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Creating an Organized New Year: The 3 Best Places in Your Home & How to Start

Creating an Organized New Year: The 3 Best Places in Your Home & How to Start

If you’re assuming this post is all about turning your whole house upside down and starting over, you can exhale now. This isn’t for the expert organizer, the detailed filer who never has a paper out of place, or the housekeeper who scrubs with a magnifying glass and Q-tips.

And all the normal people said amen. 

But… it is definitely not too early to think about spring cleaning. I’m guessing I’m not the only one who’s wondered, Wow… it would be so much easier to clean around less stuff.

Let’s back this train up though. First of all… Feliz Año Nuevo! I realize new beginnings aren’t everyone’s cup of chai, but there’s something about turning the calendar to a new year that gets me. 

Even in the midst of some of my largest frustrations and deepest discouragements, I still see glimmers of light. I still feel hope. I still long for a fresh start.

Whether you just pictured a broken relationship or a cluttered closet, you’re not wrong. The new year with its new beginnings can be whatever you want it to be.

Today it’s going to be about the parts of your home that drive you crazy. When my friend and I started our organizing business last year, it wasn’t because our houses were perfectly organized. It was because we love to declutter, organize and design… other people’s houses.

Yes, we still have our own drawers and cupboards yelling for our attention, but we’re conquering them one by one and learning more tips and tricks along the way. Here’s what I’ve learned about how to start:

UNO: Start Small

For me that means a drawer. Or a box. Or a cubby. An area that will probably only take me 30 minutes or less.

Does your medicine cabinet drive you crazy every time you open it? I use mine 2-3 times a day, so if it doesn’t flow, I know I need to pivot. Giving it a few minutes of my time to minimize my daily frustration is totally worth it.

DOS: Tackle a Most-Used Area

If you have a formal living room with perfect couches that rarely get used and a piano that never gets played, that probably isn’t the room needing help. 

Think high-traffic zones. While working with our clients last year, we noticed there are common areas that people always want decluttered and organized. And we agree… these are the three best places to start:

Kitchens: Why? Because your people keep getting hungry. But also because kitchens are like mini restaurants that never truly close and they can easily get cluttered. Unless you live in a tiny house though, I wouldn’t recommend tackling your whole kitchen in one afternoon. 

Start with a drawer, move to a cupboard, and don’t forget to get rid of a few things along the way. (Especially those cheap water bottles you secretly hate and never use.)

Closets: Why? Because jumping on a Zoom call naked is still only appropriate from the waist down. We’ve found the primary/largest closet to usually be the priority for people, especially those who love clothes. 

Do you have to dress up every day to go to work? If finding what you’re looking for resembles finding Waldo, it might be time to overhaul your closet.

Since my business partner could be a fashion designer, and I’m ridiculously passionate about matching hangers, organizing large closets is by far one of our favorite jobs.

Offices: Why? Because your spouse or roommate is still there. If anyone under your roof is now permanently working from home, your office might be the area making you feel coo-coo. Believe me… it’s worth putting in the time to make your workspace flow and bring more sanity. 

A few months ago we spent two days decluttering a neglected office in Solana Beach. Check out the transformation!

TRES: A Plan & Some Simple Tools

Diving headfirst into an organizing project can quickly become overwhelming if there’s no plan. I know… it’s tempting for me to jump into action the minute I feel inspired too. But I don’t recommend decluttering and organizing in the middle of cooking, driving carpool, repotting plants, and having overnight guests.

Save it for a day when you don’t have much else going on. (Here’s where scheduling it on your calendar comes in.)

Ready for the ways we help people ramp up and stick with it?

If you’re a crazy-busy person, try scheduling your project. That might sound too Type-A to some, but if your calendar is the boss, making space for organizing might be the only way it will get done. 

Once you have a day and time, gather a few supplies: 

  • A kitchen timer or your phone timer
  • A bag or box for donations
  • A trash can

If you’re anything like me, getting distracted in the middle of a project is common. Setting a timer for a reasonable amount of time is key to finishing what you start. Burning out in between tennis rackets and ketchup packets ain’t pretty.

I know for a fact I can focus for 15 minutes, but I’d feel much more productive if I completed 30. Setting a timer for two hours though? That’s setting myself up for failure. So empty your space and declutter for an amount of time that works for you. Then stop for a snack, boogie to the bathroom, check your feed to make sure the world’s still spinning, and get back to it. 

