Posted on January 22 2016
New Year's resolutions tend to fall a little flat about 2 weeks in to the new year, don't they? Thank goodness for Samantha Pregenzer of Simply Organized. She swooped in to join us on the Moby Facebook page for a chat about de-cluttering and organizing our lives and homes. See below for some of the top questions and answers, or head here to review the full chat.
MW = Moby SO = Samantha of Simply Organized C= Community
MW - How did you get into home organizing as a profession? Are you a natural born neat freak?
SO - I have a passion for helping people and always loved organization, so the two blend together perfectly. For a few years after college (I was a counseling major) I was a program director at a non-profit that assisted low-income and homeless families. That role involved a lot of organization and I loved it, but my heart kept pulling me in the direction of helping people one-on-one...especially desperate moms. I love my business and am so grateful to do exactly what I love! I am a natural neat freak but I try to keep it in check.
MW - How do you personally decide what to keep (for nostalgia) and what gets tossed?
SO - How do I personally decide to keep my things or not? Good question! I have found that time is the best way to help me decide. If I'm in doubt, I tuck it away, set a reminder on my calendar, and if I didn't think about it, miss it, need it...it's gone. The items that really truly tug at my heart-strings stay.
C - My daughter seems to have a deep connection with toys she hasn't played with in a while before they get tossed or given away.
SO - This is so normal for children and it's our job to guide them through the process, gently. They will get there. I always try to let them lead the way in when they are ready to let go. Or what helps is planning a little purge session with them before a birthday or holiday. They are more inclined to let go when they know NEW things are coming in.
MW - There seems to be a LOT of organizational "solutions" out there, but how do I determine what I actually need to buy to be organized, and what I can use that I already have?
SO - There is def the issue of being TOO organized to the point of nearly killing yourself...and ultimately losing everything b/c you were too organized and can't find it. More often than not, you don't need to contain everything. But there are "solutions" that just make sense and are necessary. If my clients are having an issue with a space, like under a sink, then I def find a solution that works. If they can't find something in their closet, it's a matter of purging and not adding a solution.
MW - Kids' artwork! How on earth do we deal with that?
SO - Oh gosh! Besides baby clothing and laundry - THIS is the issue. Well, Lego's too! smile emoticon A lot of mom's have a hard time parting with things right away, so I suggest keeping the items they love. For a period of time, we keep them in a bin or a portfolio of some kind. After a while, we revisit and it's always amazing how they get rid of so much of it during that time. But what is causing that to happen is that MORE artwork has come home in the meantime...so it made it easier for them to get rid of stuff they didn't really love.
Kid's artwork is a process - and no one should be pressured to make a decision with that. We take our time, always. And there are so many great options for transferring them to digital now. Artkive (an app) is a great option...they even have a new concierge service that will take it all in for you and do all the transferring. The concierge service isn't the cheapest route, but it's available. The other option is simply snapping a picture yourself with your smartphone, transferring to your computer and setting up files by grade or age.
C - We have saved a bit of artwork but used a lot of just "fun" painting as gift wrap for Christmas! Everyone loved the personal spin on it and I loved not "wasting" it!
C - The toys!!! So many toys!!
SO - YES! Toys. They are here to stay for a while...but the good news is your children grow and change...right along side their toys. As they outgrow toys, they can move out and be donated...and new toys can come into your space. I also recommend a rotation of toys so the kids stay interested and your house doesn't look very cluttered.
C - Do you have any tips for storing baby clothing that is too small but still want to keep??
SO - This is a big one! If you are planning on having more children, keeping the clothing is a huge help! What works every time is folding neatly in air-tight bins with a defined label for ease of accessing later.
Bins are the best option for baby clothing. My favorite bins are the clear ones from The Container Store - it's their brand, they stack neatly and come in a variety of sizes so space isn't wasted. I LOVE clear bins...not solid colored bins.
C - How to organize minimally, what are your TOP 2 or 3 go to pieces. I know it depends on what you're trying to organize (clothes, sports stuff), but what are your most basic starter pieces, "must haves".
SO - Great question!! I always opt for anything that stacks and has a drawer. You're more likely to put things away if you don't have to unstack something to remove a lid!
C - My biggest problem is organizing paperwork. I don't need it to be scattered everywhere but I need easy access to it whether for business or personal reasons. I can't seem to find an system that works. Also we live in a small apartment so utilizing space is key. Any tips?
SO - Paper is the biggest issue in a home. And if you're not processing it all the time, it piles up quickly. There are so many systems to mention but one of my favorites is using magazine files. I use file folders to keep each category contained and easy to grab. I use them for everything.
Thank you Samantha! Want more tips and tricks for getting organized? Check out Samantha's blog and follow her on Instagram and Pinterest for visual inspiration! Thank you to all who joined our chat yesterday! Stay tuned for next month's featured guest ....