Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Purchasing Organizing Products

As the new year approaches, our focus turns to getting organized. What to do with all the newly acquired stuff?? Well, here is a tip - before you go to your favorite store to stock up on organizing supplies, focus your attention on the elimination process. Downsize before you buy. Once you go through all your stuff and get rid of what you no longer need, you may be surprised to find that you actually don't need any organizing supplies at all.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Dividing Up Chores

Chore charts are not just for kids. They are also a great idea for spouses or roommates too. Create a basic chore chart on your computer. Make a grid with each participants name and each chore that needs to be done each week. At the beginning of the week, allow all participants to choose their chores. If this is a hassle, write each chore on a popsicle stick and put that in a jar. Have participants take turns picking chores until all are doled out. Mark the assignments on the chore chart and put it up for all to see. This will keep both adults and kids on task.




Meagan Farrell, professional organizer, is the owner of Clear the Clutter organizing services. She can be reached at (360) 631-7268 or at clear_theclutter@yahoo.com. Check out her blog at http://cleartheclutterprofessionalorganizing.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Article in The Everett Herald

Clear the Clutter got some nice press today. Check out this article in the Everett Herald:

http://www.heraldnet.com/article/20081209/LIVING/712099944/1028/LIVING03#Stocks.down.Clean.up

Why being organized helps your budget

In these rough economic times, it is important to remember that being organized is also good for your pocketbook. Unorganized people tend to have the following bad economic habits:

• Overbuying – if you don’t know what you have or can’t find something, you will have to go buy another. So often I hear clients exclaim “I have been looking for that! I thought I lost it, so I bought another.” Or as we are organizing their pantry, we come across enough spaghetti to feed a small nation. They had no idea what they had so every time they went to the store, they bought more. Keep things organized and know your inventory.
• Failing to plan ahead – if you do not plan ahead, you spend your life in catch up mode. By not playing on the offensive side and looking ahead, you find yourself always struggling to keep afloat. As a result, you eat dinner out or pick up fast food more often, you buy gifts at the last minute – often paying top dollar or spending more than you planned, or maybe you have to hire people to do things for you because you realize that you just don’t have time to get things done. Plan ahead and know what is coming so you can deal with things in a calm state of mind rather than a frantic, desperate state of mind. Desperation will cost you.
• Not having organized paperwork – do you open and process your mail as it comes in or is it in a big pile, mixed up with other papers that you will get to one day? How will this cost you? In late fees or worse. If you do not process your mail immediately, you may be missing bills that are due, tickets that need to be paid, sign up fees, etc. When you do not pay these bills, you end up paying more in late fees, reinstating fees or court fees. Process your paperwork each and every day in order to keep on top of it.


Meagan Farrell, professional organizer, is the owner of Clear the Clutter organizing services. She can be reached at (360) 631-7268 or at clear_theclutter@yahoo.com. Check out her blog at http://cleartheclutterprofessionalorganizing.blogspot.com/





http://www.heraldnet.com/article/20081209/LIVING/712099944/1028/LIVING03#Stocks.down.Clean.up

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Taking on too much

Clutter comes in two forms: too much stuff and too much to do. Don’t clutter your mind and calendar with more than you can handle. Set limits and learn to say “no.” Actually, you don’t even have to say “no.” Try saying, “I would love to, but my plate is full at this time.” Even if it is not what they were hoping to hear, they will appreciate your honesty.

Taking on too much stretches you thin and will impact the quality of what you do. Some warning signs of overload are forgetting details, always rushing, and not being able to do a quality job. These are all signs that you need to cut back and do a better job at less tasks.

“But if I don’t do it, no one else will!” you say? How do you know? Try setting your boundaries and not taking on the extra work. You might be surprised at who steps forward. Lots of times when one person takes on all the work, they are enabling others to sit back and rely on them. When they finally pull back and do less, new volunteers are able to step forward and spread their wings.

Meagan Farrell, professional organizer, is the owner of Clear the Clutter organizing services. She can be reached at (360) 631-7268 or at clear_theclutter@yahoo.com. Check out her blog at http://cleartheclutterprofessionalorganizing.blogspot.com/

Monday, November 10, 2008

Organization and Manners

Organization and manners aren’t two things that are often associated with one another, but they could be. Living in a state of disorganization often leads to unintended bad manners. So often people make comments like “I meant to send a thank you note, but I just forgot” or “Sorry your gift is late. I just didn’t have time to get it to you earlier.” These apologies may have come from a lack of organization and time management. So I challenge you to honestly ask yourself this question: would you rather spend the rest of your life apologizing for failing to do things or would you rather get organized??

To take this a step further, disorganization may also lead to the loss of friends or rifts with loved ones. So often people complain that they never hear from friends or that someone never acknowledged a gift they sent. If this happens frequently enough, friendships may end up falling apart or family problems may crop up. You may have had the best intentions in sending a thank you note or making a thank you call for a gift received, but just didn’t get to it because you are unorganized. However, the gift giver can’t read your mind and is left thinking that maybe you just didn’t care enough to make the effort. My Grandmother used to always say that if “you can’t make the time to properly acknowledge a gift, then why should I make the time to send one in the first place.” Again, I challenge you to make a choice today. Is being disorganized worth upsetting or hurting friends or loved ones over? You decide.

