Transformation Tuesday #53: Kid's Toy Room

I've been doing a lot of organization work with a friend and had the opportunity to help her kids work on the bedroom/playroom spaces. Honestly, I was a bit anxious leading up to working with the kids, especially the older child, who expressed how much they didn't want to let go of anything.

I talked with my friend about setting the right expectations - I mean, I can make some organizing magic happen, but only if the client, regardless of their age, is ready for the change. Thank goodness she had been talking about it a lot the last couple months, because her daughter was ready! She may have been motivated by our scheduled pizza dinner afterward, but I will take what I can get!

We spent about an hour and a half working on the toy closet/playroom. My nine-year-old client was surprisingly ready to purge and very thoughtful about items that she wanted to save for her younger brother or cousins (set aside in a bag for mom to review as a double-check). 

Once we started filling up bags with donation, trash, and recycling, she saw lots of fun books and toys she had forgotten about. It was pretty cute hearing her tell stories about some of the items, who gave them to her, why they were special. I enjoyed this so much and found myself just chatting away with her as we sorted the toys.

Our big win of the day was letting go of the dollhouse. She decided she wanted to sell it so she could earn some spending money. She even wrote the ad up herself! I love how motivated this kid is. I told her when she's old enough to work, I would hire her as my organizing assistant. I was so impressed how easy it was to talk through giving away items, especially ones that she had outgrown or that she still liked, but knew was time to give away to another child to enjoy.

 
 

Do you have any success stories of decluttering with kids? Let me know in the comments!

Also ... if you know anyone in need of a dollhouse, I know the seller will be very excited to earn a little bit of money from all her organizing work :)

Meet the Minimalist: Rachel Corwin

A year has flown by since I joined the world of self-employment and I couldn’t be happier! It has been an incredible experience, learning so much about myself, this work, my clients, being equal parts terrified and thrilled to be running my own business.

So much has changed over the past year and I wanted to acknowledge that in this “interview." Seems cheesy but I also thought it was a good time to reflect on the questions I have asked others for this minimalism series and decide how I would answer them today.

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What sparked your interest in simplifying and decluttering?

I used to have one great response to this but now I have three! So here goes:

When I returned from an Australian vacation, my boss asked why I hadn’t responded to a particular email they sent. I was immediately alarmed that they would even ask this question and thought they must be joking. But they kept talking about it! Then I became frustrated and decided it was time for a change, to dial down the long hours I had been working up to my trip.

I started making small changes like scheduling a lunch break. It sounds so simple yet if it didn’t go on my calendar, it didn’t happen. I made a point to eat lunch with my colleagues outside (it was an incredible summer!) and take real breaks where I would walk around, get away from my desk, look away from my screen.

During this time, I started to realize that I wanted and needed to make a change in my career path. I had worked in human resources for ten years and the thought of changing jobs, let alone a career, was pretty stressful. I had to reflect and take my own advice that I would give to others. Think about my transferable skills, what companies would I want to work for, if I wasn’t in HR, what field would I be in? Would I need to go back to school?

I continued asking myself these questions for the next couple months when I discovered The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. This book really spoke to me because I realized that I felt out of control in the work area of my life, not knowing what to do next, and decided to take control of my stuff, the physical things around me that were cluttering up my life.

 

So that sounds like two things … wasn’t there a third?

Yes! Let me tell my long story long, self! When I was creating my last capsule wardrobe, I realized that I’ve always had capsule wardrobes and been into simplifying. When I was five years old, my parents divorced. I would pack a bag every Wednesday and every other weekend to take to my dad’s house. I had to be really thoughtful about what was going on that weekend - was there a birthday party, were we traveling anywhere, what was the weather going to be like, and pack accordingly.

It was devastating to forget something at my mom’s when I really wanted to wear a particular shirt for an event during a weekend with dad or misplaced a book that I needed to read for school. From a very young age, I had to get into planner mode and be resourceful with what I had and make it work.

 
The first picture I posted on my blog of myself in the midst of organizing! So nice to enjoy an empty space.

The first picture I posted on my blog of myself in the midst of organizing! So nice to enjoy an empty space.

 


What’s your philosophy on stuff?

As a child, I think like a lot of kids, I wanted things - books, dolls, crafts, games, clothes, etc. I was very good at sharing, growing up with three other siblings. I loved my things and had great respect for them.

