5 Organizing Secrets Only the Pros Know

Dorothy the Organizer spills the beans on how home organization professionals clean up your mess.

We professional organizers have many secret tools and tips. They’re what make us very successful.

When our clients pay close attention and ask us questions, they obtain the magical key to unlock their clutter dilemma.

Many people who opt not to work with a professional set out with the best of intentions. They dive into a project after seeing an idea in a magazine or on Pinterest. They run to the store for organizing products they haven’t completely considered. Suddenly, they find themselves at home opening their latest purchase and realizing this new gimmick isn’t going to solve their organizing problem, either!

Does this sound familiar? Now you can avoid these clutter curve balls with five organizing secrets only the pros know.

Create the vision before you organize

How many times have you said to yourself “I’m going to organize my closet,” only to be left frustrated by the experience before you are halfway through?

The solution here is to create your vision first, then organize. Visioning is a bit like planning. It’s when you take the time to think things through before you begin doing the work.

Plan what you want the space to be before you start. Courtesy of Zillow Digs.

Using the example of visioning for a closet, spend that time asking yourself some questions:

  • How do I want to use this space in my closet?
  • Will I store just this season’s clothes here, or just those that fit me currently? Or will I use half for clothing and half for memorabilia storage?
  • How’s the lighting?
  • Do I need a step stool to reach the shelves?
  • Do I want to keep my hamper in the closet or move it to the bathroom?

Take the time to write down your vision first and then — here’s the secret bonus — get someone to help you.

Having someone assist you is a secret the pros know well. Human behavior studies have shown that when two people (rather than one) are working on a project it gets done faster — not just because of the extra pair of hands, but because of the synergy between the two people. There’s a flash of motivation that bounces off one person onto the other that gets us through these projects much more quickly.

Play hooky

No, not the skipping-work kind.

Professional organizers know that getting organized doesn’t necessarily mean having custom shelves built to clear the over-cluttered corners. We look for practical solutions with an aesthetic flair first. It’s not necessary to answer the organizing dilemma with an expensive or time-consuming project.

My secret tip? I happen to love using hooks as my first line of defense. Here are a few places hooks come in handy, and common items they can hold:

  • Bathrooms: blow dryers and curling irons
  • Kitchens: brooms, aprons, and towels
  • Bedrooms: large hooks for backpacks and purses, small hooks for necklaces or belts
  • Home office: cords, headsets, and chargers

Use really simple math

It’s called the “subtraction method.” You’ve heard of dividing your stuff into keep, sell, and giveaway bins, but when the clutter seems overwhelming, I favor an easier approach with just one master box, which is what I call the “somewhere else” bin.

With your intention set toward subtracting items from a particular room (rather than having to dust them and organize them again), start with one spot — say, the dining room table — and remove items that don’t belong there, placing them into your bin.

The pros use this secret strategy to help reduce both the clutter and overall overwhelm. It’s a great way to begin organizing a certain area, and you can return to the box later when you’re ready to deliver items back to their proper locations.

Create “drop zones”

Every member of your household should have his or her own drop zone. For example, you can set up a table right inside the garage as your son’s drop zone. When you pull into the garage, he’ll know to go directly to the table and drop off his football uniform and backpack before entering the house.

A drop zone is a secret tip we use to allow each family member to have a place where they manage the intense number of incoming items into the house without the stuff being strewn from backseat to bedroom.

Drop zones keep clutter from migrating all over the house. Courtesy of Zillow Digs.

In this case, the dirty football uniform is already in the garage near the washer and dryer, and, when he’s ready, your son can come out to the garage and triage his backpack: Pull out the empty food containers from lunch, water bottles from practice, homework to take to his room, and field trip signature forms to give to you.

Do this for yourself for your own briefcase and gym bag, too.

Shut down the distractions

One of the biggest reasons why my clients don’t trust themselves to get organized is because of the distractions they face. As a professional organizer, I can uphold the secrets to getting organized for my clients when they cannot do it for themselves.

