It can be super awkward to have a stranger come into your home and start going through all your stuff. And a lot of the time that is what keeps people from outsourcing projects that they really don’t want to do (or don’t know how to do)! Believe me, we get it. That’s why we work so hard to help you get to know us through this blog, our newsletter, and on our social media channels.
The most important thing for you to know is that my team always has been – and always will be – judgement free. We all face the same struggles you do in keeping our own lives in order amongst the chaos of school, work and everything else that gets thrown at us.
So, this week, I want to give you the opportunity to get to know my organizing team just a little bit more. I had my Social Media Manager, Sydney, ask them some questions about organizing, a few of your frequently asked questions, what they wish you knew, about their favorite products — plus a few “just for fun” questions so you can get a feel for their amazing personalities. Give it a read and then reach out if you need help making your home the home of your dreams!
1. What is your favorite type of space to organize?
- ALLISON Closets and nurseries
- CRISSY Toy rooms, kids rooms, kitchens
- WENDY Closets
- BROOKE Pantries, Playrooms & Garages
- CHRISTI Garages, basements and closets. I like the messy, neglected spaces!
- SARAH Closets, Playrooms & Garages because they’re outside!
- MOLLIE Pantries and garages
- MELODEE Closets, pantries and playrooms
- KATIE Kitchens and garages! Bathrooms, too.
2. What’s the best part of being an organizer?
- ALLISON Being able to use my love of neatness and order to make a living! 😀
- CRISSY Helping people!
- WENDY Seeing how happy people are when we show them their new and improved spaces.
- BROOKE Seeing the satisfying results and making people’s lives better!
- CHRISTI Watching a space transform in a single day. It’s instant gratification. It’s so rare to see the fruits of one’s labor in most areas of life, except when you organize! The added bonus is knowing that you just removed a heavy burden for a very grateful client.
- SARAH Seeing the clients reaction. It’s emotional! In the best way!
- MOLLIE Doing something purposeful- it means so much watching the relief wash over a client’s face
- MELODEE Helping people!
- KATIE I love coming alongside our clients, connecting with them to create the systems & spaces they uniquely need. It feels like setting a friend free from what’s tying them down – glorious!
3. What’s your favorite organization product?
- CRISSY In a kitchen, spice jars. In general, clear acrylic bins because they are so versatile in any space.
- WENDY Multi-Purpose Bins because they completely transform the space under a kitchen sink with minimal cost. My second favorite product is a drawer divider. How did I live without them before I worked for Susie?
- BROOKE Simple and inexpensive bins like shoeboxes and storage bins with handles.
- CHRISTI Everyone on the team knows my answer: shoeboxes. They are cheap and solve so many problems. I would add multi-purpose bins, lazy susans and drawer dividers to the list. They make the magic happen without costing a fortune.
- SARAH Bamboo drawer dividers and acrylic turntables. Shoeboxes are high on my list, too. I’ve used these before working for SxS because of their affordability.
- MOLLIE Shoeboxes and multi-purpose bins; they are such an easy, affordable way to elevate a space
- MELODEE Multi-purpose bins. You can use them in so many different ways.
- KATIE The YouCopia Expandable Cookware Rack. It’s pricey but it can totally transform some problem areas – cookware, casserole dishes, platters!
4. Tell me a trick you used to stay organized at home.
- ALLISON Don’t set things down, put them back where they belong. Then things don’t get overwhelming to manage!
- CRISSY Get everyone involved. My kids know that everything has a home, so its easy for them to clean up their own messes!
- WENDY Re-setting spaces regularly.
- BROOKE Every organized space needs maintenance! Take time to refresh and reset all your systems because they need that to be able to continue to function.
- CHRISTI Don’t put it down, put it away, like Allison said. Also, organizing is like exercising – it’s not a “one and done” task. Maintenance is a must. This means you have to be mindful about what comes in the house and balance new additions by continuously editing what you currently have.
- SARAH Refresh often.
- MOLLIE Label! Not everyone in your home can remember the systems you put in place, labelling prevents questions and confusion.
- MELODEE Putting things away and having everyone in the house help is the best way to keep things organized.
- KATIE When some area of your house is annoying you, try to figure out why. If you can figure out the why, the root of the issue, you can often figure out a solution. And if you can’t, ask your friends or family for ideas of how to fix the problem!
5. What’s an area of your life you struggle to keep organized?
- CRISSY My closet. When trying on what to wear, I rarely hang my clothes back right away!
- WENDY My refrigerator. There are 5 of us and not everyone cares as much as I do about all of the condiments being in the refrigerator doors 😉
- BROOKE Paperwork!!
- CHRISTI Open projects. I homeschool and am constantly prepping lectures and lessons, reading and researching. Because I am never finished but always on the run, I never put them away because I need to access them when a margin in the day reveals itself.
- SARAH Garage. Kids tend to drop and run instead of taking the time to put back to the correct spot. I’ve reset my garage multiple times looking for a better way and it’s still difficult. Make sure to enforce good habits from the get go.
- MOLLIE My closet; I try on a million outfits before I leave the house, so it’s always in disarray.
- MELODEE Papers!
- KATIE My storage/laundry room! With four kids, I can’t seem to keep up with the tornados they can create.
