Top Ten of 2019

Choosing only 10 after photos of all the work I did with the greatest people this year was super tough! I had the honor of walking with people through tremendous growth and that just doesn’t show up in a two dimensional image. For that reason, I’ll share my favorite images and the stories behind them. And to make it even easier on me I’m going to do them chronologically. I just can’t show favoritism! I love everyone I work with so much!

#1 Cozy Den

When you live in a house with this many delightful windows, have a lot of sweet friends, and a good variety of play options you have a lot of people over. This cozy den is actually a play room! Behind the couch is a piece of furniture that houses a variety of toys for different ages and of course there is the fun slide and massive, snuggly bear! This family of four has a lot of fun together and as you can tell, they can be cozy too.

#2 Basement

This basement belongs to a couple who was literally days away from welcoming their first child into the world. With the help of a thoughtful family member, we tackled some important spaces in their home: kitchen, basement, attic.

After a move-in, a round of flooding, and a laundry room move the basement was the last place either of these two wanted to be. However, their beautifully old home has little storage so they would brave the crazy and go down for light bulbs and paper towels. Tossing a lot of stuff, adding some shelves, and putting like with like made this basement not only functional but also not scary and maybe a little beautiful.

#3 Toy Corner

What a treat to help this family of 3 get ready for their second child! Going through toys was so special to see what toys their toddler enjoyed and what toys they wanted to set aside for their new baby. With a little thought and rearranging, we were able to let go of some things, put some things in a “when she’s older” bin, and even have some room to grow as a birthday and day of birth were coming quickly.

#4 School Science Closet

When I got the call to come help with a school science closet I wasn’t sure what we were getting in to but this was so much fun! This science closet houses earth science, physical science, and biology. Sorting these items was a mix of memory lane, learning, humility, and nerding out. With three different sciences also comes multiple teachers which means this area needed all the bins and labels we could come up with. Also, science and learning change from time to time so we were able to think through what would be best for the teachers to advance the students’ learning and growing. And just look at those cute little lab coats!

#5 Girl’s Closet

All things girl are housed in this little space. I think what I liked best about this session was the energy that her mom brought. She was motivated, ready, made decisions easily, and had a blast doing so. She was thoughtful about what stayed and what left. One of my favorite stories of the year was when this mom kept a googly eyed crazy headband that I thought for sure was going straight to the trash. While I never throw away a client’s things without their permission, I do often catch on quickly to what they will or will not toss. That time I was mistaken!

#6 Garage (from scratch)

One of the most exhilarating jobs I had in 2019 was this garage design and install from scratch. This family of 4 had just moved into this home that had just been built and wanted to start their garage off right. Storage, labels, easy access, and room to park 2 cars. I laid out a plan, purchased supplies, hired a handyman, and we got to work. The parents put in a good amount of time decluttering down to what they wanted to keep and I put all those keepers in appropriate (like with like) bins complete with labels.

What you don’t see here are the tiny stickers that they placed to be sure they park their cars in just the right spot as to be able to get out of their car without dinging the wall or other car. There is one in front of them and one to the side of them. Genius!

#7 Kitchen Cabinets

This young married was one of my most grateful clients ever. She simply could not contain her gratitude as we worked through each section, seeing items that she could easily let go of, finding homes for the items that were useful and beautiful for her and her husband, and experiencing the peace and freedom immediately as we went through the process.

Instead of a wall of glasses that they didn’t use and casserole dishes spread throughout the kitchen cabinets, they now have what the like and what they use in easy to access areas. And because these cabinets are glass front we chose items that they like to look at as well.

#8 Move-in Breakfast Nook

A military family of four found a home to settle in to and I had the privilege of helping them. The mom has a beautiful eye for decorating, doesn’t she? Moving during a school year and especially right before the holidays meant the kitchen table was a drop zone for this family. Once we were able to find homes for some other items, put together a real drop zone, and get through some boxes, we were able to uncover the table and the entire family can sit together again for meals.

#9 Kids’ Bookshelf

I started 2020 suggesting you start with a bookshelf if you were having a difficult time thinking of a place to start. This is one of the many bookshelves I worked on in 2019 and how fun is it? This family has 2 elementary age children and an infant. Using that information we made shelves for each of the children and a few others for sets and shared book. I was brave and moved all the books to the front edge as that is what looks best and reminds people that nothing else goes on the book shelf in front of the books. When I returned to the home for the next session, I was told that the girls were reading books, putting them back on the shelves, and moving the books back to the front all on their own. I have no illusion that all families will do this or even want to do this but without providing the opportunity for beauty and order you never know.

