Prime Real Estate

Let me just start by saying I could not have picked a client that I had more in common with. Mel had the same taste I do in movies, books, art, and is a phenomenal artist. She was doing the job I dreamed of doing when I got my unused degree in graphic design. Sorting through her things was like going through your mothers closet as a child. Everything was a bit magical and I was impressed by her collections.

But there was no place for anything. There are many different kinds of organization. What works for one person can be a fiasco for another. If your home organization system does not work with the flow of your space or how your brain works and organizes, it is not sustainable. Mel had piles of beautiful things, but her cupboards were empty. She had no clue where to put things, so she didn’t. She was unable to use her kitchen table or draw because there was no space clear. It made her feel very claustrophobic and she had no idea where to start in the organization process.

I began working in Mel’s house in the living room. Mel was working from home due to covid, and we felt she would get immediate relief from having a clear workspace that was not set up on her couch (she also ate, watched tv, and rested there). Being able to walk away from work at the end of the day would be a great relief to Mel. The progress was quite visible in the first session, and that would make her see the value of the process immediately, something I really enjoy. It was a bit of a surprise how little Mel actually had to get rid of. This job was actually an organization project, rather than a downsizing project. You see, Mel never learned as a child how to use the space in her home to create a flow. She came from a very cluttered home, and that carried over into her adult life. As we discussed what was ‘prime real estate’ in the living room, Mel had a lot of “ah ha” moments.

Prime real estate in your home is the central working areas. This means putting things directly within reach of the task being performed. Not understanding this process is what kept Mel from putting things away in the cupboards. She had gone through her home several times and found that within a month, it became undone. This was because the placement was wrong for her. Things used everyday were too far away from where she used them, or things that were seldom used were in the prime spots. I could see when sorting through Mel’s belongings that there was a flow based on where things were, in piles and that is where we created space for them. This created a sustainable organization system for her and actually improved her affection for her living space and her belongings. As we uncovered the table, the excitement was palpable. After I left that day, Mel texted me and said “I ate at my table for the first time in years! I even got out my good cloth napkins!”

This is why I love this work. The proof is in its sustainability. Pay attention to what gets undone the fastest in your home and where those items end up shifting to. It is a clue to how to adjust the prime real estate in your home and make it fit your lifestyle. Every pile tells a story. Listen.

If you have downsizing/organizing needs in the Eugene, Oregon area, CONTACT me.

Home Office Organization

I am amazed at how many credit card offers I get in one day. Coupled with insurance renewals, cell phone deals, and all the other crap that lands in my mailbox, it can be extremely overwhelming. I would find myself moving papers from place to place in my home because I felt weary just looking at them. I would gather them all on one place and throw them in my file cabinet. Out of sight, out of mind? Ugh. The future me clearly was not consulted in this though process. When I needed my passport to travel out of the country (!) the mountain of unwanted papers were hiding what I needed. This had to stop.

Does this sound familiar? I have a solution.

The first step is to get a new bin with a lid that to put in a high traffic area in your home. Something that can be kind of tucked away, but isn’t too small. If you are anything like me, a bright color will not make you feel stabby. Now head to that file cabinet (or desk, or table… no judgement here. Could be all three) and dump all of the papers that have accumulated in this bin. Deep breath. Do not pre-sort. This is a trap not to get caught in right now.

Next, go to the dollar twenty-five tree and get three garbage pails with no lids, one file folder, one basket to stack papers in flat, and a sharpie. This is the new organization system for your home. Write on the first pail RECYCLE, the second will be SHRED, and the final will be FILE ( I am assuming you have a trash bin in this space. If not, please get a fourth can for trash). Line the cans up near your new bin and admire how well you have prepared for this job and celebrate your success.

Now, decide when your sorting time will be. It might be while watching TV or right after dinner. But designate a time- at the minimum once a week- to sort one file folder worth of papers. The flat basket is for paper that need attention, and the other pails are pretty self-explanatory. Do more if it feels good, but do no less that one file folder a sitting. Empty the pails you can at the end of each session. Do you feel relief? Do not worry about how long the project is going to take or how long you waited to set up this system. What matters is NOW. Celebrate that your home office organization is happening now. Rockstar! Yes, you!!

When the large bin is empty, what should be left is a FILE pail, and a basket of papers that need attention. The pails can now be moved next to the desk and used as the mail arrives. This is now a familiar system to you and should honestly take less than a minute to do daily or twice a week. Place the “needs attention” bin on the desk, and let yourself feel excited that everything has a home and your journey to being organized in your home office is halfway complete.

The second stage of this process is a bit harder, not gonna lie. The designated time for your home office organization will now be filing important papers and taking action on the papers and accounts that need it. Do the filing one file folder at a time, because you know it works. This can be scary, but it is also liberating. How exciting to be taking control of your business life and making sure your important information is secure. You are on track. If calls need to be made, try to do one or two a week until the pile is gone. How satisfying!

Finally, once all of the paperwork around your home has been sorted, filed and attended to, the system will be reduced sorting the mail as it comes in. Then action and filing only happens weekly. In many instances monthly statements can be scanned to the computer or can go paperless to stop the influx of paper all together. Often companies will give discounts for going paperless. How’s that for a win/win? If a better filing system is needed, it is absolutely stunning how many options there are and how beautiful they are. Remember to start simple and celebrate every single victory along the way.

If you have downsizing/organizing needs in the Eugene Oregon area CONTACT me.