Tag Archives: books

Two Sisters Get Organized, Decluttered and Moved into Seperate Bedrooms



I recently had the pleasure of helping two girls move into separate rooms.

These 2nd and 4th grade girls had spent their entire lives sharing the same room and now that they are older (and all grown up, they say!) the oldest gets to move into her own separate bedroom.


There were three stages to this project:

1. Sort through clothes

2. Sort through books

3. Sort through toys and papers


STAGE ONE – Clothes Sort

The first step taken to separate the clothes was to figure out:

#1 Whose clothes were whose

#2 See if they still fit the owner

So to start, each girl went through the closet and decided either to keep, toss, donate or handed it off to the other sister so she could proceed with the same process.

After we sorted clothes, we moved the 4th graders clothes down into her new room so I could determine what type of organizing supplies were needed to set up a system within her closet.



Following the same process, we continued into both steps of determining who owned what and eliminating the unloved or unused books from their gigantic collection.

By the time we made it to stage two, the girls were feeling a bit ancy so we decided to up the fun factor and have a book auction!


This is how it went:

I held up a book and each girl could vote for it if she wanted it.

The first hand up – got the book.

If no one raised their hand it went off to charity for some other young child to receive who normally could not afford  new book.

If there was a tie, the girls had to barter among themselves for what was fair and if they could possibly trade out later.

The funniest thing happened during this process! I was holding up what appeared to me to be a great reference book on animals. When neither of the girls raised their hand, I asked will you possibly need this for future class projects? The second grader looks at me in disbelief and says ” there is such a thing as the internets you know!”  I think I will always remember that day!

Kids are truly tuned in, tapped on and hooked automatically into the internet! Isn’t it great? Thinking about it now, I think it is such an advantage for any school report – most of the information in the world is literally at our fingertips x 100,000 or more!

After these two steps, we called it a day and set up our next appointment so we could tackle toys and finish setting up systems within each room.


STAGE THREE – Toys, toys and more toys!

On the first day we did a rough sort of toys and placed each sister’s toys put into boxes and then moved them into each closet so we could sort later.

Now it was time to sort, eliminate and organize all of the other toys throughout the house.

Dad did an amazing job gathering all random toys and setting us up to sort them in the den.

IMG_2203 IMG_2205 To keep it fair and make it more fun, the girls wanted to do another auction – this time with Barbies and all of her accessories. Dad suggested that we use a giant bin for donations and he was definitely correct! with all of the small pieces, shoes, clothes and Barbies, we filled up a giant bin for donations. The girls did a great job!

After sorting, we jumped into containerizing and decide if the toys should live in the bedroom closet or the newly designed toy closet.

IMG_2216 Oila!


In between appointments, he also purchased and installed two new shelves and a rolling cart for mom’s work out equipment so it would fit within the toy closet.



The rolling cart is such a smart idea! When mom wants to work out, she simply rolls it out of the toy closet and all her weights and belts are right there and ready to use!


All in all, this project turned out great and the girls were so much fun to work with, even when they got bored and restless!  They are great sisters who truly love and respect each other.

As an author and lover of books, I am also relieved to see that even with the ‘internets’ they are avid readers of “real” books with covers and actual paper pages inside!




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Book and Paper Clutter Can Cause Overwhelm and Make You Miss Opportunities



Hello, Thank you for all the wonderful information that you share. My story, is all about books and papers, I have always been a book person and also have kept many things hoping to share them with others. I have books mainly on health, natural healing, gardening, self help , astrology, Metaphysical, cooking, As I have always been interested in healing and cooking.

I am now 73 years old and really want to do something about all the books and papers I have around me I know that I have a lot of wonderful things to share that could help others but I have not find a way to do it, yet.

I would love to open a cooking school to teach food body connection and herbs and gardening but do not have the money to do it. I am trying to find a way to decide if I have to let all these books and papers go or what, I would appreciate you letting me know what you think about this.

