Confessions of a Professional Organizer

Updated: Jun 2, 2018

Don't tell anyone....

Psst….over here! Come closer. I can’t really say this too loudly for fear of being labeled a fraud. Ssshhh……here it is: I’m not really THAT organized. Eeekkk. Yep, I said it. Actually, I feel relieved. Now that it’s out there, I can exhale. Ok….I’m kidding, of course………sort of.

Let me explain. I do not have everything I own perfectly lined up or all my cans facing the same way, and not everything in my cabinets or closets is labeled. Not only that, (gasp) not all my linens, laundry products, or pantry items are in a bin of some sort. Some of my closets simply have items on the shelves….just sitting there….happily existing….not in a bin.

Confession #2: My house is not always in perfect order. The truth is…my house gets messy sometimes. At any given time, a few odds and ends might be on the kitchen table. My purse might be on the floor next to my bed. I might have some clothing draped across a stool in my bedroom. A few dishes may stack up next to the sink before I can get to them. In short, the Brooks’ household isn’t perfect all the time.

And one last thing, (I’m on a roll, so I might as well come completely clean)….I sometimes have to go back into the house for something I left when I’m trying to leave. Usually, my sunglasses and/or my water bottle.

So how can I call myself a professional organizer if I’m not obsessively organized?

Here is it (drumroll please):

I work smarter, not harder, to create a foundation of functionality in my home. Having an organized home is not about labels, nice bins, pretty baskets, or complicated systems. Those can be helpful, but they are not necessary. A functional home doesn’t take a lot of effort to keep it organized. In fact, with a few simple modifications, it will almost organize itself.

Here are the guidelines I use for creating a functional home:

· Keep only things you can store without crunching, smashing or cramming it into spaces. This goes for clothing, kitchen ware, and everything else in the home. All the nice bins in the world are not going to solve the problem of having too many things. The single biggest enemy of organization is owning more stuff than you can comfortably store.

· Be very selective when buying single-use gadgets, i.e. a garlic press. A simple knife can peel an apple, smash garlic for easy peeling AND mince the garlic. I had a garlic press once, and then it broke. I found that a knife works just as well. Go for multi-use items!

· Make sure everything IN the home HAS a home. A place where it resides. Then, put it in its home….regularly.

Scissors, tape, calculators have a home

· Use vertical space wisely with adjustable shelving for household essentials. This is NOT to be used as an excuse to keep more stuff, but if you don’t have a home for the stuff you need and use often, you have to make a home for it. Adjustable shelving installed in a guest room or hall closet can eliminate the piles of items in the bottom of a closet or hanging around in inappropriate places.

Shelves are often a better option for finding items than deep bins or baskets

· Consider buying multiples of items that are used frequently and in many areas of the home. This may sound counterintuitive, but it isn’t. For instance, scissors….I have a pair in almost every room of the house. They have their own home in each room. I can always find them, and there is never a pair of scissors on the kitchen table because they need to be carried all the way back to the craft room or the office, so they sort of live….wherever they were last used. This rule goes hand in hand with the next one….

· Finally, and this might be the most important, home items in a place that allows you to have what you need, when and where you need it, like a station close to the door to keep keys, handbags, backpacks, umbrellas, and whatever else you might take with you daily. Obviously, my sunglasses and water bottle situation needs some work.

It would be great if we could all have homes that look like a BH&G magazine spread all the time, but the truth is, houses get messy if real people live in them. And we all suffer from feeling disorganized occasionally. Yep…..even professional organizers! So, there you have it. I’m not THAT organized, because I don’t really have to be. My home does most of the work for me. With a little work, yours can too!

Make today your best day!

Wendy B

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