I am often faced with the “I don’t why I store this here” situations during client appointments (i.e. why lightbulbs and batteries are stored typically in 3+ areas of the home) and it just reiterates the point: when you bring an item into your house it typically lives where it lands. Meaning the first spot that you put an item (usually wherever is convenient and has room) oftentimes becomes its permanent location, regardless of how functional it may be.
Picture this: you move into a house and on day one start unloading items into your kitchen cabinets and drawers. At this point, your priority is just to empty the boxes and put everything away (you may even tell yourself that you’ll change the location and layout of stuff later on but for now just want the boxes out). Fast forward one year and you aren’t able to find your measuring cups, have purchased replacement utensils because you can’t find the certain one that you know you used to own, and have resorted to the Jenga-like approach of pulling down and stacking your dishware.
Sound familiar? You are not alone. Successful organization relies on creating systems that are not only attainable for your house’s layout but also flexible enough to adapt with your needs. Creating solutions that support lifestyle patterns (such as leaving extra room on a pantry shelf to account for your monthly Costco trip later) and transitions (such as dedicating a spot in your hall closet to rotate in seasonal accessories, like goggles and sunscreen in the summer and hats and gloves in the winter) will make it possible to welcome outside categories into your home since all other items have a dedicated spot.
One of the best times to create organizing systems is also during what can be for some a very stressful period: moving time! It’s the only time you will have a completely blank space to work in and get to re-assign what goes where, which--if done strategically--will make your life easier moving forward.
Right now we are in the midst of a big unpacking project for a client (stay tuned behind the scenes on Instagram!) and--even though a big part of the job is just getting everything out of the boxes--my team is focused on the larger priority: assigning a place for everything in a way that makes sense for our client’s family and how they will operate in their new home.
As we recommend to all of our clients that are preparing to move, before you pack a single box it is important to invest time in getting rid of items that you no longer want, need, or will have room for. You will thank yourself on the other end of your move when you are only unpacking items that you want to welcome into your new home. This will also help to ensure that everything that you are finding a spot for in your new home deserves to be taking up that valuable real estate.
So, as you prepare to move, consider paring back on the “just in case” items that you’ve been holding onto. Categorize your items so that you can get a realistic inventory of what is actually in your home (yes, that means grouping all of the lightbulbs from the 3+ areas of your home) and what you actually want to bring to your new home and fill in your new, clean slate.
Have an upcoming move? Whether you are moving across the street or across the country, check out our Moving Checklist to make sure you are prepared for moving day!
PS- Save the date! I am hosting an interactive workshop with Kit and Ace on Thursday, March 30 from 7-9 PM (1921 8th Street NW, Washington, DC 20001). Join me for a consultation focused on your travel and packing organizational challenges as I cover all things closet, packing, and wardrobe related including: packing tips and tricks for a better travel experience, and how to (realistically) improve the functionality of your closet. Stay tuned for more details!
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Rachel and Company is a professional organizing firm based in Bethesda, MD, serving clients in the Washington, DC area including: Potomac, Maryland Georgetown, the Palisades, McLean, Arlington, and Alexandria, Virginia.