Basics of Organizing

I often get asked about how sessions work.

"Clutter Management + Organizational Design" really is a summary. 

Clutter Management

Identify the Clutter

We identify the clutter zones, the problem areas. Could be an entryway, kitchen, dining room table, living room, play room, office, closet, craft room...

We look at what is getting piled up, what is getting placed on open surfaces without really having a home: papers, mail, shoes, clothes, bags, dishes, coins, receipts, equipment...

It seems my clutter is mostly entryway related: receipts, tax documents, matches that need thrown out, grandparents old love letters that need a home...

It seems my clutter is mostly entryway related: receipts, tax documents, matches that need thrown out, grandparents old love letters that need a home...

Sort

We begin by dealing with the clutter, getting out what isn't needed or truly wanted. We empty drawers, unpack forgotten boxes, take inventory of bins and baskets... We sort: to recycle, throw away, give away, consign.

"Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful."
William Morris

We keep only the essential, really must-keep, make-my-clients-glow items. This is a really important step in getting you closer to having space that is more simple, aesthetic, and livable. 

Helpful questions to ask when sorting:

  • When was the last time I used this? How often do I use this?
  • Does this improve my life on a daily/weekly/monthly basis?
  • Would I miss this if I got rid of it?
  • Am I only keeping this because someone gave it to me?
  • Is this item beautiful to me? Inspiring? Useful?
  • Do I have more of this item than I could ever possibly need? 

The motivation here is to clear the way and make space (both physical and mental, because our physical space has a big impact on our mental space) for those things that do enrich, improve, and inspire our lives. This is just one way we can get rid of distractions and clutter that keep us from enjoying and utilizing our space fully. The idea here is to really truly love and appreciate what you decide to keep.

*Also, for kicks (and great examples), I highly recommend Jeffrey Phillip's #tossittuesday Instagram videos.

Get It Out

For those items we decide not to keep (my clients decide, it is always their choice), we put these items in their own bags or boxes and we get them out the door with a clear plan on when and where they will go.

Some of my frequent go-to consignment spots:

Some of my frequent go-to donation spots: 

Give It A Home

For those items that remain, we make sure they have a home. No more lingering on open surfaces (floors, tables, ledges...) because you're not really sure where it should go. We find a place for it to go. 

Storage spaces that we utilize:

  • Drawers
  • Cabinets
  • Closets
  • Basements
  • Attics
  • Crawl spaces
  • Sheds
  • Garages

The basic idea when considering where items will go is to keep daily used items in highly accessible areas, and the less often used items in the less convenient locations. 

When not using them, I tuck my candles and books away in these easy access shelves in my room. These are candles and books I am currently using. Others get put away in more inconvenient locations, like closets, high cabinets in the laundry room, etc.

When not using them, I tuck my candles and books away in these easy access shelves in my room. These are candles and books I am currently using. Others get put away in more inconvenient locations, like closets, high cabinets in the laundry room, etc.

I am also a huge fan of dividers and containers for giving items a place to belong and maintaining order for the long run, which leads us to the realm of organizational design.

Organizational Design

Organizational Infrastructure

When I say organizational infrastructure, I mean the physical systems we use to keep our things organized: shelves, racks, hooks, cabinets, bins, baskets, dividers, folders, etc. Even labels help to steer us in keeping our things organized - and knowing where to find them!

I use my hairpins eeeeeevery day, and they often end up in pockets, purses, bedside stools, etc. So when I'm tidying, I find it helpful to give them a home where I know I can find them. They go in my bathroom cabinet, with easy grab access. Notice, however, how I have limited what is loose in the cabinet. Other items get contained in jars to help maintain order. Jars are great for keeping daily used items organized in cabinets. I keep toiletries I do not use every day on their own shelf in our linen closet.

I use my hairpins eeeeeevery day, and they often end up in pockets, purses, bedside stools, etc. So when I'm tidying, I find it helpful to give them a home where I know I can find them. They go in my bathroom cabinet, with easy grab access. Notice, however, how I have limited what is loose in the cabinet. Other items get contained in jars to help maintain order. Jars are great for keeping daily used items organized in cabinets. I keep toiletries I do not use every day on their own shelf in our linen closet.

If you decide to keep more than you have organizational infrastructure to accommodate, it becomes difficult to maintain order. I might first recommend reconsidering what you really must keep, but you still might need more shelving, cabinets, or hooks to give your items a place to belong.  

This is where design comes in. You are given an opportunity to make a huge impact on your space. You could choose purely utilitarian shelving, hooks, cabinets, bins, etc. OR you could choose shelving, hooks, cabinets, bins, baskets, and dividers that you find to be beautiful and in line with your aesthetic. 

Whenever investing in your space, look beyond utility to consider how you will feel being surrounded by it on a daily basis.

I love the look of this cabinet in my room, and it holds all my socks, underwear, bathing suits, projects, equipment I use all the time, candles, and current books I'm in the middle of reading.

I love the look of this cabinet in my room, and it holds all my socks, underwear, bathing suits, projects, equipment I use all the time, candles, and current books I'm in the middle of reading.

Fortunately, there are great options out there. You can choose to purchase products and systems to incorporate and install, OR you can choose to build out your space to better accommodate your needs (great for closets, pantries, kitchens, entryways, laundry rooms, basements, attics, sheds, etc.).

For a little inspiration, visit SIMPLY KEPT on Pinterest.

Making It Happen

We often work with clients to find the products and systems to meet their needs. We look at what's out there, consider their aesthetic preferences and options within their budget, get the goods, and incorporate into their space.

For clients who wish to build out their space (shelving, cubbies, drawers, hooks, and other built-in storage), we bring in a design build studio to work alongside the client in designing and actualizing the vision to accommodate their needs within the space.

The Basics

Each of our clients' needs and budgets are unique, but the basic principles apply:

  • Identify the clutter,
  • Sort,
  • Get it out,
  • Give it a home,
  • And make sure you have adequate organizational infrastructure