—The Home Repair Network—and get your project off to a great start. HOCOA provides you with insured, qualified contractors for all your home repair, maintenance, and improvement needs.  Check them out at

If you need a project manager to help you schedule those repair men and make sure they are staying on schedule and on budget, Simply Organized can help you. Contact us at  404-825-2105 or

Continue reading...