The Organizing Co. Blog

[ life's better when it's put together ]

 

The Organizing Co Blog features helpful how-to's, tips and tutorials, organizing inspiration, and even great product and resource recommendations! We'll also have client and employee spotlights from time to time. Follow us on Facebook or sign up for our newsletter to be notified on the latest post!


Organizing For Romance

[ messes + other mood-killers ]

March 01, 2017

It's no secret that disorganization can cause tension in relationships. In this video you'll see a presentation I gave to a group of rowdy business owners emphasizing the dangers of disorganization. Hopefully you'll get a few good laughs and some good inspiration to organize for romance!

Happy romancing!

Thanks so much for watching.

Christina + The Organizing Co. 

PS- Thank you to my wonderful clients who allow me to use photos from your place for marketing, etc. Remember, folks, no judging!


At Home With An Organizer

[ pantry how-to's ]

January 01, 2017

This year, we'll be doing periodic episodes shot at an organizer's home, showing you how we really live and giving you some great tips along the way! If you've ever wondered, "Does her house always look perfect?" or "Is she a total minimalist?" - Now's your chance to find out. 

Feel free to email Christina@TheOrganizingCo.com with your questions about how an organizer lives, works, or entertains, or with what areas you would like to see!


Crotch In, Pocket Out

[ the perfectionist's closet ]

December 01, 2016

Is your closet already pretty organized, but you want to take it to the next level? Check out this quick video with a couple tips that will make you love your closet even more! If your closet is a total disaster, skip the video and give us a call!


What Are You Waiting For?

[ the question that launched a company ]

November 01, 2016

November 1st, 2015 will forever be independence day to me. I've been a professional organizer for over three years, but on this day one year ago I launched my own company.

Click below to watch a video about how one simple question helped me take the plunge and start my own biz! Maybe you'll be inspired to do something you've been dreaming of...


Let Freedom Fling

[ Four Things To Free Yourself From This 4th Of July Weekend ]

 

July 01, 2016

I don’t know what it is, but my calendar is blowing up this week. Maybe it’s the time off work or the rejuvenation a day of cool weather brought, but people are ready to get organized and to purge! So if you’re feeling the itch but don’t want to devote your entire weekend, here are some quick things you can simply get rid of during your extra free time on this long weekend. Let the flinging begin...

Free yourself from:

1. Anything with bad memories or emotions associated with it (No, your bills, kale, and partner don’t count. ;) ) Maybe you used to love something, or think it’s beautiful, but it reminds you of getting fired, losing your cat, a low point in your life, or a sad event, like the funeral of someone you love. Go ahead and let it go. Only keep the lovely memories of the people you love. There are plenty. 

If something like might used to inspire and encourage you, but now it just makes you feel guilty that you aren't "blooming", let it go.

If something like might used to inspire and encourage you, but now it just makes you feel guilty that you aren't "blooming", let it go.

2. Guilt over getting rid of stuff your MIL/friend/husband/child gave to you (say, a tacky pair of earrings, or a horse painting you can’t stand). Free yourself from the stuff you don’t like! Your family gave it to you to make you happy and, if it’s not doing that, it’s not accomplishing the purpose for which it was intended, and surely they wouldn’t want it to be making you unhappy. Simply explain that you’re needing to declutter and that, while you’re getting rid of the item, you’re holding onto the sentiment of how loving and thoughtful she/he was for giving you that gift. You’re remembering that they love you and you’re freeing some space for {creativity} {productivity} {a new direction} {simplicity} {a different style}. You fill in the blank. If it makes you (or them) feel better, take a picture of the item before letting it go to someone who will truly love it and enjoy it. For the record- I’ve heard more success stories of this going well than of it not! You never know until you try.

Parents and great aunts have a knack for giving out books that no one wants to read. Clear space on your self for the books you love, reference, and read. It's also okay to say goodbye to decor gifts that are no longer your style. 

Parents and great aunts have a knack for giving out books that no one wants to read. Clear space on your self for the books you love, reference, and read. It's also okay to say goodbye to decor gifts that are no longer your style. 

3. To-do items that don’t REALLY need to get done (or that will never get done). Clear out that bin of articles/magazines to read and start fresh (maybe schedule reading time, too!). Glance over your inspiration book/file/bulletin board and remove things that no longer spark something in you. Look at your to-do list and delete things that you no longer really care about doing or that aren’t even relevant anymore. It clears visual clutter and it’s so freeing! No more stress or shame every time you see it on your list. It’s not vital, and you've been just fine without getting it done. Cut your losses and delete it. Another example is to free yourself from any clothing items/shoes that need to be repaired but haven’t been. You’re not wearing them anyway! It’s time to face it: after 3 months it probably won’t ever happen. Free yourself from the dread every time you look at it and free up some closet space by getting rid of it. Instagram a final memory and say “adieu.” If you can’t bring yourself to remove something from your to-do list, maybe your way to be free from it is to actually do it this weekend! “Eat the frog,” as they say. But, seriously, this weekend. 

Do you still want to grow tomatoes? No? Delete.

Do you still want to grow tomatoes? No? Delete.

Check out CHaRM or Goodwill to see how damaged items can be recycled or reused!

Check out CHaRM or Goodwill to see how damaged items can be recycled or reused!

4. Free yourself from the stress of not being able to find your {keys} {glasses} {bills}. Create designated “homes” for the items you misplace the most. You may still need a total organizing overhaul, but you can start with just 1-3 essentials! Make sure they are easy to see, easy to access, and are where you naturally want to reach for things. You may even use bright sticky notes for awhile to remind yourself, “Keys go here!” Or “Put your glasses in your purse!” It takes awhile (28 days, Sandra Bullock would say) to build a habit, so don’t be surprised if you can’t remember the first few days. You’ll get the hang of it. And then you’ll be free from those early morning, last minute tornado spins around the house to find something. 