#10 Women’s Closet

As simple as this may look to you, having all the same hanger for your clothes can make a big difference in finding peace and freedom in your morning routine and when hanging clothes. The similarity of hangers means you don’t have to look at a lot of different items when you are only wanting to look for which shirt you want to wear that day. You aren’t thinking about the different hangers on purpose but your mind is having to put up with it while also trying to choose a shirt. Put another way, choose hangers that are going to be white noise rather than a rock concert. You have to see them but you don’t have to be bothered by them. This client prefers the velvet hangers but you can use any hanger that are the same (I prefer tubular hangers as they are easiest to get clothes on and off of) will do the trick.

Are there other sessions and photos that I absolutely love? Yes, of course! I post before and after photos at least twice a week and adore every session. So you can head over to Facebook and Instagram to see those all year round or even go back and see what fun we had other than the 2019 Top Ten.

What areas of your home are you most excited about having worked through in 2019? What areas are you ready to tackle in 2020?

20/20 in 2020

The new year is coming and if you are a numbers nerd like me you are stoked that it’s 2020. So much fun with that number. One being 20/20. Not only am I a numbers nerd I also wear contacts/glasses. For me I’ve been striving for 20/20 vision since I was in middle school. And, y’all, the glasses back then took up your whole face. Top it off with a frizzy perm and butt-cut and you’ve got middle school me. And middle-age me wishes I had lasik.

We aren’t talking lasik here today but I do want you to be thinking about the new year. How can you have 20/20 “vision” when thinking about your house in the new year?

I’ve recently talked with one of the participants of the Fall session of The Minimalism Game with Little Red Stool Organizing (#LRSOMG19) who went directly to the 30/30 program. As she was decluttering with #LRSOMG19 she finally saw what a mess her house was and how much clutter she had just sitting around.

What a beautiful moment! To be able to see what’s been there all along and want to do something about it. Maybe your family and friends have seen it for years, maybe you’ve seen it but haven’t been willing to deal with it. Maybe this year is your year to do something about it.

If that’s you, let’s figure out how to get you moving forward to the end with that 20/20 vision. One of your first steps can be to contact a professional organizer. I happen to be one of those! There are many others all across the world too so chances are if you aren’t near me, there is another one near you.

If a friend or family member came to mind right away as you’ve been reading this, maybe you’d like to get them started with a gift card. If you would like to do this, please be kind in your approach. Having a lot of things in your home is a deeper issue than having a lot of things and many times it is incredibly sensitive. On the other hand, maybe your friend or family member is more than ready! I can think of no better gift than one that will help someone move forward in peace and freedom in their homes!

Lights in the Attic

One of my favorite books as a teen was a book of Shel Silverstein’s poetry called A Light in the Attic. In fact, with all the books that I’ve gotten rid of, this one remains.

There are so many poems in it that I really enjoy – why I kept the book, of course. Here’s one that I’ve been thinking about recently.

Signals, from A Light in the Attic, poem and drawing by Shel Silverstein

Sometimes things come easily to us – the light is red or green. Other times things seem out of our reach – “the light turns blue with orange and lavender spots” – and we just don’t know what to do. But you may be feeling that this project is more like the blue light with orange and lavender spots than a red or green light. Let me walk you though an attic project here and give you a little more direction.

NOW is a great time to tackle the attic. Or garage. Or basement. Or wherever it is that you store your holiday decorations. Get it, “lights” in the attic! Since you are decorating now anyway, go ahead and get it allllllll out of the attic (we’ll stick with “attic” for simplicity’s sake in this article). Before you get it all out, set aside some time, find a friend or family member, and clear some good working space.

1. Select the space you are going to work in. For this article, we’re choosing attic, holiday decor.

BONUS TIP: Take a before photo. Trust me, you’ll be encouraged when you look at the before and after side-by-side.

2. Empty the space you selected. Here we left the Christmas trees and wreaths. We did go through each item to make sure they were staying.

BONUS TIP: Tap a nail into the wall to hang wreaths. This makes the best use of the vertical space while also preserving the shape of the wreaths and signs.

3. All of the things that you took out has to have a place to go. We were sure to clear this room to make space for everything.

