Cris Sgrott-Wheedleton, the owner and founder of Organizing Maniacs in Tysons Corner, joined staff writer Jura Koncius’s weekly online chat to help readers get organized for the new year. Here is the professional organizer’s best advice to start 2016 on the right foot.
Create systems for your self (and maybe hire a cleaner). “We are currently working on the patent for magic but unfortunately, organizing takes effort,” Sgrott-Wheedleton wrote. If you find your home is a mess just a day after cleaning, the work might not seem worth it. But she has three possible solutions:
● Create a system where each item has a particular home. “Not having a place to put things creates an ‘I’ll put it here for now’ syndrome, which causes visual chaos,” Sgrott-Wheedleton wrote.
● Toss the clutter, for good. “Having less stuff means having less to maintain.”
● Hire a cleaner and devote the saved time to organizing.
Think vertically. Hanging baskets or track systems are a good option for homes that are overwhelmed with shoes, purses and other accessories. Also, implementing rules and systems. “For example, on Saturdays, rotate the shoes not being used to another closet.” You can make a permanent move and screw the hooks into the wall, or use a temporary option like Command Hooks that can be found at your local hardware store.
Start small, and ask for help. If you’re overwhelmed by an organizing task, take one thing at a time and work in small quantities. Still struggling? Find someone to help you. Sgrott-Wheedleton explains that there is a term in organizing called “body doubling,” the act of organizing with another person. They are there to encourage and help, even if they don’t do much of the actual organizing work. “Small wins are motivating,” Sgrott-Wheedleton wrote. “Set realistic goals, and take one box at a time.”
Develop a blueprint. Moving and not sure where to stick things in a kitchen? Develop a plan based on the appliances then design a blueprint keeping functionality in mind. Sticky notes are a good way to identify where you want things to go. Sgrott-Wheedleton recommends glasses and dishes by the dishwasher, coffee cups by the coffeemaker, and pots and pans near the stove. It’s a good time to evaluate what kitchen tools are necessary.
Look at the big picture. If you hit a plateau in de-cluttering, it’s best to evaluate the space by pulling everything out, looking at every item, then making a decision. It eliminates hidden items in the back of the closet or drawer. “We call this ‘Multiview-Devaluation,’ ” Sgrott-Wheedleton wrote. “The more times you see something, the less value they have to you. It’s looking at your things with a fresh set of eyes.” Start with a small space.