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By Roz Rogoff

About this blog: In January 2002 I started writing my own online "newspaper" titled "The San Ramon Observer." I reported on City Council meetings and other happenings in San Ramon. I tried to be objective in my coverage of meetings and events, and...  (More)

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Getting Organized

Uploaded: Jun 9, 2015
I hired Rachel Seavey, a professional organizer, to help me get rid of all of the years of collected clutter. Rachel uses the business name Collector Care. I needed help cleaning up all of the bags, boxes, cans of tomato sauce, and other miscellaneous stuff strewn about.

If my mother wasn't going blind and living in Maine, she would be very disapproving. "How can you live this way?" I am drowning in stuff and keep buying more. It's my old obsessive-compulsive behavior. It isn't so much the buying as not being able to get rid of the stuff that I don't need or use anymore. I called Rachel because I needed someone to tell me to throw stuff away.

Rachel is not judgmental. She's there to help, not to criticize. She came to help me get my clutter under control. There are three levels for clearing clutter—give things away, throw things away, or put things away. I have too much stuff I never use put away and too much stuff I tried to give away but nobody wanted.

For example I don't use my Melita Thermal Coffeemaker any more, but it is too good to throw away. I tried to give it away on Freecycle, but nobody took it. So Rachel will take it to Goodwill or the Salvation Army, and I won't feel like I'm throwing away something someone could use.

Magazines are my biggest source of clutter. I get trial subscriptions or free subscriptions online, but the magazines just pile up. I don't want to throw them away until I've read them, but I don't take the time to read them and then the next issue comes in. Rachel will take them away and shred them or donate them to an organization that can use them.

I get too much mail from organizations with sob stories or worse on the awful treatment of (fill in the blank) dogs, cats, horses, donkeys, dolphins, children, and old people. Of course they ask for money. If I send them $10 or $20, and I usually do, I get on more mailing lists from more heart wrenching organizations.

Rachel said I should mark the envelopes "Return to Sender," and after two or three rejections, they would stop coming. I hate to do that because the abuse doesn't go away. I just won't see it. The abuse is sadly real.

I do check most of these organizations out on Charity Navigator and mostly support three or four star organizations, but not all of them are rated yet. The ones that annoy me are from professional fundraisers. They enclose 50 cents or a dollar, and even a $2 bill to get recipients to open the letters. If that isn't enough waste of money, these fundraisers charge up to 50% of whatever they raise.

Even if the organization is good and the person running it barely takes a salary and works 20 hour a day, I'd rather he or she was paid better and had an assistant than have half the donations go to fundraisers.

I went through and sorted out the charity letters I would answer and threw the rest away. "They'll come back," Rachel said. I know, it takes three or four times not answering to get off the mailing lists.

Rachel took away three heavy black trash bags full of "stuff." I had room in the pantry to put away all my cans of tomatoes, tomato sauce, and Ro*tel (diced tomatoes with green chilies).

Next week she'll come back with racks and door hangers to organize all of my spices and cooking ingredients. It will be nice to get rid of the clutter and find exactly what I'm looking for the first time I try.

Local Journalism.
What is it worth to you?


Posted by brian shipley, a resident of Downtown,
on Jun 9, 2015 at 11:01 pm

I really liked the way you highlighted some really important and significant points. In this post you say good things come in small packages. Thanks for sharing.
Brain from (Link to cheap essays deleted).

Posted by I'm so sorry..., a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood,
on Jun 9, 2015 at 11:12 pm

But all I could think about while reading this is my favorite show, 'Hoarders- Buried Alive" Web Link

Posted by San Ramon Observer, a resident of San Ramon,
on Jun 10, 2015 at 1:17 am

San Ramon Observer is a registered user.

Don't be sorry,

Cluttering is nowhere near being buried under stuff, but if it goes on too long it could turn into hoarding. That's why I wanted to stop it from getting worse.


Posted by Rachel Seavey, a resident of San Ramon,
on Jun 11, 2015 at 7:45 am

Dear Roz,

Thank you for writing such a lovely blog. I especially enjoyed the part where you discussed mail solicitations. What a racket! They sure pull at the heart strings!

You are nowhere even close to any hoarding shows, and are a joy to work with.
I cannot thank you enough for this review on our work together.
Very best, Rachel

Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore,
on Jun 11, 2015 at 2:51 pm

Are you planning on Koshering your kitchen or what?

Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore,
on Jun 11, 2015 at 4:43 pm


It's actually easier than you think...but it takes planning.

Posted by I love you Cholo, a resident of Beratlis Place,
on Jun 11, 2015 at 4:52 pm

Shame on the PW for banning you from the TS. I love your deep and thoughtful comments. I am your #1 biggest fan!!

If I am right--- you are a Jewish Argentian whose family fled from Argentina to the Basque region of Spain. Later on, you immigrated to the USA. What a fascinating history.

Posted by Cholo or Jeb?, a resident of Avignon,
on Jun 11, 2015 at 4:58 pm

I thought Cholo=Jeb Bing??

Posted by San Ramon Observer, a resident of San Ramon,
on Jun 11, 2015 at 5:53 pm

San Ramon Observer is a registered user.


No not Kosher. I grew up in a Kosher house because my Grandmother who lived with us was raised Orthodox. I'm not very religious.

The Kashrut laws were necessary in Biblical times because people didn't understand germs or bacteria. We know now why mixing milk and meat (especially in a desert) can cause illness or eating pork wasn't safe 5000 years ago. None of that applies anymore.


Posted by San Ramon Observer, a resident of San Ramon,
on Jun 11, 2015 at 5:55 pm

San Ramon Observer is a registered user.

Cholo or Jeb?

You've got to be kidding! Have you ever met Jeb Bing? No Cholo there.


Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore,
on Jun 11, 2015 at 6:54 pm

Pololo Mololo here!

Some folks have deeply held convictions and truly practice their religious beliefs.

It's not necessary for some folks to have a Kosher kitchen. For others who do, it is a blessing.

I have a big fat hen to roast tonight and it's time to start! yum yum plenty...and I mean it!

Posted by Pololo Mololo, a resident of Livermore,
on Jun 11, 2015 at 7:07 pm

The Spanish-Jewish Connection:

Web Link

Planet earth is a wonderful home! VIVA!

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