Deciding to declutter is a huge part of the organizing process, so make sure you have a box or bag ready to gather your donations. My favorite place to take my quality junk is The Salvation Army, remembering to only donate items in good or better condition. 

As for true trash, I’m always pleasantly surprised about what I can say adios to forever. Do you have any of these?

  • Expired coupons? 
  • Busted flip-flops?
  • Broken wooden spoons? 
  • Stained shirts? 
  • Scribbled phone numbers with no name? 
  • 48 wallet-size school pics of your kid’s fifth grade face from nine years ago? 

Let them go and experience heavenly peace wash over you like a hot bath in Alaska.

Ahhhhh….

Any questions or organizing observations? Leave me a message in the comments and I promise to respond. You got this, friend!

If you’d like some more inspiration, here’s how to find us on the socials and see some more fun before-and-after pics:

IG: @2.chicks.and.a.bin

FB: Home Savvy Organizing

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Christmas Eve Chaos: The One Where We Went to Church Dirty and Avoided Our Friends

Christmas Eve Chaos: The One Where We Went to Church Dirty and Avoided Our Friends

The morning of Christmas Eve 2019 in NorCal started like any other: frosty, sparkly, and bulging with practical anticipation. But the way it ended messed with my mind pride in ways I didn’t think possible. Without fail, every Christmas Eve of my whole life consisted of the same things: nice clothes, hair-sprayed hair, and a… Continue Reading

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Hosting or Being Hosted: Helpful Ideas to Get Your Heart & Home Thanksgiving Ready

Hosting or Being Hosted: Helpful Ideas to Get Your Heart & Home Thanksgiving Ready

We interrupt our regularly scheduled program to bring you… your relatives.  Raise your hand if you’re prepped and organized for Thanksgiving. It’s okay… most people aren’t. You’ve got this though. You’re stronger than you think, you can juggle more than you realize, and I have some tips. Depending on your hosting situation, I’ve crafted three… Continue Reading

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A Neighborhood Divided: Years of Friends, Months of Loss, Weeks of Grief

A Neighborhood Divided: Years of Friends, Months of Loss, Weeks of Grief

When we moved out of Baja and back to Cali, I wasn’t what you’d call… excited. Besides the whole experience feeling anti-climactic (we already lived in SoCal once), track houses aren’t really my jam. Apparently, the neighborhood cookie-cutter fairy put all of our floor plans on a blueprint and the creativity stopped after five. Five… Continue Reading

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Working Moms: Killin’ It?

Almost a month into my new job and I’ve collected just enough data to tell you what I’ve learned about being a working mom in the States. It’s complicated.  Being a working mom in Baja looked super different for many reasons, most of which revolved around flexible hours and not having to tell anyone when… Continue Reading

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My 2018 Favorite Christmas Gift Ideas

  I couldn’t find a “Favorite Things” list for normal people with normal money, so I made my own. Unlike Oprah, my favorite gifts for Christmas don’t cost the same as a car payment or mortgage. Grouped from the five-dollar range to a fifty-dollar max, I did all the scouring so all you have to… Continue Reading

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Back to Work, Back to Reality

  His calm voice sounded kind, but his words surprised me.  “We’re spending too much and not bringing in enough. I think we need you to start working.” My husband was right, mostly, but the hardest part of his comment was that I already feel like I work. I wish my writing provided a full-time, regular income,… Continue Reading

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Lord of the Flaws

  Though some exasperated parents might joke about dropping their sassy Tweens on an island, I’m fairly certain no parent would want the experience to resemble William Golding’s version.  My son brought home his 7th grade required reading list last month. I scanned it, unfazed until I reached the one title that zipped me right… Continue Reading

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Tips & Tricks from My Classically-Trained Le Cordon Bleu Neighbor

  In 2002 I spent my days chasing a toddler while my friend Jen chased a dream to culinary school.  Fresh out of high school, she donned a white coat, white skull cap, and jumped into chef training at none other than Le Cordon Bleu. Eighteen months later, after cuts, burns and hundreds of food victories,… Continue Reading

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A Loss, a Baby & Secondary Infertility

  After five years of marriage, my husband and I decided we wanted a baby.  Sad to say, I don’t recall checking with God much about this, but He didn’t send a concerned email so I laid my clothes on the bed next to Doug’s and bam—prego. Phone calls, nursery plans and a roomy pair… Continue Reading

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