For some great time management tips or ideas for getting organized for the holidays, check out my blog at www.cleartheclutterprofessionalorganizing.blogspot.com.


Meagan Farrell, professional organizer, is the owner of Clear the Clutter organizing services. She can be reached at (360) 631-7268 or at clear_theclutter@yahoo.com. Check out her blog at http://cleartheclutterprofessionalorganizing.blogspot.com/

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Realistic Organization

I recently did a presentation on the topic of basic organizing. I discussed how the best way to tackle large organizing projects is by breaking them down. The attendees gave me feedback about how relieved they were to hear that just dedicating 15 minutes a day to organizing is acceptable. As a result, I decided to reiterate an earlier point – you don’t have to completely organize your life or even your garage in one day.

Think about it this way – on those organizing shows where they completely overhaul someone’s home, they take a full weekend with a full crew of professionals doing all the heavy lifting. Most of us don’t have a full crew to do that for us. And organizing gets tiring if you try to do it for hours on end. So make it easy on yourself by breaking it down and making your goal achievable. After all, what is more inspiring then achieving your goals?

Set aside a small amount of time that is realistic to dedicate to organizing (this means don’t answer the phone, don’t get sidetracked by children, don’t answer email). Whether it is 15 minutes or two hours, make sure that it is dedicated time where you won’t be distracted. Start with a small section at a time. Pick a closet, a cupboard, a drawer or a corner of the garage. Focusing on a smaller area is less overwhelming and more realistic. Take everything out of that space and divide it into three piles: keep, throw away, or donate/sell. After everything is sorted, put the “keep” pile away in an organized manner. Immediately discard the “throw away” pile, and then either drop off donations or start the selling process of the remaining items. Don’t be tempted to put things away in the middle of this process. That can be done later, after your time is done.

Chip away at the big project. Make your goals small and realistic goals so when you achieve them, you are inspired and motivated to continue on. Congratulate yourself on a job well done! Lastly, make another appointment with yourself to do more organizing. Give yourself the gift of that dedicated time to make your life run more smoothly and be less overwhelming. Being organized is a huge stress reliever and will save you time in the long run. Go for it!



Meagan Farrell, professional organizer, is the owner of Clear the Clutter organizing services. She can be reached at (360) 631-7268 or at clear_theclutter@yahoo.com. Check out her blog at http://cleartheclutterprofessionalorganizing.blogspot.com/

Friday, October 10, 2008

Storing Stuffed Animals

Do your child’s stuffed toys multiply in the closet overnight? Are they coming out of every orifice because there is no way to really store them? If this sounds familiar, then here is a great solution! Get a bean bag chair cover - just the cover, no filling. Fill it up with all your child’s stuffed animals. Voila! The stuffed animals are contained and your child has a fun chair to read on!


Meagan Farrell, professional organizer, is the owner of Clear the Clutter organizing services. She can be reached at (360) 631-7268 or at clear_theclutter@yahoo.com. Check out her blog at http://cleartheclutterprofessionalorganizing.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Clear the Clutter Featured in Root and Sprout

We are excited to be featured in the last few months' editions of Root and Sprout Magazine. Check us out at www.Rootandsprout.com.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Maximizing Closet Space

Small closets? Transition your clothing seasonally. Store out of season clothing in storage boxes, chests or even cardboard wardrobe boxes in your garage. When the weather changes, make your transition. And when you hang your new seasonal clothing, face the hangers backwards in the rack. When you wear an item, wash and re-hang, put the hanger on the correct way. At the end of the season, whichever hangers are still backwards are holding items that you never wore and can get rid of, rather than storing for the next year.

Another way to maximize space is with huggable hangers. These hangers are great because they are really thin and allow you to fit more into your closet.

All the storage items listed can be found and purchased on the suggested products list at www.cleartheclutterprofessionalorganizing.blogspot.com.




Meagan Farrell, professional organizer, is the owner of Clear the Clutter organizing services. She can be reached at (360) 631-7268 or at clear_theclutter@yahoo.com. Check out her blog at http://cleartheclutterprofessionalorganizing.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Managing Sports Equipment

Sports equipment can get really out of hand. Whether if be for the grown ups or the kids, it can really become a nightmare when you are running out the door and need to gather it all to take with you. Get a special carrying bag for each sport. For example, if you play softball and basketball and your child plays soccer and field hockey, you should have four different bags. You could even color code them by the person. Keep all the equipment for that sport in that bag. Put it right back after it is used and teach your children to do the same. Keep those bags on hooks by the door or in the garage. When you are running out, you simply need to grab that bag and go. No more running around the house trying to find all the gear at the last minute.




