Thursday, February 26, 2009

Photo management

Do you have boxes of photos that either you took over your life time or that you inherited from a parent or grandparent? Or maybe the photos are in an album, but one of those old magnetic page albums that is now browning. Either way, there are two issues – space and preservation.

I am a firm believer in photo history, but it is only useful if those looking at the photos actually know who they are looking at. With photo scanning so incredibly inexpensive these days, there is no reason not to do it. Companies like professionally scan your photos for 4 cents a shot. Once you have them on disk, you have the option of organizing them into folders by person or event or, if you love scrapbooking, you can put them into a digital scrapbook. Either way, you can easily label the photos so future generations will know who is in the photo.

Getting your photos scanned will protect them for generations to come as well as save significant space in your home or garage. And for the future, try using digital photo preservation rather than getting photos developed. If you really want an album to hold, check out the photo books at These books are personally made with your photos, but are much smaller than a photo album. Either way, you have saved you and your children or grandchildren space, time and memories.

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

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Organizing Class

Come join me for a class on Organizing Basics. In this class you will get inspired as you learn great ways to break down the task of organizing into simple, easy to do steps. Tips on how to inspire your kids to be more organized will be discussed as well. For more information or to register, please go to or call 360)804-2570. Come join me on Thursday, May 21 from 6:30 - 8:30 PM. Cost is $15.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Organizing your tax information

Tax season can be stressful on many levels. While this article won’t help you pay any potential bill, it will help to alleviate the stress that comes along with tax preparation. Do you find yourself in a mountain of paperwork this time of year or running around trying to find receipts or figure out miles that you can deduct? If so, follow these easy steps to making the tax preparation go more smoothly you and/or your accountant:

1. Set up a tax file. If you own a business or have business related expenses, you should have two sub folders for home and business. Everything tax related will go in this file.
2. Put envelopes inside these folders. The envelopes should be labeled with items that you claim on your taxes. Examples of this would be medical deductions, advertising expenses, donations, etc.
3. Throughout the year, file your receipts as they come in. Having them organized in such a manner will make it easy to prepare them. It will save you time and money (if you are paying your accountant to organize them).
4. If you are able to deduct miles (volunteer, business, medical, etc), put a small notebook in your car right next to the drivers seat. Attach a pen to it so you always have it ready. Use sticky notes to make dividers in the notebook for all the categories that you get to deduct. For example, I have a volunteer miles section and a business miles section. Every time you drive for one of these purposes, record the miles. When tax season rolls around, all you will have to do is tally the total.

Following these easy steps will save you time, money and anxiety. Tax preparation does not need to be stressful or overly time consuming. Refuse to be that person who has to drive to the post office at midnight on tax day.

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

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Economical and Eco-Friendly Organizing

One of the biggest mistakes that people make in trying to get organized is by purchasing organizational supplies before reducing what they have. Another catch in this process is the price of all those cute and handy supplies. If you have ever really looked at how much all that stuff costs, you know what I mean. In this economic climate, being creative can save you big money, yet still achieve the same organizational result. You can be economical and eco-friendly by reusing household items to organize your space.

Gallon Milk Jug – I still get the plastic grocery bags because I re-use them for picking up dog waste. They can be neatly stored in a washed out gallon milk jug or orange juice jug. Make sure it is clean and dry and then stuff it with plastic bags and easily pull them out when you need them.

Empty Egg Carton – this can be used to house anything small. Some ideas are jewelry, hair clips, nails, screws, etc.

Shoe Box – A large shoe box is the perfect size to hold your extra supply of greeting cards. You can even take it a step farther and make cardboard dividers to really keep those cards organized.

Behind the door shoe holder – these have multiple uses. While they are great to organize shoes, they also make a great office supply organizer, kids art supply divider or Barbie holder. Don’t throw it away – re-use it!

Coffee Canisters – These are perfect for holding things like tapes, hooks, seed packets, etc in the garage. They stack well too. Just keep them neatly labeled so you remember what you have.

I hope these ideas inspire you to get organized, save money and re-use what you already have. We all benefit from this practice.

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