Learning to Let Go — of Books

Do you have a collection of books on your shelves, or on your nightstand or even sitting stacked in odd places? What would you do if you had to let go of most of them? Stacey @ Adventure Wednesdays came across this issue recently in the process of downsizing her home for a cross-country move. Here she shares her advice for letting go of one’s precious items:

Books are inanimate objects, and on the surface, appear easy to declutter. My dad even noted that it is so easy to get any book you want online. Heck, he could even get his college textbook (from 60+ years ago) in digital format. So, the need for that hard cover book, or even that portable paperback, has started to become irrelevant.
However, learning to let go of my collection of books, was an adventure – a true challenge with a great deal of emotional baggage to overcome.

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Books represent having the time to read them and to digest them. They carry wisdom, laughter, pain, the past and the present.

Reading books as a kid was my escape from what was, at times, a chaotic environment, and helped to soothe the awkwardness of growing up. I developed relationships with certain characters, like Nancy Drew (a popular mystery series), who was an 8-year-old like me, but with driving privileges! I’m sure if Harry Potter had been around when I was young, I would have sought refuge in that world too. As an adult, I have many favorite authors and book series that offer a similar escape. How can you let go of friends like these?

One realization helped me let go of these dear friends: I was able to accept letting go of beloved books, knowing they are still a part of me.
Even though I donated my hundred-plus collection of the Nancy Drew Mystery series to the library when I was in middle school, I still have my favorite Nancy Drew characteristics as a part of who I am all these years later. It’s what’s in the books that matters most.

Packing books is hard. They take up a lot of room. They also collect dust when they sit around untouched for years. Many books are made in way that the pages yellow and get brittle. From the boxes stored in the attic and in the basement, from the shelves in my living room, in my bedroom and in my kitchen – there were hundreds to sort through. Here is the sorting process I used. You can adapt it as needed.

I went through them all. Enjoyed the memories. For the last several years, when searching for recipes, I have relied on the internet. I realized I hadn’t referred to a cookbook at all, despite the dozens on hand. My dietary needs have also changed, and many of the cookbooks I had kept offered recipes for dishes I could no longer eat. So, I decided which ones were clean enough to donate or give away, and off they went.

I used to work at Scholastic, and so I had tons of kids’ books. Many books in my collection were my own favorites as a child (including two that were illustrated by my mother’s cousin). I went through the classics with the question “would I want my future grandchildren to read these?” These special books went into a “save” box, marked in large letters so they won’t accidentally be thrown out.
Also stashed away, I found the collection of Harry Potter books I’d shared with my children. I searched online and discovered they could be worth some money. These went in a box for a future “let go” session. Then again, maybe those books will help fund my future grandchildren’s education.

Going through novels I’ve enjoyed through the years was harder. These are the ones whose stories and voices have become part of my own personal fabric. Many I let go with the knowledge of the ease of digital access. I had to be ruthless with many others in that collection, letting go of the hoped-for time to read them. Calling on the Marie Kondo method, I used the gratitude style of decluttering – thanking them for being in my life, and letting them go.

My favorite inspirational books were in the biggest bin. These are not just the self-help books, but ones about travel and adventure, a focus of my decluttered life. I am still attached to many of them. I still refer to many of them. My desire to read or re-read some of them is still strong.
So, I carefully packed these in a mouse-proof and water-resistant bin. They are safely stored away for now. I know that in time, I will have to go through these again and let go of more of them, but this is another strategy I employed- being gentle with myself. Being okay with not getting rid of everything, right now.

While letting go of books can be an emotional process, there are steps you can take to make it easier as well as feel good about it.
Give books to friends – Rehome books with willing friends whom you think will enjoy a particular author or genre.
Give them away for free – Use a local giveaway social media venue like Facebook to offer your books to others, place them in a Little Free Library, or donate them to a cause you support..
Sell them – In some cases, your books can be resold on platforms like Amazon. Use this strategy if you have the time and inclination.
Repurpose books that cannot be sold or donated. Pinterest has many cool ideas for this!

Sorting through your books can be hard. Or you can see it as an adventure. Take your time. Have a goal in mind. In the process, you will learn a lot about yourself, and what is important to you.

Are you inspired to go on the adventure of culling your book collection? What are your feelings about your books, your collections? Have you packed and unpacked them many times? What methods have you used to let them go?

We would love to hear your ideas, and if you need help with the process, give Queen B Organizing a call!