Meagan Farrell, professional organizer, is the owner of Clear the Clutter organizing services. She can be reached at (360) 631-7268 or at clear_theclutter@yahoo.com. Check out her blog at http://cleartheclutterprofessionalorganizing.blogspot.com/

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Organizing your kitchen

Ah, the kitchen….. It is always the place where we just don’t have enough storage. As with any kind of organizing, the first suggestion is to get rid of that which is not truly needed. Here are some questions to honestly ask yourself as you embark on this project:

• Do I really need a rice cooker, or can I make rice just as easily in a saucepan? Specialized kitchen appliances are rarely used and suck up a ton of space. Most things can be cooked/prepared with a basic set of pots and pans. Unless you seriously use it on a regular basis, consider whether the same job could be achieved with a more versatile item.
• How much Tupperware does one family honestly use? How many shapes and sizes do you really need? I realize that you may have a lovely coordinating set, but if you aren’t using all the pieces, consider keeping only that which you do use. And, have you considered collapsible pieces? They work just as well and collapse into thin pieces which take up very little space (more information on these on my blog).
• Do you really entertain 50 people at a time? And will the drink be less refreshing if it is served in a different shaped glass? If not, then do you really need all that glassware? I will admit that when I got married, I registered for all those cute glass sets – margarita, high ball, martini, etc. After 12 years of marriage, I am down to water glasses and margarita glasses because those can be used for all types of drinks (and really, the margarita glasses could go too, but I use them enough to justify the space). Also, I went from sets of 12 to sets of 8. Glass wear sucks up storage space like no other, yet most of it goes completely unused.

Here is a suggestion: Pick a cupboard or drawer to start with. Get a box and pull everything from that space. Keep it in the box unless you use it. If you do use it, then put it away after. If you don’t use it, it stays in the box. Give it a month. At the end of the month if you have not used it, you probably don’t really need it.

Another quick thought is to keep any holiday or special occasion kitchen items in storage with your holiday items. For example, if you have a special Thanksgiving platter, keep it with your fall/Thanksgiving d├ęcor instead of the kitchen. It not only frees up space in the kitchen, but reminds you that you have it (and should use it) when you get out the holiday items.




Meagan Farrell, professional organizer, is the owner of Clear the Clutter organizing services. She can be reached at (360) 631-7268 or at clear_theclutter@yahoo.com. Check out her blog at http://cleartheclutterprofessionalorganizing.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Gift Giving With Clutter Reduction In Mind

Do you ever receive gifts that you simply do not want or can not use? Of course you do – we all do. I have worked with so many clients who have closets full of unusable/unwanted gifts. So what do you get for people that won’t become just more clutter in their homes? Read on for some ideas on how to be a gift giver who doesn’t add to clutter…..

Gift Certificates – People always say that they don’t like to give gift cards because they are not personal. However, I have yet to meet a single person who complained about receiving a gift card. What better gift than being able to get something you really want or need. A wonderful option is www.giftcertificates.com where you can issue a dollar amount for the recipient to apply to the store, restaurant or travel agency of their choice. Furthermore, you can go green and email it so no plastic changes hands.

Consumable Gifts – What better than to give a gift that can be used and doesn’t have to be stored. Food gifts and flowers are always a great option. Another idea is bath and body products. www.ezrioni.com makes high quality, earth friendly products that can be personalized as well. These make great gifts for adults as well as kids, who get a huge kick out of having bubble bath with their name on it. With these types of gifts, you are not only giving the recipient something they can use, but something that will not be a burden to their organizing efforts.

Gift of Experience – Instead of giving an object, what about an experience? Take the recipient to a show or to a cool tourist spot they have never been. Or what about getting them a membership to a cool museum or getting season tickets to their favorite sports team? Instead of filling their closets, why not fill their heart with a fun time they will never forget. If you can’t be there to take them somewhere, why not get them an entertainment book so they can make their own experiences at a reduced price. At www.entertainment.com you can order an entertainment book for any zip code.

Gift of Service – Instead of filling someone’s cupboards, how about getting them de-cluttered! Give the gift of organizing with a gift certificate from Clear the Clutter! Or does your gift receipient always say that they would love to have an interior decorator come? How about a gift certificate from Distinctive Interior Designs (www.distinctiveinteriordesigns.net ) There are so many great ways to spoil your gift recipient through gifts of service. They will think of you and what a great gift giver you are for years to come as they enjoy their newly painted room or organized closets.

As the holiday season starts to slowly come upon us, keep these tips in mind. January is a time of de-cluttering households. You don’t want to spend your hard earned money on gifts that will just end up going out with the rest of that clutter.


Meagan Farrell, professional organizer, is the owner of Clear the Clutter organizing services. She can be reached at (360) 631-7268 or at clear_theclutter@yahoo.com. Check out her blog at http://cleartheclutterprofessionalorganizing.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Giving Directions

Here is a quick organizing tip for the day. If you entertain a lot or have recently moved, you probably have people asking for directions to your house on a regular basis. Simplify things by writing up a good set of directions in a word document. Save this on your computer. Every time someone needs directions, just email them the attachment. Quick and simple!

