• Cheryl Libutti

Ask the Organizer!

I recently had the fantastic opportunity to visit my daughter's 7th grade classes and talk about professional organizing for their Career Day. It was a great experience to see the wheels turning in their 12 and 13 year old brains as they learned about different professions. I got lots of great questions both during and after my presentation, and one of the questions is a common question from clients as well:

"So, you're an organizer... Is your house perfectly organized?"

And I think there are several parts to answering this question.

1. Is my house neat and never messy?

Yes and No. Do papers get left out in our home office? Are there dirty socks in almost every room on the floor? Are sometimes dirty dishes stacked by the sink, waiting for the Dishwasher Fairy to come and empty the clean dishes and put the dirty ones into the dishwasher? Do games get left out, projects left unfinished, clean laundry left on our family room couch? The answer to all of these questions is yes. I live here, along with three kids and a husband. Life is messy and busy and sometimes we don't get a chance to pick it up right away. But usually things hit a point and a quick sweep around the downstairs rooms can get the papers in the trash or in the To File folder, socks placed in the hamper, the clean dishes put away and the counters cleaned off. The laundry gets brought upstairs. It takes less than 20 minutes and all is presentable again. I do not have random things piled in corners of rooms. I do not have unrelated stuff shoved in drawers or cabinets. I am not a recreational shopper. Most of my flat surfaces are (generally) cleared off. I try to process mail, papers, and stuff that's brought into the house within a day or two. Sometimes three.

2. Do I know where everything is in my house?

As a general rule, yes. I believe wholeheartedly in things having a home within your house and knowing where that home is. In our house, like items are pretty much together. Purposes of rooms and cabinets are easily figured out. To me, this is what "being organized" looks like.

3. Does my house look like pictures on Pinterest?

Yes and No. I've been pretty candid about spaces in my house that need a little, ahem, freshening up, and of course we all loved the Great Linen Closet Cleanout of 2016 (which still looks great, I might add). We've lived in this house for almost 8 years and I've tackled most areas at least once... some need a refresh because the kids have grown older and their stuff has changed, some need a second look because the original setup when we moved in just wasn't functional. I think spaces should be living, breathing, changing things based on who is using them and what the needs are of the inhabitants.

That being said, I have a few spaces in my house that look great. Seriously. I love looking at them. They make me feel really good and calm and peaceful. They smile at me.

When everything is picked up, put away, neat, clean and tidy, my house is a wonderful, safe, warm, welcoming retreat from the world. We can have people over and host holidays and parties without too much fuss beforehand and not be embarrassed or ashamed.

So is my house "perfectly organized"? Nah. It's not perfect, and it's ever-changing. But my husband and I work at it almost every day, like a good habit. A huge part of organizing is the maintenance and upkeep of organized spaces. The two of us and the kids all like it neat and picked up so we can concentrate on other fun things as a family. I'm lucky that I have access to all the best tips and tricks as a professional organizer, and the interest to keep up with what's new, but everyone else can work on it a little each day, too. I truly believe that everyone's house can be "perfectly organized"!

Do you have a question for me? I love answering your pressing organizational questions! You can email me or leave me a question on my Facebook page.

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