Remember, there are lots of responsible ways to get rid of something, and you don't want your home to become a landfill of unused, unloved items. Love it or let it go to someone who will.

Now, in addition to celebrating our freedom in the great U.S. of A, celebrate the freedom you just created in your life! And continue to practice it all year long!

Thank you to all those who have fought, and are fighting, for our freedom.

Thanks so much for reading!

Happy free-ing!

Christina + The Organizing Co. 


Summer Mother

[ How Being A Camp Counselor Made Me A Better Organizer ]

 

I'm the princess in pink behind Jasmine and the red ghost. :)

I'm the princess in pink behind Jasmine and the red ghost. :)

June 01, 2016

It’s June 1st and even hundreds of miles away from Branson, Missouri I can feel the excitement, wonder, and joy of camp starting. For five summers post-college I worked at Kanakuk Kamps as a counselor, unit coordinator, or office girl. At K-Kountry (one of the Kanakuk Kamps) we provided sports and activities for 7-11 year old kiddos (and even a few 6 year olds we let sneak in).

I was a counselor in Barn One (obviously our cabins were “barns” since we were in the “kountry”) which was the youngest group. Most cabins had two counselors and twelve kids, but in Barn One (affectionately called “Diaper Duty”) we had three counselors and eleven 7 year olds. One room, lots of bunks and cubbies... and Silly Bands, lonely socks, glow sticks, wet bathing suits, stickers, Chapsticks, dirty laundry, and flip flops. The kids came from all over the country (and world) and most of them didn’t know a soul when they arrived. They came from varying backgrounds and parenting styles. And you better believe that there were many different personalities!

Chocolate fountains are for more than dessert at Kamp! And those faces are so cute I couldn't get mad when they smeared chocolate all over my face... and neck... and clothes...

Chocolate fountains are for more than dessert at Kamp! And those faces are so cute I couldn't get mad when they smeared chocolate all over my face... and neck... and clothes...

Try to look at this picture without laughing. The air guitar, the patriotic afro, and the closed eyes are too much.

Try to look at this picture without laughing. The air guitar, the patriotic afro, and the closed eyes are too much.

Despite their unique backgrounds, within 24 hours the cabin was orderly and everything had a place, the kids already had the schedule memorized, and everyone was on the same page. For the two weeks we had each group, it was a well oiled machine. Dirty laundry found it’s place each day, swimsuits got hung on the clothesline to dry, kids were on time to activities, the toilet got cleaned and the floor swept, and the kids were having the time of their lives.

The only way that was possible was because Kamp had systems and routines in place. They had carefully thought through the schedule and systems, which allowed the kids to adopt routines quickly. One day in and the kids could tell me what was coming up next. The schedule included time for education, rest/naps, cleaning the cabin, pool time, activities (ziplines, boating trips, canoeing, archery, “the blob”, crafts, etc), large group parties where screaming was encouraged, and of course time for meals, showers, and bedtime.

There was even time in the schedule for finding "war paint" in the lake. 

There was even time in the schedule for finding "war paint" in the lake. 

What I learned from those years was this: #1 Have a place for everything; #2 Kids thrive on routines; and #3 Organization & routines make everyone’s life better! Some kids came from really structured homes and others from homes where they didn’t have rules or boundaries. Some kids had never swept a floor before Kamp (or done any chores), some could hardly read, some were extremely extroverted, some were right-brained creatives. Yet all of them learned the routines quickly and were able to function and thrive in the system. We got them up and dressed, got them to activities on time, and got everyone to bed before T.A.P.S. (Which for us stood for “Totally All Persons Silent”). They knew where to put their toothbrush when they were done and where to find their shoes in the morning. So now when I work with families, I make sure everything has a proper place and I encourage routines to maintain the organization! If it's possible at Kamp, it's possible at home. 

Kids can learn routines, they like knowing what’s coming next, and they are capable of learning to tidy up (and even to organize from scratch). The effect is that they are enjoying lots more activities, their living spaces are comfortable and danger-free, and the adults are sane (which obviously makes everyone happier and able to have more fun!). This is especially valuable if you are a stay at home parent or a single parent. You want to enjoy the time with your kids, not be constantly overwhelmed by chaos to the point that you don’t want to be around your children (No judgment! It happens to the best of ‘em!).

Routines are good for parents too. As counselors we were on duty 22 hours a day- giving piggy-back rides, getting Band-Aides and making sure everyone had sunscreen on, changing sheets that had been wet, teaching activities, getting kids “hype” at parties, dishing out dinner, and being woken up if someone got homesick at 3am. But the routines worked in our favor as well. We were able to sustain the grueling schedule because there were breaks built in for us too. There were guidelines for us to get to sleep too. The routines made getting kids out the door easy (Seriously. 11 seven year olds and it was easy), minimized the “what are we doing next?” questions, and saved our sanity. We even had time and energy to braid everyone’s hair the same way before dinner and to have talent shows. If we hadn't had Best Barn everyday (our designated time to tidy and clean the cabin) we would have been buried in dirty socks and underwear in days, and the bathroom would've been a sticky mess of toothpaste, pony tails, and detangling spray. If we hadn’t had F.O.B. (Flat On Bed time aka nap or rest time for the older kids) we might not have had the energy or patience to face the after lunch activities. Imagine having some time to yourself during the day. Imagine having the kids in bed on a regular schedule and having the time (and energy) to enjoy your marriage! A happy and healthy marriage is the best gift you can give your kids!

In addition to having your kids on a routine, you can also apply the concept of routines to your daily schedule at home/work. Before Kamp I didn’t think I liked routines. But I found out that I thrived with them! Having a consistent bedtime and wake up call worked for me more than I would have guessed. When I started my first job after college I set up some routines for weekly tasks I had to do, and those were the things that were always guaranteed to get done. When I have a habit in place, those tasks aren’t dreaded and are easier to tackle. I still give myself the freedom to change up my schedule, but I employ routines to make sure I get things done.