With thanks to original blogger, Stacey Newman Weldon @ Adventure Wednesdays

It’s Summer! Getting Your Home Ready for Sale

image from PexelsAre you planning a move? Let Queen B Organizing help you prepare! Realtors across the Willamette Valley are indicating a high volume of sales for the spring and summer. While the pandemic has created some major ripples in the real estate industry that will likely be in place for the foreseeable future, you can still sell your home at a price you’re happy with in this market.

Here is some information to get you on the right path for both online and in-person listings:

Prep Your Home
From decluttering to staging, start with these basics to be sure your home looks its best.

  • First, declutter every room in your home to create a visually appealing space.
  • Then, deep clean every nook and cranny to make it sparkle!
  • Once your home is clutter-free and spotless, stage furniture to make it look perfect, yet lived-in.
  • Be sure the exterior of your home is clean and well-kept; curb appeal is one of several major selling points.

Hire Professionals
Consider hiring professionals who can make the entire home selling process easier. Check your local Chamber of Commerce for reputable businesses.

  • A professional organizer like a staff member from Queen B Organizing, can make a huge difference in your home’s presentation and save you time packing.
  • A professional cleaner can keep your home spic-and-span throughout the selling process.
  • Unless you have ample experience in photography, hire a professional to do your listing photos and video. You want them to stand out.

Showing Your Home
While there’s something special about seeing a home personally, there are several ways that buyers can view your home virtually.

  • Realtors can take buyers on a live tour by using a video chat app.
  • Professional photographers can create a 3D walkthrough of your home, which allows buyers to tour your home whenever they want – no appointment needed.
  • When your listing photos and videos are good quality, often that is all buyers need to see to make an offer!

Though things have changed in the real estate market, you can still land the home sale you’ve been looking for. Remember to invest in staging your home, look into alternatives to in-person showings, and work with professionals who can showcase your home.

Summer is here and the pandemic doesn’t have to keep you from moving on. Let Queen B Organizing help you through the transition. Call today to learn how!

For more information, check out these links:

Decluttering Your Home Room by Room

Home Staging Tips

How to Make Your Home Look Its Very Best for Selling

Guide to Real Estate Video Marketing

Best Video Chat Apps in 2020


with thanks to Natalie Jones, HomeownerBliss.info

A Master Guide to Organizing Your Master Closet

A master closet should be spacious, welcoming, and the perfect place to pick out your best outfit. However, most of our closets end up becoming a cluttered tornado of clothing we never wear and the safe haven for old keepsakes. When your closet is calling for a good overhaul, there are two things that will be your best friend in this endeavor: organization and interior design. Feeling daunted? Don’t. We have the perfect guide to mastering your master closet!

Clean It Out

Seems like a logical first step, but actually getting everything out of your master closet may be a bigger task than you’d initially think. There’s always more in there than you expect. As you begin to remove items, be systematic in how you place then in your bedroom. Make labels for shirts, pants, dresses, and other clothing items, keeping everything with its own category.

The chances that you’ve been able to fully clean the floor and shelves of your master closet are slim. Giving your closet a deep clean is a must, so vacuum, dust, and look for scuff marks, scratches, and other imperfections that you can take off while the closet is empty. Most closets are rather drab in color, so take this opportunity to give yours a new life. Professional painters recommend using a clean and vibrant semi-gloss paint, you’ll not only brighten up your closet, reflective light will give the appearance of more space and better highlight your clothing options.

Keep, Donate, Purge

If you’ve kept everything in categorical piles, this will go relatively quickly. Now it’s time to decide what’s staying and what goes.

Ask yourself the following questions:

  1. When was the last time I wore this?
  2. Does this fit me anymore?
  3. Do I like how it looks?
  4. Could someone benefit from this more than me?
  5. Is it damaged in any way?

How you answer these questions will determine which pile the item goes into. Items you’re keeping, set aside in one area, those you’re donating, keep to another, and things that are damaged or of no good to anyone, place them straight in a trash bag. If you have any doubts about an item, don’t keep it.

Visualize Your Organization, Then Make it a Reality

Take a good, hard look at your empty master closet. What organizational options do you have? You’ll want to use all available space. Get hooks and a rack for the back of your closet door, or perhaps a hanging shoe rack instead. If you have drawers, maximize their storage capabilities with dividers or even shoe boxes to keep items separate.

If you keep items like jewelry, watches, and hair scarves in your closet, you can use ice cube and cutlery trays to keep them organized. Also, if you have shelves in your closet, invest in some canvas storage bins or baskets to keep items in and add a clean, uniformed look to your closet. A great way to make it seem larger, other than that semi-gloss paint, is to hang a mirror or two. Not only will you be able to check yourself out, it’ll make everything seem more spacious.

