Thursday, July 29, 2010

Getting Organized in a time of need

I recently got diagnosed with breast cancer. I was immediately overwhelmed with love and support. I realized that I have the most amazing people around me and they all wanted to help. Through this process, I learned a few things about how to organize and help a loved one (or yourself!) who is sick, just had a baby or suffered a recent loss.

1 - Set up a care calendar at Care calendar allows you to plug in the dates that you need help. By emailing the link to interested helpers, they can sign on and sign up for helping or providing meals. Care calendar even sends reminder emails to those who signed up.

2 – Set up a webpage or Facebook page to easily share updates and information to many. I created a special page on Facebook to share information about my treatments, doctor appointments, etc. I invited those who I wanted to share this information with to join the page, but kept it hidden other than that. This saved me from having to answer lots of phone calls and emails when I was tired and not up for it. It also allowed my husband to post my condition after surgery.

3 – Plan ahead! If you have the luxury of knowing that you will be in a situation like this, do as much as you can to organize ahead of time. In addition to summoning help, pay bills ahead of time if possible, make sure you have written up all pertinent information for the person taking care of things for you, etc. Another good tip – ask to borrow movies and books from friends. You will save money and have plenty of entertainment. Just be sure to label all the borrowed items so you can return them to the correct owner.

3 – The number one thing I learned – accept the help! I have always been fiercely independent and one to take care of things on my own. However, through this process I realized that not only did we (me and my family) need this help, but those around me really wanted and needed to help me. It was good for all of us.

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, July 13, 2010

Diets and Organization

We all know how diets go. You pick a diet plan, follow it closely and lose the weight. Then after a few months, you get out of your new routine and fall back to the old. What happens then? You gain the weight back. Getting organized and losing weight are the same in that manner. Both are things that require permanent changes in your lifestyle.

If you truly want to get organized in life, it all boils down to changing your ways. Just like there is no magic diet pill, no amount of cute gear from the organizing store can magically make you organized forever. You must permanently alter the way you operate.

To get organized, reduce what you have. Once you have truly weeded out what you no longer (or never did to begin with) need, organize your stuff. If you need help, hire a professional. Come up with organizational systems and solutions that are realistic for you, but remember, you will still need to permanently change your habits.

Habit changing is difficult, but if you set realistic goals, like doing 15 minutes a day of organizing, you should have no problem doing it.

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

Monday, July 5, 2010

Getting the upper hand on back to school

I don’t know about you, but when school was out, I just took my daughter’s back pack and all the supplies that came home and set it in the garage. I was tired and figured it could be dealt with later.

Fast forward to this week when I noticed school supplies are being put out in the various stores already. This got me thinking about that back pack and back to school. I went to the school website and printed up the supply list. Today I found myself with some spare time, so I pulled out that back pack and dumped out all its contents. I used the supply list and went through to see what can be used again next year. I pulled all that out and then got rid of what was broken, empty or no longer needed.

Next I took my list and walked around the house to see what else we had. I found all sorts of things that allowed me to cross more off that once long list. I took everything and put it back into my daughter’s backpack, zipped it up and put it back into the garage. I took the remaining list and put it in my purse so I can pick up what is needed as I am out and about on regular errands.

This whole process took me less than 10 minutes. It is now one less thing to worry about come September. Not only did I save a lot of money by re-using but I am being more eco-friendly as well. I realize that most parents aren’t ready to think about back to school yet, but what better time to knock this out? Come September, you will be glad you have less to get done.

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