During training, the Kamp directors told us that being a camp counselor was the best preparation for parenthood (and marriage) you could ever have, and I believe it. I’m not a parent, but because of my experience as a “Summer Mother” at Kanakuk (in addition to working with 3rd-12th graders as my full-time job for 5 years and being trained to organize by women who have children) I’ve been able to successfully organize for a lot of families and share some of the helpful tips I’ve learned working with hundreds of kids. Here are the bare bones:

*Have a spot for everything: With 14 people living in one cabin, it can get crazy. But everyone having their designated spot for clothes, toiletries, and shoes helped keep the peace. Make sure you’ve organized your home and set up systems. If your kids don’t have an easy to access spot for their toys, they aren’t going to put them away.

*Don’t expect them to be perfect: Basically, don’t expect your kids to have your standards of organization yet. Start with broad categories (Legos, Barbies, other toys) and keep it simple. If the toys or clothes get in the right bin/drawer, that’s a success even if it’s not pretty or could be better. They have to start somewhere!

*Have routines: Whether you make a chart or hang up a schedule or use stars or smiley faces, just have routines! A daily schedule they can plan by, even if there’s variation on the weekend. Which, by the way, “activity time,” “free time,” or “family time” is plenty structure for times where the specific activities might change weekly/daily. For example: At Kamp, “activity time” one day might be the pool trapeze and blob, and the next day they are learning to kayak during that time. This might mean you have a “morning routine” and “after school” and/or “bedtime” routines. But getting kids in the rhythm of brushing their teeth, getting dressed, and picking up their toys is a glorious habit that will benefit them the rest of their lives.

*Teach kids to tidy up: What a life skill! Imagine them being able to go off to college and being able to keep the dorm room tidy. Keeping it clean might be another issue, but at least you’ll have more than just a path from the door to the bed. By teaching your kids (or students) to put things away when they're done, clean up activities when it’s time for a different activity, and to do a “daily tidy-up” you teach them habits that will make their lives easier, make living on their own easier, and make them more successful when they begin their careers and families. Not to mention, it makes your life infinitely easier. They are capable. If you aren’t starting this when they are in diapers (which you absolutely can!), then you’ll have to share the vision, set the expectation, set goals, and work towards independence and cooperation; don’t expect them to change their whole system in one day. It works in one day at camp because it’s a new environment and they have the positive peer pressure of the other kids and cool counselors, but if they are used to getting their way at home and don’t obey what you say now, making the switch will be a marathon, not a sprint. You may have to wean them off having your help to do things. Be patient, be full of grace, be consistent.

*Have rewards: (And consequences) At Kamp we had Best Barn time everyday except Sundays, and the barns got graded. The barn with the best grade at the end of two weeks got an awesome “Best Barn Trip”. For us that meant water slides, lazy rivers, and pop and candy. But use what works for your budget and what would motivate your kids: having a sleepover, getting money to put toward a big purchase, or having pop and candy (which in Boulder is a treat!). You’ll have to really incentivize the high schoolers, and they may do better with consequences (i.e. “If these 5 chores aren’t done you don’t get to use your iPad/car/whatever this weekend”). For 2nd-7th graders here’s a crazy idea: What if you could get their friends on board? Talk to the parents of your child’s closest friends (chances are they might be having the same struggle!) and see if they want to participate. Make a list of “Beautiful Bedroom” or “Baller Bedroom” chores (keep it simple) and a grading scale. Instead of it being a competition, maybe if they all average A’s for the month they get a special sleepover/event/trip/party. Having the positive peer pressure from friends is super helpful if you’re starting to implement chores and routines for an older child.

*Make it fun: My personal opinion: You’re a parent, not a drill sergeant. While I believe kids need boundaries and rules and a parent not a friend, you probably want your kids to remember you as loving and nurturing and not as barking orders or never being pleased with them. If you find ways to make tidying fun (at least in the beginning and while they’re young) you’ll see more success than with the “Because I said so” approach. Let them blast music while they pick up their stuff, sing “Let It Go” with them and dance when the job is done, make it a race- you tidy up your room, they tidy up their room, winner gets to pick where to get dinner.

Our kampers were so good at routines that they all got showered and in their pjs and we had extra time to take fun pictures. Oh, and we dominated at Best Barn!

Our kampers were so good at routines that they all got showered and in their pjs and we had extra time to take fun pictures. Oh, and we dominated at Best Barn!

*Model it: Practice what you preach. Making your kids put their stuff away, while leaving your papers all over the dining room table every night might make enforcing this difficult. If they see you learning the new habit and doing what you ought to even when you don’t want to, it is no longer “us against them”, but a team effort and everyone doing their part. Again, the older they are, the more challenging this is to begin, but it’s definitely doable. Kanakuk Kamps has Kamps for kids up to 18 years old, and if they can learn it at Kamp they can learn it at home (they just need the right motivation, incentives, and encouragement!).

*Find what works for your family: There’s no “one size fits all” for organizing or for building routines and systems. Be creative and brainstorm with your kids to find what will work. Maybe make lists of how your lives and relationships will be improved by being more organized/tidy/having routines. You may need to go through some trial and error too. While what it specifically looks like for each kid will differ, the important thing is them taking the time to adopt routines and see the positive impact it will have on their lives and your families. It may be difficult to build the habits, but once they do (or once you do!), it will make life so much better. After all, life’s better when it’s put together!

 

Thanks so much for reading! Send me your best routine/system/incentive ideas and maybe I’ll feature you on the website!

Happy Routine-Building!

Christina + The Organizing Co.


