Can I sort out my life and keep it in order? Maybe not.
Can I sort out my closet and call it organizing my life? Definitely yes. #closetozenmode
With the pandemic bringing in a whole new level of chaos, most of us are still at home all day. Therefore, let’s forget ‘Netflix and chill’ and focus on ‘Netflix and declutter’.
I recently finished watching Get Organized with The Home Edit, a Netflix original series, which takes us through the journey of organizing different spaces and the challenges behind it.
What is The Home Edit?
The Home Edit is a home organization company founded by professional organizers Clea Shearer and Joanna Teplin. Their Instagram account not only showcases their work but it also shows us a sneak peek into the homes of celebrities. They’ve also written two books and have their own product line.
There are several key learnings from this reality show that I want to share here. Most of the tips shared on this show are reinforcement of what we already know but that helped.
#1 Form and Function are equally important
Joanna uses the words smart, sustainable, and beautiful to describe an ideal organizational system and I couldn’t agree more. While it is key to make the space your own and organize things according to your requirements, it is equally important to make it look aesthetically pleasing. If your space looks visually pleasing and is functional, you’ll be motivated to keep it that way for a long time.
#2 Set goals before you start organizing
In the first episode, Clea and Joanna help a doctor organize her walk-in closet. While discussing goals, they understand that she needs a ‘grab and go’space and ‘a drop zone’ with her scrubs, stethoscopes, handbags and other important things.
It is important to set goals and organize your space around your daily routine. Not all of us have walk-in closets and rooms dedicated to clothes and shoes. Well, that’s the goal though. Till then let’s work on having goals for our small closets and work around it. It isn’t necessary for your clothes, jewelry and shoes to be stored in the same space, although that would be ideal. If you have a small closet but have spaces around the room or house for other things, prioritize and organize according to your goals.
#3 Edit, edit, edit
The hardest part of organizing a space is the battle between the clutter and us. Clea and Joanna simply ask us to trust the editing process and suggest taking down everything from the space and going through each item to see if you really want it. It is as simple as that.
Or is it?
I have shirts, towels, and even bags from 10-20 years ago. Even if I buy a spanking new washcloth, I tend to go back and use the torn towel that looks like a rag cloth because it is comfortable. As a result, during the editing process I tend to give away new things, and the person most bothered about it is my mom. So, she usually takes over the editing process.
Here are some questions to ask yourself when you sort/dispose things:
Do I need it?
Do I use it?
Do I plan on using it? If yes, by when?
Do I like it?
Is it sentimental?Source: Shearer, Clea, and Joanna Teplin. The Home Edit: A Guide to Organizing and Realizing Your House Goals. Clarkson Potter, 2019.
Once you sort out all that you have based on these questions, the clutter becomes manageable. Create a project pile with things you want to use in the future. Put sentimental items together. These are items you want to keep but can be out of sight. This way you’ll know what stays in the space you’re organizing and what can go elsewhere.
Once you have sorted what you have and hopefully disposed of some during the edit process, it is time to categorize.
Set zones. Allocate spaces for where things go. For example, if you’re organizing books, have an allotted space for fiction and a designated area for non-fiction. You can work on organizing them by the cover’s colour or by alphabetical order after setting designated zones. This way when each category has its own space you tend to put back things where it belongs.
Designate the space in the top most shelf for things you don’t reach out for often and backstock (multiples of an item; unused stock).
When you don’t have zones, things tend to pile up in one place. When that happens, you spend more time searching for something and feel demotivated to use it.
I like to have my skincare and makeup in the same space. I have a dedicated space for shoes near the main door. My jewellery is stored close to the full mirror in my room so that I can mix and match once I have my outfit on. When the goals are clear, creating zones become simple, and it becomes easy to maintain the system.
#5 Contain and Label
My favorite part of the whole organizing process is the final step. I find it oddly satisfying to assemble things in containers and put it back in its allotted space. I love using clear containers, which seems to in agreement with what Clea and Joanna say. Clear containers make it easy to see what is available for use. Bonus points if your containers are stackable since that saves space. This, especially works for food and jewelry storage.
Lazy susans (if you’re wondering how that name came about, here’s an article on it), clear pantry bins, detachable hooks, magazine/file racks are some of my favorite containers to use. Lazy susans are convenient to use because you don’t need to take everything out to reach for something on the other side. Just a spin and voila! The magic happens while everything else around remain intact.
It’s good to label anything and everything around the house but labeling only containers seems like a wiser idea. This is particularly important if your containers aren’t clear ones.
I love labeling the storage bins and containers I use. That way when I’m not around and someone has to use the kitchen to whip up something delicious (I’m always down for that) they know where to find what. Sometimes, strategies like these don’t let you down. 😉