Hi Design Rompers. I'm Charlotte, Susan's daughter. We are alike in our mutual love of beautiful, functional spaces. While my mom's strength is design, my forté is organization and every successful room needs both. I thrive when everything around me is functional and has its proper place. I recently had the opportunity to help a teenage girl organize her entire bedroom, and thought these tips would be helpful for anyone wanting to clear out that bottom dresser drawer that is stuffed to the brim or the mess that hides under the kitchen sink. So, Mom, this is for you...
1. Gather Your Supplies. There is nothing worse than beginning a project and not having the proper tools to ensure your success. Make sure you have heavy duty garbage bags, paper towels and cleaning supplies (because you'll naturally want to clean the space after you organize, right? Or is that just me?)
2. Clear Your Head and Focus: You are going to be be bombarded with clothing items that bring back memories from years ago, tech accessories you've hoarded but never actually needed to use, or old birthday cards dating back years. I find it important to realize that just because I am tossing these items out, I haven't also discarded the memories attached to them.
3. Empty Everything. This step is tough for the habitual organizer because you cause a bigger mess before you get the satisfaction from reorganizing. Taking everything out of the dresser drawers, bathroom cabinets, and bedside tables allows you to see both the quantity and quality of your belongings and lets you assess what you really should be keeping and what should go on to another home or be pitched into the garbage. Don't get stressed out from this step - know that you will tackle all of the current mess and are doing yourself a favor by paring back what you have and getting the most functionality out of your belongings.
4. Sort. Put clothes that you no longer wear, are no longer flattering, or are otherwise out of commission into donation bags; throw out clothes with no life left in them. Discard expired makeup, products, old cards or photos (scan these to make digital copies that will last forever and take up no physical space!). Donate these bags to Goodwill, The Salvation Army, or take them to the dump ASAP - you don't want them hanging around tempting you to change your mind and dig through them.
5. Reassemble. Now that you have fewer belongings, take the time to neatly and identically fold your smaller T Shirt collection, hang up clothes on matching hangers in your closet, and put products in the bathroom in bins. Revel in the fact that everything you are finding a space for serves some purpose, and are items that deserve to be taken care of.
These 5 steps seem simple but can take hours, depending on the space you are working with. By purging what I own (within reason), I find I see my wardrobe in a new light and have more ideas on what to wear. When I know my toiletries are all current and not expired, I can get ready with more ease in the morning. I know that I did an effective job organizing when my space STAYS neat. If an area becomes messy again, I know that I didn't do it right and repeat the process to reconfigure the space or rethink everything I am trying to keep.
Since my mom wrote about how "it's the most wonderful time of the year" as we all prepare to part ways, there's no better time to clear out your space and your mind so that you already to realize your potential this academic year.
Thanks, Charlotte, for sharing your organizational skill with us! And would you mind cleaning out the pantry before you leave for SF? Just one last time?!!! :)