 

The Dresser Drawer That Changed My Life

[ And other fantastic folds ]

 

May 05, 2016

There’s one thing that consistently gets the most excited “oohs” and “ahhs” from my clients. It even helped get me my first job as a professional organizer. The woman who did my home interview later told me, “You had me at your drawers.” And after helping me move my dresser into a new apartment I heard a friend ask his wife, "Can you fold my shirts the way Christina does?" I understand the reactions because I’ll never forget that fateful day my junior year of college when I saw my friend, Marissa, open her dresser drawer and her shirts were folded like this:

 

It blew my mind and changed how I organize drawers forever. I starting applying this method not only to t-shirts, but to jeans, pajama pants, athletic pants- anything that works!

Here’s why: Traditional methods of folding stack on top of each other and make it difficult to see what you have. You have to lift up the shirts/pants on top to get to what’s below. What ends up happening is the shirts get jumbled and messy, like this:

 

So folding your clothes upright allows you to see what you have, specifically you can see what design is on the front of your shirts. So if you have five grey shirts, you can find the one you want faster and without messing up a whole stack. This allows you to retrieve it quickly and easily, which also means that your drawers STAY organized. The easier things are to retrieve, the better your systems will last. Finally, I have also found that folding this way usually allows you to fit more in your drawers, which I know you'll all be happy about.

For most of my clients I recommend color coding your shirts (and clothes in general). It helps you notice if you have a gray t-shirt addiction...

For most of my clients I recommend color coding your shirts (and clothes in general). It helps you notice if you have a gray t-shirt addiction...

You can experiment with which way you orient the “stacks” depending on the size of your drawers and clothes. I usually recommend going front to back, but if your drawers don't pull out far you may lose a lot of visibility at the back, in which case going side to side may be better. 

You may find that you can even fold your tank tops, underwear, and shorts in this way.

These are athletic/running shorts. You may find you need to confine them within a couple shoe boxes/dividers so that the piles don't fall over when you remove a few pairs. This isn't a problem with tees/jeans/etc, but for loose and slippery things, a box helps!

These are athletic/running shorts. You may find you need to confine them within a couple shoe boxes/dividers so that the piles don't fall over when you remove a few pairs. This isn't a problem with tees/jeans/etc, but for loose and slippery things, a box helps!

This method doesn’t work particularly well for silky or blousey items, or for thick materials like sweaters or hoodies. But find what works with your clothes and go for it! If you can’t fold them upright like this, at least try to find ways to make them more visible. For example, I often roll tank tops and stick them upright in a box/drawer divider. It works well for unruly items like these and still allows for full visibility.

For years I used shoe boxes (or even the box my garbage bags came in). So staying frugal is totally possible! But if you want to upgrade, you can get drawer dividers like these from IKEA (I think it's a combo pack of 4 for $8ish) or The Container Store has a ton of pretty options!

For years I used shoe boxes (or even the box my garbage bags came in). So staying frugal is totally possible! But if you want to upgrade, you can get drawer dividers like these from IKEA (I think it's a combo pack of 4 for $8ish) or The Container Store has a ton of pretty options!

Remember- simply folding your clothes with this technique won’t magically solve all your problems! Make sure you’ve already sorted your clothes like with like (short sleeve tees separate from long sleeve, separate from tanks and shorts, etc), you’ve purged duplicates and worn out articles, as well as things you just don’t like and don’t wear anymore (and things that don’t fit!), and you’ve chosen the appropriate storage space based on size and amount of clothes (drawers, baskets, boxes within drawers, etc). And, of course, you still have to maintain it. So take the time to put things away properly and do a seasonal purge/refresh of each drawer. It’s worth it! Wake up tomorrow with your drawers beautiful and organized and you'll see what I mean.

 

Here are some tutorials on how to fold each type of clothing!

Shirts

This method of folding is only one extra fold beyond traditional methods. Start by folding the outer edges in. Then fold the shirt in half- in this case by bringing the top of the shirt up to meet the hem. Fold in half again by lifting at the center and letting the halves fall together. Voila. Now your shirts can stand upright and you can see what your options are!

This method of folding is only one extra fold beyond traditional methods. Start by folding the outer edges in. Then fold the shirt in half- in this case by bringing the top of the shirt up to meet the hem. Fold in half again by lifting at the center and letting the halves fall together. Voila. Now your shirts can stand upright and you can see what your options are!

Jeans

I used to work at a boutique and learned this awesome method for folding jeans. It allows you to see the pocket design, which is the most distinctive part of jeans usually, and will help you tell all your dark wash pairs apart faster (I know you have more than one!).  Start by folding them in half like usual. Then fold the hem to the bottom of the pocket. If you have jeggings without pockets just pretend they exist and still only fold that far. This makes the rest of the folds smooth and makes it possible for the jeans to stand up on their own (and it minimizes wrinkles). Next fold in half by bringing the knee up to the waistband. Finally fold in half again by folding the waistband down. Now place them in your drawers so you can see each pair!

I used to work at a boutique and learned this awesome method for folding jeans. It allows you to see the pocket design, which is the most distinctive part of jeans usually, and will help you tell all your dark wash pairs apart faster (I know you have more than one!). 

Start by folding them in half like usual. Then fold the hem to the bottom of the pocket. If you have jeggings without pockets just pretend they exist and still only fold that far. This makes the rest of the folds smooth and makes it possible for the jeans to stand up on their own (and it minimizes wrinkles). Next fold in half by bringing the knee up to the waistband. Finally fold in half again by folding the waistband down. Now place them in your drawers so you can see each pair!