Moving back to Seattle after college, I had accumulated a lot of random crap. I think during high school, we keep so many weird knickknacks, notes, pictures, mementos and we don’t really go through it until we start moving our things, whether it’s moving for school or for a job. I just kept all that stuff in a box and didn’t really think about it until I settled in my current home, which I’ve been in for nearly ten years.

We need stuff to do stuff. I need some mugs to drink my tea, I need some clothes to wear to work, etc. It’s the excess that drives me crazy! All the deals/bargains/coupons out there are telling us that we need multiples of all the things and we just don’t.

Recently, I treated myself to a Stitch Fix box, mainly because I had a referral credit and gift card on my account, so I could probably get one or two items. I have a history of buying the entire box because 1) I have an awesome stylist (shout out to Natalia!) and 2) there’s a 25% discount when purchasing all five items.

At a glance, I loved all the items she sent me. Two tops, a lightweight sweater, a dress, and a statement necklace. I tried everything on and didn’t love the dress or the striped shirt. I mean, I liked them enough that I was willing to spend about $100 to keep the whole box. Then I thought I could sell the two items I didn’t plan to wear on one of the Stitch Fix Facebook groups. And then I took my own advice that I’m always giving to clients (when they ask!): choose only what you truly love, forget the rest.

I really didn’t need another statement necklace and the two items weren’t a great fit/I wasn’t thrilled with the material. I knew I didn’t really want to spend time posting the items and waiting around for someone to buy so I dropped them in the return bag and sent off right away.

 

Do you consider a minimalist?

I do now! Minimalism for me is about having a few choices and making the best one that works for me and the lifestyle I want. It’s also about investing in things that I want to last so that I’m not constantly shopping for the perfect sofa/dress/skillet whatever … I don’t want to use all my brain power on these decisions and I want to channel that energy into doing things I love like being with my friends, traveling internationally with my partner, that kind of thing.

A friend’s mantra is if you have less stuff, you have less to take care of. To me, this means I don’t have to move things around to sweep the floor, it’s not a chore to find something because it’s not buried at the bottom of a closet.

 

What has been the most beneficial to having a minimalist mindset?

I don’t impulse shop like I used to! I’m much better about taking a list with me and sticking to it. I can easily window shop and not feel like I’m missing out when I don’t buy something.

I also try to focus on using up what I have. I’ve wasted so much food over the years because I didn’t pay attention to expiration dates on things and would overbuy (and not always clean out the fridge or pantry in a timely fashion). This has helped me get more creative with meal planning because I need to make do with what I have.

 

Will you ever be done organizing your own home?

I don’t think I will ever be completely done because life is happening all around me! I’ll have an especially busy week with clients and I can tell by looking at my entry way - there may be a pile of laundry, stacks of mail, the random to do items that creep up.

Each season, I create a new capsule wardrobe and it’s a good reminder to pull things out of the closet, dust them off, decide what to keep, what I’m ready to let go of.

 

What’s the best lesson you’ve learned as an organizer?

That it can take time to let go of things. I noticed this for myself when I was doing another round of editing my clothes and knickknacks in my bedroom. I have a drawer where I store some jewelry and random things. I finally let go of these pins that I had since I was 14! Never took them out of the package and I wasn’t saving them to give to someone in particular.

Also realizing that it’s ok to not like something that you used to, whether it’s a book, article of clothing, a gift from someone. You have permission to not enjoy it anymore and that means it can be enjoyed by someone else, it does not need to take up space in your home or space in your mind.

We hang on to these ideas of “I should love this {insert name of thing} because {insert reason}.” Guess what? These ideas can go out the window and it doesn’t make you any less grateful for having given the thing a home because it was a gift, or you used to love that jacket but it’s just not your style anymore. If you can keep these things to a minimum, putting them into a box or having them in a space in your home where you are reminded of them, but don’t need to make a decision about right away, can be really helpful. Then, when you’re ready, it feels so effortless to give it away.


 

What’s your advice to someone who’s ready to start simplifying?

I know I love a good transformation and can be tempted to do things in one fell swoop, but that isn’t always practical. That method itself can be too overwhelming and dramatic.

Each person needs to figure out what works for them and I really do believe starting small is a great way to go. This starts with the question of why do they want to simplify - are they feeling overwhelmed by stuff, work, relationships?

This was something that my friend Alex talked about when she starting simplifying - she started saying no to the never-ending obligations, requests, and invites.

