Hey Smarties! We all have that one friend who has a unique skill that always seems to come in handy. For me it’s my friend Jillian, who is a professional organizer. We can be at my house, drinking coffee, watching the kids play and she will open a cabinet and say “I can fix this” almost out of habit. Before I know it, my cabinet has been newly organized and looks fabulous. Over the years of our friendship, the biggest lesson Jillian has taught me is that everyone can have an organized house. You don’t have to be famous, a professional, or an extreme minimalist. Recently I sat down with Jillian over coffee (of course) while Cocomelon played in the background to entertain my kids to talk about her 3 easy tips for organizing any space.
Step 1: Start small
I know I wasn’t expecting this answer either! I figured when you want to overhaul a space you should go big or go home, but Jillian says no!
Pick one small space like a drawer or cabinet to start organizing. Choosing a larger project like reorganizing the kitchen can be overwhelming. Starting small means you can complete the project quickly and build your confidence to move on to larger spaces. Larger projects require a plan and if you start without one, you might end up leaving the task halfway completed. Starting with the small spaces will inspire you to move onto bigger areas of your home, and as you progress you can take the time to develop your plans for your space.
Step 2: Take everything out
Yep, you heard the lady! Take absolutely everything out of the space. If you’re cleaning your closet that means every last piece of clothing, and if you’re sifting through the junk drawer, that means leaving no piece of scrap paper behind. Taking everything out makes you touch each item so you can categorize it into piles (keep, trash, and donate), see the condition of everything, and evaluate what to do with each thing.
Keep: If you’re adding something to the “keep” pile it should be something you are currently using or plan to use in the next 3-6 months (with the exception of seasonal decor.)
Trash: Any items that are broken, expired (foods or old medicines), missing parts, or have no purpose (I’m looking at you random birthday party favors.) It’s time to let those things go.
Donate: Items that have served their purpose in your home but are in good condition can be added to the donation pile. Kids clothing that no longer fits and toys they’ve outgrown seem to take up the majority of our donation piles these days.
As you’re taking everything out be sure to take the time to wipe down all surfaces, clean out existing storage bins, and evaluate if you need more containers. Once the space is empty you have a clean slate to start putting things back!
Step 3: Sort and Categorize by like items
As you’re removing things, you’re already getting a head start on this step. Once you’ve edited out what needs to be thrown away or donated you should end up with a pile of “keepers.” Sort that pile into items that are similar in size, function, type, or even color to be added back to the space. Depending on the space, it is helpful to place things back in organizers or bins to keep everything contained. Bins offer the ability to see where you’re running low on something, reduce visual clutter by taking away original packaging, and maintain order.
When you’re organizing the goal should be to make the space functional for your family, not perfect. Organizing saves you time, money, and energy by showing you what you have so you don’t overbuy or duplicate items and make it easy to access those items. Everything should have a place and be returned to that place for simplicity and function. Organizing can be a fun project that doesn’t have to overwhelm you or drain your bank account. It will improve not only your physical space but your mental load as well.
Where to begin? What space do you plan to organize first? When in doubt you can always ask for help! If you’re looking for organizational inspiration or for more information about OTF, check out Off the Floor Organizing on Instagram!
Based in Charlotte, NC, Jillian began Off The Floor Organizing in 2015. Her company began as a side hustle for friends and family but when the need for professional organizers arose, this mother of three successfully transformed her company into a full time operation. OTF Organizing was built on Jillian’s passion for decluttering, categorizing, and organizing. She believes that creating clutter-free systems for you and your family saves time and energy so you can focus on what’s important to you!