Stop Beating Yourself Up For Not Being Organized

stop beating yourself up

As featured on The Suburban and Huffington Post

While organizing a space isn't rocket science, it’s not always intuitive either.  I was with a client the other week who is whip smart, highly educated and has designed a beautiful home for herself, yet she continually beats herself up for  her lack of organizational skills.  

I had her sifting through some of her paperwork and she kept getting up to put them into the recycling bin, so the other organizer I had with me asked if she would like the bin next to her instead.  A simple step, like moving a recycling bin closer seemed so obvious to us, yet would never have occurred to my client, and she said just that.  And then felt dumb for not having thought of it herself.  But she wasn’t dumb.  Organizing just isn’t her forte.  

In the same way that I would never have thought to mix colors and patterns the way she does to create the beautiful home that she has, she wouldn't look at the eight junk drawers in her kitchen and envision a neatly organized command center.  We all have our strengths.  We all have areas we excel at.  Why beat yourself up for the the areas you don’t?

It seems that every listicle, Buzzfeed article, and Instagram post out there has a million “simple hacks” and “super-easy DIYs” to get you and your family organized.  Like if you read that article some magic spell will wash over you and *poof* you're organized.  And if you try these techniques and STILL can't get your s*&t together that you are some kind of failure.  You’re not.

What many of these articles tend to leave out is how personal an experience this can be.  And how the only way to truly make changes is to find what works for you and not try to mold your behavior so that you can finally make use of that DIY picture frame turned meal-planner-dry-erase-board that still doesn’t look quite like the “after picture”.

I get that this may be a bit of a strange article coming from a Professional Organizer and a blogger who frequently writes how-to articles on organization.  But I’m really tired of friends, clients and sometimes even strangers telling me how embarrassed they are of their kitchen drawers, linen closets or basement.  There is nothing to be embarrassed about.  But, if it’s not working for you then don’t be afraid to ask for help and change it.

It’s funny what society deems is acceptable to delegate or outsource to others.  You’re not embarrassed to having a weekly cleaning person come and wash your floors.  Or a company to come and mow your lawn.  It doesn’t mean that you’re a failure or that you are incapable of doing these things.  You just recognize that your time would be better spent focusing on the things that you are good at.

There are so many things beyond our control that can contribute to a lack of organization.  Both major and minor life events can cause our plans to shift and our routines to go out of whack.  School ending, a change in jobs, the birth of a new baby, adding a family pet, the death of a loved one.  It’s not always easy to adapt to these changes without feeling overwhelmed.  So it’s okay to ask for help.  It’s okay to outsource the tasks you can’t or don’t want to do.   It’s also okay to not feel guilty about it.  We’re all in the same boat, we all have busy lives with different obligations pulling us in different directions.

If what you’re doing is working for you then don’t worry about what other people say or think.  But if it’s not then commit to change.  Reach out to a friend, or family member or even to a Professional Organizer.  Just stop beating yourself up about it.


Maximize Your Closet Space

As featured in The Suburban

organized closet

Most of us don’t roll out of bed in the morning and stroll into our well-lit, meticulously organized, could-double-as-a-small-house, walk-in closet. Because of that I have developed some tricks and go-to products I use to maximize space.

Due to the ever changing seasons in our wonderful city chances are you have a much different wardrobe for the spring and summer months than you do for the fall and winter.  If you are lucky and have an extra closet that you can use to rotate your wardrobe by all means use it.  Try to declutter your clothes a few times a year and donate the ill-fitting and rarely worn items.  A great trick to see what you actually wear is to turn all the hangers around on the rod.  As you wear the item put it pack properly. At the end the year you can really get a sense of your go-to items.

If you only have one closet to work with I suggest trying to install a closet organizer. This can provided you with more hanging space and shelves than you already have.  They are reasonably priced and easy to install.  If the DIY thing is not for you try a “closet doubler”.  It’s basically a rod that hangs from your existing rod and.  .  .voila, double the hanging space!  Also try to rethink what you are hanging up. Items like tank tops, belts, scarves and jeans can often be hung together.  My favorite trick is combining a scarf hanger with shower curtain rings. So many items hung in the same amount of space!

One of the easiest swap outs is trading in your mismatched hangers for slimline ones.  They are significantly slimmer, and therefor take up less space than the average hanger and tend to be non-slip as well. No more shirts falling onto the floor!

The most important thing to remember is that the best way to have an organized closet is to routinely reevaluate your clothing needs and try not accumulate too much.

Happy Organizing!

Tame your Tupperware!


Who among us has never searched desperately for a lid to a food storage container after you have already put leftovers in it? Yeah, that's what I thought.

Nearly every client's kitchen I have gone into has had an issue with their Tupperware (okay, I know it's not really Tupperware because Tupperware is a brand, but that is how I always refer to my "food storage containers"  and it's a lot easier this way, so from here on out we are going with Tupperware or containers. okay?)

Alright, back to organizing your Tupperware.  Like I said, this seems to be a nearly universal problem.  Unless you are getting rid of all of your existing containers and going to be all sleek (like buying just one fancy brand where the lid fits on all of the sizes and they stack neatly) you may want to keep reading.

My advice on organizing your Tupperware is much like organizing anything else. Let's run through my 5 Organizing Steps:

1. Like with like: Take all your containers out and sort them.   All the round ones together, all the square ones and all the rectangular ones.  Now make sure every container has a lid.

2. Declutter: all of those random, cracked, stained, stinky containers need to go.  The exception to this step is if you have an extra lid that fits another container hold onto it. Put it in a separate place for a bit.  Lids tend to crack or get lost and then you can just go to your  stock to replace it.

variera lid organizer

3. Put it Back:  Now, for this step it's important that you are realistic about both the space you have to store these containers and the amount of containers you have. Don't try to fit 100 of them into a drawer meant for cutlery. Either pare down the amount you have or find a new home for them in the kitchen.  I am lucky enough to have pull-out shelve/drawer things, so that's what I use.  When you put the Tupperware back  stack all the round ones together from largest to smallest (without the lids), same for the other shapes.  Then I store the lids next to them.  I love using a pot-lid organizer for this.  I just switched to the Variera from IKEA because you have some flexibility with the spacing, but really, any lid organizer will do.

4. Label it: this is usually my 4th step, but it doesn't really apply here.  Unless you really want to, there is no need to label it.  It's Tupperware, you know what it is.

5. Live with it: Make sure this really works for you.  Not every organizing system works for everyone.  If it's not working for you try to figure out what isn't working.  If you can't, take a picture and send it to me.  I'll try to help you out! Don't be afraid to change it up!