I often get asked about how sessions work.
"Clutter Management + Organizational Design" really is a summary.
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...
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."
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:
- Fifi's (for fine clothes, Durham)
- The Red Hen (for baby and toddler items, Chapel Hill)
- Plato's Closet (for teen clothing)
Some of my frequent go-to donation spots:
- Durham Rescue Mission Thrift Store
- GCF Donation Center, Urban Ministries (for unwanted food/clothes/household items, Durham)
- Welcome Baby (for baby items, Durham)
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:
- Crawl spaces
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
Each of our clients' needs and budgets are unique, but the basic principles apply:
- Identify the clutter,
- Get it out,
- Give it a home,
- And make sure you have adequate organizational infrastructure