Thanks, Janette


Hi Janette,

I am so glad that you took the time to post this question in the comments section under the article about paper clutter. Books and papers are a challenge for many of us, including my family. You are not alone!Papers and books can cause quite a havoc on your environment. I can relate to your dilemma as I am an avid reader and love the printed page in whatever form it is given to me!It sounds like you have been collecting articles and books for quite some time.

My advice would be to look around your home and determine how many you can comfortably fit without feeling overwhelmed. It helps to keep all of your books etc into one area of your home to avoid the cluttered feeling and atmosphere.So, take for instance, I decided to keep all of our books in the guest room. Once I decided this, it became easy to see how many bookshelves I could fit/use in that room. My family also has issues around cookbooks. My husband has never met a cookbook that he does not like!

So, that being said, once I determined where our books would live, I bought 3 Billy book shelves from Ikea to line one of the walls. I use the Billy shelf frequently because they are 72″ tall and use the vertical space in each room efficiently.The space on those 3 shelves determined how many books we could keep. This containment system made us decide which books were the most important and which were not. We got rid of every book that did not fit into that pre-determined space. Since it was difficult task, we filled up every inch. This was not the best method because then every time we got a new book, we had to let one go.

The better idea is to purge enough books so that there is room to grow without having to urge more after each new purchase. One in, one out, so to speak continues the process. We eventually were able to create enough space on the shelves to add a few photos, vases and artwork so the shelves were not so crowded and more visually appealing.

So, the moral to the story is that you need to make an agreement with yourself how many books and papers make sense in your environment. Once that is decided, storing them all into one area of the house will eliminate the cluttered feeling. If you truly want to start leading classes and share your years of knowledge, why don’t you explore who else does this in your area and give them some of your books? You never know, this gift might lead to forging an alliance and allow you to offer a few classes at their venue! Even if this does not happen, you will feel lighter and your home less cluttered when you let go of your excess.

Regarding your loose papers and files, you need to ask yourself if you could find them easier, quicker and more up to date when, and if, you need them later with an online google search. Typically, you can find information on any topic x 10,000 you need much more quickly on Google than trying to find files on the same topic within your home or office later.

If you would like more tips on how to organize the papers that you decide to keep, click on this link. Thanks so much for your question. I hope this response helps!



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Home Organization Includes Creating an Organized and Efficient Home Office

I was sitting at our kitchen table, with my computer and a small handful of files in a carry bag that were necessary for the project I was working on. Within 30 feet was my office door but I would not go in and work there. Literally, I had moved myself out of my office with all the “muck” I had accumulated over the past 8 years. I thought back to all the things that had moved in, filling up (more…)

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The Twilight Zone ~ Your Piles of Books and Magazines


Today I’m actually not going to talk about the Twilight Zone, specifically… 😉

I’m going to talk about the piles of papers, books, magazines, and other unused items that SHOULD be removed from your house, but rarely are.

These items tend to end up stuffed into drawers or bookshelves and lead to more clutter

and disorganization.

The good news is, it’s a super easy problem to fix.

I add small, and cute, storage boxes by the doors to certain rooms and especially by my front door. Any item that is meant to go out, be it a borrowed book, DVD,

or old magazine, simply gets dropped in the “Outbound Zone”.

Then, the stuff that is meant to be returned or removed stares you right in the face every time you leave your house.

You’ll never pay a library late fee again, and living “clutter-free” will become inevitable!

To discover other similar simple but very powerful home organization tips, go here now:


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Downsizing from large home

Dear Kathi,

We are getting ready to downsize from a 3,500 square foot home to a 1500 square foot home. We obviously have too much furniture. We would welcome your professional guidelines about how to downsize.

Errol, Oceanside


Decide what activities will take place in each room within your new home in advance. For instance, will the spare guest room double as a study or crafts room? Once you have decided what purpose each room will serve, you can begin to decide which furniture should be kept, sold or donated.

Consider making a graph to scale of each room showing all doorways and windows. Another option is to simply take a walk through of your new home and make notes about what furniture you will need for each space.

Once you have a more visual understanding of your new home, you can begin to weed through your belongings. As you pack for the move, assign a room for each item and box it accordingly. This way each possession will end up in the right area after the move. Keep a master list of each room and its contents. With this method, important items won’t get lost. It will be easier to gauge if you have too many items for your new space.

