I was recently gifted a lovely settee that was passed down by a family member. I adore it and have found the perfect spot for the piece nestled against a wall in my bedroom. My first thought when I brought it home was, “this will be my new favorite place to cozy up with a book, or a great place for my daughter to perch while we chat and she helps me pick out an outfit.” But then, the inevitable additional thinking crept into my mind – this will also undoubtedly become a receptacle for tossing my laundry when I’m feeling lazy.
And here we have it folks. The great struggle, home organization. A motivating factor in keeping clothing off my new piece of furniture has been that is it so charming it should be seen and not covered with clutter. Every time I look over and the area is well kept, I feel an instant sense of calm and even a small dose of victory.
We all have our strengths and weaknesses when it comes to keeping living spaces tidy. Some prefer a well-maintained closet with clothing neatly arranged by color or season. Others can’t handle a messy kitchen countertop or an overstuffed pantry and do everything in their power to keep it that way. Then there are those who thrive on a perfect filing system for important paperwork and old school projects. The list goes on, but it’s a rare being who can truly claim to tackle it all each day and continue to maintain it.
I’m great at picking clothes up off the floor and throwing them in the hamper. But when it comes to putting them away, well, that’s a different story. I’ve certainly gotten better with age, but there are moments where I stall. Overall, I’d say I’m pretty tidy and well-organized these days. But several moves and purges have absolutely contributed to my current state of being. I can’t leave the house without making the beds or doing the dishes. However, when I closely examine my laundry practices and perhaps a few lesser used drawers and cabinets, a proper system to keep me in check wouldn’t just be helpful, it would be most welcome.
Drawers filled with junk you will never use, and your lovely furniture draped with clothing you keep telling yourself you will put away, are constant visual reminders of tasks to tackle and will do nothing but add to your anxiety level. Leaving the house in a mad dash and spending way more time than is necessary to find your keys because they are hidden under a stack (and not tossed in the same place each time) makes for a very frazzled and unhappy existence. After years of learning this lesson the hard way, I now make it a point each day when I get home to place my keys and sunglasses in a bowl by the front door. Even if they are in my purse, I take them out and return them to their designated place, right where I know they will be when I’m in a mad dash the next morning.
When it comes to living the Zen lifestyle, experts agree that a tidy space and organized home make all the difference and have a direct impact on mental health. According to a study by Princeton University, clutter can make it harder for a person to focus or concentrate on a particular task. Your brain processes clutter as unfinished business, which can be exceptionally overwhelming when you have other items to cross off your to-do list. In addition, the Anxiety and Depression Association of America notes that the physical activity of cleaning a space, coupled with the end result, helps to reduce stress and depressive symptoms.
A well-organized home also saves money in countless ways. When you keep important documents in the right place and pay your bills on time you won’t be bogged down with late fees. When you know exactly where your clothing is stored and can view your options while planning an outfit, you’re not temped to rush to the nearest boutique to find another cute top because tons are hiding in a pile at the bottom of the closet (and you can’t even remember what you still own).
The good news, fellow New Orleanians, is that there are a number of talented professionals available locally who can come to the rescue, help you get your act together, and keep it that way. Many don’t take the time to research professional help in this arena because they feel they cannot afford it or it’s simply something they should be able to do on their own. As you will read below, local organization gurus range widely in the scope of projects they take on and can help you a little bit at a time.
Even when it comes the most common difficult to tackle areas, there are approachable steps you can take to make your space a more relaxing environment. As a society we’ve become accustomed to setting aside a budget for skincare, fitness goals and meal planning. Why not do the same for your overall mental well-being when it comes to home organization? Making the effort to address areas of concern offers benefits that extend far beyond the aesthetic. These pros have seen it all and their advice is like a golden ticket to the land of tranquility.
“Our mission is to help people who want and need to get organized but can’t quite get there on their own,” says Victoria Tran with Sorted Nola. “Our clients may not have the time, interest or know-how on what to do to get the job done. That is where we come in. We are like personal trainers for the home. We help get rid of the clutter, organize and put systems in place for easy maintenance,” continues Tran.
Sorted will help in all areas of a house, whether it’s just one location or an entire home. The company will organize typical household spaces like kitchens or closets, help with decluttering before a move, unpacking after a move or provide efficient systems for commercial spaces like law firms or physicians’ offices.
“We love to help clients declutter and edit their belongings when they are feeling weighed down by ‘stuff’. We give an objective point of view and will ask guiding questions to help them make decisions based on what they have room for and what they use, love and need. We want our clients to live in spaces that bring them peace and joy,” says Tran.
– Victoria Tran, Sorted Nola
Victoria’s top three home organization myths, busted:
“I can get organized in one day.”