Keep Things in Season

Get used to the idea of rotating your wardrobe twice a year: Spring/Summer and Fall/Winter. Depending on when you’re taking on this task, store away clothes of the opposite seasons in totes that can easily be stacked in the closet or under your bed. This way they’re out of sight, out of mind, and it’ll trim down the cluttered feeling in your closet.

When you are changing your wardrobe over, repeat the process of keep, donate, or trash. If you didn’t wear an item over two seasons, chances are you’re not going to wear it next year either. By constantly trimming and filtering your clothing, you’ll stave off another cluttered fiasco down the line.

Or, Hire an Extra Hand!

Coming to terms with letting items go can be a difficult and emotional task for some. If this is the case for you, it may be best to consult with a professional organizerwho can help both with decluttering, organizing, and designingyour newly transformed closet!


Organize Your Time, Diet, and Home For the Holidays

The holidays are a fun, festive, frolicking time of year filled with parties, decorations, food, gifts, and laughter. But what should be a memory-filled calendar can turn into chaos and anxiety if you’re overwhelmed with strewn-about wrapping paper, overly tempting treats, and events on your schedule overlapping each other. If you are stressed about getting the spare room cleared out before the in-laws arrive or the kids return from college, it’s time to create a plan. Are you ready to decorate but abhor the thought of digging totes out of the rafters? Did the party you planned seem like a better idea before you sent the invites and now you’re left wondering how you will pull it off? Don’t worry, we’re here to help you take control of your schedule, your diet, and your home for a relaxing and pleasant holiday season! Here are some tips and tricks to get you on the right track.

Organize Your Schedule

It’s easy to get wrapped up in the holiday excitement, but pause before you RSVP to the invitation or agree to bring cookies to the meeting. One key to staying present during the holidays is to avoid getting overscheduled.

Use an electronic or paper calendar to fill in all of your upcoming obligations. Be sure to include the everyday things like kid activities, exercise, meals times, and down time. Plus, leave some blank spots. Just because you have an hour and a half, don’t try to squeeze in dinner with a friend between work and your son’s holiday band concert. Overscheduling will have you feeling rundown, set you up for illness, and strip pleasure from your days.

When the teacher asks for your help in the classroom or a co-worker asks you out for a drink, check your calendar. If you have an empty agenda and the request is something you want to do, go for it. Also release yourself from unnecessary guilt. The teacher will find another parent, you can plan another time to visit outside of the office, and store-bought cookies will serve the same purpose as homemade ones. Remember that, especially during the hectic holidays, prioritizing activities is a matter of mental and physical health.

Organize Your Diet

Speaking of health, many people struggle with the endless borage of food-related functions that seem to begin before Halloween and last until Easter. Looking and feeling your best during the holidays means that you need to be organized. Start by looking at that calendar to see what events are coming up. Use that schedule to create a plan for success. Rather than feeling like you’ve failed yourself, take a power role.
*Don’t opt in for a night out with friends during the same week as the company holiday party.
*Eat before the party so you’re less tempted by high-calorie foods.
*Use a plate rather than grazing. It gives you a better measurement of what you’ve eaten.
*Drink water before the party to help fill your stomach and keep you from overeating. Drink water at the party to stay hydrated, especially if you drink alcohol, and drink more water after the party to rehydrate and to flush salt and toxins out of the system.
*Bring a favorite, diet-conscious dish to the party so you know there is an option you will enjoy and feel good about.
*Limit your alcohol consumption by cutting it out during the week or setting a responsible limit (two drinks) at the party.
*Don’t skip the exercise.

Organize Your Decor
Some people look forward to dragging out the holiday totes and boxes, setting up decorative displays, and already have a system in place to pack them back up and store them neatly out of the way until next year. If that doesn’t describe you, it’s okay. This is the year you can get it all organized. Invest in matching totes, preferably see-through. Sort all of your decor and be sure that you only keep what you need or love.
*If you haven’t used it in the past two seasons, it’s time to let it go.
*Put ribbons and bows in smaller boxes to keep them from getting crushed. *Store all of your wrapping paper, gift bags, tissue paper, gift tags, wrapping tape, and a pair of scissors together.
*Create a designated space for your decor totes in the garage, pantry, spare room, closet, shed, or garage.
*Clearly label all totes.

Organize Projects
Now that you have streamlined the schedule, are feeling your best, and have your decor in order, it’s time to tackle the nagging projects like getting that spare room tidied up.
*The key to minimizing stress during projects is to create a timeline. Map it out by breaking it into workable and realistic pieces.
*Allow some wiggle room in the schedule so that if there is a delay you have time to recover without the entire project falling apart. For example, don’t expect a furniture delivery on a Monday if you plan to DIY new flooring over the weekend.
*Recruit help when you need it. Family, friends, and neighbors might have the tool you need, a cake pan you can borrow, or a strong teen that can help you lift and move furniture. Invite a girlfriend over for dinner and an organizing session. Give the kids chore lists. Call Queen B Organizing to help you dig through the piles in the garage or spare room.