I strongly recommend that you enlist the help of a friend or professional to provide insight and help you make decisions. An outside helper won’t have any vested interest in what you keep, sell or donate. They will be able to look objectively at your space and needs.

Furniture is your first and largest consideration. Once you have decided what furniture you will keep, you are ready to begin going through your knickknacks, china and other belongings. Your furniture and the storage therein will provide preset parameters about what to keep. For instance, if you have decided the buffet will not fit into your new home, this is a major indicator that you will need to part with some or all of your good china.

Consider what your new lifestyle will entail. Will you entertain on the scale that you have in the past? Will you still host sit-down dinners with good china or relax into the informality of barbeques and paper plates? Many retired folks are happy to pass the role of formal hosting to their children or a local restaurant. If you can’t part with all of your china, consider keeping a place setting for four and sell or bequest the other 8-12 settings.

Your new home gives you permission to release the old responsibilities of a garage full of tools, a bevy of pool toys and your full scale gardening collection. Eliminate the lesser-used and redundant items. Take this opportunity to redefine what you really want to do in your spare time and purge accordingly.

Books are a heavy topic, literally and figuratively. Book collectors and avid readers have a tough time releasing books while downsizing. Realize that you won’t have the same amount of bookshelves in your new space. Pre-measure your bookshelves. Preset the number of books you will move before you begin to purge your collection. Be diligent through this tough decision making process. It might take 2-3 purges to get your library to a manageable size. Remember that you can usually find most titles at the local library. Donate your discards to the public library system. Your old books will raise money for new titles and you can personally benefit from the tax deduction.

Remember that it is very difficult to purge too much. Almost every item that you own is replaceable. Space is not. Leave yourself room to grow and flourish within your new home.

Please submit your questions to: advice@addspacetoyourlife.com
San Diego Professional Organizer

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Room to Breathe ~ I Have Now Mastered My Muck!

5.0 out of 5 stars an Amazon Book Review

Kathi Burn’s book is one of the most important “how to” books on the market today. Her step-by-step guide was priceless for creating the needed space I needed in my office so I could write in the state of joy instead of confusion.

My creative work depended upon a space that was clear and balanced. When I adopted her techniques and cues as outlined in her book, my office (and my work) were transformed.

Thank you Kathi, for your wisdom, your expertise, and your good humor!!

By Candace Conradi (Poway, California)

This review is from: How to Master Your Muck ~ Get Organized. Add Space To Your Life. Live Your Purpose! (Kindle Edition)

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An Important Reference Book for Implementing Positive Change in Your Life ~ How to Master Your Muck is Reviewed

5 out of 5 Stars

I have been reading organizing books for years and have a collection to rival any book store. I strongly recommend that you add this one to yours. How to Master Your Muck: Get Organized, Add Space to Your Life, Live Your Purpose is an easy read containing new and different (more…)

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Home Organization of a Young Girls Room

Situation: Too many books and toys and not enough storage. All this clutter and the little girl could not decide what she wanted to play with.

Solution: We downsized the toy collection and got rid of the outgrown games and books. We also reorganized the closet which gave us a bit more room for extra items that did not belong loose in the room. The dog loved the new found floor space!

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San Diego County Library Honors Local Authors

The Mayor and City Council along with the Board of Library Commissioners and the San Diego Public Library hosted a reception last Saturday to celebrate and recognize published authors at the 44th Annual Local Authors Exhibit.

I am very  incredibly fortunate to have my book displayed in the front kiosk for everyone to see as they enter the library. If you are interested, all local author’s  books will be showcased from January 30th –  February 28, 2010. Stop by and see the works of the many incredibly talented authors who live in sunny San Diego!

Top photo by Visual Media Experts: Ferrari Productions
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Home Office Gets Organized and Comes Clean

Situation: A very productive and active office with too many books and papers and not enough cabinets, file drawers  or shelves.

 office before

Challenge: No system was in place for all of the papers to land when they arrived into the home office. Also there was no specific place for them to (more…)

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