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Organizing for Back to School

For parents, the summer countdown is on. With about a month to go until the coveted first day of school, there are steps that can be taken to make the transition go smoothly.

Back To School Supplies: The lists have been out for a while now, so there is no reason not to have all the items purchased already. Take advantage of good sales as well as large inventory. Don’t wait until the last minute to get all of this taken care of.

Sleep Adjustment: Been sleeping-in this summer? About two weeks before the first day of school, start going to bed earlier and getting up closer to the time you will have to in the fall. Give yourself and the kids a week of getting up at school time before school actually starts. This will make the first day of school much less exhausting as you will already be back into part of your routine.

Paper Management: Back to school means homework, but also lots of paperwork for Mom and Dad to manage. Set up an inbox system in your home. Train your kids to get in the habit of emptying their folders when they first arrive home. Their homework goes into their inboxes (or gets done right away) and the papers for parents go into your inbox. This gives those piles of paper a home, instead of being thrown into an already existing pile. Be a good example to your kids by keeping on top of your inbox. While the kids are doing their homework, sit down and go through your inbox. Write dates on your calendar and sign things that need to be signed. Process each piece as it comes in so a huge pile does not take over.

After School Activities: Start looking into options now. Have a family meeting in which everyone sits around the master calendar. Discuss which activities everyone wants to participate in. Write them on the calendar in pencil to see how they all work together. If there are conflicting activities, come up with a fair way to decide what will stay and what will have to be skipped. Again, be an example for your child in time management and setting priorities. And don’t be afraid to set boundaries and say no to too many activities. Your child may not agree when you tell them no, but in the long run, they are learning a valuable lesson.



Meagan Farrell, professional organizer, is the owner of Clear the Clutter organizing services. She can be reached at (360) 631-7268 or at clear_theclutter@yahoo.com. Check out her blog at http://cleartheclutterprofessionalorganizing.blogspot.com/

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Great Organizing Products

There are two areas that I hear about over and over again – the closet and the kitchen. Both seem to be perpetually too small. Since most people either can’t afford or don’t have the room to expand, I am always on the look out for ideas or products to solve this problem. Recently, I have come across a great product for each area.

Huggable Hangers - https://www.huggablehanger.com – These hangers are fabulous! They are thin so they take up much less space. They can be purchased at Target as well as online. They also offer graduated hangers to use the vertical space, rather than just horizontal.

Rubbermaid Collapsible Containers - http://www.rubbermaid.com – Collapsible Tupperware, who would have thought?? This stuff is GREAT! I recently purchased some and have tested the product. It collapses into thin pieces and pops right back out. Tupperware or storage containers are always such a huge space hog, but this stuff solves that issue. But before you go buy a huge box, please take a week and really pay attention to how much you really need/use. A trick to doing this is to pull out all of your current storable containers and set them on your counter (or in a bag in the kitchen). When you use a piece, clean and put it back in the cupboard it belongs in. After a week or two, look at the pieces you actually used (those back in their home) vs. those still in the bag or on the counter. Get rid of that which you did not use and replace that which you did use with the collapsible kind. Enjoy all the extra space you have!!



Meagan Farrell, professional organizer, is the owner of Clear the Clutter organizing services. She can be reached at (360) 631-7268 or at clear_theclutter@yahoo.com. Check out her blog at http://cleartheclutterprofessionalorganizing.blogspot.com/

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Organizing is Eco-Friendly

Everyone is talking about being Green or eco-friendly these days. Here are some thoughts on how organizing your life is earth friendly:

When you organize, you get rid of that which you no longer need. If you sell it or donate it, you are recycling. Get rid of what you don’t use and recycle it to someone who can use it. Some great sites for recycling are Craig’s List/free or www.freecycle.com.


If you know what you already have, you will consume less. People tend to overbuy because they don’t remember already having plenty.


Many garages are breeding grounds for pollutants which are not only earth un-friendly, but also kid and pet un-friendly. By organizing your space, you can make sure you don’t have anything hazardous laying around. Check with your local government agency to find the nearest hazardous waste disposal site.

Save a tree – recycle that paper. Most people save/file/pile up way paper that they absolutely do not need. Having organized paperwork will save you stress and most likely a tree or two.



