The Garage

The Garage

    By, Devora Farrell Of ThisOrganized., LLC Let’s just be honest here, shall we? How long has it been since you’ve actually parked your car in the garage? If your answer is “last night,” then you have my permission to turn the page. You probably have enough room for all of your belongings. Or, you rely solely on public transportation, in which case, you don’t have a garage. Now, on to the rest of us plebeians: If your answer is, “never,” or “I didn’t know that that’s what a garage was intended for,” let’s explore the possibilities. Most people think of garage storage as appropriate for sports equipment, lawn maintenance equipment, sukkah boards, boxes still packed from the last move, and possibly, recycling bins. They’re right – a garage is a good place for that (but not the boxes – if you haven’t opened them yet, can’t quite remember what’s in them, and it’s been at least a year, consider letting them go – you have my permission to chuck ‘em without even opening them. Yes, I mean that. ). There are a few good options for outdoor-related equipment, among them: Garbage pails for bats, mitts, balls, hockey sticks, pads, helmets…perhaps separated by sport, if there’s enough to warrant that. Another possibility is netting, mounted on the wall, to corral balls of different sizes, or hooks for some lawn-maintenance equipment. Some people enjoy the “parking lot” idea of painting lines on the garage floor appropriately sized for the lawn mower, snow blower, seed spreader, and the like. Now, before addressing what else could go in there, purge everything that you can. Remember my favorite song: The less you have,...

Frequently Questioned Answers

By, Devora Farrell Of ThisOrganized., LLC Do you remember the game called Jeopardy?  Answers would be shown to contestants, and they would have to come up with the appropriate corresponding questions.    We’re going to do that here, using answers to the questions I am most often asked.  Let’s go… ·         No.  Actually, I was quite the slob ·         Yes, she was.  I used to think Tinkerbell took care of it because the house always looked perfect whenever I looked.  I think she cleaned and organized while I was at school ·         No; I had no interest in learning how.  In fact, I planned on hiring a house manager when I became an international attorney married to a prince (for real; I didn’t realize royalty would likely not be Jewish).  One of my degrees is in French so that I would be able to hold my own at cocktail parties.  No kidding! ·         I used to hang out with my brother and sister-in-law (hi, Diane!); she seemed (still does!) to know everything, from how to live a Torah-filled life to how to never have clutter, to how to cook delicious food that didn’t only require hot water and a spoon, to how to sew cute things on her children’s clothing by hand, to fun things to do with the family.  I asked her to show me how.  I saw her reading Torah-based books during her rare bits of spare time.  She introduced me to Martha Stewart.  Oh c’mon, not the person, the magazine ·         I learned the basics, but it still took me all day to prepare two pieces...
A Present for My Kids

A Present for My Kids

By, Devora Farrell Of ThisOrganized., LLC Okay, here’s a quiz question (not a joke, at least not this time) — What gives you great pleasure from your children?  If you’re like me, it’s when they’re behaving lovingly toward each other.  Whether it’s sharing a treat, or comforting a sibling for their skinned knee, or engaging in deep conversation as young adults, my eyes fill with happy tears when I witness them being there for each other. Time really does go so quickly.  One night, I’m tucking them in, the next, they’re turning out the lights downstairs before heading up to bed.  Sunrise, sunset…did you grow up with Fiddler on the Roof, too? So, what does this have to do with organizing? I have had the misfortune of watching siblings’ relationships dissolve into anger and wounded feelings.  From what?  From having to deal with their parents’ belongings after they’ve downsized or passed away.  Lots of old (not antique – antique is defined as more than 75 years old and not mass-produced, and also, only if there’s a demand for it) furniture, endless tchotchkes (yes, that little chip can make it valueless), used china, clothes (even with the tags still on, clothes purchased more than two years ago are rarely worth anything), unlabeled photos (some blurry, multiples taken at the same occasion), non-first edition books, boxes taped closed from previous relocations, even if there doesn’t seem to be anything wrong with “it,” just that “it’s” not your taste.  Rarely do I see the adult children fight over things they want to have – although it certainly does happen.  More often, I...
Organizing the Blues

Organizing the Blues

By, Mrs. Devora Farrell   It happens to the best of us, some more than others.  Those days when it’s just a bit harder to get out of bed, the day’s activities punctuated by a sigh, food just doesn’t have much flavor.  If it can be tied to a specific circumstance, if it’s temporary, we are relieved.  Maybe we indulge for a few days and then move on. What if we can’t? What if it’s relentless, or lasts longer than we anticipate?  I’m not a Rabbi, but I’m a big fan of spiritual guidance.  I’m not a therapist, but I’m a big fan of therapy.  I’m not a doctor, but I’m a big fan of appropriate medication dispensed appropriately. What is your part? As is a common refrain in my columns, there is no “one size fits all,” when it comes to organizing, or to most other things.  As is another common refrain in my columns, many rough edges of life can be smoothed by a plan.  It is much harder to cobble one together during difficult days than it is in anticipation of them.  What’s the worst case scenario?  The plan does not work adequately, or perfectly, or at all.  How is that worse than not having a plan to begin with? If you’re like me, and tend toward down days (or weeks or months), there are things that I can do that help me get through them, and hopefully, shorten their duration (and sometimes, prevent them from starting).  Here’s the list I’ve come up with over the years.  The numbering is just for ease of organization, not...
Summer Simplicity

Summer Simplicity

By, Mrs. Devora Farrell Ask the Organizer   I love summer!  The longer days give me hope that I will really have time for everything I want to do, every hill I want to climb, every goal I want to achieve…and no homework.  This gap of time feels so malleable and filled with potential.  Here are some de-cluttering tips for getting the most out of this time of year. This is not the time to attack the attic or garage, unless your air conditioning extends that far Amazon is your friend. For those people who have children, take care of ordering bathing suits (I recommend 2 per child to allow for adequate air-drying time between wearings – putting them in the drier can decrease the elasticity of the fabric), swimming towels (you may be able to get away with one per family member because probably not everyone will need them simultaneously), and Croc-style pool shoes If possible, buy multiples of the same swimming towel, or at least all in the same color family so that they can all be washed/dried in the same load or two Rinse or wash bathing suits between wearings, especially if the pool is chlorinated so that the colors will be more likely to remain vibrant Keep a gallon-sized zippered plastic bag for wet bathing suits and a plastic grocery bag for wet towels in each child’s camp bag to keep other camp items from getting damp Have snacks/supper ready for the children in advance of their return home; this way, they will be more likely to eat healthfully when they return from camp famished...