Move Over, Wrapping Paper

Every year tons of cardboard gift boxes and wrapping paper get thrown in the trash on Christmas. (I’m not even going to look up the exact number, because I know it’ll be depressing.) Instead of contributing to all that waste this year, consider using different types of organizing bins, boxes, and baskets to hide presents in that the recipient can use later.

Here are a few of my favorites:

Stackable acrylic and bamboo boxes are great for holding jewelry, cosmetics, gift cards, and other small trinkets. (Here’s a cute fabric version, too.)

Photo storage cases are great for things other than photos, like craft supplies and small toys.

With all the different designs and sizes of fabric bins available, you can gift pretty much anything in style these days. (Personally, I like these best for bulkier items, like sweaters, boots, and purses. (The Bigso boxes from the Container Store would be another great option.)

Use magazine holders for books, comics, and magazines.

And, of course, there are always baskets for everything you could possibly imagine. (Just look at this adorable cat shaped basket!)


*This post was inspired by a reel I posted on my social media account last week. Visit me on Instagram to check it out.

The Weight of Disorganization

Failure. Guilt. Shame. Did you know that these are common feelings among people with super cluttered homes? In a society that encourages rampant consumerism and materialism, areas of our homes can easily become dumping grounds for gadgets, toys, and clothing that we’re pressured into buying. All of that stuff, on top of hectic work schedules and endless hours of parenting, can start to feel incredibly burdensome when we are faced with the dilemma of how to keep it all organized.

As a professional organizer and fellow human being, I understand the overwhelming emotions that can stem from a messy home. I have been a victim of embarrassment, anxiety, and feelings of inadequacy, all because my home wasn’t as clean or tidy as I wanted it to be. And while most of us could probably benefit from learning to cut ourselves some slack, if the same stressor continues to make an appearance and wreak havoc on our emotions, shouldn’t we learn to tackle that, too?

YES.

Change can be daunting, especially if you’re already stressed. However, many people find that once they begin the organizing process those feelings of being overwhelmed start to fade. Organizing will help you regain control of your life by giving you back all the time and energy that gets lost among the clutter. You’ll also gain a greater sense of peace and satisfaction with your surroundings, thus making “home” a place of comfort once again. Don’t you deserve to be happy in your own home?

The answer is YES. Now, let’s make it happen!

Holiday Declutter: Avoiding Burnout

Most of the people I know seem to fall into one of two groups:

a. The “I love everything about the holidays” group

b. The “Ugh, it’s the holidays” group

If you identify with the first group then this post is probably not for you. (Go put up some more lights and buy your family matching plaid pajamas. This is your time to shine!) If you find yourself in the second group, then I welcome you to the club.

Many people get super stressed around the holidays. When you’re a kid it’s all Santa, presents, and excitement. Sadly, it no longer feels like “the most wonderful time of the year” when you’re an adult and all sorts of additional expectations are thrown at you. There are presents to buy, parties to attend, dozens of cookies to bake, and family members demanding your presence. This is where step one of the organizing process comes in very handy. (Yes, the principles of organizing apply to areas outside of the physical mess in your home! Don’t worry, there will be plenty more on this later.)

The first step of organizing is to declutter. Simplify. Purge. Edit. It doesn’t matter which term you use, the principle is the same: Cut back. If you want to be less stressed around the holidays, then it’s time to cut out the excess. Despite what anyone else says, you don’t have to do everything during the holidays. Did you get that? You don’t have to do everything during the holidays. A lot of people feel like they have to cram their schedules with as much “stuff” as possible this time of year. If you’re already working a 9-5 job, parenting, taking care of your house, running your kids back and forth to soccer practice, and doing all the normal day-to-day responsibilities adults get stuck with, adding an additional week’s worth of activities on top is going to leave you exhausted and stressed. For what? For the sake of saying you did a Christmas photoshoot every year? For the sake of seeing those relatives that you don’t speak to the rest of the year? For the sake of attending more parties than you did the previous year?

If any of those things are important to you/your family, then that’s great. Keep it up. You should do the things you enjoy during the holidays. If you’re just doing them to please other people, or because you feel like a “failure” if you don’t do them all, then you need to reevaluate. Will some people be disappointed? Maybe, but that’s their problem, not yours. Focus on yourself and the things that bring you joy, too.

One Small Change at a Time

You’ve finally jumped on board: You’re ready to get more organized and stop letting clutter disrupt your life (That’s amazing!), but where do you even begin? I’m sure there are plenty of people out there who feel like a deer in headlights when they finally decide to tackle their messy demons.

The first thing I tell clients is to take it one step at a time. You don’t have to tackle the whole house at once. In fact, I sincerely discourage you from trying to do that. It’ll will only lead you to become even more overwhelmed. The best approach is to take things slow. One room. One drawer, cabinet, or corner at a time.

Here are some easy places you can start:

  • Expired food items (pantry/fridge)
  • Plastic grocery bags
  • Expired/unused medications
  • Chipped dishes, mugs, or glassware
  • Clothing that no longer fits (or hasn’t been worn in 6-12 months)
  • Worn out clothing, blankets, and towels
  • Expired cosmetics
  • Damaged (or neglected) toys

Evaluate what’s in your home and figure out which things are no longer serving you properly. Do they really need to continue taking up space in your?