Talk about it with people that are important to you - your partner, kids, friends, parents, colleagues, neighbors. This might spark ideas on how you can help each other create that positive change together and build in accountability.

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So that’s my interview - thanks for playing along!  I would love to hear any questions you have for me after reading this - let me know in the comments.

Transformation Tuesday #45: Unpacking the Bedroom Closet

I had the privilege of working with my dear friend who recently moved to Ballard and needed to strategize how to set up her closet. She and her husband, the talent behind these fun videos, moved to the neighborhood so they both could be closer to work and save time off their commute.

Not only was I thrilled to have more pals nearby, but this meant I got to help them out with getting their closet the way they want it. That's the fun part about moving - you're starting over in a new space and can set things up that make sense and make life easier.

Crystal had already done a significant clothing purge before moving. We didn't get a chance to connect before they had to leave their old place what with work and travel, but I made it over there a couple days after they got into their new place.

We sorted by category and set aside a Uhaul box for all donation items. We ended up filling two boxes with clothes and shoes! I was impressed by her quick decision-making ability, by this time she had really built up that muscle and was just ready to get her closet in order.

We spent time talking through what types of items worked well for her corporate job and the numerous PR events she attends versus what she wants to wear when lounging around at home.  By the end of the afternoon, we had the left side of the closet with work only items, with a pants/skirt hanger used to help visually divide between that and the next mini wardrobe. She had quite a few items that are great year-round and can be worn at work or when she's out and about working on her side projects or hanging at home on the weekend. The far right of the closet housed tops and dresses that aren't part of her corporate wardrobe.

It was fun to see it come together and we'll have more pictures once she picks out a bed frame with built-in storage. Stay tuned for the final "after" pictures!

 

Transformation Tuesday #31: Fall Capsule Wardrobe

I didn't get around to building my fall capsule wardrobe until a week and a half into October - yikes! I felt a bit off because the weather was changing and I felt like I had nothing to wear (really, I hadn't scheduled time to empty out my closet ...). When I first started Project 333, I wanted to overcome decision fatigue when it came to my wardrobe. I liked having guidelines and structure to follow, and actually found that this discipline helped me get more creative with what I chose for each season's micro wardrobe.

This summer, I met Courtney Carver, the founder of Project 333, when she stopped in Seattle for her Tiny Wardrobe Tour. This made my fangirl heart flutter! She talked about why she started dressing with a smaller wardrobe and then opened it up for questions. I noticed a theme among several of the attendees' questions - many of them fixated on the rules (such as including jewelry as part of the wardrobe or limiting the wardrobe to 33 items).

Courtney encouraged people to modify as needed to find what worked for them. This was hard for several people to wrap their minds around. Weren't there rules with this project? What happens if you don't follow them exactly? I loved her message and am learning that structure works well for me when trying something new, but that once I have the hang of it, that I'm ready to modify and adjust as needed. 

Going into fall, I had a different mindset as I started this seasonal ritual - break the rules! Now that I'm on my fourth capsule, I know what works for me and I actually have 41 items (gasp!) in this season's capsule. I don't feel bad or like I'm "cheating" - I have some new pieces that I want to wear and get some use out of this fall so I added them. When we start stressing or obsessing over simple guidelines, it's important to go back to why we started the process or project to begin with. When I thought about my "why," I realized I needed to customize this process for myself because otherwise, I was creating more work and stress for myself.

 
 

What are some of the rules you have broken or modified? Would love to hear what others are doing to make things work!

 

Transformation Tuesday #29: the Ultimate Guide to Self-Employment

I know this isn't the typical transformation post, but I have to share this book with anyone who is currently self-employed or even considering making that change. I love organizing physical clutter and, like most people, struggle with organizing my thoughts, ideas, and strategies as I build my business.

This book is the perfect mix of how to's and the mechanics of being self-employed along with language that articulates the challenges of working for yourself (this is totally normal!) and everything in between. The book has built-in checklists and guides so that you can write in the book, take notes, doodle, whatever works best for you. Needless to say, I'm loving this book because it clarifies all the the things I need to be doing, but also is a great reminder that I should be proud of what I'm creating and that it is an exciting process (there are times when I need that little pep talk).

Huge thanks to  Launch Party Society who invited me to the trunk show and book release party last month - it would've been a while before I stumbled across this book on my own. This book has helped transform my thinking about what it means to be self-employed. I'm in such a different space than seven months ago when I first made this change but am as excited as ever about sharing my work with people and having an impact on their lives.  

