Sunday, August 7, 2011

Having A Blast With The Past

As many of you know, I have spent the last several months helping my best friend sort and organize her family home now that her parents have both passed away.  Her parents home is a good size house packed full of all the stuff you would imagine a family of 7 would accumulate over 50 years.  If you have ever taken on this same task, you know it can be quite a journey.  I have touched just about everything in this house from clothes, letters, photos and more.  My friend and I have laughed, cried and plain scratched our heads over the contents of all the closets, dressers and boxes that fill the house.  As an organizer, this was the first time I had worked with an estate.  Along the way I have picked up lots of great ideas for preserving family memories while paring down the amount of storage space needed to something manageable.  This week we tackled a sizeable stack of vinyl record albums.

First we investigated charities that might accept these albums for donation.  As it happens, the local Friends of the Public Library accept albums along with books for resale in their annual fundraiser.  Next we sorted the albums into those that went straight to the donate pile, those that might be collectible to be offered on Ebay, and tagged all the albums my friend wanted to download onto her computer.  That's when she busted out her latest "gadget"!  The ION LP Conversion Turntable.

This cool turntable plugs via USB right into your computer and you can connect it to speakers or a boombox so you can listen to the record you are downloading.  The turntable comes with software for downloading and it works really well.  My friend purchased her turntable on on clearance for $99.  I believe they retail for around $150.00.  ION has lots of products for converting vinyl and cassette tapes to your computer or Ipod.  Check them out at

As we discovered, it was important to carefully and thoroughly clean your vinyl records before putting them on the turntable for downloading.  The best way to clean vinyl records is with a soft, clean cloth dipped in dishwashing soap and water, rinse and dry with another soft cloth, then wipe down with rubbing alcohol to make sure all the soap residue is removed.  Scratches really can't be repaired on vinyl the way they can on CDs, but we found that most of the skipping on old records was caused by dirt and a good cleaning worked wonders. 

Once your turntable is set up and the records cleaned, the fun really begins.  We spent all afternoon spinning old records... Mama Cass, Marshall Tucker Band, Aretha Franklin, Barbara Striesand and more.  I felt like a teenager again, hanging out in my bedroom with my friends, playing records, painting our toenails, and talking about boys.

Thanks to technology, precious memories in photos, letters, documents and, yes, even those dusty old LPs can be preserved for generations to come.

Happy Organizing,

Clutter Diva

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Trash Talk

My friend found a really cool and unique way to hide her trash cans I felt I had to share.  Using some neat old doors and screen doors she had collected and $6.00 worth of hinges, she built a screen around her outside trash cans, which are visible from the street.

This screen is in perfect keeping with her artist studio that occupies the carport and guesthouse right behind it.  I'm sure in the coming weeks and months she will hang some neat, funky art pieces on these doors, making them even more interesting.

Sometimes the perfect solution is right in your own backyard requiring only 6 bucks and trip to Home Depot.

Happy Organizing,

Clutter Diva