BONUS TIP: A table can be helpful to stay on task. Go through only the things on the table. As they have been decided on they will go into “keep”, “trash”, or “donate” piles and off of the table. Pull the next box up to the table and continue the process.

4. As you empty boxes, set them aside for future use. You may bring them in as needed to hold donations or as a temporary holding place for decorations you are keeping.

BONUS TIP: Now is the time of year that you can buy ornament storage kits in store. If you are reading this article in an off season, you can make your own ornament storage with cardboard and scissors.

5. When you know exactly what you have that you are keeping, put them all together, like with like if you haven’t already. Then find the appropriate bin and add a label. For example, lights with lights, balls with balls, garland with garland.

BONUS TIP: If you have different rooms or trees, store those items together. For example, all the den items together and all the porch items in another bin, each labeled appropriately.

6. Put all the decorations back, like with like. We found Fall decorations that are in here too.

BONUS TIP: Put the holidays in chronological order to make them easier to find.

As usual, be sure that everything that didn’t go back to the attic goes to its new home. The trash in the trash can and donations in the car and to the donation location.

Thanks for coming along for that attic project! It’s always so much fun to work with clients and see their progress. If you are overwhelmed with the thought of doing such a large space, get in touch and we’ll get you on the calendar.

Happy decluttering and decorating!

Permission: The 5 Things You Can Let Go Of Series, Garage

Have you ever thought, “I just need someone to give me permission to throw this out”? That’s what this Permission series is all about. We’ll walk through room by room, list 5 items per room, and why the items can be easy to get out of your house.
As always, it’s your house and your stuff. You may actually need and use the things I suggest you toss. But if you don’t, give yourself a little more freedom to find a little more peace in your house by tossing things that you don’t need.
Today we’ll be in the garage. Contrary to popular belief, garages are designed to house cars, not to be an entire storage unit. Now, you can certainly use it to store things as they usually have wonderful vertical space. Here are just a few things that you can get on out to start making room for your car again.
1. Lightbulbs
Any lightbulbs you have on hand should be the wattage and size and type that you currently use in your home. Most lightbulb boxes tell you how long they should last. If you have a box of LEDs that are supposed to last 8-10 years and you just replaced them all… you might need to donate the others to someone who can use them now. This will free up space in your garage and benefit another household. Here are some other bulbs that might not be in use anymore: nightlights, twinkle lights, anything not LED, black lights, fluorescents, and disco lights.
ACTION – gather all those lightbulbs, check out which ones you need in the next year, donate the rest.
2. Scraps
Do you happen to have a scrap pile in your garage? Maybe a large pile of wood or recyclables take up a corner that keeps your car from pulling in. If you aren’t a regular on creating with these things I can think of a few places where it will be better kept. A local school’s art or science department, any kids, or even the recycling center.
ACTION – give that wood or cardboard some organization or get it out of the garage.
3. Cleaners/pesticides
Garages tend to house a collection of car wash supplies, wasp spray, and fertilizers. Considering their poisonous character, the garage is an excellent out-of-the-way location. Similar to the laundry cleaners mentioned a few weeks ago, you’ll want to figure out what you like and use it. For those you don’t like, ask a friend or read the label to know how to dispose of them properly.
ACTION – gathering all the cleaners, pesticides, and fertilizers, toss what you don’t want and place the rest together on a high shelf.
4. Holiday Decoration
Every year at the same time comes these days that are celebrated by masses of people… holidays! Whatever holidays you celebrate, chances are that you don’t go through the decorations for these each year. How about you just pull it out and go through it all now? No? Okay, when the next time comes to decorate then. If you do this each year, you will always like what you have and know where it is.
ACTION – pull out all of your holiday and seasonal decor, decide what you want to keep, organize what you’re keeping and label it.
5. Paint
Unless you just built your house, there is probably a stash of paint in your garage from the years and coats of paint used in that particular house. If it isn’t a color that you are currently using, you can let it go. If your paint cans aren’t labeled with color, room it was used in, and year it was used, take the time to label. It will save time down the road.
ACTION – go through the paint cans, toss, and label.
*you may feel as if you can’t just toss these things, if so, just put them in a give away bag or box and give them away.

I’ll put a list of areas posted here with their link when they are live. You can also click on “Permission Series” category to see them as well.
Home Office
Kitchen
Kids’ Rooms
Laundry
Garage
Dining Room