I'm oh-so-grateful to have this in my hands and you can too by clicking on the link below. When you pick up your copy here, you are also supporting this blog and my tidying mission.

I would love to hear your reactions to this book and what you find most helpful. Let me know in the comments below!

 

Meet the Minimalist: Maria Falvey

Earlier this summer, I caught up with a new friend, Maria. We were chatting away at a party and she asked me all kinds of questions about my work as an organizer, what I enjoyed about it, how I perform the work, and promote my business. All really great questions that I love to answer because I sharing my knowledge and philosophy around bringing order and beauty into a space.

I remembered Maria telling me how she lived in a very small space, roughly 200 square feet, and I asked her how she ended up in such a tiny space. She told me all about the cross-country moves (yes, moves as in plural ... ugh) and how she continued to pare down her things between each move and what led her to her current home in Ballard.

I couldn't get her story out of my head and she graciously agreed to an interview.

 
 

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How did you end up in this apartment? Have you always lived in a small space?

It all started with four bookcases; sixteen inches deep by six feet tall that I shipped across the country. It was expensive - the cost is calculated by weight times distance. It's expensive! My first move was was North Carolina to Texas. I later moved to Seattle, back to Texas, then to Montana, and the Arctic. I've been back in Seattle the last year and a half.

I pared down when I left North Carolina. I had friends over and stickered all the items that I wasn't going to move with me. I used to own a ton of art, like these huge sculptures.

Do you regret giving away any of the art?

Not sad enough that I'd want it back. I would need cathedral ceilings! It's interesting moving to other parts of the country - a standard apartment in Texas was around 900 square feet with vaulted ceilings and a fireplace. Yes, a fireplace! Then you move north and everything is much smaller. 

Do you feel like you are missing anything by living in a smaller home?

It would be nice to have a slightly larger place so I could have a couch for extra seating and entertaining.

How do you deal with receiving gifts, especially things that you don't have a use for?

People still give me stuff but I let friends know around my birthday that I would really like experiences. Cook me dinner or take me out to eat! If something is bigger than a cup of coffee, I don't really know what the hell to do with it! I want to put things I find along the way on my shelves instead of displaying gifted objects. It's more meaningful for me to have these kind of keepsakes.

What are your recommendations on digital storage? 

Did you notice I don't store any paper? It was a big project in the beginning but i took all of my paper to work and scanned everything. Insurance policies, receipts from the doctor's office, even sentimental things like a birthday card. I had a two-drawer file cabinet and it took about two weeks to scan and name all the files. Everything is in Google drive.

Do you consider yourself a minimalist?

I do. I love minimalism. It doesn't mean you have to give up anything. It just means to stop and think about what you do have and if it works for you.

I had a friend who really wanted a riding tractor mower. Everything he needed to get it, maintain it, store it just made things more complicated. After a lot of frustration, he discovered a push mower. He lost weight from the physical activity and even found sharpening blades a zen and calming task. Ultimately, the thing he thought he wanted didn't really work for him.

Also, as a photographer, I only use my cell phone to take pictures so no "real" camera is another move in my minimal lifestyle (that would mean investing in a special bag for it and all the accessories which I don't have room for). My requirements for using my phone as my camera are it must accept an SD card, it needs to feel good in my hand, meaning that it's lightweight and slim.

I'm using the Moto X Pure by Motorola. I bought the phone direct from Motorola so it's unlocked and when I travel off the continent, I just switch out the SIM card. When you buy from the manufacturer, you get less bloatware added. 

What advice do you have for people who are exploring minimalism and simplifying?

You need to ask yourself a couple questions. What's your goal? Do you want more physical space? Look at what you have. There'a a difference between what you need and what you want. Needs come first, wants come second.

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I learned so much while talking with Maria. Whether you identify as a minimalist or you just want to make some more space in your home, she offers some pretty sound advice. She focuses on experiences like traveling instead of stuff. If you want to check out her photography, you can follow her on Instagram here.

This wouldn't be complete without a tour of her home - check out what she's done with her space! 

 
 

I love seeing all the open space in the storage areas in the bathroom. Nothing is packed in and she still has room!

