Annie Kilbride – Life Simplified
Organizing Philosophy: “Keep it simple. The systems you create don’t have to be elaborate. Simple is easier to maintain.”
● Just start somewhere and reward yourself. Organizing can be overwhelming at first but put those feelings aside and focus on the biggest stressor. It doesn’t have to be a closet or a cabinet, it can be the pile of shoes or one shelf. Set a timer and commit to 5 minutes of organizing before you allow yourself to scroll through Instagram (this works great for kids too!).
● Look at your mail right away and be prepared to toss, recycle or file. Create a system: a recycling bin right at your back door or a hanging mail organizer. If things do start to stack up, flip that pile over. The older stuff will be the easiest to toss.
● Dedicate a storage bin for donations. If you have kids, consider keeping a bin or bag in each of their rooms and when they outgrow something, put it in there so it’s already collected in one place.
● Not sure who needs to hear this but the holidays are over! If you still have a pile of leftover gifts sitting around, consider donating or re-gifting to someone who can use it. Look into free Buy Nothing sites on Facebook and the Next Door app which allow you to easily post.
● Schedule a monthly donation pick-up at your house. It might be a bag or three bags, but you’ll know it will be picked up and cleared out on a regular basis.
Carrie Kauffman – Carrie’s Essential Services
Organizing Philosophy: “Clutters happens when you don’t have an answer. Do I need this? Where does it go? Everything needs to have a home. If you don’t answer it today, you’re going to have to answer it in your future.”
● Start with the right tools: have trash bags ready, get a recycling bin, make sure the hallways are cleared. If you’re going to make a donation drop-off, make sure it’s scheduled for the next day and make sure your trunk is empty.
● Do 10 things in one hour. Pick 10 items to trash, donate or recycle. Or take 10 items to another room. Walk away and come back the next hour and do it again and then again. You’ll feel less overwhelmed and you will make lots of progress.
● Guilt is usually the #1 reason for clutter. But a gift is no longer a gift if it makes you feel guilty or causes you emotional and physical stress (yes, even if your mother gave it to you). Let it go and take back your space!
● For those with young kids: make a Toy Catalogue. Take photos of surplus toys and make an album on your phone. Pack the toys away and when ready ask: let’s see what we can pull out and play with. If you know that something is no longer being played with or it’s broken, take it out of the house before you bring something else in.
● You can’t save everything. If your parents are still around, go to your childhood homes now and start going through things. Your parents are likely starting to downsize and they’re stressed about what to do with your things. Give them permission to box your stuff up and send to you…or to let it go.
Brittini Schafer – B.Organized
Organizing Philosophy: “Make sense of what you have. Push yourself to answer the tough questions. Do you use it, do you love it, do you need it? If it doesn’t make sense, it’s a reason to re-think the process, the item, the purchase or the habit.”
● Encourage responsibility and organizing skills at a young age. Set up playrooms so they’re easy for little ones to help clean up. For example, if you have shelves that are too high or inaccessible to a small child, they’re likely not going to understand the value of putting things away. Visual labels really help: try a photo of Legos or affixing a single MagnaTile on the outside storage bins.
● Rotate toys! Old toys will feel new again if they disappear for a few months but it also allows you to rotate new ones in.
● Dedicate a basket for collecting items. Leaving things on the stairs can easily pile up. Leave a basket for each person or in certain rooms for items to be gathered and re-homed. Make sure it gets put back.
● Don’t make your life harder than it has to be. Find ways to reduce the number of steps it takes to do something. For example, if your coffee maker is on the counter, put your coffee cups right above it.
● Your digital life needs organizing too. Neglecting the organization on our devices can be overwhelming so start with something small. If you’re organizing photos, start with one year or one kid or one event. Consider reviewing your emails regularly and unsubscribing or archiving as needed or color-coding your calendar.