Thursday, October 22, 2009

Books, books, books

One of the main things that I end up hauling out of the homes of my clients is books. Books, books, books. I am an avid reader, so I get the allure. However, the luster quickly fades when you realize that you have no more room in your living room and piles of books in boxes eating up your garage space. So here are some ideas:

• Use the library. Now you can go online to reserve books. When they arrive, the library will email you. What a great system! You may have to wait for a bit on the new releases, but considering you are paying for the library through your taxes, it is smart to get your money’s worth.
• Try At Book mooch, you share books with others and all you have to pay is the shipping. While it isn’t free like the library, you won’t have to wait for the new releases.
• And if you absolutely must buy new books, try selling them at when you are done. The buyer pays shipping and you can get back part of the cost, plus save space in your home.

I mean, really, if you don’t re-read the book over and over or use if regularly for reference, then you don’t need to have a copy on your shelf. Save a tree, your sanity and a buck by sharing books instead.

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, October 13, 2009

Prepare now for the holidays

Depending on when and how you celebrate your holidays, you have approximately two shopping months left until the big season. Do you feel like the weight of the world (or maybe Santa’s sleigh) just fell on your shoulders? Never fear.

Christmas, Hannakah and all other holidays should be treated like any other big project. Since the holidays come at the same time each year, we can anticipate them and prepare so December is not a month you dread as much as the dentist. Right now I want you to sit down and make two lists. The first list will be of all the people you want to buy gifts for. The second list is a “to-do” list of everything that needs to be done in preparation for the holiday season.

Done? Great! Now it is time to break it down. Let’s start with the gift list:
• Can you make this list any smaller? What I mean is, do you really need to buy all the people listed gifts? Do you think that anyone on that list might give a huge sigh of relief if you suggested to them that you skip swapping gifts this year? I made this suggestion to my siblings and they jumped right on board. We agreed to exchange kids’ gifts only, cutting my shopping list by four.
• Shop online!! You may pay a bit more, but think of what you save in gas, time, stress….need I say more?
• Group gifts that need to be bought by the store they will come from. Then find times between now and December when you will be in the area of those stores. Keep your list with you and get that shopping done when you are in the neighborhood so you aren’t running all over town later.
• Not sure what to get people? Carry the list in your wallet year round. When you are out running errands, pull out your list and remind yourself who you need to shop for.

With your to-do list, group items according to when they need to be done. For example, in October you can pick a photo for your holiday cards and stock up on wrapping supplies (thanks to our friendly retailers who have had holiday displays out for a month now), but you need to wait until closer to the holidays to decorate the house and bake cookies. Once things are grouped according to when they need to be done, start plugging them in to your calendar, spreading tasks out by doing a few little things each week. “Getting ready for the holidays” sounds overwhelming. “Go buy stamps for my holidays cards” does not. Break big projects down into small tasks. Assign them to yourself months in advance, depending on when they need to be done. Have peace of mind knowing that everything that needs to be done is written down and that you don’t have to worry about most of it 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

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Great Press for Clear the Clutter

I was just interviewed last week by a reporter at the Everett Herald. Follow this link to see what I had to say about organizing.