Did you hear the news? The Remake Studio has gone virtual! Click here to find out how to schedule your first session!

Causes of Clutter

Last week I talked a little bit about the steps of organizing on social media. The first step (and most important!) is to simplify, purge, edit, sort, etc. Whichever term you want to use for it, the principle is the same: Pare down the excess. Having extra stuff, that you typically don’t need, makes the rest of the organizing process difficult. Technically, you can organize and store said stuff, but why would you want to? Isn’t the whole point of getting organized to make your life easier and to get rid of the things weighing you down?

After making my post about simplifying, I started to think about the reasons so many people let clutter accumulate in the first place. It’s important for people to understand their behavior and the underlying causes if they want to make true changes in their lives. So, let’s discuss some of the possible causes for all that extra stuff that’s been piling up.

  • Sentimentality – Some people have a hard time letting go of sentimental items. But those drawings your kids made in first grade, the dress you wore on your first date, the tattered cookbooks that belonged to your grandmother add up over time. There’s nothing wrong with having a few keepsakes around if they have personal significance to you, but it’s important to keep them to a minimum and just hang on to those few really special ones.
  • FOMO – “But what if I need it later?” We hear it over and over again. Lots of people hang on to items that they no longer need or use due to fear that they might change their mind later. In this case, a good rule of thumb to follow is this: If you haven’t used/worn it in 6-12 months, it’s not serving an important role in your life and you don’t need it.
  • Being overwhelmed – If you’re battling a lot of clutter, trying to tackle everything at one time can be incredibly overwhelming. For some, those feelings of stress and being overwhelmed can make them feel helpless, so, rather than organize at all, they just put the task off until later. But if it’s stressing you out that much now, is it really going to be different later? Rather than try to organize your entire home at one time, it’s best to start small and chip away at it. Doing a little at a time is better than nothing at all!
  • Fear of change – A lot of people simply hate change! Even if their current system (or lack of) isn’t working, the thought of changing things feels even more daunting.
  • Habits – It’s always easier to continue doing things we’ve done for a long time. It’s instinctual and doesn’t require much effort, right? Once you start creating good habits (like putting your shoes away, rather than leaving them on the floor), they will become just as easy to keep up with.

‘Tis the Season

Now that Halloween is over (*sniff sniff* 😥 ) it’s only a matter of days until everyone starts talking about Christmas. Regardless of which holidays you celebrate, there is no denying that all those decorations, festive table linens, wrappings, and other seasonal goods can take up quite a bit of storage. Here are a few storage ideas that may come in handy later, when it’s time to take the tree down and stuff if back in the garage:

  • Large storage bags are quite handy for storing all types of seasonal items: Out of season clothing, extra linens or blankets, holiday lights, larger decorations, etc. They even make storage bags with small compartments, specifically for keeping ornaments safe.
  • Worried that artificial tree is going to get ruined out in the garage? Try storing it in a waterproof bag or inside a large trash can to protect it from the elements.
  • Clear plastic tubs are great for larger seasonal decorations and fragile items. They work well for ornaments, string lights, strands of garland, your collection of Halloween skulls (or regular skulls. I’m not here to judge.), and candles.
  • Create a wrapping station. If you’re one of those people who loves to wrap presents, why not create a designated spot for all your paper, ribbons, and cards? A cute little rolling cart could help keep your items transportable and easy-to-access. You could also repurpose an old dresser and keep your supplies hidden in the drawers. If you don’t want to create a special station, you can still make sure to keep your supplies well organized with a compartmentalized bag that you can tuck away in the closet.
  • Wrap those string lights around recycled cardboard tubes (from your wrapping paper station!) or pieces of cardboard so they don’t get tangled in a ball.

What seasonal items do you find most difficult to store/organize?

Linen Closet Makeover Tips

I put a question out to my Instagram followers recently, asking what types of organization topics they might like to learn more about. One of the most common answers was linen closets.

Closets can be challenging to organize, especially linen closets. Items stored in linen closets tend to be on the bulkier side, meaning they take up a lot of physical space. That’s okay though! No space is too impossible to organize. Follow some of these tips and tricks the next time your linen closet is in need of a makeover.

-Get rid of old towels/linens – Say goodbye to items that are faded, frayed, or have holes in them. Step one of the remake process is to discard (or repurpose) things that are no longer serving you properly.

-Roll/fold towels to save space – Larger towels and hand towels can be rolled and stacked horizontally, or stored vertically inside baskets, to optimize storage space. (The only time I avoid doing this is when towels are really thick. In this case, it is typically more efficient to fold.)

-Group by category – Keep matching towels and linens together. This not only makes it easier to find things when you’re looking for them, but it’s also more aesthetically pleasing.

-Leave wiggle room – This goes for most organization projects. Stuffing any cabinet/closet to the gills won’t look neat, nor will it be efficient when you need to take something out. (The goal is to simplify!)

-Contain small items – Put small items and cleaning supplies together in bins or baskets. Over-the-door storage racks can be great for this, as well.

