Professional organizers can help you get a handle on your mess
Ever note how organized and neat the rooms are in magazines? There are always flowers, the pillows are perfectly fluffed, and there is never a telephone in sight!
I look around my place and realize that I know Martha Stewart, I’m not Martha Stewart. Her magazines pile up into something that could be a bedside table. Fortunately, Martha puts all her recipes online so I can find something when I need it. Unfortunately she can’t come over and declutter my place. Clutter makes this Virgo stressed, and just about now, I am really stressed. I also just got married, so along with a wonderful husband, I now have double clutter!
Fortunately, my editors at New Orleans Living decided to reformat our interior design pages. The first subject for this new format is getting organized! I could kiss my bosses! An excuse to consult with Mary Gaudin, a co-owner of the Occasional Wife on Magazine Street, seemed a gift! A condo tour later, Mary suggested, “Let’s do this in parts.” Breaking things into manageable parts seems a fave starting point for professional organizers. And it keeps me from feeling overwhelmed. So in a two-part series, over this month and next, we are pulling together tips to help you, me and anyone who’s ever stepped over a sock on the way to the kitchen!
It’s back-to-school time, so let’s start with ideas to organize both space and time. A loving parent strives to eliminate things that put stress on their child’s life so …
- Before the new school year, purge everything and store memorabilia in a “memory box.”
- Divide a room into defined areas or zones to lasso chaos. There should be adequate space to spread out homework and story materials.
- Keeping a collection of general school supplies for access throughout the year avoids the 10 p.m. crisis of “I need a new notebook for tomorrow.”
- Most tweens are allergic to coat hangers. Labeled bins and baskets for clothing types (T-shirts, long-sleeved shirts, jeans) avoids the clothing “carpet” on the bedroom floor.
- Designate a place for all school, PE and sports uniforms including equipment, socks, shoes and undergarments.
- Give each child his or her own “in-box” for school correspondence to avoid lost paperwork like permission slips. Check the boxes every night.
- Hanging memo boards and calendars with large date boxes is a must to keep track of schedules, project deadlines, sporting events, tests and so forth.
- A permanent note in a conspicuous place (for example, the inside of the front door, the bathroom mirror) serves as a reminder for items frequently forgotten: signed test papers, PE shorts, etc.
- Create bins or boxes for phone, iPod and other chargers.
- Be prepared: Buy a box of brownie mix every time you go to the grocery. There is always a bake sale or someone’s birthday on the calendar.
- Hide what clutter there is in boxes under the bed or behind a screen or curtain.
- Do a major cleanup at least four times a year, preferably at the start of a new season. Store all items from the previous season that won’t be used until the next.
- Back up all computers onto auxiliary, portable drives and memory sticks (also handy should we have to evacuate for a storm).