Wednesday, February 20, 2013

ORGANIZING, PART TWO: When the Professional Organizer Leaves

Taking Life One Drawer at a Time

On the heels of the meteor crashing in Russia and Downton Abbey’s devastating season 3 finale, I probably have very little to complain about. I mean, my room is messy with piles of items that have nowhere to live but, my house and my husband are still here and there are no crater-shaped holes in the neighborhood. 
Be that as it may, I have been experiencing my own fallout in dealing with the aftermath of what happens after the organizer goes home. I now know that organizing isn’t for sissies. I have agita. And my son Zeut just called my blog “stupid!” He's grounded. And where is my sister Lorijo when I need her?!

I am not good at this. I think I made that clear in my last post. Posting a “part two” is really just an exercise in masochism. Can’t I just go shopping and forget about it?! Or take a nap?! This is my idea of hell! I think I was happier before I took this plunge. But at this point freaking out isn’t solving anything and turning back doesn’t seem to be an option.

Since organizer extraordinaire Teresa Nicola of Collected Spaces left to go back home to Portland I have been sorting through my stuff. Stuff that has taken me years to accumulate. I am talking a lot of stuff. 

Where has all of this stuff come from?! It’s not just the clothing and shoes and purses. I have costumes and props from past shows and murder mystery parties! And there are the endless hatboxes filled with photographs and old letters and cards. Now that is a rabbit hole of its own. And down it I went. While I was supposed to be organizing drawers and throwing things away I took a long journey down memory lane. Oh Alice, have I learned nothing from you?!

Luckily, I had someone to pull me out of that hole: Teresa, who has been advising me remotely. And thank God for that. When she checked in with me I started whining about my feelings of overwhelm and the tornado remains of my room and my mood swings. She calmly advised me from a distance. 

She said: “Book hour increments to work on the undecided piles and the drawers that need organizing. Book two hours to make the returns and drop off the discards for donations. The key is to schedule it. Small steps, tiny actions to stay on top of it all. Even one drawer a day. And be realistic about the things you need and wear. Just because something was a good deal or conversely if it was expensive, is not a good enough reason to keep it.”

Okay, I can do this. Take a deep breath and get it together. I began sorting through my drawers and creating more bags of items to donate. 

Then back to the Container Store I went to return my unused items and purchase a few others. On this trip I met Tree, a very helpful employee who led me to these particular items. A 32-compartment drawer organizer, a back-of-the-door, 10-hook rack and another box for my purses. 

                                  Me and Tree at the Container Store

This translucent honeycomb-like drawer organizer is helping me keep my yoga tops and  T-shirts organized. It is an assembly required puzzle piece made to accommodate your particular drawer size. Scissors are needed. I like the way that everything is separated in little coils. 

                                    compartmentalized drawer organizer

This darling 10-hook, over-the-door bird hanger was great in theory to hang up clothes, but it wouldn’t allow me to close the door. The 7-day rule applies so back it goes and back I go in search of a replacement. 

                                         back-of-door bird hooks

On separate excursions to Home Goods and Urban Outfitters, I found this cute bird hook hanger for my belts and these darling owl jewelry hangers for my necklaces and bracelets. 

                                             belt hanger

                                              jewelry organizer

                                                              coordinating hangers inside my closet 

I am loving the new closet system and all of my coordinated hangers. I can find everything so easily and have been wearing combinations of things I hadn’t thought about before.

My husband even got in on the action and brought home two 35-pack boxes of the black no-slip hangers from Costco for $9.99 a box. As well as  couple of bamboo shoe/storage racks for $24.99 a piece. Score!

                                                     bamboo shoe organizer

Teresa also introduced me to a file folding system that not only saves room but allows you to see your items more clearly. What a concept. T-shirts and lightweight sweaters are folded into envelope sized shapes and then filed, one against the other in an upright position.

                                            file folding system

Perhaps this post will make those of you who haven’t managed to get organized this year feel a bit better. The rest of you may just be taking pity on me and my missing organizing gene. But I am actually starting to feel more organized, sophisticated and grown-up. I really am.  For now, I am taking it one drawer at a time.

If any of you have any organizing tips, please feel free to share.

I'm going to take a nap now. I hope this was helpful! 


  1. Kel you're awesome, and your shoes look so good! This is so funny Tom and I need to have a beer. You've given me some ideas and I'm the organizer. You have inspired Tom to sort like with likes. He's gone around his house and put photography with photography, music with music, office with office and voila, his nowhere as organized as your bedroom. He just advised me he needs heavy machinery. I suspect you may as well for all the stuff you threw in your shed so you could launch and take a nap. Ha, just kidding. Love this Blog Bella, what a treat each week.

  2. You know me too well Loji!! But you would be surprised how things are shaping up. It really helps to get everyone in on the act. And Tom good going on all the likes. I miss you guys! Have a beer for me!!

  3. I couldn't agree more!! This blog is so helpful mommasita!!!! It's now that time for me to take control of my organizing, and ATTACK MY ROOM!!!! Knowing that you can do it with all your amazing finds and loads of clothes, gives me the confidence to do it too!!;)
    P.S. I'm really jealous about your color coordinating!!

  4. I few years back I started doing my closet by type and color...and I haven't gone back to the random mess it was before. It just makes more sence. I have all my pants together, skirts by color, blouses by color and type (fancy or casual), dresses...the only think I want to do next is fix my shoe issues...I love your shoe rack. SOOOO CUTE! and...MR. ZEUT...go to your room MISTER! Mommy's blog isn't stupid. Major time out clean your room.

  5. Keli, great post! Can't wait for more. I got this shoe organizer, and it changed my life. Swear!