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

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 Check out her blog at