Friday, July 31, 2009

Back to School Time Management

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

Friday, July 24, 2009

Handy Sunscreen

During summer, nothing is more important than protecting your skin from the damaging sun. But how often do you find yourself out in the sun with no sunscreen handy? Keep a small container of sunscreen in your purse and/or car. Use a contact lens holder or empty pill container to carry a small amount of sun screen around at all times. Never get caught in the sun unprotected again.

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

Saturday, July 18, 2009

De-Clutter Your Jewelry Box

Do you have a jewelry box full of old broken chains? Earrings you will never wear? Or bracelets your grandma gave you, but are not your style? Why not sell it and de-clutter that box?? Gold is extremely valuable right now! Not only can you make room for the pieces that you actually like, but you can walk away with some extra cash in your pocket. Clear the clutter is now offering gold and sterling silver buying services. Contact us for more information!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Helping Kids to Get Organized

Summer is a great time to help kids get their rooms organized. With more spare time, you have a great opportunity to start some new habits. Organization is a life skill that needs to be taught just like nutrition and personal hygiene.

Start with motivation. Give them a reason to want to get organized. Make getting rid of unused stuff an opportunity to make money by offering to hold a garage sale with their old stuff. Let them keep the profits. Another option is to give them a chance to be charitable. Find a family in need or an organization you believe in and donate the old toys.

Show them the way by doing it with them at first. Set aside 10 minutes a day to do this together. Show them how to pick one small area to work on. Take everything out of that drawer, corner, or box and then start sorting. Remember to immediately put all donations in the trunk of your car (or somewhere out of sight) as kids tend to want to take things back if they see them again.

Once you have sorted out everything that is going to go away, help them create a new home for what is left. When something has a home, it is easy to put it away. Encourage them to be creative by having them decorate labels to mark boxes or drawers. Another option is to have them take photos of the neat areas. Post the photos in that area so they can easily remember where everything goes.

Help them to maintain their neat space by setting aside time at the end of each day to tidy up. Set a household rule that towards the end of play dates, guests help clean up also. Help them to understand why neatness and organization is important for tranquility in your home.

You can make daily maintenance fun too. Make up a silly song that everyone has to sing while cleaning up. Set a timer and have a contest to see who can do their area the quickest. You can also hold neatness contests. Award a winner each day and track the winners on a sticker chart.

Another opportune time to get kids to weed out unused toys is right before a birthday or Christmas. Remind your kids that there is only so much room. With the prospect of new toys on the horizon, it is important to make room for the new by clearing out the old.

If you are dealing with organizing issues yourself, be a role model for your child by seeking assistance for yourself. Hire a professional organizer to come work with your whole family to make your home a more peaceful environment.

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