Organize this! My adventure with a professional organizer

I had the pleasure of meeting the lovely Stormy from Stormy Says, a professional organizer. She came over to my house one afternoon in chilly December to help me tackle one of my most formidable challenges: my linen/clothes/miscellaneous storage closet. I was so happy that Stormy was going to help me organize this.

Perhaps you also have a problem area (or two) – a closet that starts out neat and single purpose, but over time gets messier and messier until it’s an unruly eye sore. With four family members all in need of towels and sheets, it’s hard to keep it tidy, and to be honest, I didn’t even know what was in there anymore. It evolved into a catch-all for all kinds of random stuff that needed a home.

I was curious how Stormy would tackle it. I introduced her to my mess:

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Step 1 – Removal

Stormy advised me that the first thing we were going to do is to take absolutely everything out of the closet. All the towels, pillows, sheets, blankets, shoes, clothes, bags, and random items were removed and therefore revealed.

I found things I didn’t even know I had! Like a bag full of shoe polish and silver polish, perfume I had spent a long time looking for with no success, handbags and pants I didn’t even know I kept. I found a foot callous sander-thingy, and a bag full of clothes I would absolutely never wear under any circumstances! I found a piece of art swaddled in cardboard! Things I’ve probably toted around with me during every move I made in the last 10 years.

Step 2 – Purge

Stormy smartly recommended that I get a bunch of trash bags. Into one went everything to donate, and into the other went everything to throw. Stormy sat with a watchful eye, gently coaxing me towards making the right decision. “How do you feel about that jacket?” she said at one point, as I pondered a purple blazer I hadn’t worn in over five years. Not very good, Stormy, not very good. Into the donate pile it went. I have no doubt that someone will be able to make a great outfit out of it, just not me and my sartorial challenges. Into the trash went some very old, expired credit cards, and a bag of very old, very funky makeup.

The donation and trash piles grew and grew.

Step 3 – Rehoming

Does a piece of art belong in the linen closet underneath a pile of bags? No, it does not. What about a phillips head screwdriver? No, not really. I found a whole box full of random items like my scuba license from when I was 21 in Thailand. I got my exercise in, shifting items to places where one might actually look for them.

Step 4 – Magic

After all was sifted through, Stormy asked me to make myself scarce. When she finally called me back, I was amazed at her handiwork!

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My closet was gorgeous and fully functional! No random items remained, only clothes I use, and items that belong in a linen closet, like sheets and towels were neatly in their slot. I was amazed at how much stuff can fit in a neatly organized closet. Stormy made much better use of the space, folding the towels into thirds so they sat right on the shelf width. Instead of my bags thrown on the floor, tossed in probably even from a distance in haste, she repurposed the full height shelf on the right of the closet into a veritable bag display, each in its own nook.

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Now, my closet is neat, functional, and most of all, there’s a joy in using a space that is visually attractive and also highly efficient. I no longer have to run across some cruddy thing in the corner, or feel bad about the state of affairs of my possessions. It’s easy for all of our family members, including me, to see what they need and get it quickly.

Now, if I could only master the art of folding fitted sheets! I swear, that will be my downfall.

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I’ll add that no one can fold a fitted sheet better than Stormy. And, since I saw how many more sheets I could fit neatly when they are folding properly, I’ve taken the time to do it myself.

I definitely have reaped the rewards of having a more organized closet, especially one that is used daily. And I know where my phillips head screwdriver is now!

Read more about Story and tips on professional organization in our article, “Tips for getting organized, from a professional organizer“.