About Barbara McDonell
I live on the west coast of Canada in Victoria, British Columbia. That's located on beautiful Vancouver Island which is so large that it takes eight hours to drive the length of it. Wildlife is abundant - sometimes even in the city. Once upon a time, a cougar walked into the Empress Hotel for afternoon tea!
I’m crazy-nuts about animals so it was destiny that my first job would be working in a pet hospital. Despite long hours and minimum pay, I loved it...but the veterinarian told me I got too emotionally attached to my patients.
For several decades I was an administrative secretary, which is where I learned the importance of organizing chaos into calm. Later, I used that knowledge to reinvent myself by taking a leap of faith from a secure 9-5 job to operating my own business as a professional organizer.
Because I adore organizing, I cannot stop myself from sorting groceries into categories (fruit, vegetables, tinned goods, etc.) while waiting in the check-out line. I've been known to reorganize a toy store display that hid the cutest teddy bear in the world in a mess of games (a young couple immediately nabbed that teddy). Later I spent a half-hour reorganizing the whole wall art section because it was so jumbled that I couldn't locate the size frame I wanted.
Because I love variety and have a broad range of interests, I’ve published magazine and newspaper articles on hugely diverse subjects: cats, soppy Dobermans, hiking, hang gliding, travel fun, Victoria’s colorful history, housing issues, the making of artificial eyes and even a short erotic piece for “Playgirl” magazine.
I began writing novels on a manual typewriter. What was I thinking? Eventually, shaking in my boots, I bought a scary computer that sat on my desk in its unopened box for several weeks before I was brave enough to even unpack it (my two cats liked the machine because they could lie on top of it and stay warm). I'm always writing something and sitting in front of my computer is where I am the happiest.
on Feb. 02, 2018 :
I read this book from front to finish.
I especially appreciated how Barbara creatively combined her knowledge, her humour, quotes and photographs to make this a fun read.
I would recommend this book to anyone at any stage of de-cluttering they may be at in their life.
A great book to read! Well done!
(reviewed 8 months after purchase)
on March 08, 2015 :
A great guide book. As someone investigating the industry to start a possible business this was insightful with great strategies, information, and humorous, too! Well done!
(reviewed 13 days after purchase)
on Oct. 25, 2014 :
Even if you already consider yourself an organized person, this book can help make a good thing even better!
I live alone and consider myself a minimalist in terms of possessions. Reading this book reinforced the way I prefer to live . . . organized!
Barbara’s descriptions of the psychology of saving and storing things really made sense to me. Many years ago I lost some property in storage due to flooding, mostly keepsakes. At the time it seemed heartbreaking. Now, I remember those mementos from time to time, but I realize I don’t need or miss them.
I also feel that she has given me permission to release a couple of collections I am no longer interested in, something I have wanted to do for a long time.
With Barbara’s simple steps (and fun sense of humor), I found ways to add needed freshness to parts of my house that had been the same for years. After reading her book, I made a few immediate changes the very next day!
(reviewed 7 days after purchase)
on Oct. 12, 2014 :
As someone who has moved 10 times in the last 12 years, I am all too familiar with clutter and chaos. Happily, I am blessed to live in the same city as Clutter Queen, and have benefitted from her services on several occasions. I have always been astonished at what she can accomplish in as little as one hour, so it was with great anticipation that I greeted her new book.
I am glad to report that it is even better than I expected. The organizational advice alone would have been valuable enough, but to have it delivered with such clarity and wit - well, to someone as challenged as I am in this department, this book has been a blessing and a delight.
I recently experienced a flood, and for the last nine months have been living in chaos central. The flood water ran through the entire house, and everything I owned had to be hastily boxed up (actually, thrown without any thought or planning into any open box), and the resulting workload was overwhelming. The information in Clutter Queen Spills was like a life preserver to a drowning woman.
I recommend this book to anyone who can use a little or a lot of help in wading through the clutter life (and often our own misguided choices) put in our way.
(reviewed 4 days after purchase)
on Oct. 12, 2014 :
Great value here with tons of 'insider secrets' - everything from practical tips (square or rectangular storage containers are better than round; find a home for everything in your home; utilize the insides of suitcases to store travel-related items) to the psychology of why we collect stuff and how to overcome our resistance to releasing it. I particularly liked how the book was broken down room by room and, in some cases, area by area (conquer your junk drawers; pay attention to your home's entrance). A tremendous resource I'll be utilizing repeatedly.
(reviewed 2 days after purchase)
on Sep. 09, 2014 :
This book offers tons of seriously good advice in a light-hearted way that’s fun to read. The author explains not only how to unclutter every room in your house and garage but also how to organize your personal papers and finances. Added to that, there is advice on how to do yard sales, get a house ready for sale, move into a new house and clear an estate. She covers the psychology of ‘packratitis,’ also known in my house as “I might need that someday!” I loved the real-life stores and before-and-after photos. An extra bonus are the chapter headings, which are song titles and, at the end of the book, you get to do a quiz to see how many you know. This book gets five stars from me. Not because I need to be uncluttered, but because I’ve been a manic neat-freak organizer all my life and Barbara gave me some new ideas on how to be one.
(reviewed 13 days after purchase)