Does the clutter in your home sometimes overwhelm you? With the right organization tools and tips, you just might be able to conquer that mess once and for all!
Allison Weigensberg is a professional organizer based in Montreal, and she knows that people lead busy lives. It’s easy to let closets, pantries and home offices become a jumbled mess.
As a frequent BTR shopper, Allison has hand-picked the items you need to help you declutter and organize your home so everything has its place (in other words – find what you’re looking when you’re looking!).
Over-the-Door Purse Rack: I love the over the door purse rack. It is a great way to store your purses, totes, grocery bags etc. It makes great use of the vertical space and is super easy to install.
Double Hook Over Door Rack: The over the door rack is such a versatile product. From hanging an ironing board or folding step stool on the back of the laundry room door to clothes in the bedroom to keep them off your floor, this is one I use everyday.
80-Pocket Jewelry Organizer: This is great for people who really need to see what pieces they have quickly, rather than rifling through a jewelry box. The clear, open pockets make finding and storing your jewelry incredibly easy. You can also hang this on the inside of your closet door if you don’t want your things out in the open.
10 Hole Space Saving Hangers: These hangers can be used in a multitude of ways. You can use it as intended if you have a scarf collection, or attach some shower rings to hang purses, baseball caps, jeans, tank tops and much more.
Accessory Bins in Lime & Melon Geo Print: These are so versatile. I’ve used them everywhere from a kitchen, to an office or a bedroom. If you have to store things out in the open it may as well be in stylish bins like these.
Need more tips and tricks? Check out our Q&A. We asked Allison about playrooms, repurposing common household items and more:
1) Parents know that it’s difficult to keep the play room tidy. As a parent yourself, do you have any tips for toy organization, especially ones that busy parents can keep up with?
I certainly am familiar with the difficulties of being a working parent of two young children. I have first hand experience in how quickly toys and other kid-related clutter can take over a house. The first tip is to sort their toys into categories (e.g. action figures, cars, dress-up, etc.) and then purge. I’ve found it is best to do this when the kids aren’t home. After paring down the toys I use bins to group like toys together. The bins should be easy to open and close so kids can help with clean up. I like to print out labels for the bins as well. Using picture labels helps even the non-readers participate in clean-up.
2) What’s your thought process when confronted with a new space to organize? How do you come up with a method?
I have a knack for looking at a disorganized space and seeing how the pieces fit together. Once I have a sense of how the space will be used, I take everything out and get a better picture of its full functionality. Every project is different, but I have a few simple principles I always find helpful:
Like with Like: It is helpful to sort all of the your items together so that you can get a full picture of everything you have that is causing the clutter. You might love a certain black sweater, but you probably don’t need 15 of them.
Purge: Throw out/donate/recycle the excess, the broken, the expired and the never used.
Put it Back: Find the right means of storage. That could be anything from the right type of hangers, to a cute tote bin. Try and keep frequently used items more accessible.
Label It: Use a label maker, post-it, chalkboard tag or whatever you like. You may know where everything goes but the other people in your house probably won’t and the only way to maintain an organizational system is to make it easy for everyone.
Live With It: Make sure the system you developed works for you and your lifestyle. If it’s not working, don’t be afraid to change it up.
3) On your Instagram, you’ve repurposed hair elastics to create a handy car cell phone holder. Have you repurposed other common items? What is your favorite creation?
Whenever possible I do try to reuse or upcycle things that I already have lying around. I’ve really been into self-adhesive shelf liner in a nice pattern. It takes just moments to transform a shoebox lid into a pretty trinket tray. One of my most versatile items is a scarf hanger I bought from BTR which I combined with plastic shower rings (also from BTR). Put those two together and you can hang up tank tops, jeans from the loops, belts, purses and more, all without taking up too much valuable closet space.
4) What are some of the most common home problem areas? Was there a particularly tough project to tackle that you feel proud of whipping into shape?
Every home has different areas that need help. In some homes you don’t see the mess until you start to open drawers and cupboards, in other homes the clutter can be more apparent. I see a lot of issues with paper clutter, piles of clothes and overflowing pantries. Most of the time the biggest problem is not being able to see what you have.
For example, I recently did a kitchen pantry that needed a lot of love. We were able to get rid of expired food and really see what was under all of the clutter. Sometimes just changing the container you use can make a huge difference. My client had bunch of the same products (for instance I found five open bags of red lentils). She kept buying more because she didn’t know what she had. I consolidated them into clearly labelled large mason jars. By the end of the day everything was so clean and streamlined, my client said the result was very calming. Such a satisfying project!
5) Once a system of organization is in place, how do you suggest maintaining it? For example, your pantry or shoe closet.
The best chance you have of maintaining a new system is to make sure that the spaces are clearly defined and that everyone in the home is on board. Labels are a great way to indicate where things should go. Often it is other members of your family (my husband and kids for example) who are not as committed to keeping things organized. The labels will help them stick with the program. Another tip is to try to follow the 60 second rule. If a task takes less than 60 seconds just do it right away. That may mean putting your shoes away as soon as you get in or returning a jar to the same place you got it in the pantry when you’re done with it. The bottom line is that there is no magic solution. Once you set up the system it will take some work to maintain it.
6) How do you balance practicality and style? i.e. How do you figure out a good method of organization that fits into someone’s existing décor?
My primary concern as a Professional Organizer is to set up functional organization systems. To me, the style has to come second. It doesn’t matter how good something looks if it doesn’t work with your lifestyle. That being said, when choosing the means of storage I always try to pick something that fits into my client’s decor and sense of style. For one client that might mean using plate holders/easels to display family photo albums on shelves but another client might prefer those albums to be out of sight in a cute box in the cupboard.
7) We know you that you are an avid BTR shopper. What continues to be your best/most-used, or versatile purchase?
I am a very avid BTR shopper so there is no way I can pick just one product. Some of my favorites include a clear plastic tray that I use to keep things sorted within drawers, a trunk organizer that folds up when I don’t need it and a closet rod doubler that adds lots of extra room without any reno. I also buy tons of tote baskets and plastic bins. My work bag is actually a great tote from Lug Life. It has a variety of zippered pockets and divided storage to hold all of my organization tools when I go see clients.
8) What are the benefits of hiring a professional organizer over doing it yourself?
Some people have no problem with the organization of their space. Others may be missing that “organizing gene” and that is where someone like me can help. As a member of Professional Organizers in Canada I am trained in this area and am able to guide the client through the decision making process that happens during organization. This can often be a difficult and emotional process, but because I don’t have an attachment to their things I can make the process easier. I have the knowledge and the tools to make organizing as painless as possible. A professional organizer can also be helpful if the client just doesn’t have the time to do it themselves. This can be a busy working parent who just want to get everything in order or children of elderly parents need help downsizing a home.