A particular client in Inwood needed an effective storage solution for her foldable items. I was able to accommodate her more casual clothing in two dressers that were located in her bedroom; however, I was concerned that she might not be able to keep the items neatly compartmentalized throughout the course of her busy work week. At that point, I remembered an idea I’d seen on Pinterest, and I repurposed one of her cardboard moving boxes and made drawer dividers. I often recommend drawer organizers to clients for underwear, t-shirt, and sock drawers especially. However, in a pinch, virtually anyone can easily make his or her own custom dividers from rigid cardboard. In this case, I was working quickly and simply placed the dividers temporarily. Gluing the edges of the cardboard together will create compartments of a permanent size.
Though my clients come from various educational, career, and cultural backgrounds, there are a few common threads I repeatedly observe. One of them is anxiety. Oftentimes, a person who suffers from general anxiety, may find that the struggle is spilling over into his or her perceived ability to maintain an organized environment at home or at work. Many people who struggle with organizing find that they feel overwhelmed the minute they attempt an organizing-related task. Others are able to begin work, but may lose their sense of direction and motivation while in the middle of completing the task. The following steps can help virtually anyone begin, continue, or complete organizing projects that may at first seem endless and cumbersome or downright overwhelming.
- Before beginning, think about the project in terms of manageable phases. Set a clearly defined end goal, and establish a realistic timeline. Don’t forget to think about how much time you would specifically like allocate to completing each phase in addition to creating an overall project deadline.
- If possible, approach each phase of the task with a clear mindset and adequate rest. Pausing to take periodic five-minute breaks can be extremely helpful. If time management is a concern, setting a timer may be an effective way to appropriately set boundaries between “working time” and “break time.”
- No negative self-talk. It’s true that we are oftentimes our worst critic. Instead of focusing on what you are afraid you will not accomplish, acknowledge small victories throughout the process, and look forward to completing each phase and starting a new one.
- If panic begins to set in, take a few deep breaths, and actively tell yourself not to panic. Oftentimes, remaining calm is a matter of slowing down, taking a step back, and making a very conscious decision to maintain a positive, peaceful focus.
- Take baby steps. Most of my clients begin to see progress when they begin by taking small steps toward “reclaiming” and improving an area of their home or office. I am always amazed at how quickly they become motivated to tackle larger and larger organizing projects, often without my supervision. More importantly, by slowly and deliberately working through the organizing process, they are able to self-identify any habits that may serve as obstacles to maintaining an orderly space, and they are eventually able to modify their behaviors and correct themselves by employing the tools and techniques they learn during our sessions.
I was called in to assist the Peter Tunney Art Gallery immediately following a flood that damaged parts of the building’s basement and sub-basement. The contents of the basement and sub-basements were to be relocated to a second gallery space the artist also uses nearby. Before the relocation was set to take place, the gallery was subject to a multiple-day reorganization. In addition to organizing the existing filing system, I also created a layout plan for the basement and sub-basement at the new location, and I streamlined the supply area in the new sub-basement.
Old sub-basement storage
Shelving in new sub-basement
Oftentimes, we value the tools we use for work and attempt to tuck away all signs of the things we do for play. A balanced lifestyle includes work and leisure time. Your living space can and should reflect this concept. Instead of cramming rackets, balls, bats, skates, skis, and other equipment into the far corner of a dark closet, create a designated area that will enable and encourage you to store the clothing and equipment you use for your hobbies in a more orderly, more accessible manner. Keeping your playtime items organized, attractive, and physically accessible may also have the secondary effect of encouraging you to work less and live more.
Pictured below is a swimwear drawer I created for one of my busy NYC executive professional organizing clients who still loves to get in a good swim!
A couple days ago, I had the pleasure of working with a very sweet client, who took advantage of a special I’m currently offering. She had previously worked with an organizer who offered very helpful solutions; however, the client still struggled with having functional access to some of her clothes and sifting through her shoes and accessories when getting dressed in the morning. So…our session began with a shopping trip, during which we found an inexpensive ($15.99) jewelry organizer that fit the bill nicely. We had originally planned to purchase a shoe rack and bring the shoes outside of the closet; however, we were unable to find one during our retail adventure. Things worked out great in the end when we re-purposed a wooden planter and a small shelf (not pictured) to visibly store the client’s clothes and shoes. We turned the planter on its side and positioned it on the top shelf of the client’s closet. Next, we stacked excess folded clothes on its makeshift “shelves.”
I love family referrals!..Actually, I love any referral. But this one came from an awesome client, who couldn’t help but share my services with her family members. This particular project was aimed at helping my ongoing client’s mother corral her love of faux flowers and knickknacks. 🙂 By working together, we uncovered the client’s desire to accumulate items due to having experienced economic struggles while growing up and fearing wastefulness. As a result of accumulating without organizing and purging, the client had run out of room to keep her treasured items, and they had begun to take over the dining room table, china cabinet, and shelf (a pretty common theme among my clients who own a house). First, we worked to sort the items and relocated many of them to more appropriate areas in the house. Next, we devised a system that would allow the client to keep all of her knickknacks, but would require that use them to create displays and rotate throughout the seasons or as often as she felt a need to change. Below are photos of the display we created during our session.
The following photos were taken at the home of one of my ongoing clients in CT. During our first session, we tackled her dining room table. Instead of functioning as a designated gather place where family and guests could come together and have meals, her dining room had slowly become a place for miscellaneous storage. The work we were able to accomplish during the first session was remarkable as I helped my client identify her underlying emotions and resulting habits that drove her to accumulate and store excess items. We eventually were able to reclaim the dining room, and she was so excited to finally be able to host parent meetings at her home. She has since continued to work on her own to reclaim her detached garage and convert it into an outdoor entertaining area!
Dining Room Shelf – After
Dining Room – Before
Dining Room Shelf – Before
Dining Room – After