Athletic pants/PJs/Sweats

This method also works really well for lounge wear. I demonstrated with a pair of sweats, but use it for your athletic leggings/yoga pants and your pajamas as well!  Start by folding in half as usual. Fold the hem to the waistband, or just below it. Then fold the waistband down halfway. Finally fold in half, like you're tucking in a burrito, letting the waistband fit snugly in the center of the fold. This makes a clean edge for your pants and keeps unruly parts tucked away. Now they fit neatly and you can see what you've got! 

This method also works really well for lounge wear. I demonstrated with a pair of sweats, but use it for your athletic leggings/yoga pants and your pajamas as well! 

Start by folding in half as usual. Fold the hem to the waistband, or just below it. Then fold the waistband down halfway. Finally fold in half, like you're tucking in a burrito, letting the waistband fit snugly in the center of the fold. This makes a clean edge for your pants and keeps unruly parts tucked away. Now they fit neatly and you can see what you've got! 

Here's an example of leggings folded upright. Use boxes/bins like this to separate by length (full length vs cropped/capri leggings), which saves you time getting ready!

Here's an example of leggings folded upright. Use boxes/bins like this to separate by length (full length vs cropped/capri leggings), which saves you time getting ready!

And here are some tips on how to fold/store other items:

Sports bras

I recommend folding your sports bras (or at least turning them right side out and laying flat) when they come out of the laundry so you don't have to wrestle with them when you're rushing to get ready. I lay them with the back facing up. Fold the straps in. Then fold in half, tucking the straps away so they aren't causing messy jumbles in your drawer. Depending on your drawer size you can stack them 3-4 high so you can still see, or use a small shoe box/IKEA bin to contain them (turn them on their sides so the cleanest edge is facing up). 

I recommend folding your sports bras (or at least turning them right side out and laying flat) when they come out of the laundry so you don't have to wrestle with them when you're rushing to get ready. I lay them with the back facing up. Fold the straps in. Then fold in half, tucking the straps away so they aren't causing messy jumbles in your drawer. Depending on your drawer size you can stack them 3-4 high so you can still see, or use a small shoe box/IKEA bin to contain them (turn them on their sides so the cleanest edge is facing up). 

Tanks/Camis

You can fold or roll your tanks, depending on your drawer situation (and size of tanks). Use this method for either way, but instead of rolling as the last step, fold in half twice.  I fold the straps in. Then fold in half "hotdog style" so the straps are tucked away. Then roll starting from the top. Using a box/IKEA bin helps a ton keeping them visible and orderly. You may even have a separate box for each type of tank: workout tanks, undershirts, racer back tanks, tanks you only wear with your work uniform, etc. Whatever makes sense for you!

You can fold or roll your tanks, depending on your drawer situation (and size of tanks). Use this method for either way, but instead of rolling as the last step, fold in half twice. 

I fold the straps in. Then fold in half "hotdog style" so the straps are tucked away. Then roll starting from the top. Using a box/IKEA bin helps a ton keeping them visible and orderly. You may even have a separate box for each type of tank: workout tanks, undershirts, racer back tanks, tanks you only wear with your work uniform, etc. Whatever makes sense for you!

Boot socks/Fuzzy socks

If you have shallow drawers this is a great way to make use of the vertical space, but still be able to see what you have and save your horizontal space. Simply pair your socks and fold in half. Then stand them on their sides so you can see each pair! Works great for boot socks and those fuzzy, cozy socks you wear on winter nights. You can use the space at the back of the drawer for all those tights that only get worn a few times a year. I still roll my ankle socks to keep the pairs together and make them a little faster to grab. Whether you roll or fold socks, I highly recommend matching them up (or mismatching them up if that's your thing) as soon as they come out of the laundry so that when you’re hurrying to get ready in the morning you don’t have to waste time trying to find mates!

If you have shallow drawers this is a great way to make use of the vertical space, but still be able to see what you have and save your horizontal space. Simply pair your socks and fold in half. Then stand them on their sides so you can see each pair! Works great for boot socks and those fuzzy, cozy socks you wear on winter nights. You can use the space at the back of the drawer for all those tights that only get worn a few times a year.

I still roll my ankle socks to keep the pairs together and make them a little faster to grab. Whether you roll or fold socks, I highly recommend matching them up (or mismatching them up if that's your thing) as soon as they come out of the laundry so that when you’re hurrying to get ready in the morning you don’t have to waste time trying to find mates!

Bras and undies

Cascade your bras to keep their shape. You can tuck the bands and straps under to make a cleaner look. This preserves the shape of your pretty things and also allows you to see what your options are. Use boxes or drawer dividers to keep different types of undergarments separate (slips, Spanx, thongs, and your fancy panties!). Digging through every piece of lingerie you have just to find a nude thong is no one's idea of fun. Separate categories will save the day someday. I highly recommend folding (or rolling) your underwear when they come out of the laundry- save yourself time turning them right-side out and right-side forward! Or maybe I’m the only one who struggles with that early in the morning...

Cascade your bras to keep their shape. You can tuck the bands and straps under to make a cleaner look. This preserves the shape of your pretty things and also allows you to see what your options are. Use boxes or drawer dividers to keep different types of undergarments separate (slips, Spanx, thongs, and your fancy panties!). Digging through every piece of lingerie you have just to find a nude thong is no one's idea of fun. Separate categories will save the day someday. I highly recommend folding (or rolling) your underwear when they come out of the laundry- save yourself time turning them right-side out and right-side forward! Or maybe I’m the only one who struggles with that early in the morning...

A word about wrinkles: I've found that these methods produce similar amounts of wrinkles as traditional methods. But if wrinkles are a big concern to you make sure you fold immediately out of the dryer and smooth wrinkles out as you fold tight folds. Most of the things I recommend folding aren't your cute clothes you wear on a date or nice clothes you wear to work, but if it's still a concern see what you can hang instead! Maybe there are hanging clothes that could really be folded down to make room for the things you want to be wrinkle free.