If you can learn to master these distraction devils on your own, you are well on your way to making your organizing projects a super-simple and easy experience. Here are my secrets:

  • Ignore interruptions. When in the midst of an organizing project, ignore the dings and rings that alert you to text or voicemail messages. One exciting text can derail an entire morning reserved for organizing the kitchen cabinets.
  • Avoid diversions. Flipping through a book you meant to read; rereading a poem your daughter wrote for you; trying on a blouse to see if it still fits; researching a vacation destination on the Internet when you come across the brochure — it all sends you down another path. If your intention is to organize, you must stay on task.
  • Dabble with discipline. The biggest complaint that we organizing pros hear from our clients is paper pileup. The reason we seem to have so much paper around is because it’s a reminder that we want to read, write, pay, respond, or sign up for something. Paper (especially lists of things we wanted to do) can really send us into a tail spin. Remember when tackling paper, we are justorganizing it (that is, sorting it) not acting on it. These are two very different actions. Your job is to collect like items together to make paying bills easier, or sitting down to read more peaceful.
  • Eliminate the little pieces. You know, the basket on the counter? The one with some pennies, one bracelet, two blank birthday cards, a charging cord, paper clips, lip balm, cough drops, a gift card, batteries, one pen cap, a small tissue pack, vitamins, a whistle, and Lego pieces? We’ve all got some version of this. When it comes to organizing — especially if you’re looking to make some major progress — remember this mantra: Little pieces = big time waster; big pieces = little time waster. To translate, when you deal with smaller items, it always feels like you do less. If you need to make some real organization headway, try starting with the larger items, such as furniture, suitcases, boxes, and appliances.
  • Outsmart the temptation. We all have a natural inclination to match up the missing sock, reunite the pen cap with its pen, attach the backing to an earring that has none, or dig through the pantry to match the lid to its rightful water bottle. Trying to match up these long lost companions will sabotage your momentum when it comes to organizing. Avoid the temptation to fall into the matchmaking process, and instead toss items into a clear bag and label it with a black marker. Store all the bags together in a “missing parts and pieces” box and move on. They are likely to be reunited down the road.

Posted by DorothyTheOrganizer on Zillow

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Texas Mansion With Three-Story Closet

The Houston home flipper who envisioned this closet said she’d like to build one twice as big next time.

47 Grand Regency Cir, Spring, TX
For sale: $12.9 million

Proving once again that everything is bigger in Texas, a real estate agent in the Houston area is flipping a house to which she added a three-story, roughly 3,000-square-foot closet.

The payday for Theresa Roemer and her husband could be big, too. They’re asking more than three times what they paid for the home in July 2013.

“I’ve always been a house flipper. Normally I pocket $30,000 to $50,000 to a cool million,” Roemer said. “This will probably be my biggest one.”

Roemer points out that the couple put “quite a few million” into the home since buying it. They added 4,000 square feet and installed Italian porcelain, marble and crystal chandeliers. The home has two kitchens, a spa and a theater.

And how about that closet?

“I’ve always had beautiful, big closets. One thing I found was that when I had charity and other events, women always wanted to see the closet,” said Roemer, a former Mrs. Texas. “We’d end up in the closet drinking champagne, and I started thinking, I’ve got to build a closet big enough to have a party in, because that’s where we always end up.”

That begs the question of whether her next flip will involve a giant closet.

“Sure. Why stop?” Roemer said. “I’d like to build another house with a closet maybe twice the size.”


This article was originally published by Melissa Allison on Zillow Blog

Adding Closet Space Where There is None

It’s not difficult to add a closet but doing so will probably be more costly than reorganizing an existing one. So, exhaust all other storage options before you take the plunge.

There are several ways to add a closet to your home: purchase a freestanding wardrobe, build in a wardrobe, opt for an open closet, frame out a new closet or create one from “found” space. The path you take to adding a closet depends upon the amount of space you can afford, the amount of money you wish to spend, and whether or not you need a permanent or temporary solution.

Freestanding wardrobe

Source: Chic on the Cheap

A freestanding wardrobe is a quick and easy way to add a closet; like cabinets, freestanding wardrobes come with the sawing and finishing already done. Small units are only a few feet wide, while multiple units may be used side by side to achieve greater width. Heights range from 6 to 8 feet, but custom units may of course be built taller.

Freestanding wardrobes, typically constructed of plywood or fiberboard, can be real space savers. While a conventionally framed closet devotes 4 or 5 inches to studs and drywall on three sides (occupying at least 6 or 7 cubic feet), freestanding units waste almost no space on construction. In addition, they can be positioned either against a wall or several feet into a room — in divider fashion — effectively creating a walk-in closet.

