Happy new year!
The January 2020 issue of Real Simple magazine features an article by Anne T. Donahue titled, “Adventures in Organizing: She thought she had her closets under control—until a professional showed her how it’s really done.”*
Unfortunately, some articles about hiring professional organizers take a negative tone, wrongly implying that anyone considering hiring a professional organizer must be overwhelmed by “mess” or “clutter.”
In reality, people hire organizers for many reasons, and hiring an organizer doesn’t imply anything—and certainly not anything negative!—about the client. We all have areas wherein we benefit from others’ help or knowledge.
Donahue’s piece, a humorous, at times laugh-out-loud reflection on her collaboration with a professional organizer, was thus a welcome change from many organizing articles. Confessing that she “like[d] to think of [her]self as the most organized person on the planet,” Donahue details her surprise and eventual delight at how, even for a super-organized person like her, professional help proved invaluable!
Not a subscriber to Real Simple, but want to check out the article? Inquire at your nearest public library (link is for U.S. residents) for free in-person or online magazine access.
However you‘d characterize your organizing skills, from novice to pro—you, too, can benefit from another perspective on your space or systems!
[Italics in original title. As always, linking does not imply my endorsement, and I don’t accept compensation for links.]
Brainstorming holiday presents? Here are a few gift options, all of which are kind to you, your budget, & the planet.
Each idea also reduces clutter, either directly—like giving your used clothing to seasonal drives—or indirectly: e.g., event tickets don’t take up space or require gift wrapping.
Zero Waste DC is a wonderful resource. Type in any unwanted items--e.g., hangers, old clothes, outdated electronics--and the site tells you how to dispose of them in a safe, eco-friendly way. The site even includes links to local charities that will accept your item(s)!
Zero Waste DC also provides a massive Google Docs spreadsheet, listing stores and nonprofits where you can shop for used items, donate them, or get items repaired.
Finally--and my personal favorite--you can even play a DC-specific, online computer game (no downloads or special gaming system required!) to learn more about disposing of unwanted items. This is a fun way to teach your children about recycling and being kind to the earth. Check out the screen capture below!
What can you do with old clothes that aren't in good enough shape to donate? What about non-clothing fabrics in poor condition, like worn sheets, tablecloths, and curtains?
H&M will recycle your textiles for free, from any brand and in any condition! Your unwanted items can be turned into insulation and other useful fiber products.
Just bring your stuff to any H&M store counter and ask for the recycling box.
* Bonus: you'll get a discount coupon off a future H&M purchase!
NOTE: I haven't received any compensation from H&M for this post. I've used their program myself and feel confident recommending it.
Often, when people think of clothing donation, they think of Goodwill. Once you've sorted through clothes you don't wear, however, there are other worthy organizations that would be thrilled to receive them.
The organizations below won't sell your donated items; rather, they'll give them to members of our community who are most in need.
Your donations will make a huge difference for local organizations providing vital services! #StreamlineYourClosetANDSupportYourCommunity
1) Used professional attire: Contact organizations that help with job readiness, such as DC's Suited for Success (all genders) or Dress for Success (women's).
2) Used winter clothes, all ages and genders: Check your local homeless outreach organizations as cold weather approaches. (DC option: Thrive D.C.)
3) Outgrown school uniforms: Contact the social worker or guidance counselor at your child's school to see if they keep a clothing closet for families in need.
4) Unworn women's and children's clothes: Did your baby outgrow clothing gifts before wearing them? Did your child or teen receive a gift of clothing that's not their style? Did you buy something you couldn't return--only to later realize it wasn't your style?
Your local domestic violence center is almost certainly looking for new clothes. In DC, try My Sister's Place.
Check here to learn more about what DC organizations accept which items.
Steven Cohen is the owner of Streamlined by Steven, a professional organizing company serving Washington, D.C. and parts of Maryland.