Meagan Farrell, professional organizer, is the owner of Clear the Clutter organizing services. She can be reached at (360) 631-7268 or at clear_theclutter@yahoo.com. Check out her blog at http://cleartheclutterprofessionalorganizing.blogspot.com/

Monday, June 2, 2008

Vacation Planning

Going on vacation is something we all look forward to, yet it can cause quite a bit of stress during the preparation. Here are some quick tips to make the process of preparing for vacation go more smoothly:

Packing List – type up a general packing list for each member of the family. Save it as a document in your computer. When preparing to leave, print them up and hand them out. This way no one will forget toothbrushes or special medicines.
To-Do List – as long as you are typing up that packing list, type up a to-do list for vacation preparation as well. Include things like “put newspaper on hold” or “ask neighbor to feed fish.” Again, every time you are preparing to leave, you print this up and check off the items.
Contact List – Keep a vacation contact list on file as well. Include emergency contact numbers, addresses for postcards, etc.
Big Trip Preparation – if you are going away for an extended vacation or you are traveling internationally, there will be more things to do to prepare. Make a complete list of all that needs to be done (passport update, money exchange, etc). Open your calendar and break down the items so you only have a few things to do each week, leading up to your vacation. For example, passport updates should be handled 6 months out so there is no stress or rush. Money exchange can be done a few weeks out so you aren’t running to the bank the day before you leave. Plan ahead so you aren’t completely frazzled the week of your departure.

Now go ahead and start off your vacation in a more relaxed state of mind. Enjoy!

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

Monday, May 12, 2008

Q&A - How to make time to organize?

Q: I'm in a serious decluttering mode, but can't find the time to do it! What do you suggest? I am not a huge clutterbug, but now with 4 kids in a 1700 sq. ft. home, it's very necessary to purge.


A: I suggest picking a time every day and giving yourself 15 mintues or 1/2 hour to work. Tell your kids that that is your quiet work time and let them watch a video or do a special activity that keeps them quiet. Or you can wait until your husband gets home and do it then.

Another thing I tell clients is to take a serious look at your time. I notice that people think they don't have a lot of time, but really they are frittering it away doing other things (internet, watching t.v., talking on the phone, etc). Maybe log how you spend your time each day for a week and then decide on cutting back on something else to make time for what needs to get done. Good luck!!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Meal Planning

The average American eats out 3-4 times per week. This is an alarming statistic. Not only is eating out expensive, but it is not a healthy habit. Why do people eat out? They are busy. With many households run by two full time working adults or a single working parent, making meals becomes a burdensome task. It doesn’t have to be, however. Start by sitting down with your family and making a list of all the meals you like. I suggest typing them into a word document so it is neat and can be augmented easily. Personally, I break up my list into main ingredient category, like “beef, chicken, and vegetarian.” If you try a new recipe that you like, add it to the list.

Next, either print out a blank month-at-a-glance calendar from your computer or purchase a write on/wipe off month at a glance magnetic board. Keep this on the side of the refrigerator with a pen handy. Under it, keep a magnetic shopping list pad and your printed out meal list. Once a week or once a month, fill out the calendar, planning all the meals you will eat in that time frame. Once the meals are listed on the calendar, put the ingredients on the shopping list.

Now when you come home, you will already have a planned out meal and all the ingredients available. Not only will you eat out less and save money, but you will also be doing your body a favor by eating better food at home.


Meagan Farrell, professional organizer, is the owner of Clear the Clutter organizing services. She can be reached at (360) 631-7268 or at clear_theclutter@yahoo.com. Check out her blog at http://cleartheclutterprofessionalorganizing.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Q&A - Kids Art and School work

Q. Hello Meagan. Okay, how do I go about tackling the pile of papers on my kitchen counter? As I look, it is mostly my kids school work and papers that I have a hard time parting with. For example, the first time they write their name (print or cursive), as they learn a new skill, something they drew, spelling tests, etc.. Help!

A. I am so glad you asked. I have two solutions for you. First off, for the artwork/school work that you want to save, organize it in a portfolio. The one I like best is at www.ttgo.com (item #649P). This portfolio will come personalized with your childs' name and will organize their precious work according to year. It also provides you with limited space which will strongly encourage you to only hold on to the most precious of the work. If you notice that a section starts to get particularly full, I recommend sitting down and going through the pile. I find that Lindsay tends to draw very similar pictures over and over. I go through and choose my top 3 favorites to save and let the rest go.

I am guessing that the other papers are ongoing homework related. If so, I would create a set of inboxs for each child and yourself. When they get assigments they can keep them neatly in their boxes. If there is something that needs your attention, they can put it in your box. This is a great place to house things like spelling lists that will need attention each day. You can find cheap plastic inbox trays at any office store or Target.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Too many cookbooks?

Cook books can be a huge space hog. They can fill up an entire cupboard in the kitchen which is probably already lacking for space. Here is a simple solution. Photo copy the recipes that you use from each cook book and then donate/sell the books. In general, people tend to use the same few recipes from each book. If that is the case, then you do not need the entire book. Photo copy that which you use and keep them in a binder/file folder/recipe box. Without those books taking up precious space, you are free to have a more organized/clutter free kitchen. And what happens if you need to look up a new recipe and you no longer have your books? Check out www.epicurious.com or www. foodnetwork.com. Both websites have amazing recipes for pretty much any type of cuisine.

