Lasting Lessons from the Organizing Pro

Remember my amazing organizer friend, Teresa?  I’ve written about her before.  And again.  And again.  And sadly, yesterday was my final session with her (at least for now) – because my house is finally – FINALLY! – all organized.

Let me give you a quick review of everything we did together, because in my opinion it was a lot:


A full 24 hours (total) spent organizing my house, and what do I have to show for it?  Clean, neatly presented spaces with functional stations, ample storage (we have room to grow in nearly every space), and a feeling of contentment and peace you can only achieve by coming home to – and maintaining – an organized home.

So what did I learn in our final lesson?

First, she really hit home the concept of making “stations” for things we use regularly – in this closet, you’ll see our “supplies” station for paper towels and TP, our easy in/out stclosetation for the Amazon Fresh bags (since those are constantly  taken out and replaced), and a red bin that holds miscellaneous sports equipment (now contained and boxed so it’s not lying out everywhere).  Everything is visible, so we know when it’s time to restock, but also accessible without having to go in a drawer or box.

I should probably mention at this point that I forgot to take “before” pics on this particular visit – which shows you how much fun we were having drinking coffee and organizing to jolly Christmas music.  But had you seen those pictures, you would’ve seen a gigantic wire rack in the guest bathroom, taking up about half the space in there and containing basically nothing but towels and a few guest toiletries.  By cleaning out some space under the sink, we were able to get ALL of our guest towels and accouterments placed there, eliminating the need for an outside rack and making the entire space seem neater, cleaner, and larger.


But worry not, wire rack fans: Teresa is a huge proponent (and master) of repurposing useful storage/household items – so we took that rack right over to where it was needed – the bar! – and created a stacking system for our empty bargrowlers, bar trays, towels, and mixers.  This freed up almost an entire person-size area behind the bar (you know, so someone could actually tend said bar) and made it look even more professional and functional, which I love, since I do have a huge bar in the middle of the living room.

And finally – not to be forgotten – our little laundry room.  It was noted that we were barely using the (massive) cabinets above the washer and dryer, yet we were cramming towels and other cleaning products under the guest bathroom sink (which, as you’ll note above, is now a minimalist haven of the bare necessities).  We were able to split up the cabinet areas into “laundry supplies” (over the laundrywasher) and cleaning supplies/spare towels (over the dryer) – meaning nothing is sitting on top of the washer/dryer anymore, the space itself is clear and open, and we will never be stuck looking for a dust rag again (they’re all contained in that cute little chevron bin, rather than a crappy pile of stained and dirty rags).

So again – what did I learn from the past two months of having a pro come in and work on my house?  In summary, the top five takeaways from this amazing experience:

  • A place for everything and everything in its place.  Nothing in your house should be put there at random – be intentional with where you store things, don’t let piles build up simply out of convenience, and make sure to always return items to their proper place as quickly as possible to maintain the order.
  • Use storage wisely.  Storage is not a place for junk and crap; rather, storage is a beautiful empty zone where you can put things you don’t want visibily cluttering up your home.  “Storage” is not a synonym for “donation pile” or “garbage,” and the latter two should be dealt with appropriately.
  • Repurpose, repurpose, repurpose.  I have a cookie tin full of coffee supplies.  I have two desk organizers on my bathroom countertop, and I have a mudroom shelf holding our towels.  Don’t get hung up on what pieces are “supposed” to be used for or what room they’re designed for; use the items you already have in the house in ways that are outside the box and you’ll find that even ugly things can be beautiful when used for a noble purpose (i.e., organization).
  • Make a to-do list and don’t move on until it’s done.  Each week, Teresa would leave me with a checklist of items for each area (get over-the-door hooks, organize the coats by length, put dresses in a garment bag) and we wouldn’t move on to the next room/area until we had completely finished the one before.  No projects went half-assed or sorta-done.  It took more time (and at times, more money – those velvet hangers ain’t cheap, people), but I was so much happier.
  • Let utility be your guide.  Do you keep your coffee maker in one corner of the kitchen?  Then your mugs, creamers, and filters should be there also.  Do you wash your clothes in the laundry room but fold them in the bedroom?  Keep a small table in your bedroom so you don’t have to throw clothes on the bed.  Think about your processes – logically and step-by-step – and organize your home to follow those steps as closely as possible.  It might not make sense to someone else, but if it works for you, it doesn’t matter – this is your home, after all!

Don’t forget – my wonderful organizing pro (and friend!) is SoCal local – she works all over the L.A. area – so if you want her info, just send me a message on my FB page and I’ll put you in touch!

Have you ever reorganized your home?  What are your favorite cleaning/organizing tips?

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