 
 

She still has a decent amount of kitchen storage for dishes and dry goods. You can see a few containers in there to keep items neat and visible. Her entire closet is about the size of my seasonal capsule wardrobe and it surprised me how much room was in there.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Transformation Tuesday #22: Quick Garage Clean-Out

After returning from vacation, I quickly got right back to work to help a friend reorganize her garage. Even though this wasn't an area of the home she spends much time in, she felt like some things just didn't have a home. This was frustrating because she had to see this every time she had to drive somewhere because clutter was always right there.

In less than four hours, we were able to sort through everything from consolidating tools and extra pantry items to the utility shelf, finding a home for the bikes, and clearing out leftover remodel materials.

 
 

 

I personally think people tend to delay garage and storage until clean-outs because there's always something that turns into a chore for disposing or recycling. We came across a number of old paint cans, extra flooring, and tile. My friend had an almost full container of kitty litter so we used that to mix into the paint cans that were less than half full (handy paint disposal guide can be found here). I hauled away the kitchen remodel materials to Ballard Reuse. Everything else was part of a Goodwill donation run. As I mentioned in a previous post, you can outsource some of these trips to the transfer station or Goodwill by using the Dolly app - it's super easy and you can sign up here (and get a discount on your first scheduled Dolly).

And for the before-and-after:

 
 
 

Some quick tips on preventing the pile up of garage clutter:

  • Break down boxes for recycling immediately
  • Consolidate loose screws, nails, anchors, etc. so that they fit in the toolbox
  • Review leftover paint, cleaning agents, and other hazardous items each season to see how often you're using them/determine if you need to dispose of any items

Transformation Tuesday #21: the Return Home

I took a break from organizing and sprucing to visit my sister last week in the beautiful City of Light. I'm still fine-tuning my packing method and keeping track of how much I'm actually using/wearing when vacationing. My goal is to find that sweet spot of the right amount of stuff so I can have some room to bring back souvenirs.

As I mentioned last week when I was packing, my sister has been traveling in France all summer. She suggested packing:

  • One pair of pants
  • Two pairs of shorts
  • Three tops
  • One sweater
  • One light jacket
  • Walking shoes
  • Walking sandals

I packed all of the above plus an extra sweater, tank top, two dresses, my Keds, and bathing suit. We stayed at a couple Airbnb apartments and stopped by a laundromat mid-week to wash a few items. If we hadn't done laundry, I definitely would have worn everything at least a couple times (it was 98 degrees and rising when I arrived in Paris and felt like I was sweating through everything I wore). I did not need the extra pair of shoes or the second dress but they didn't take up that much room ... but I didn't think about how much I would be bringing back with me, mainly souvenirs my sister wanted to send home and some of her heavier work gear like boots, pants, and quick-dry towel.

Here's my packing-for-Paris suitcase:

 
 

After lots of shopping and Calvados tastings, I needed to cram a few bottles, my sister's work gear, and my own stuff back into my bag. Thankfully, this has an expanding zipper which came in handy.

 
 

And all of Angie's stuff made it safely back! The trick? Hard shell suitcase + packing clothes around each bottle (especially at the neck) + a few minutes of worrying = no broken bottles. 

 

Transformation Tuesday #18: Kitchen Series, Part 2

Kitchen organizing is BACK! Mostly because this area, like the garage, gets a lot of regular use. Even if you aren't using the things in your garage often, most people are parking in there everyday and reaching for extra paper towels, garbage bags, and whatever else they can't fit in their pantry.

This was a fun kitchen to work on because there was a lot of cupboard space (more often than not, I'm working with clients who have extremely limited storage) and it was just a matter of understanding how this client and her husband cook, what they typically reach for, and grouping like things together.

 
 

 

Organizing this kitchen also gave us an opportunity to wipe down inside kitchen cupboards (there's nothing like reaching into the cabinet and realizing there's a puddle of molasses). We worked for about three hours to transform this space. Most of the heavy lifting was shifting small appliances and heavier dishes around.

My favorite part of this project was finding the Sonics apron and the fact that Prince George decided to hang out the whole time and then fully sprawl out in a newly spruced kitchen!

 

Sentimental Clutter

I decided to do a quick review of my sentimental clutter - pictures and small keepsakes I have tucked away in my closet. In my organizing mission, I was hoping I could consolidate a few more things to one box.

The bigger project initially was tackling my capsule wardrobe and in the midst of that, I decided I needed to take a look back at what I decided to keep last summer when I did my big KonMari sweep of all my things.