Meagan Farrell, professional organizer, is the owner of Clear the Clutter organizing services. She can be reached at (360) 631-7268 or at clear_theclutter@yahoo.com. Check out her blog at http://cleartheclutterprofessionalorganizing.blogspot.com/

Cook Books

Are you a cookbook junkie? Do cook books take up an entire cabinet in your already storage challenged kitchen? Here is a simple solution. Photocopy the recipes that you use out of each cook book and donate/sell the cookbooks.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Organizing the Garage

It is spring and as it warms up, it is a great time to get that garage cleaned out! Always begin any organizing project with the process of elimination. The best way to eliminate clutter in your garage is to do small sections at a time. Pick either a corner or a shelf and work on that area only. Focusing on a smaller area is less overwhelming. Take everything out of that space and divide it into three piles: keep, throw away, or donate/sell. After everything is sorted, put the “keep” pile away in an organized manner. Do not put things away as you sort or you are likely to get sidetracked from your main focus. Immediately discard the “throw away” pile, and then either drop off donations or start the selling process of the remaining items. Stay focused until the space is entirely done.

Next, consider your storage space. Shelving is always a great option. Using clear plastic storage bins to hold categorized items, such as holiday decorations or camping equipment, is the way to go. With clear bins you can see what you have inside without having to pull the bin down and rummage through it. Make sure to label all bins with the general content of the category. Another option is ceiling space. There are ceiling hanging shelves for items infrequently used or there are hooks that hang from the ceiling and hold bikes or sporting equipment.

Finally, install your storage items and put everything away in a neat and categorized way. Now that everything has a home, keep it there. Enjoy your clean and usable space!


Meagan Farrell, professional organizer, is the owner of Clear the Clutter organizing services. She can be reached at (360) 631-7268 or at clear_theclutter@yahoo.com. Check out her blog at http://cleartheclutterprofessionalorganizing.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Organizing store/membership cards

Do you have a big stack of store rewards cards? The grocery store cards, Blockbuster, movie watcher, etc? I do too and it was making me crazy. Not only did they slide all over in my wallet, but when I needed one, it took a while to shuffle through the pile and find the correct one. The solution? Get a business card holder to store all these cards. These can be found at an office supply store or even a Target/Wal-Mart type shop. This can be carried in your car or in your purse so it is available when you need it.

To be even more efficient, you can take a few extra moments to alphabetize the cards. Sound like too much work? Pay your favorite child fifty cents to do it. It will be educational for them and one less thing to do for you.


Meagan Farrell, professional organizer, is the owner of Clear the Clutter organizing services. She can be reached at (360) 631-7268 or at clear_theclutter@yahoo.com. Check out her blog at http://cleartheclutterprofessionalorganizing.blogspot.com/

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Why Hire a Professional Organizer?

My windows are filthy. I have tried to clean them myself, but they always end up streaky. I’ve tried all the supposed techniques, but no matter how I try, they just don’t look good. So now I hire window washers. It isn’t very expensive and they make my windows sparkle in no time at all. Should I be embarrassed?

No way! These guys (and gals) are good at what they do. They have honed the art of cleaning windows. You may think that your windows are pretty bad, but they don’t care. Their focus is on getting your windows clean, no matter how bad they were to begin with.

The same is true with professional organizing. People always tell me that they need my services, but are embarrassed to let me see the problem. I am here to tell you that there is nothing embarrassing about hiring an expert to help you with a problem. Professional organizers are not there to pass judgment. Rather they are there to help you and share their knowledge.

Personally, I have admiration for people who seek professional assistance with things that are important to them. I always admire that my clients are willing to work so hard to make their home or office a better place. Don’t let the fear of being judged stop you from improving your life and reducing your stress. Call a professional organizer today!


Meagan Farrell, professional organizer, is the owner of Clear the Clutter organizing services. She can be reached at (360) 631-7268 or at clear_theclutter@yahoo.com. Check out her blog at http://cleartheclutterprofessionalorganizing.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Effective Emails

Many people think that kissing the Blarney Stone in Ireland brings good luck. Actually, it brings the “gift of gab” which is the skill or eloquence or flattery. The “Gift of Gab” does not translate well to emails however.

In this day and age of constant communication and information - quick, simple and to the point is best. Considering that most people are bombarded with emails each and every day, make sure that you are maximizing your contact time. Here are some tips for effective use of email:

· Use your subject line. Be specific so the receiver knows exactly what they are about to read. This will also help those who need to refer back to your email at a later date, making it easy to locate.
· Be brief and to the point. Use bullet points and bold wording to make it organized and easy to read.
· Stick to the point. If you find that there are two separate issues that need to be addressed in one email, make sure you include both in the subject line.
· If you are forwarding an email, clean it up. Cut and paste the actual text into a new email and clean up the wording so extra symbols or spaces are not in it.

Remember that the more email you generate, the more you will get back. Think before you hit “send.” Everyone will appreciate your effort to make your emails more concise and effective.