Finally, these aren't the only methods for folding. They're just the ones I usually like best. Experiment and find what works for you and your wardrobe! The important thing is that your clothes are organized and you know where to find what you want when you want it!

Thanks for reading!

Happy folding!

Christina + The Organizing Co. 

 


Spring Organizing 101

[ Time to freshen up ]


April 18th, 2016

Despite what the snow in Boulder today might suggest, spring is here. And so is the spring cleaning itch. Deep cleaning those dusty corners and windows is in order. But some Spring Organizing is also in order. Certain areas get neglected in the winter and some just need to be transitioned from winter to spring. Doing these things now will prepare your spaces for spring and prevent messes caused when you have to hurriedly dig for the summer items you need.

While we don’t offer cleaning services, we sure value a good spring clean! However, doing Spring Organizing first makes sure you aren’t cleaning more than you need to (ie If you get rid of everything on your dresser, that saves you a lot of dusting and moving stuff around!). You can clean as you go after each room is organized, or wait until the end. I usually would say do all the organizing first and then do the cleaning. That way you don’t lose motivation halfway through and decide to not purge or organize some areas that might really need it. But since you have to clean it, putting that off until the end ensures that both the organizing and the cleaning gets done! And it’s kind of like assembly line style and might be faster anyway!

Keep in mind: these tips are great if you’re already a pretty organized and tidy person. But if that doesn’t describe you, click here instead to start with our organizing method or give us a call for some hands on (or virtual) help!

#1 Purge.

Spring is a time for clearing out what you don’t use, love, or need. You can give your wardrobe a fresh start by getting rid of those pieces that don’t speak to you, that you put on and immediately take back off, and that are worn to the point of embarrassment. What winter clothes went unworn this winter? Will you really wear them next year? What pieces no longer fit with your vision for yourself? Your personal style? Let them go to someone who will actually wear them!

We usually recommend a seasonal purge of every area, but if you can only hit a few some other great areas to purge while you’re in the mood are: Shoes, makeup & toiletries, and jewelry. Taking a look at everything with the fresh eyes that springtime gives us provides the freedom to let go without guilt. Comb through every surface and every bookshelf. What little trinkets are just collecting dust while no longer bringing you the joy they once did? Can you keep the sentiment (ie “Aunt Betty loves me.”) without keeping the item if you no longer like it? Are there any random parts and pieces lying around waiting to be reunited with their mates? Now is the time to put them away or put them out of their misery!

#2 Transition.

Now that you’ve purged your wardrobe, you can transition winter pieces to the upper shelves or back of the closet and give your spring wardrobe the prime real estate. Store winter coats and gloves and move the raincoats to front and center. Swap out snow boots for rain boots. Store your winter blankets, tidy up (or relocate) the firewood stash to make room for potted plants, and swap out specialty snowflake glasses for your summer/BBQ set. For some things, it’ll just be switching which shelf items are on to make them more accessible, but for other things you may need a designated storage area. Whichever the case, just make sure everything has a place! Think through what events you have coming up and what other supplies you usually need handy for summer. Now’s the time to get them ready so when that last minute trip to the beach comes up you’re ready to go in a snap!

#3 Refresh.

There are some areas that take a harder hit in the winter. Usually that’s the mudroom, the garage, and the car. It’s cold and no one wants to spend time tidying up the frigid garage or cleaning out junk from the car, not to mention the extra dirt that gets tracked in. So springtime is the perfect time to put things back where they belong, remove the excess, and prepare for the warm weather activities. Spend some time in each area tidying up and reorganizing for newly acquired items that never found a proper home. Make sure your bike helmets are accessible (and that the bike is tuned up!), that pool toys are grouped with a “go bag” for the beach/pool, and that your gardening supplies are easy to see. If your garage is already fairly organized, this will be just a quick refresh. But if you have a bigger project, remember to use our method or call us for some hands on help (or even a planning consultation).

#4 Flowers.

Finally, it’s time to bring the outdoors inside and make the house feel fresh and light. Whether the flowers are real or fake, they’ll make your place feel more inviting and make you happy when you look at them! The side effect is that you have more energy and motivation to tackle organizing and cleaning projects! The Organizing Co. founder, Christina, also switches out decor when seasons change. It makes your house feel new again and gets rid of that stale feeling that can happen when nothing ever changes (or when you’re trapped inside for months). It doesn’t even have to technically be “spring” decor, just something different and exciting to you. Just make sure you have space to store the stash of decor options!
 

 

Done and done.

Now your place is organized for the next season and you’re ready to do the spring cleaning! So bust out the mop, Windex, and Swiffer duster and get to it! And plan your first barbecue to celebrate all your hard work! In case you need it, here’s a great guide for deep spring cleaning

 

Thanks so much for reading!

Happy spring organizing!

Christina + The Organizing Co.


“Enjoy Life To The Fullest”
[ and other resolutions ]

January 03, 2016

Happy New Year! Once again, I’m dumbfounded that it’s already January. I sound like I’m 100, but each year seems to go by faster and faster! But this time I’m glad it’s January. I’m glad it’s a new year. For some reason a new year always feels like a clean slate, a fresh start. And even though that’s not entirely true, I enjoy the psychological benefits of viewing it that way (too bad that philosophy doesn’t apply to the rest of life!). This year I’ve set some business and personal goals that are going to help keep me focused. I’m writing this blog, so I guess they’re already working! ;)

How about you? Are you freshly motivated to dust off your running shoes or to get out of debt? Maybe travel more or learn something new? I was surprised to read this year’s list of top resolutions, according to GOBankingRates.com. The number one resolution is to enjoy life to the fullest in 2016.  While my lessons in S.M.A.R.T. goal setting are making me cringe at the vagueness of that phrase, when applied to various decisions, it could have a lot of application. For some, enjoying life to the fullest might mean spending more time with family, traveling more, or being less stressed. For others, it might mean working less, being healthier, bungee jumping, or simply going out with friends more. I suppose you could ask yourself, “Is doing XYZ going to help me enjoy life to the fullest?” or simply have a “Go for it,” attitude (but I still think you should make it S.M.A.R.T.!).

