Spring Organizing: Part 3

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As an organizer, I would say the master bedroom/closet area is one of the most popular areas I get called to work in. Today, I’m going to give you 3 tips for organizing a bedroom and closet. Remember, just a little bit of work in these areas can make a HUGE difference! Let’s start in the closet and work our way out.

Typically, when I work in a bedroom closet I pull everything out (tip #2 from my first blog post) and my client and I go through everything together. After sorting between the “donate”, “throw away” and “keep” piles, whatever is in the “keep” pile goes back into the closet. I create personalized zones in the closet and then fill those zones with the appropriate clothes, always keeping similar styles together (‘like with like’ aka tip #3 from my first blog post).

So what exactly does that mean? Well, it’s difficult to say because how each zone gets organized is different for each person depending on what they can maintain in their closet. It may mean having very general categories: all dresses together, all skirts together, all tops together, etc. Or it may mean getting more focused with sub-categories, i.e. shirts: by sleeve length (long – short), style (fancy – casual) or color; dresses: by sleeve length (long – strapless), skirt length (long – short), style (fancy – casual) or color; bottoms: Length (long – shorts), style (fancy – jeans) or color, etc. Once you have pulled everything out and know what is going back in, figure out which method will work best for you and put your clothes back in accordingly. Remember, these categories can be as broad or as narrow as you want so take ownership and make your closet what you want it and need it to be.

My second tip takes us under the bed. This is valuable storage space that most people don’t think about or don’t utilize properly. Instead of just shoving whatever you have under your bed, first consider what is getting stored and then find the best container . One option is a simple clear, plastic bin. You can pick one of these up at any discount store (like Wal-Mart or Target). If you like the idea of using a bin but don’t want to see the random items inside you can choose a different color to help camouflage or one that’s not transparent. There’s also plenty of trendier options to choose from – wooden storage boxes, designer boxes, roller “drawers”, or even DIY storage with cardboard boxes and wrapping paper. Just google search “under the bed storage” and you’ll see all the creative ways people use this space. Whatever your budget or taste there is something that will work. So dig down deep (or in this case, reach far to the middle of the floor under your bed) and make it happen.

My final tip for the bedroom is to find a space for everything . Your bedroom should be a place you go to relax. If it causes you to feel stress then something is wrong. So address it. If you always throw your clothes on the floor at the end of the day, keep a hamper in your room so they end up in there. If you like to look at books or magazines in bed, make a holder for them on the side of your nightstand using a wire basket and command hook to keep the top of your nightstand clear. Ladies, have a space to hold your jewelry and keep it close to where you normally take it off. This may be an actual jewelry box on the dresser, a DIY jewelry holder on the wall or a simple bowl or ring holder in the bathroom. Gentlemen…. I’m not married so I don’t know what bad habits you may have that are specific to the male gender alone, but
whatever they may be remember figure out how to address the issue and DO IT. Designated spots can help even the messiest person keep things contained, and when it comes to organizing, containment is key.

Okay, before acting on these tips go back and re-read my first blog post and then step into your bedroom and make it happen.


Post by Jenna Nelson of Top Shelf Organizing

Spring Organizing: Part 2 – Keep Going!

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If you’ve tackled any sort of organizing project then you know this truth: it always gets worse before it gets better. And it’s at this point that most people give up and shove everything back in the space they just emptied, causing an even bigger mess that is even more unorganized than it was before.

In my first blog post I gave you 3 tips to help get you started on your organizing journey. Today, I want to give you 3 tips to help you through the organizing process because those previous tips aren’t going to be helpful if you don’t complete the job. My first tip is: have an accountability partner . Everyone is the same. If you tell people you’re going to do something, you’re more likely to do it. The same is true for organizing. Tell your spouse or a friend or your adult children that you’re going to tackle one specific organizing project within the week. Tell them to check up on you and to not stop bugging you about it until you actually do it. If possible, and if you’re willing, you could even ask someone to help you with the job. Everyone knows someone who LOVES organizing and would be thrilled to help. Find a non-judgmental partner and get to work.

This brings me to my second tip: ask for help (if you need it). I’ve had several clients tell me they could never do the whole job on their own and that’s true for a lot of people. We need each other. We need each other’s thoughts and ideas and encouragement and support and advice. Plus, on a practical note, the job goes a lot faster when there’s more than just 1 person working on it.

My third tip is: keep going . Like I said at the beginning of the post, it gets worse before it gets better. Realize this, accept it, don’t let it scare you when it happens and keep going. Yes there’s a mound of clothes on your bed, but if you know part of that pile is going to be donated
then get a large trash bag and begin putting clothes in it. Suddenly you’ll look at your bed and realize less is going back in your closet than what came out of it and that’s an exciting thought! It makes the whole process seem more do-able. Honestly, sorting is the hardest and most time consuming part of an organizing job. But don’t give up when you’re already in the midst of the process (this is when it’s a good idea to send out an SOS text to your accountability partner or your organize-savvy friend). Little secret: when I start a job I don’t usually have an exact plan in my head. I know I can make the space more organized and I know roughly what it’s going to look like, but I just start the decluttering process and from there I begin to see the layout. So trust the process. If you stick with it, an organized space will happen. It can be messy and overwhelming but I promise you, the end result will make it all worthwhile.

Post by Jenna Nelson, Top Shelf Organizing

Spring Organizing: Part 1

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It’s easy in this busy, multi-tasking world to get overwhelmed with projects. In fact, we start so many different projects and jobs that oftentimes we don’t finish anything! Starting an organizing project is no exception. So I’m going to fill you in on a few tips that help me when I start a new organizing job.

The first tip is: focus on one space/category at a time. If you look at the entire project as a whole you’ll feel overwhelmed and will have no idea where to even begin. But if you narrow your focus to one space or category, it won’t seem quite as overwhelming. This applies when
doing the “Konmari” method (focus on specific categories) or doing what most people do – focusing on spaces/rooms.

Once you choose which space/category you want to focus on, the very next thing to do is: pull everything out . And I mean E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G (this applies to both approaches). Whether it’s an entire kitchen or just a cupboard, a bedroom closet or an entire storage unit, all of your clothing or books, this is always the first thing I do when I start any organizing project. By doing this you’ll be able to see every single item and will be able to think, “Do I want to keep this item? Does it belong in this area?” Sometimes my clients find things they lost. Sometimes they find things that belong somewhere else. Most of the time they find things they can get get rid of. Once every item is out and only what is needed for that space remains, then putting everything back in is easy.

My third and final tip when starting an organizing job is this: consolidate. In a play room, put stuffed toys together, dress up clothes together, art supplies together, etc. Like with like. In the pantry, put canned goods together, baking supplies together, snack foods together,
etc. Like with like. In your linen closet: put matching sheet sets together, blankets together, towel sets together, etc. Like with like. That way, instead of searching all over the place, you’ll know exactly where everything is and when it’s time to clean up, you’ll know where everything

So! Now you know how this professional organizer starts every job: Focus, empty and consolidate. If you follow those 3 steps organizing won’t seem quite so intimidating.

Post by Jenna Nelson, Top Shelf Organizing