Meagan Farrell, professional organizer, is the owner of Clear the Clutter organizing services. She can be reached at (360) 631-7268 or at clear_theclutter@yahoo.com. Check out her blog at http://cleartheclutterprofessionalorganizing.blogspot.com/

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Q & A - Moving to a smaller space

Q: Please help need organizing ideas for a small apartment!?
I am moving into a much smaller apartment with my boyfriend in a couple of months..our bedroom furniture is king size and we have alot of stuff in general..the place were moving too the kitchen is very small...i need some more ideas on how to maximize space..this is what i have so far: I am getting an oval hanging pot rack (u hang it fromthe celing and hang your pots from it) i am getting a 2 hanging cabinet door organizors ( u hang them on the inside of the cabinet doors) for the bathroom i am getting a white shelf that has 5 shelves in it and i am putting baskets in it (putting the towels/wash clothes/cleaning supplies in the baskets) I hope I am explaining it right...well there u have it do you have any more ideas? We are trying to save money thats why were moving to a smaller place (plus all utiltiies are included in the rent)

A: Hi - utilize the backs of your doors with door hanging shoe organizers (cheap and can be purchased at Target/Wal Mart). They can be used for office supplies, kitchen utensils, bathroom supplies. Also, huggable hangers (target) are great for maximizing closet space.There are also great foot stools or coffee tables that double as hidden storage space. They are hollow in the middle.Finally, consider what you truly need. Is this a short term move or a long term plan? If it is long term, reconsider the furniture and stuff you have. Consider selling it on Craig's List and using the money you make to buy a CD or money market account. That money can be earmarked for future furniture when you get a bigger place.I would take an honest look at your stuff again after 6 months. If you haven't used it in that time, consider getting rid of it.

Question and Answer - Garage Sales

Q: I have SO many clothes I just don't need and some extra cash would be very helpful right now.How do you put together a garage sale?When is the best time to have one? how do you set it up?should you advertise?help, i've never had one before!thanks

A:
I have had garage sales in the winter and they are highly succesful, so long as you can do it inside a garage. Advertising is key. Make signs, put an ad in the local paper and list it on Craig's List. Are any of your neighbors interested too? The more homes in one neighborhood, but bigger the draw. Pay attention to when people in your area have sales. I have lived in three different states, and all three places have different strong garage sales days. Saturdays are always a good day anywhere. I would start by 8am. Many of the hard core garage salers start early.Next you need to set up tables, arrange your items and price them. Try to have things arranged in categories such as baby items, household, gardening, etc. Make it easy for people to find what they are looking for as many garage salers have specific items in mind. Make big items visible from the street. Also, make sure things are clean and neatly displayed. People will not buy dirty things or things they can not see. Also, make sure you have plenty of change. People will show up with $20 bills. If you have kids, get them involved. Have them pick some things to get rid of and set up a table and money box for them. Kids get really excited when they get cash for old toys. Sweeten the pot by taking them out the next day to spend some or all of the money they made. This is a great way to reduce their clutter too!Good luck!

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Gift or Burden: Passing down family heirlooms

In honor of Valentine’s Day, I thought I would put down some thoughts about love. What does love have to do with organizing, you ask? Let me explain….

Have you ever heard the old saying, “If you love someone, set them free”? Well, the same applies to stuff. I hear so many people talk about their cherished possessions that they can’t bare to part with. Granted, these items are in the garage or in storage under a pile of other stuff and a layer of dust, but it is “important.”

If it is truly valuable/important/sentimental, it should be in an important place, well cared for and utilized. Your grandmother’s hope chest is not being valued if it is under boxes, dust and possibly be chewed on by field mice in your garage. It should have an important place in your home. If you don’t have an important spot for it, then set it free. Ask other family members if they have an important spot for it. If no one has a good place for it and it is a historical piece, contact the local historical society to see if they are interested. It will be well cared for and preserved rather than become lunch for hungry termites. In other words, set it free.

Something else I hear often is that people are saving these invaluable pieces for their kids. I want you to take a moment here to think about whether this is a loving gesture or a future burden for your children. What are the odds that your child will someday have room for or even want Grandpa’s fishing pole collection? And will your child someday take that collection because they want it or because they feel obligated? After all, you have been saving it for them for all these years. Are you giving your child a gift or placing burden on them?

If your children are adults, please talk to them. Ask them what they want with an open mind. You might be surprised at what they think is valuable or worth keeping. And remember that if they don’t want it, that isn’t wrong. It just means that they don’t see the same value in it that you do.

Don’t get me wrong – some things are worth saving and passing on. But think long and hard about what you save. Especially if that which you are saving for *someday* is getting in the way of enjoying today.



Meagan Farrell, professional organizer, is the owner of Clear the Clutter organizing services. She can be reached at (360) 631-7268 or at clear_theclutter@yahoo.com. Check out her blog at http://cleartheclutterprofessionalorganizing.blogspot.com/

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Start your holiday shopping now.

I’ll bet you are expecting an article about getting organized as part of your New Year’s resolution? Surprise! I am actually going to tell you to go shopping!! January and February are the best times to shop. The stores are marking everything down to clear out inventory and bring new items. Personally, I spend a lot of time at Target around this time, waiting for the 75 % off clearance sales to start.