Because my life is focused on organizing, I can’t help but see the organizing implications in this #1 resolution. The tagline for The Organizing Co. is “life’s better when it’s put together.” So, to me, it’s only natural to conclude that in order to enjoy life to the fullest, Americans need to get organized! Organization affects every area of your life, and by getting your things, your time, and your systems organized you can spend more time with family, travel more, have less stress! Getting organized means you can work less, be healthier, have money to bungee jump, and go out with friends more! Hopefully it’s fairly obvious why for some of those things, but let me elaborate on a couple. 

Example Uno: Getting organized means you can spend more time with family. When your house (and your life) are in chaos and disorder, it’s natural to feel stressed, irritable, and tired. Maybe this morning there were no clean bowls for your kids’ cereal, you had to waste 5 precious minutes searching for your keys, and you couldn’t find an important document at work. Not to mention all the things you stepped on (or over) at home while rushing to get ready. Getting organized means you have a system in place for dishes, you have a designated spot where you always keep your keys (preferably out of the reach of little hands that think it’s funny to throw things in the trash), and you have a system for papers (or for going digital) at work. All that stress and rushing is eliminated, and you can enjoy actually sitting down to eat breakfast with your family! After work you and your family can have dinner, relax, and take 5-10 minutes to tidy up instead of tolerating the “survival mode” that is disorganization (especially if you have kiddos). In addition to the actual time you save when you’re organized, your mental and emotional health are improved, which means you’re actually present when you’re with your family and you have the emotional energy to invest in them (instead of wasting it on nagging them to pick up after themselves). Boom. You’re enjoying life to the fullest. 

Example Two: Getting organized helps you get healthier. Maybe your fridge and pantry are so full and haphazard that you don’t even know what you have to eat, and maybe you don’t have the energy to rummage through every shelf to find something to make a healthy dinner. So you grab the microwave popcorn and have an Olivia Pope dinner. And maybe simply looking around your house stresses you out and overwhelms you to the point that finding the motivation to get up and go to that Zumba class is next to impossible. If you’re already wanting to find an excuse to not exercise, needing to clean and tidy up becomes your procrastination. Now imagine a fridge and pantry that are sorted and labeled. The greens are prominently in view, the amount of junk food is decreased, and finding the pans and ingredients for a healthy dinner is no longer a Where’s Waldo experience. You actually start to enjoy cooking! Next, imagine a home that you love to look at. A home that both relaxes and energizes you. A home that inspires you. When every single thing has it’s place, a 5 minute nightly tidy up suffices and you can hop over to that Zumba class after all (or spin, if that’s your thing). Procrastination because of disorganization is no longer an obstacle, you exercise more, and you crush your 2016 goals. Living life to the fullest: Check. 

I could go on and on about all the ways that getting organized affects your everyday life, but suffice it to say that life’s better when it’s put together! So whether it’s your 2016 New Year’s Resolution to enjoy life to the fullest, or whether you just want to focus on a few select areas this year, getting organized will help you get there. So ask yourself, what resolution can you accomplish when you get organized?

Thanks for reading!

Happy resolution making!

Christina + The Organizing Co.


“Do you really think it matters, Eddie?”
[ when organization seems futile ]

December 25th, 2015


It’s nap time at Nana’s house and the adults are taking advantage of it just as much as the kiddos. Presents are unwrapped, bellies are stuffed, and new toys are assembled. All my nieces and nephews are in one place for a week. It truly is a merry Christmas. 

One of the Morton family traditions this time of year is watching National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. The rest of the year the tradition is quoting it at any opportunity. Recently my sister threw a terrible shot while playing horseshoes, about which my nephew commented, “Beautiful, Clark.” "Hmm. Doesn't show," is common for failed beauty efforts, among other things. On the drive to Nana’s house from the airport the phrase, “I don’t want to spend the holidays dead,” was all too appropriate. But, by far, the most quoted line from Christmas Vacation is “Do you really think it matters, Eddie?” 

If you’re not familiar with the classic line, allow me to set the scene for you. Cousin Eddie, “whose heart is bigger than his brain,” is not what you would call the brightest bulb in the pack. While preparing to embark on an epic sledding experience, Clark Griswold, played by Chevy Chase, was listening to Cousin Eddie talk about the plate in his head. Eddie was reluctant to go sailing down a hill with nothing between the ground and his brain but a piece of “government plastic.” Clark muttered, “Do you really think it matters, Eddie?” He, of course, was mocking Eddie’s already low IQ, but Eddie went on to explain how, if that plate gets dented, his hair “just ain’t gonna look right.”

So, in my family, this line might be used in situations such as: My sister wearing an exceptionally unflattering outfit and she’s worried about her lipgloss; the kids have smeared finger paint all over the table and now they want to add some glitter to their project; or even this morning when we were knee deep in torn wrapping paper and tissue (not to mention the roller skates, Legos, and new shoes buried in the rubble) and the trash bag was full. Does it really matter if you throw one more wad of wrapping paper on the floor? The whole living room is a disaster anyway! 

You might be asking yourself what this has to do with organizing. Well, working with my clients, and even my family members, I’ve seen this attitude of “Do you really think it matters, Eddie?” rear it head many times. When you feel like your kitchen is a disaster, does it really matter if you can’t find a spot for the pot holders and you stick ‘em in the pantry with the snacks? When your floor is covered with laundry, does it really matter if you throw your shoes, books, and mail on the floor too? If your kid’s room is a land mine of toys, clothes, and trash, does it really matter if your husband just throws the clean laundry in a pile on the rocker? The room’s already a disorganized mess! Who cares?!

