Updated: Jul 3
I was recently hired by a super-stylish, hard-workin' mama in Roslindale to organize some closet spaces and give her some much needed de-cluttering help. We happened to cross paths randomly through a "gifting" group on Facebook. She’d posted a request for some drawer organizers that someone was giving away and I had been eyeing those same organizers to use for a client's pantry. When I spotted her comment about, “... trying to get organized," I reached out to see if I could help and turns out… I could.
The first question she asked (which is a popular first by many clients) was “what should I buy to get started?”. I told her what I tell everyone: “Hold off on purchasing any organizing systems (drawer organizers, baskets, plastic bins, etc.) because we first need to purge the area to get an accurate inventory to see what is truly going to stay."
CUT TO OUR FIRST CHAT
I asked what her main goals were in working with me and she said: "I want to be a good example to my daughter by being able to teach her how to be organized." I was thrilled to hear this because so many of my clients who are parents, often tell me that they can't seem to get their kids to clean up or stay tidy. This is neither the parent's nor the child's lack of wanting to do it; it's the fact that they just don't have the know-how to live an organized life consistently - but this is where I shine! By offering clients the guidance to organize correctly and apply that knowledge to their daily routines, I free them to have more time, feel good about their space, and spend their energy doing more important things with their time.
WHAT I DO & WHY
I can say whole-heartedly that I love helping people reach their de-cluttering and organizing goals. When I show a client the 'Before & After’ photos of their home and I get to see the sheer joy they experience when they realize what we've accomplished together, it feeds my soul! This Roslindale client was no different in her sense of joy, pride, and accomplishment at seeing our results!
DECLUTTERING THEN ORGANIZING
We started her session with her daughter's room and began by organizing her toys, art supplies, and stuffed animals, going through each item to see if she still loved to play with it, or if it was time to gift it to another. We then jumped into the closet and dresser by looking to see if each article of clothing still fit and was in good condition - then the rest we donated. Finally came the organizing. This included a file folding and hanging techniques that I‘ll be posting a tutorial on soon and sharing via YouTube to demonstrate the way you fold, hang, and respect your clothing to insure they’ll stay organized and last longer.
Once we finished her daughter's room, it was time for Mama to get some attention to focus on her main goal of setting a good example for her daughter. First step (and the scariest for most clients) is pulling everything (yes, everything) out of their closets and drawers, and piling it onto the bed. (I choose the bed because it helps motivate clients to get the job done or by day's end they have no place to sleep. It may seem a bit extreme, but this is where I need to stand strong and show a little tough-love to keep clients on track.)
GETTING TO THE FUN STUFF
Now onto the fun part: going through each item one at a time. I call this 'the fun part' not to be sarcastic but because most clients start to realize pretty quickly that they haven't seen their favorite cashmere sweater in years or they say, "I had no idea I even had these." It's the fun part because it's like a little treasure hunt!
This is also the most important step because it helps everyone home in on the type of lifestyle they really want to lead. (Do they want to be the person with pristine looking clothes that are well cared for? Or do they want to be the person that keeps those not-so-perfect shirts with holes or stains or rips just in case?) The answer is a pretty easy thing to figure that out when someone else is in the room asking. The answer is always “No”. You want to be seen as that glamorous gal (Cue the paparazzi. Camera flash) who looks and feels amazing because her clothes look fantastic - not tossed in a corner with wrinkles or thrown on since they were the only thing you could find.
Once we were able to do this, she was left with the Crème de la Crème picks placed back into her closet and drawers with a solid understanding of her personal inventory. Although the above step is vitally important to accomplish together, this next part is where I'm needed most. My main expertise comes from sizing up spaces to figure out exactly how they need to be organized best for someone’s life. I can literally look at a pile of clothes and visualize each product needed to perfect the final, ideal organized space - and how everything will fit into it.
Side Note: At the bottom you’ll find a few links to some of my favorite drawer organizers and hangers. (Ditch the wire and plastic: they'll end up ruining your clothes. Using bins will help items stand up with the file folding method.)
I can't fully explain the joy, peace, and productivity that organizing can bring to someone's life. It’s something that can only be fully experienced by doing for oneself - and it’s what drives me each time I help a client accomplish it.
The day after we did her daughter's room, my client's text to me was, "We were early to school the next day due to being able to find all our clothes, hair products, etc. Thank you! I can already see that getting organized is life-changing, and when can you come back?” This made my heart swell with happiness. I love what I do and how it helps change people's lives!
As we finished my client's closet, she told me that she felt lighter and was so glad to get rid of all her old things that she no longer needed. I’ve heard this same sentiment shared by clients over and over again. I think it's because people’s 'stuff' is like baggage they hold onto for fear of letting go of the past. It can be liberating to just let it all go because living in the past isn't living in the present and just holds you back from your life. It’s so important to hold this symbolic "ceremony" of purging, because it reminds us to appreciate what we had then, what we have now, and what we can look forward to in the future by making room in our lives.
Organizing isn't just about finding a spot for each item in your house. It’s about what type of life you want to lead and only having what's most precious in order to achieve that. Letting go of the clutter from your past, only keeping things that you really enjoy now, and organizing to promote productivity for your future are just a few key elements of getting organized that will ultimately change your life forever.
As promised, here are a few items I love to use!
Looking for more ways to get organized? Check out my other posts!
Have a peaceful, and productive day!
Jamie Goodman - The Clutter Guru