– Contain large, bulky items (like comforters and pillows) in storage bags or laundry baskets so they aren’t spilling off your shelves.

– Fold sheets and matching pillowcases together into bundles

-Remove packaging from toiletries and store in clear canisters or wire bins for a neater, more stylish look.

Don’t forget to hit the “Follow” button or find me on social media (@theremakestudio) for more ideas on home organizing!

Home Organization in Fifteen Minutes

“I don’t have time.” We’ve all said it at one point or another. (Yes, even you, shaking your head as you read this.) It’s the number one excuse organizers hear from clients. And, trust us, we understand. It’s always easier to just put things off and use lack of time as an excuse when we are feeling overwhelmed. But that’s why you need us, isn’t it? To come into your homes and show you that getting more organized will actually create more time for you in the long run.

If you’re busy running the kids around all week, working a full-time job, and putting dinner on the table every night, the thought of trying to squeeze in time to remake your pantry probably sounds exhausting. There are only so many hours in the day, right? Exactly! And that’s why you need to create habits that will allow you to make the most of your precious time.

Realistically, organizers don’t expect you to start skipping work or abandoning little Jimmy at soccer practice so you can declutter. But what if you set aside 15 minutes every day? Fifteen minutes isn’t that long. You probably spend more time than that mindlessly scrolling through social media when you want to unwind. If you can find a way to sacrifice 15 minutes a day, I guarantee you’ll notice a difference by the end of the week. Choose what you want to focus on during that time: If you always feel like you’re drowning in dishes, take 15 minutes every evening to work on emptying and loading the dishwasher. It beats having a meltdown on Thursday because it’s dinner time and there are no clean plates in the cupboard. If you’re dreading that huge pile of mail that’s been slowly building on the counter, see how much of it you can tackle in 15 minutes. Make separate piles – throw away, file away, and action. Even if it takes you a few nights to get everything sorted, by the weekend you’ll be ready to tackle each of those piles with ease because they’ll already be categorized. Tired of tripping over your children’s toys all day? Take 15 minutes before bedtime to put toys away in their respective places. You can even get the kids involved and make a fun game out of it.

By focusing on one project or area of the house at a time, you’ll start to realize that organizing doesn’t have to be overwhelming. It only gets overwhelming when you try to do everything at once. Once you get in the habit of regularly putting things away, you’ll notice how much easier it is to manage your home. (Habit is the key word here. You can’t organize once and it expect it to stay that way forever.) Come up with a weekly schedule, if that helps you. Or put a “to do” list on the fridge. There is no right or wrong way to spend those 15 minutes, as long as you’re actually being productive. Hopefully, by the time the weekend rolls around, you’ll have checked enough off your list that you’ll find yourself with time to spend doing things you actually enjoy. 🙂

Products I Can’t Live Without

Not sure where to begin on your organizing journey? Have no fear. I am here to help! Here are a few products that I find myself purchasing again and again, for clients and my own home.

These drop-front shoe boxes from The Container Store are hands down my shoe organizers. For starters, they’re stackable, so you can make a nice little shoe wall for yourself in your closet. (Or anywhere in the house, really. I’m not judging.) The clear drop front makes it super easy to see what’s inside and lets you access your shoes without having to shift any boxes around. These boxes would also be great for accessories, clutches, or craft supplies.

Under sink/cabinet drawer organizer, where have you been all these years? These under the sink organizers have been a game changer in our bathroom closet. I use the drawers for storing extra washcloths and am able to fit several bottles of hair products and lotions on top. (There’s also a different version that is great for under the kitchen sink!)

These white storage bins are perfect for pretty much every room in the house – kitchen, bathroom, linen closet, kids’ room, etc. They come in 3 different sizes, too, so you can mix and match.

An expandable pot and pan holder can really do wonders for your kitchen cabinets! The slot sizes are adjustable, making it easy to fit different sizes of pans. I have one for baking sheets and cutting boards and another just for baking pans. It’s so much better than trying to sort through a pile of clunky, loud pans every time you bake.

Do you have any specific products that you love to use for organizing? Tell me about them in the comments! And don’t forget to hit the “Follow” button. 😉

It Doesn’t Have to Be Perfect

We’ve all seen the Instagram and Pinterest posts of the impeccably organized closet. The color-coded bookcases. The pantry with only clear canisters and handmade labels. Impressive, aren’t they?

Have you ever seen such a post and said to yourself “Wow, I could never make my home look like that?” Well, my friends, let me let you in on a little secret: You don’t have to.

Lots of people use what they see on influencer platforms as inspiration. They take and tips, hacks, and pretty photos and use them to fuel their desire to make their home more organized. Then there are opposite people, people who see what’s on social media and instantly feel overwhelmed. They don’t think they have enough time, space, money, etc. to make their homes look Insta-worthy, so they just don’t do anything. Period.

Influencers (even organizers) homes don’t always look like that – staged; You can find a system that works for you and your lifestyle without it needing to be “perfect;” my own black-and-white thinking. Would you tell your child “You’ll never be as good as the other kids at soccer, so you probably shouldn’t play at all?” Stop using this as an excuse to keep things the way they are.