It’s a snowball effect. When things are already overwhelming, or out of control, or disorganized it’s hard to see the point in making an effort to put something in it’s proper place. And when your kids dismantle everything as soon as you’ve tidied it up, it’s hard to feel motivated to bother putting things away. So things pile up, becoming more and more disorganized, and the thought of organizing seems futile. 

Seeing this Cousin Eddie syndrome over and over, it’s easy to understand how people get disorganized and feel overwhelmed. It’s such a joy to be able to come in and “hit the reset button” for clients by decluttering, finding a home for everything, and setting up systems to maintain the organization. Having another set of hands (or a few!) helps tackle things quickly and often means you spend less total time on the project (because the process doesn’t get interrupted and things don’t get dismantled before they’re complete!). So try to complete the total organization makeover in as short of a time span as possible (we can do it in a week or two usually) to keep the momentum going and to save you time. It’s possible that a few good friends/family members can help, but I hear it’s sometimes difficult to find someone who's non-judgmental, not pushy, and organizing-inclined; as good as their intentions might be! But if you can’t hire professional organizers, friends/family might have to do the trick! ;) 

Whether you’re tackling the project by yourself, with helpers, or with professional organizers, the first step is to decide that it matters. It’s worth it to put your blow dryer back in it’s place instead of just dangling it from the counter or into the sink. It’s worth it to put the clothes away in the dresser. It’s matters if you let the trash pile up or just throw the mail in a pile on the counter. There's something to be said for not being too uptight/rigid, but deciding that the little things matter makes an enormous difference in reclaiming your home (or office). And starting somewhere is better than not starting at all. Remove the pressure that you have to fix it all overnight. But to have success you have to believe that life’s better when it’s put together. Really. You’ll have less stress, more time, and more sanity! Relationships will have less tension caused by the mess, you won’t lose things as often, and you’ll feel in control of your space (and maybe a little more in control of your life!). It matters!

So if you can’t tackle the whole house/project in one week set your goal for this year and start with focusing on little successes and little differences you can make until the whole task is complete. I’ll share details throughout the blog of how to attack the whole project, but, until then, here’s the basic plan that most organizers use (just my own version!):

Plan it // Sort it // Love it or let it go // Zone it // Contain it // Maintain it

We’ll dig into each of those in 2016! Until then, decide that you really think it matters, Eddie... or Debbie, or Claire...


Thanks for reading! Happy holidays to you and yours! :)

Happy organizing!

Christina + The Organizing Co.


life's better when it's put together
[ a tagline and a lifestyle ]  

 

December 09, 2015

Hello, fellow organizing aficionados! Welcome to The Organizing Co. Blog! 

I’m Christina Morton, founder of The Organizing Co., and lover of all things organized. I created this blog (and this company) to inspire, teach, and help people organize. I believe that life’s better when it’s organized and that there’s no “one size fits all” solution. I’ll share ideas, tips, tutorials, and inspiration, but do what fits your style and your needs! Take an idea of mine and tweak it to fit the function of your space! The beauty of organizing is that the basic “how-to” is pretty standard, but you can customize it to your life and your spaces. For my clients, I take them through each step and customize solutions for them based on what they’ve told me about their needs, lifestyle, personality, and taste. For my blog readers, I can’t provide individual solutions, but I can give you a method and some possible solutions for you to run with! You’re into DIY, right? You can, of course, hire me in person or virtually if you want additional help. ;)

To start things off with this first post, I want to elaborate on my tagline: 
[ life’s better when it’s put together ]

As a professional organizer, I’ve heard people say, “I like being disorganized,” or “Organizing isn’t a priority for me.” Or even, “I don’t need to get organized.” While I have to respect their lack of desire to be organized, I can’t help but wonder if they really get what it means to be organized. I wonder if they’ve ever misplaced something important, or wasted time getting ready in the morning because they couldn’t find a particular shirt/tie-- or even their keys. Surely no one likes wasting time searching for things! I also wonder if they’ve ever felt overwhelmed by their stuff, or ever acquired 12 staplers in one office over the years without realizing it (true story). 

Organization isn’t just about how things look (although that’s a nice perk!). It’s about making your spaces more functional and efficient. Organization saves you time so you can spend those extra minutes and hours sleeping, reading, doing your hobbies, making more money in your business, or having quality time with people you love. Life’s better when it’s put together because you have more time and energy for everything else! Benjamin Franklin said, “For every minute spent in organizing, an hour is earned.” I’m inclined to agree. And besides getting hours of your life back, organizing saves you money, too! If you’ve ever bought a dozen eggs only to find that you have two more expired at the back of your fridge, you’ll agree. One of my favorite examples is still my sweet mother who had 12 cans of pumpkin pie filling in her pantry. Unless she’s baking for the Dugger’s and I don’t know it, it’ll take her forever to go through all that (if she even can before it expires)! Which leads me to my next point: organization saves you precious space. Stuffing a pantry full of duplicate items because you can’t see what you have only makes the space feel cluttered and people end up just shoving stuff anywhere they can find an inch of shelf. If you live in a small apartment, saving space is paramount, and organizing will help you accomplish that. 

I don’t expect that everyone will love the process of organizing and get a rush from it like I do (Yes. It’s true). But I do believe that everyone can benefit from being organized.  Everyone loves more time, money, and space, not to mention all the other benefits I haven’t even talked about yet! The key is to organize in a way that works for YOU, not just doing what worked for someone else. But I’ll have to keep you in suspense about how to do that... For now, I’ll just say that this blog exists because life’s better when it’s put together. I hope you experience this truth for yourself through The Organizing Co. Blog!

Thanks for reading! 

Happy organizing!

Christina + The Organizing Co.