The most important thing to keep in mind is that you have control over the amount of stress you pile onto yourself during the holiday. Focus on what you value most and let everything else go. Choose to spend your time in ways that bring you satisfaction and joy–making a meal from scratch, designing a homemade game to entertain the kids, taking on the role of bartender, making unique gifts for guests or hosts, or decorating for the party. Remember that it doesn’t have to fit anybody’s definition of perfect to be fun and memorable. But if you need a hand to get things under control at any point along the way, the organizing bees at Queen B Organizing are here to help.

DIY Ideas for Revamping Your Old Home

Living in an older, outdated home? Give it a little refresh with these renovation ideas that you can tackle yourself. It may take a little work, but let’s get your hands dirty!

Organize the Chaos

Decluttering is the first step to giving your old home a makeover. Not only will it make you feel less overwhelmed, it will also make it easier to start other projects that would require you to shift furniture and other items around the house.

First, take careful inventory of your belongings, and keep only what you need. Sell valuable items, donate gently used goods, recycle what you can, and toss only what is broken or unusable. This can be a daunting task; objects often carry sentimental value, and it can be difficult to let go. If this happens to you, designate a box for items that you’re unsure of or are simply not ready to part with. Seal the box and wait a month. At the end of the month, if you can’t recall what was in the box or don’t feel particularly attached any longer, you can get rid of it!

Once you’re finished with your purge, everything leftover should have a place. This will help keep clutter from building up and make it easier for you to find things when you need them! If you have limited storage space, consider investing in furniture with built-in storage, such as a captain’s bed. Finally, pick a single spot in your house for clutter, such as a junk drawer or basket. Training yourself one little bit at a time will help you keep your home organized and clutter free.

From Floor to Ceiling

Shag carpeting and popcorn ceilings can really date your home; modernize by removing them from floor to ceiling. Flooring can get expensive pretty quickly, but you can avoid an unattractive price tag by exposing and refinishing hardwood floors—especially if you do it yourself. If your worn or outdated carpeting does not have hardwood underneath, take on the task! If the real stuff is too pricey, there are plenty of faux hardwood options to choose from, including laminate, wood-look tile, luxury vinyl, and soft wood foam tiles.

After you have your footing, time to tackle the unsightly wallpaper. While it’s making its way back around, most original wallpapering will show its age with peeling, cracking, yellowing, or fading. Replace it with a newer, more fashionable style, or remove it completely. Before removing any paint or wallpaper, make sure if your old stuff contains lead that you have it removed by a professional. You should also remove popcorn ceilings, which are highly dated. Although you can tackle this task yourself, be sure to check with a certified professional that your popcorn ceilings don’t contain asbestos. If you’re safe to remove the popcorn ceiling on your own, it can easily become messy and frustrating. If you don’t want to deal with it, you can always hire a company that specializes in popcorn ceiling removal to save you time and stress.

A New Coat

Put a fresh coat of paint on the front door and trim. A pop of color is a great way to liven up your entryway with minimal effort. You can upgrade your cabinetry in the same way, covering dated wood and brightening your kitchen. When it comes to interior walls, stick to neutral earth tones like beige and grey. For color, you can add an accent wall for a unique touch or hang some imaginative artwork after the paint has dried!


First impressions matter, so don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty outside! Purchase some prefabricated planter boxes or build your own and consider putting in an urban garden. If gardening isn’t your style, you can fill your planters with bulbs and seeds that are sure to brighten your doorway—with very little work! Native plants, as well as bee and butterfly-friendly flowers are another great way to spice up your lawn while also supporting your local environment.

Whatever route you take to upgrade your old home, make sure it’s you! After all a home is a reflection of your personality and flair.

Need help with clearing the clutter before taking on any renovations? We know where to start.

Organizing Your Kitchen For a Better Morning, Better Life

Organization is a very important facet to living a lively life. The best way to take control of your life is to be well-prepared, organized, and disciplined in your organization. When those mundane tasks become mundane habits, something special starts to happen.

You no longer worry about the minutiae of the day-to-day, as you’ve already taken care of it. Your brain has more time to focus on the tasks and projects that are actually important to you. The extra focus and willpower allows you to achieve the impossible.

All that can start in your kitchen.

No, seriously.