I'm so glad I went back and did this because it validated what I decided to keep and I came across a couple items that I thought were ready to be recycled. My treasures include some hilarious birthday cards, the medal from the full marathon I ran, and my all-time favorite - some pages from my baby book that had notes about what my older brother thought about me. Coming across this little gem has kept me chuckling the last few days. 

 
 

What's your favorite sentimental item that you are hanging onto? Let me know in the comments below!

Transformation Tuesday #17: Kitchen Series

Kitchen organization has become a recurring theme for me this summer! This week's transformation is brought to you by an awesome cook and spice connoisseur. She loves cooking but the layout of her kitchen is tricky to work in, especially when she's trying to cut up veggies, slow cook a roast, and have room to mix up her spices.

Pro tip: keep a bucket of warm, soapy water nearby so that you can wipe down every shelf as you clear out each space. You will be surprised about what spilled who knows how long ago. It is worth it to take a little bit of time to do this so that your kitchen will feel like brand new. A few times, broken pieces of star anise rained down on us from the top shelf so be sure to have a sturdy stepping stool so that you can see each shelf you are wiping down!

 
 

 

We transformed her kitchen in four hours. About half the work was consolidating spices and oils (do not buy any more soy sauce or paprika!) and the rest of the time was spent shuffling dishes and platters to a new cupboard. In the end, she ended up with an entirely empty cupboard that she can use as a catch-all space for cookbooks, recipe boxes, and any other items that were taking up precious counter space.

Every kitchen is different and while many of us do not have the resources to upgrade that space, cleaning out the pantry and sorting through dishes and utensils is a great way to give it a quick refresh. You will be able to find things easily and cooking will be so much more enjoyable!

 

How to Organize Your Closet in 5 Easy Steps

My organizing dreams have come true! I recently had an opportunity to film a closet clean out with a local life and style blogger, Angie Scheie, from Chasing My Halo.

I have seen so many videos that didn't quite capture all the steps I thought were necessary or there were organizers/bloggers/fashionistas that had more to say with not enough visuals. I wanted to create something that showed others how easy it can be to tackle an out-of-control closet. Thankfully, Angie was game to play along! Here's what we started with:

 
 

The day of filming, we did a real-time clean out following these five simple steps:

  1. Clear everything out of the closet
  2. Clean the closet - whether it's vacuuming, sweeping, or removing any items that don't belong
  3. Sort clothing into categories - tops, pants, skirts, dresses, scarves, shoes, etc
  4. Edit - go through each category and decide whether to keep, toss, or repair the item (shoes to be re-soled, taking pants to a tailor for hemming)
  5. Return everything back to the closet - pack away bulky or off-season items in tubs or bins, hang heavier items toward the back and lighter, flowy items (such as tanks or blouses) toward the front, and color-coordinate within each category from dark to light

I wasn't sure how much paring down we would end up doing because I was so focused on showing each step of the process. Angie was great to work with - she was open to parting with items that she didn't absolutely love. She also thought about items that she knew she would reach for in fall or winter so she didn't edit out too much to the point where she would end up re-buying those items in a few months (such as heavier sweaters and coats). I was impressed that she filled up an entire trash bag of items to donate!  

Angie had thoughtful questions about how she could work on maintaining her closet, especially when she's heading off to work or out to an event. I suggested designating a pretty hamper or floor bin to stow away the items she doesn't have time to put back immediately and to check on the bin once a week. Want more? You can  check out Angie's perspective HERE and join her Angel Squad to keep up with her life and style tips!

I am thrilled with how the video turned out! You can view it HERE and admire Parallax Video's incredible editing skills and the beautiful work by Contour and Blush who did our hair and makeup for the shoot. We'd love to hear from you on how you've approached your own closet clean out and what tips you have to share. Sound off in the comments below!

Transformation Tuesday #16: Tupperware Drawer

The tupperware drawer has been the bane of my organizing existence. It's just one drawer of many in my kitchen but somehow, I'm always digging through trying to match lids or grab a lunch bag or Snack Taxi. Every time I unload the dishwasher, I feel like I'm reorganizing the drawer to try to fit things in more efficiently.

I decided to give it another shot today because I had a shoe box that I hadn't recycled yet and figured I could use the box or lid to bring some order to this pesky drawer. It may not look like much, but I can tell there is already a huge difference when I reach for things in the drawer. I don't have jars toppling over and I can see all the lids next to the different containers.