Why am I telling you to buy things? Because, if you start your holiday shopping now, you will have much less stress come November/December. Here is an idea: Take several paper shopping bags and write the names of those you need to shop for each year on them (one name per bag). Keep these bags in your closet, garage or hiding spot. As you are out shopping, check out the sales with your gift recipients in mind. As you find things for your loved ones, bring them home and put them in the appropriate bag. As birthdays or holidays come up, you can go to that person’s bag and find already purchased gifts for them. Not only will you save a ton of money, but you will save a lot of time and stress. Instead of frantically running around at the last minute looking for the perfect gift, buy it when you see it. Chances are it will cost less and it will really be the ideal present.



Meagan Farrell, professional organizer, is the owner of Clear the Clutter organizing services. She can be reached at (360) 631-7268 or at clear_theclutter@yahoo.com. Check out her blog at http://cleartheclutterprofessionalorganizing.blogspot.com/

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Everett Herald Article - January 1, 2008

Resolved for 2008: Less mess

Experts tell how to clear clutter, get organized

By Andy RathbunHerald Writer

Linda Rosander can't handle the guilt."It wears on you, having things in there that other people can use," she said. "Emotionally, it wears on you."Yes, that's right: The Marysville resident needs to clean out her garage.The space could house a car but instead has become a makeshift storage unit for everything from diving equipment to an overturned couch. Now that the new year is here, Rosander plans to work on organizing the clutter.Rosander's not alone in her plight. A poll by the effectiveness-training firm FranklinCovey found that "get organized" was among the top five New Year's resolutions for 2008. While some might think the first step should be picking up tools from the store, professional organizers in the area discouraged that path."That's the last thing that I do in the process because I have found with the majority of my clients, once we get rid of a lot of stuff, we don't need that many organizational products," said Snohomish County-based organizer Meagan Farrell of Clear the Clutter.To get started Farrell recommends simply making three piles: Stuff to keep, stuff to pitch and stuff to give away or sell.Laura Leist, an organizer in Snohomish, also is a fan of the trash bin approach. One of her mottoes is "You can't take it with you," and so she urges people to throw out items."You won't miss it," she said. "Try it."Granted, some tools come in handy. Leist, who runs Eliminate Chaos, recommended getting a calendar and drafting a schedule. Other tools should be customized to the project at hand: A file cabinet for the home office, drawer dividers in the kitchen or hooks to hang up tools in the garage.Many things can contribute to a cluttered household, Leist said, from lengthy hours at work infringing on cleaning time to momentous events such as a death or birth, which can come with an influx of inherited items or gifts. Christmas itself can bring a new wave of items that, when followed by the New Year, can call to mind a need to clean."It's more cluttered than before," Farrell said. "The combo just sort of inspires."Leist emphasized that people shouldn't beat themselves up over their messes, nor should they live or die by a New Year's resolution. After all, according to that FranklinCovey survey, 35 percent of people break a resolution by Feb. 1. Leist recommended using the word "intention" instead."A resolution is so much stronger and harsh for people, which is why people don't stick with it," she said, "but if their intention is they want to live more organized, then there are baby steps they can take along the way."That may be good advice for Rosander, who has her work cut out for her. She runs Linda's Adult Family Home in Marysville, and has taken on a glut of objects as a result. After a resident dies, families sometime donate items to her. It may take a couple weeks to clear out her garage, she said, but she's ready to tackle the task. As a society, we're hoarders, she said. She's ready to break the cycle, and donate unused leftovers.Really, she's looking forward to it."It's fun getting rid of things you don't need," she said.Reporter Andy Rathbun: 425-339-3455 or e-mail arathbun@heraldnet.com.

Snohomish County Business Journal Press

Published January 2008

Turning Point
Why did you go into your profession, start your own business or change your career midstream? These are the questions the Snohomish County Business Journal wants answered in its regular feature, “Turning Point.” Have a turning point you’d like to share? E-mail it to
hilden@heraldnet.com. It should be no longer than 150 words. Please include an electronic image to run alongside.

Meagan Farrell, owner of Clear the Clutter, professional organizing services operating in Snohomish County Organization has always been a part of my life. In every job I have held, organization has been a major component of what I did. After staying home for six years to raise my daughter, I wanted to get out into the working world again; however, I needed a highly flexible position. A friend pointed out that I was already a professional organizer, doing it for friends and the companies I worked for. She inspired me to start my own business.
A year and a half ago, I started Clear the Clutter, and now I get to do what I love most. At first, it was a scary step, but once it got going, I found that there was nothing better than being my own boss and doing something that I am passionate about.
Not only do I get the rewarding task of helping people get their lives under control, but I get to write about it on my blog — http://cleartheclutterprofessionalorganizing.blogspot.com/ — too.




The Marketplace HeraldnetThe EnterpriseTraffic UpdateGovernment/Biz Groups

© 2008 The Daily Herald Co., Everett, WA