Yes, you can get started and make progress in one day, but you can’t truly transform your space and your life without really putting in the effort, energy and time. You will need to go through every single item in the space you’re organizing and decide not only if you need it, use it, and love it, but also think seriously about whether or not you actually have a place for it. Organize for the space you currently have, not for a past or a future space. Really consider where things can be stored and where they will be used. Purging must be a priority and it takes time to do it.
“You need to be naturally organized to have an organized home.”
This is not true. Becoming organized and transforming your space takes thought and effort and it doesn’t magically happen. Sure, some people are better at it than others. But anyone can put in the work on the front end to purge and create systems that will be easy to maintain. It will still require daily maintenance, attention and intention.
“You need to buy products to get organized.”
It’s understandable why many believe this, but the most important step in getting organized is doing the hard work of purging and creating systems first. People will buy beautiful organizing bins and baskets before learning what they really need time and time again. The first step is a mindset shift. Then the most important step is always the purging. The less you have, the less you have to clean. The less you have to keep track of, the less you have to organize. Tran says she is in no way a minimalist, but wholeheartedly believes that only keeping what you truly love, and use will bring the most happiness. Yes, sometimes products will help get you there, but that is one of the final steps in your organizational journey.
“As someone who helps people get organized for a living, I have seen breakthrough after breakthrough, and I know that it is not difficult to get there. People just don’t have the right guidance to succeed when it comes to decluttering and organization. Many people search for information online fruitlessly, buy products that they don’t really need or compare their spaces to other peoples’ and when that doesn’t work, they give up.”
NEAT’s expert organizers create sustainable systems based on client’s needs and lifestyles. The company assists with moves and relocations, offers virtual services and organizes spaces including kitchens, kids’ rooms, bathrooms, pantries, closets, laundry rooms, garages, craft rooms, offices and more.
“We will take your home from chaotic to composed,” says Felicia Schimpf with NEAT Method New Orleans. “Let us help you put your focus back on living your life, not searching for your keys.”
– Felicia Schimpf, NEAT Method New Orleans
NEAT Method New Orleans
Felicia Schimpf’s tips for tackling clutter in common problem areas:
The kitchen is often called the heart of the home. It’s where meals are prepared, skills are developed, and moments are celebrated. We gather in the kitchen so frequently, that it’s easy for things to get disorganized. But, by implementing recommended practices, you can fine tune your kitchen organization to decrease clutter and cultivate a feeling of calm. If you cook regularly, you’re probably reaching for spices on a daily basis. Mismatched spices don’t just look cluttered, they can also be more difficult to store and locate. All you need is a small funnel and set of jars and labels to elevate the look and function of your spice collection. Also alphabetize, so you know exactly where to find what you’re looking for in a moment’s notice.
Employ smart storage. A functional closet system that’s designed specifically for your needs will make getting ready in the morning and ending your day much more enjoyable. We have worked with numerous clients helping them as they initiate the design process. By identifying what you have and knowing the right questions to ask your closet designer, you can create an ideal design while truly maximizing the square footage.
office Having a hard time storing office supplies? Utilize a cart; we like versions with wheels that you can roll into a closet when guests are over.
Once everything has a home, custom labels will help keep systems in place.
The Occasional Wife
“We can organize your entire home, files, closets, kitchen, garage and any move in your family’s future. Additionally, we will put tailored systems and products in place to help them remain organized after we are gone,” says Kay Morrison with The Occasional Wife.
Kay notes that often people don’t think to call a professional organizer when preparing for a move but getting purged and properly organized will make it as smooth a process as possible for all involved.
– Kay Morrison, The Occasional Wife
The Occasional Wife
504-261-8782 (Service Hotline)
504-302-9893 (Main Phone)
Approachable maintenance tips from Kay Morrison
When you buy that new pair of shoes or black pants, get rid of an old pair.
Keep water and sport bottles to a minimum. Also, relentlessly purge/recycle (and stay away from saving) take-out containers for storage.
Create a filing system that that works for you. Make it simple, so you can file and find things easily – and get a scanner to reduce paper.
Try your best to shy away from holding on to samples and free giveaway products. (These are usually saved with good intentions, but most often end up piling up in drawers for years to come.)
Keep a waste can close by and immediately throw away junk mail while placing operable mail where it needs to go. Letting mail pile up is a large frustration in the running of any house.
Turntables are a perfect solution for most deep shelving or cabinets. They can be used in any part of the home.
Remember, they key to tackling any project (particularly one as overwhelming as home organization) is taking the first step and coming up with an action plan. Create a realistic list, call a professional for guidance and get the ball rolling. There are resources to help you achieve the blissed out, calmer life dreams are made of. And if you’re dreaming, you’re getting sleep. And if you’re sleeping, you’re less stressed. It’s all making sense now, isn’t it?