Built-in wardrobe

Contemporary

Source: California Closets

Built-in wardrobes are a more permanent solution. They may be carcass-built (like one or more large cabinets), frame-built or built behind a wall of sliding doors. Built-in wardrobes tend to make better use of available space than freestanding wardrobes but are more expensive as well. Multiple built-ins can be arranged in rows or at angles. If used at right angles, plan ahead in order to use corner spaces with maximum efficiency.

Open closet

Hardwood, Crown molding, Traditional, Undermount, Flush/Semi-Flush Mount

Source: Zillow Digs

Open closets are built using closet organizer components, but they are not enclosed by walls or doors. Open closets are commonly used in garages, sewing and craft centers, playrooms, media centers, home offices and bathrooms. Organizing systems for making an open closet come in many styles, including coated wire, melamine-coated fiberboard, and solid wood. You don’t have to spend a lot — a closet pole hung from hooks, a back-of-door rack and a clothes tree can all serve as open closets.

‘Found’ space

Traditional

Source: Ben Herzog Architect, PC

It’s also possible to add a closet in “found” spaces. This approach is usually less expensive than others, because the enclosure already exists. Common spots include under staircases, at the end of a kitchen cabinet run, or in a wall that fronts a void (typically an attic or the eaves). Found-space closets need not be small. If you find yourself with a spare room, you can convert it into a walk-in closet and turn it back into a bedroom should you want to sell the house. (Bedrooms typically add more to resale than closets.)

Framed closet

Laminate, Contemporary, Modern, Built-in bookshelves/cabinets

Source: California Closets

Conventionally framed closets are permanent and are designed to look like part of the house. Stud walls are erected from floor to ceiling, skinned with drywall, and painted. The opening is fitted with the doors of your choice, while the trim and door hardware are selected to match the surrounding room. If you want this type of closet, however, you will have to brush up on your framing and drywall taping skills.

Article by Joe Provey of Bobvila.com

Bob Vila is the home improvement expert widely known as host of TV’s This Old House, Bob Vila’s Home Again, and Bob Vila. Today, Bob continues his mission to help people upgrade their homes and improve their lives with advice online at BobVila.com. His video-rich site offers a full range of fresh, authoritative content – practical tips, inspirational ideas, and more than 1,000 videos from Bob Vila television.

Sourcea; http://www.zillow.com/blog/2014-01-21/adding-closet-space/

5 Ways to Organize Your Bedroom

At the end of another long day, doesn’t everyone want — or even need — the bedroom to be a peaceful, relaxing refuge from the rest of the world? Let’s face it: Messes are stresses. If you’ve been too busy lately to organize your boudoir, devote time to DIY bedroom-storage projects this weekend.

No. 1: Cut corners

Corners get a bad rap. People assume they’re good for nothing. But in the case of DIY bedroom storage, corners become very valuable, if only because they are so often left empty. Consider filling yours with a wooden magazine holder, space-saving corner table or floating shelves.

No. 2: Create a walk-by closet

Some grumble over not having a walk-in closet, but others must suffer bedrooms with no closet space whatsoever. For those miserable unfortunates, there’s the option of creating a walk-by closet like the one pictured above. Here, California Closets has designed custom hanging and drawer space that complements a diagonal window.

No. 3: Use unusual storage

Source: Urban Chalet

Like skinning a cat, there is more than one way to store clothing. Consider adding drawers in unexpected places like bunk-bed stairs. Surprisingly, vintage suitcases also lend themselves to DIY bedroom-storage solutions that are at once decorative and effective.

No. 4: Organize wall hangings

Source: Willey Design LLC

Source: Willey Design LLC

Cutting clutter plays a major role in successful DIY bedroom storage, so it’s time to finally hang that poster you bought at the museum gift shop last year. Wood-mounted artwork, clipboard displays, and picture frame collages stand out among countless gallery-wall projects.

No. 5: Install floating shelves

Source: Niche Interiors

Source: Niche Interiors

Especially in small bedrooms, bulky, standalone storage units hog what precious few square feet there are available. A space-saving alternative is to install floating shelves. You can achieve this sophisticated, modern look on Saturday morning, leaving the rest of your weekend free for browsing bookstores!

This article was originally published by Marisa Villarreal on Zillow Blog. See the original article here.