Friday, October 12, 2007

Organizing games, dvds and books

Video games, books, DVD’s – what do they all have in common with rabbits? The answer – they seem to breed in the closets, multiplying exponentially when you aren’t looking. Have you ever opened your drawer/closet or wherever you store these items, only to wonder how you got so many?? Some great tips for keeping these collections under control are as follows:
· Regularly go through your collection, say, every 6 months or so. Be honest with yourself and pull out the items that you truly do not use or will not likely use again any time soon. If you haven’t read, played or watched it in the last six months, it is time to bid it farewell.
· Not sure about a particular item? Maybe you come across a book that you don’t think you want, but aren’t ready to part with yet? Put it in a bag in the garage for a few months. If you don’t go looking for it, you can move it on out.
· Set aside a period of time and focus solely on your task at hand. Many people will set out to de-clutter and instead find themselves playing that game that has been lying at the bottom of the pile for the last year. Don’t get distracted. Create a pile of books you want to re-read, dvd’s you want to watch tonight or games you want to play again soon. Leave that pile alone until you are done organizing.
· Keep your collection organized so that you can see what you have. I have worked with clients who have multiple copies of the same book or game because they forgot what they had and bought duplicates. I have helped clients organize shelves with books behind books, all covered with dust. If you don’t know what you have and you can’t easily access it, you won’t use it. has some fabulous products for organizing these types of products.
· When you are ready to get rid of movies, books or games, list them on is a division of Ebay where you can very quickly and easily list these items. All you have to do is input the UPC number and the item will be listed. Once you sell what you don’t want, you will have the funds to go buy some new stuff that you do want.

Enjoy what you have by keeping your collection under control and neatly displayed. Not only will you have more fun with it, but chances are whomever you share a living space with will be happier too.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Preparing for the Holidays

Depending on when and how you celebrate your holidays, you have approximately two shopping months left until the big season. Do you feel like the weight of the world (or maybe Santa’s sleigh) just fell on your shoulders? Never fear.

Christmas, Hannakah and all other holidays should be treated like any other big project. Since the holidays come at the same time each year, we can anticipate them and prepare so December is not a month you dread as much as the dentist. Right now I want you to sit down and make two lists. The first list will be of all the people you want to buy gifts for. The second list is a “to-do” list of everything that needs to be done in preparation for the holiday season.

Done? Great! Now it is time to break it down. Let’s start with the gift list:
Can you make this list any smaller? What I mean is, do you really need to buy all the people listed gifts? Do you think that anyone on that list might give a huge sigh of relief if you suggested to them that you skip swapping gifts this year? I made this suggestion to my siblings and they jumped right on board. We agreed to exchange kids’ gifts only, cutting my shopping list by four.
Shop online!! You may pay a bit more, but think of what you save in gas, time, stress….need I say more?
Group gifts that need to be bought by the store they will come from. Then find times between now and December when you will be in the area of those stores. Keep your list with you and get that shopping done when you are in the neighborhood so you aren’t running all over town later.
Not sure what to get people? Carry the list in your wallet year round. When you are out running errands, pull out your list and remind yourself who you need to shop for.

With your to-do list, group items according to when they need to be done. For example, in October you can pick a photo for your holiday cards and stock up on wrapping supplies (thanks to our friendly retailers who have had holiday displays out for a month now), but you need to wait until closer to the holidays to decorate the house and bake cookies. Once things are grouped according to when they need to be done, start plugging them in to your calendar, spreading tasks out by doing a few little things each week. “Getting ready for the holidays” sounds overwhelming. “Go buy stamps for my holidays cards” does not. Break big projects down into small tasks. Assign them to yourself months in advance, depending on when they need to be done. Have peace of mind knowing that everything that needs to be done is written down and that you don’t have to worry about most of it today.

Meagan Farrell, professional organizer, is the owner of Clear the Clutter organizing services. She can be reached at (360) 631-7268 or at