The kitchen is one of the most occupied places in the home. We cook and eat our meals there, entertain guests, and connect with our family. So, naturally, a few minor changes to how we organize our kitchens can have drastic effects on our life.

Prepared Food

Preparing your food ahead of time can be a massive time saver. Even if you cook lunch and dinner the night before, you can save hours in a day on cooking, eating, and clean up.

For example, make your own overnight oats for breakfast. All you need to do is mix milk, oats, yogurt, and fruit in a bowl or mason jar and leave it in the refrigerator overnight. By morning you’ll have a healthy breakfast ready to eat. Eat them cold or warm them up in the microwave.

For coffee lovers, put the water and coffee grounds in your coffee maker the night before. Leave the machine off. In the morning, breakfast and coffee is ready for you with the press of a couple buttons.

Now that’s efficiency!

Organize Your Kitchen

A cluttered space leads to a cluttered mind. Even with your counters clean of crud, piles of junk mail can have an adverse impact on your peace of mind.

Make sure everything has its place. Your counters should be as empty as possible. Invest in a recycle bin or an organizing mail box.

If you find yourself wasting time trying to find things in your drawers, take the time to clean them out. Add organizers to your drawers where need be.

Open up the space in your kitchen and cabinetry by getting rid of outdated foods, duplicate utensils, appliances that need replaced, and anything you no longer use. If you’ve accumulated quite a bit over the years, consider getting a waste removal service to deal with it all for you. You’ll want to find a company that specializes in environmental junk removal. Where they come to you, take all the accumulated junk and make sure it’s disposed of in the eco-friendliest way.

Take Advantage of Your Kitchen’s Space

The market is flooded with products to help make organizing your kitchen easier. From sacks for your plastic grocery bags to shelves that slide out. There’s no excuse to have a cluttered space in one of the most important rooms of your home.

The kitchen is a space that can be organized in a plethora of ways. Tailor it to fit your lifestyle.

If you start your morning with a cup of coffee, set up an area of your kitchen completely dedicated to coffee. Place your mugs, sugar, and coffee grounds close by.

If you’re famous for writing lists and losing them, section off an area of your kitchen for a calendar and memo board. Eliminate cluttered counter tops by pinning your to-do lists to the memo board.

Add a coat rack nearby to keep your kitchen table from attracting hats, jackets, and purses. Placing the coat rack near the door can help make the morning rush out the door much smoother.

These methods and ideas are designed to open you up to the possibilities your space presents. Becoming organized can help you save a lot of stress, time, and money.

The easy part is getting organized. The hardest part is building the habit to make it stick. Especially if you’re not predisposed to being organized in the first place. If you’re serious about living more organized, a professional organizer might be the best place to start. They’re great at putting systems into place that are tailored to you.

If not knowing where to start is the biggest obstacle, call us for help.

The Cost of Disorganization and Clutter

How Much is Your Lack of Organization Costing You?
By: Dawn Hammon

Many people experience deep frustration from disorganization. Not being able to find the remote or having the car keys alude you can raise anxiety, not to mention start the day out on the wrong foot. If you haven’t noticed, it’s also exhausting spending your time looking for things instead of powering through your day like the boss you are. But, lack of organization costs you more than frustration, anxiety, and energy. It costs you money. Here a few ways you may be wasting money because of disorganization.

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Why Can’t I Get Organized?

The Top 5 Obstacles in Your Way

For many people, the art of organization comes naturally. The calendar is color-coded, the kids have outfits picked out days in advance, the flow of paperwork moves seamlessly from one basket to the next as tasks are completed. Well, maybe not. But many people do have the skills to get organized. That leaves them wondering why they can’t seem to get it done! If this is you or someone you know you’re not alone. According to the National Association of Professional Organizers, one in four Americans wish they were more organized. The reasons for this are many including wanting to spend more time with family or doing hobbies, frustration in looking for items, and the cost of replacing items when you can’t find the one you already own. Here are the top five obstacles that are keeping you from getting organized.

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Stay Organized With These 5 Fundamental Techniques

You’ve sorted every sock, found a home for the ever-invasive mail, and wrangled the kids’ artwork into a system that works. It’s such a great feeling to reclaim your space! A week later, you find today’s art masterpiece stacked with the laundry and the socks choosing new partners before your eyes. Once you’ve achieved some level of organization, how do you maintain it? Sometimes maintaining organization is as difficult, or more difficult, than getting organized in the first place. We believe that with a plan, you can keep your maintenance on track and still have time for the next organizational task on your list. Here are our top 5 places to focus your energy so that you can continue to love those newly-organized spaces.

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