Sometimes it's the simple solutions that make the most sense when organizing a small space. Next time you are  dealing with a tricky drawer or cupboard, look around your home to see if you have a spare shoe box, Altoids tin, or other container that you can reuse to bring a little more order into your home. 

 

Transformation Tuesday #10: Garage Spring Cleaning

Do you feel like your garage, or any space in your home for that matter, has gotten out of control? When we start to let the clutter spiral out of control, we feel embarrassed at how it got to this point and overwhelmed at the idea of trying to come up with a game plan to clear it out.

I love organizing these problem areas because once a client sees the transformation, it feels more manageable for them to maintain the space. We're often too hard on ourselves about what we can accomplish in our free time between house repairs, chores, caring for kids and pets, getting to the gym, spending time with friends ... it becomes a long to-do list. 

A client of mind had a spare bedroom that needed attention and wanted some help with the garage. She and her husband moved into a beautiful home and then had their first child ... think of all the housewarming and new baby gifts people were sending to them. The boxes start to pile up and it's hard to visualize the garage as anything other than a storage or dumping zone.

I spent a morning working on the bedroom (stay tuned for pictures on that one!) and then focused my efforts in the garage on simply clearing out all the boxes to open up space. It made a huge difference! You can see how much space has opened up just from clearing out the unnecessary stuff.

 

Transformation Tuesday #9: Kitchen Sink Clean-Up

In my quest for a more organized home, I decided to focus on the space below my kitchen sink. I wasn't maximizing the space here and wanted to try a frequently used Pinterest tip of using a tension rod to hang spray bottles.

Pro tip: not any tension rod will do. It is worth every penny to go to your local Bed Bath & Beyond to purchase the In-Tension rod over the cheapie $5.99 curtain rod that promptly fell after I placed two spray bottles on it. With a sturdier tension rod, I was able to hang all four spray bottles, opening up valuable floor space.

 
 

This clean-out took less than 30 minutes from emptying out the space, wiping it down, then placing items back in. Now I don't have to reach to the way back and have a better visual of what I need to stock up on.

What are your favorite under-the-sink tidying tips? Share in the comments below!

 

Transformation Tuesday #8: Bedroom Closet Overhaul

A dear friend of mine let me come over to do a serious overhaul of her bedroom closet. We emptied the entire closet and got to work sorting through outerwear, tops, dresses, skirts, pants, shoes, and loungewear. 

While overwhelmed at first by the volume of clothes she had been able to stuff into her closet, she quickly made decisions about what to keep, repair, and donate. By the end of our organizing efforts, we eliminated exactly 30% of her clothes! The majority of the purge were shoes followed by outerwear then purses. 

Finding a new home for each item was so much easier now that there was all this extra space. We were able to consolidate the majority of her wardrobe (save for tees and athletic wear) and all of her shoes to the closet. 

She was so thrilled with the transformation that she started working on her storage unit. When you tackle one project at a time, you can build the confidence and momentum to conquer the bigger spaces that require more time and attention.

 

Transformation Tuesday #7: Under the Sink

I have been organizing and reorganizing underneath my bathroom sink for the last couple months because I was tired of knocking over bottles of sunscreen and spilling Epsom salt in the way back. Don't let this part of your home turn into a version of It Came From Beneath the Sink (Goosebumps, anybody?).

My under-the-sink storage rack conveniently fits into the grooves of the plastic drawers so I was able to elevate the rack to create more vertical storage. 

A few quick tips to spruce up under the sink:

  1. Remove everything and discard expired items
  2. Wipe down inside of kitchen cabinet and any storage containers
  3. Group like items together (such as lotion/suncare/skincare in one container, first aid in another, etc)
  4. Label containers so it's easy to find things at a glance

 

 

Transformation Tuesday #6: Aspirational Clutter

I admitted a while back that one of my personal organizing challenges was my own aspirational clutter - my bicycle. It's been sitting in the garage and collecting a thick layer of dust for several years. 

My sister invited me to ride with her and her coworkers for Friday's Bike to Work Day since this is the first year I don't have an office to bike to (not that I ever biked on Bike to Work Day ...). I asked a friend who's also a bike enthusiast to take a look at my Marin before getting back in the saddle.

I'm excited to say that I made it out and was able to keep up with the sis and her crew. I logged about 11 miles - not too shabby! Once I was out there, I realized how much fun I was having. It was a needed reminder that it's usually the anticipation that I've built up in my head that limits me, not the activity or work itself once I've started. 

 
Me + Sis