By Chris Wichmann
“I want my house to be less organized” – no person ever.
Three of the best-rated home makeover shows on TV are “Get Organized with the Home Edit” and “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo” on Netflix and “Hot Mess House” on HGTV. From racks to store sporting equipment and yard equipment in the garage (baseball bats, hockey sticks, rakes, shovels, etc.) to shelves and bins to compartmentalize the pantry (soup cans, spices, extra paper towels, etc.), the opportunities in home organization are limited only by the imagination. Studies show it’s good for your brain, stress levels, and productivity. De-cluttering and organizing are hot.
There used to be room in my house that was not hot: my twin daughters’ bedroom (shared with two guinea pigs). Recently, I realized I would go into their bedroom to tell them something or put laundry away, but instead it would turn into accusations of, “What happened to this room?!?” “Why are there clothes everywhere?!?” “Why do you think I will just do everything around here?!?” My comments were perhaps a bit negative.
I reached out to Melissa Garlough of MG Home Organizing. Melissa, my 11-year-old twin daughters, and I spent 3 ½ hours together organizing the bedroom. The best description I can offer is that Melissa made this fun enough that two tweens stuck with it for the length of the Lord of the Rings movie until they got hungry and a little slap happy. Three weeks later, the results are still sticking.
Melissa tells us there aren’t any limits to what MG Home Organizing can systematize: basements, garages, home offices, closets, pantries, playrooms. Melissa helps people with life changes, moving to new houses, and making homes operate more efficiently by paring down.
“The past two years caused significant changes in household dynamics, and I help people keep up with those changes,” said Melissa. “People are spending more time in their homes. They want them to function better and feel more relaxing. Experienced home organizers are in demand to help people achieve these newfound goals.”
Are there home organization practices that work for everyone?
MOTIVATE yourself and find an accountability person or group. Text before-and-after pictures to friends to encourage results.
GROUP together all like items within the space. For example, if you’re organizing a mudroom or entryway closet, are all the gloves in the same area or are they tucked into different spots?
FILTER out all items no longer needed or that don’t belong in the room. I recommend filling boxes designated with certain categories: items to disperse throughout the house, items to donate, and items to discard. You might also benefit from a fourth category: things that require an action, such as something you never got around to fixing.
ORGANIZE the items by keeping them in containers that are appropriately sized. Keep items close to the area they’re used and make it as easy as possible for items to be used and then put away.
LABEL containers to help family members find items. This will also keep them accountable for putting items back in the right place.
MAINTAIN organization by explaining the system to everyone in the household and encourage all to be as consistent as possible.
Filtering is a big step for many. “Helping people through this step is one of my strengths,” said Melissa. “Some clients need permission to let go of items. The item may have been a gift, expensive, or rarely used, so many people feel bad giving it away. People hold on to things they don’t need because, ‘What if I need it one day?’”
Melissa coaches clients through making those hard decisions and reminds them that moving forward helps bring new energy into their lives.
“My primary job is to work as hard as I can to organize a space for my clients, and hopefully alleviate stress in the process,” said Melissa. “I joke, if I don’t receive lots of exclamation marks and hearts in a text message after a session, I didn’t do my job well.”
Melissa’s rate is $45/hour. She comes highly recommended by many Napervillians.
MG Home Organizing