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 Check out her blog at

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 - – 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 - – 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 Check out her blog at