6. Group Project: Describe a typical day in the life of an organizer.
1.Get prepped for the job by reading consultation notes and reviewing client pictures.
2. Arrive at Susie’s garage to load products that our Team Support has pre-ordered and pulled for the job.
3. Once we arrive at the client’s home, take product inventory as we unload the cars.
4. The Project Manager meets with the client to review the plan for the job, noting any details and determining how they envision using the space.
5. Take photographs and videos of the space. These are especially useful when we look at the before and afters.
6. Formulate a plan for the space.
7. Start to sort all of the client’s things into categories. These can be general or very specific based on the items.
8. Walk the client through all of the categories to see if anything can be donated, placed in the trash or distributed to other spaces in the home. In kitchens, we check expiration dates of food.
9. Wipe down, sweep or vacuum the spaces before we start to place items back in the space.
10. This is a tricky part. We need to decide what products to use and how to best utilize the space. This may require us to rearrange rooms, move shelves, remove old shelving and build new shelving, or other laborious tasks. We may try 3 different bins before we decide on the best product for the space.
(Just a note, things are a total mess at this point. We have stuff everywhere. It always gets worse before it gets better.)
11. Now it is time to put everything back together. In bedrooms, we make sure clothing is folded properly and divided into drawers appropriately. We divide hanging clothes by type and then color order them while making sure they are all facing the same direction. In basement storage rooms, we make sure everything is sorted and binned accordingly. In home offices, we create files, make action folders, and make sure office supplies are stocked and in spots that are easily accessible. In kitchens, we make sure that the layout make sense for the client’s needs.
12. Then we label everything. We have a few different labeling systems we use based on our clients needs and the space in which we are working.
13. Optional high fives and smiles with coworkers admiring a job well done. It takes teamwork to make the dream work!
14. While the organizers start to clean up and load up the leftover products, the Project Manager gives the client a tour and explains how to maintain the space.
15. A final product inventory is done, pictures and videos are taken and we are ready to head back to Susie’s garage to unload. Our Team Support checks the inventory, restocks & bills the product for the client.
16. An internal follow-up document is completed and shared with members of the team, letting them know action items for future sessions.
7. What’s one thing you wish our clients knew?
- ALLISON How much thought we put into every decision we make in their spaces! We care so much!
- CRISSY The planning ahead of time.
- WENDY We try to create spaces that will make their lives easier, while trying to keep product costs down. We are realistic about what will work functionally and try to also make it attractive. It is quite a balancing act.
- BROOKE That we are a no judgment zone! We have seen lots of homes and situations and we are there to help and make things better not judge or shame. We sincerely care.
- CHRISTI That we aren’t Mary Poppins with a magic bag. If you have a small space and are unwilling to part with anything, there’s only so much space we can make.
- SARAH It’s challenging for us at times, too. Less is more when you want it to look great!
- MOLLIE We care. We understand that a client’s home is their safe haven and we only want to emphasize that for them, we would never intentionally try to undervalue their things or their time.
- MELODEE That we love what we do and we are there to help. And that we put our all into everything we do.
- KATIE Trust us. You may not see the vision, but we’ve got you. We’re listening to your thoughts and needs and doing our best to make it happen. We love helping you, and you’re going to feel so much better once it’s done. Trust us!
8. Marie Kondo or The Home Edit?
- ALLISON THE!!!!
- CRISSY THE
- WENDY THE. Those ladies are fabulous, funny, and fierce!
- BROOKE THE
- CHRISTI SXS. Hahahaha!
- SARAH THE
- MOLLIE THE
- MELODEE So, I do love Marie Kondo, but THE takes the win for me.
- KATIE Tie? I love the look of THE but the heart of Kondo. “THEondo” would be a beautiful baby.
9. Do you have to be a minimalist to be organized?
- ALLISON You don’t have to be a minimalist but you have to be a realist. You can’t have an organized space if you have too many things for your space. You have to be real with yourself about what you need and what you don’t. Clutter takes over more than just your home, it takes over your mind!
- WENDY I absolutely love clothing accessories and entertaining. I have way too many things in both of these categories. But it makes me happy. As long as I am minimal in other areas, I can be a maximalist in others. Again that balancing act works.
- CHRISTI Not at all. Zones, systems, labels and containers are what allow anyone to get organized. But having less does allow more space to breathe, move and live lighter.
- SARAH Definitely not. But less is more. It’s not necessary for extra stuff.
- MOLLIE No! Just make the space for your things and try to limit what you have.
- MELODEE Not at all! Have a system and a place for things you love.
- KATIE Nope! Definitely not! But it is true that the more you have, the more you are responsible for. And your space can only comfortably have so much.
10. Who would play Susie in a movie?
- ALLISON Sandra Bullock 😍 one of my favs!
- CRISSY Rachel McAdams
- WENDY I agree with Allison. Sandra Bullock!
- BROOKE Anne Hathaway or Jennifer Garner
- CHRISTI Amy Adams!
- SARAH Keri Russell
- MOLLIE Jennifer Garner
- MELODEE Keri Russell
- KATIE Susie! Why not? What can’t she do?!?
Ha! The team really had fun with that last one. Reply to my newsletter or send me a DM and let me know who you would pick! (This question got me curious!)