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.]
Kitchen and dining tables can feel especially intimidating to tackle by yourself. These surfaces become resting spots for many varied items—mail, bills, bags, snack containers, homework, holiday cards... It's easy to overlook time-sensitive papers on a busy table--let alone actually use the table to do something fun!
I can help you create a customized, self-sustaining system to keep the table organized.
I love helping you create a pleasant dining area, always ready for:
Your space should be soothing and support your dreams. You deserve it!
Many people think of organization as boxing up old files and office supplies—but I encourage you to think outside the box!
Protect your investment in houseplants by organizing them: i.e., curating them with intention and thoughtfulness, so each can delight you for a long time!
Plants can be arranged for style and appropriate light exposure via the use of inexpensive plant stands, as seen in the photo below, and many other techniques.
The latter include hacking IKEA products to make custom plant accessories; reading books from plant stylists, and browsing Instagram for inspiration.
Simply contact me: together, we can transform your plant inspirations into your greener, calmer space and lifestyle!!
Many people wonder if all organizers are like Marie Kondo, the multimillionaire personal organizer of Netflix and authorial fame. The short answer is no--and, without saying anything negative about Kondo, diversity among professional organizers is a good thing!
Different people need different organizing solutions, and sometimes that means a different organizer. As with any personal service, no single individual or approach will be a good fit for everyone.
Here are some hallmarks of my philosophy:
#Humor 😀 #ToDoLists #OrganizingReferencesInLiterature
A brief, charming excerpt from one of the wonderful No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency novels, written by Alexander McCall Smith. Enjoy!
Labeling your cords, cables, and chargers (CCCs, for brevity!) is a great way to save yourself time and frustration.
When you're peering at a jammed surge protector, all of the plugs can look identical--and you don't want to accidentally unplug your printer instead of your laptop charger!
Labeling chargers can be as simple & inexpensive as writing the device name on a piece of masking tape, then wrapping tape around one end.
For cords and cables that connect electronics to one another---e.g., components of a home entertainment system--label both ends.
You can purchase an inexpensive, more durable labeling method: I use Kableflags and like them, but there are many comparable products. One limitation of Kableflags is needing to write in small letters to fit the info recommended below.
For truly top-notch CCC management, label not just the name of the device ("laptop"), but also brand and even model: "HP Stream laptop," "Dell Inspiron 15 laptop." Also consider adding the owner's name.
If your household has multiple laptops, this will come in handy. Parents, especially, can prevent sibling squabbles and save valuable time!
Even one person can have an old and current work laptop, plus a personal laptop: 3 chargers! Then add CCCs for tablet, phone, and music player, not to mention printer, desk lamp, shredder...
Be kind to your future self: #CorralTheCords!
*I did not receive any compensation for mentioning this product.
Create an email folder for messages that make you feel good. Whenever you receive a positive note--your supervisor praising you for a work project, a friend forwarding a funny video, a colleague's thanks--place a copy of the message in your mood-boosting email folder.
You can give the folder a discreet, boring name, if inquisitive people tend to read your screen over your shoulder: "Boiler repair estimates" or "Old electrical bills," etc.
Having a rough day? Be kind to yourself: open your special folder and reread the messages. You are noticed, appreciated, not alone.
(Bonus: after you've read some messages, take a moment to send a note to someone you're grateful for. You'll feel good, reflecting on what you appreciate about them--and your note could be just the boost they need!)
Sometimes, people come to a professional organizer having heaped labels--often insults--upon themselves: "I'm a mess." "I'm disorganized, a pack-rat, a slob."
That is NOT how I see you. By contrast, I see you as competent, wise, and moving forward in a positive way!
If your ceiling was leaking, you'd call a roofer, right? You wouldn't expect yourself to automatically know how to fix it, let alone call yourself names.
Instead, you'd ask a professional, someone with years spent honing the necessary skills, to help you--and that would be a smart way to address the issue and get on with enjoying your life.
Hiring an organizer is no different. No one is born knowing how to implement customized organizing solutions, just as no one is born knowing how to assess roof damage.
Please let me help--and please be kinder to yourself!
Steven Cohen is the owner of Streamlined by Steven, a professional organizing company serving Washington, D.C. and parts of Maryland.