Does the idea of decluttering your shoe closet or re-organizing the recycling area immediately cause you anxiety? You aren’t alone. Our lives are so busy with commitments and appointments, it can be difficult to find the time to make everything shine like a pretty penny.
For some, cleaning, tidying, and organizing the home is a chore to be dealt with. For self-proclaimed organization junkie Laura Wittmann, it’s a high she can’t get enough of! And she’s quick to share the fix.
Laura is a home organization expert and author of the book Clutter Rehab: 101 simple, practical tips and tricks to the organizational problems encountered everyday. She believes having a perfect home where everything is perfectly organized all the time isn’t what home organization is all about. Life happens, things get messy, and her practical tips help you manage it all in real life.
1. Everyone’s story is unique. Can you tell us a bit about how you came to be an expert in home creation and organization?
I’m not the type of person who was born an organizer. But living in a small house with four people where moving wasn’t an option, we had to figure out how we were going to do it in such a small space.
Subsequently, my journey to living a simpler life really helped me see how life-changing organization can be. I started my blog to share my excitement in hopes of enticing others to get hooked on organizing right alongside me.
I love helping others experience the benefits of living a life with less clutter and chaos. From how to slow down in a crazy busy world, to practical tips like how to manage your paper piles, my blog tackles it all.
The best part is, you don’t need any special skills to reap the rewards of an organized life.
2. Getting organized is not a one-step process, and it can be challenging for many. Could you share any growth moments or revelations you’ve experienced while creating and organizing your home?
One of the first lessons I had to learn when I started out was discovering that being organized wasn’t just about throwing stuff into cute containers and calling it organized.
There is so much more involved which is why I created an acronym to help with the PROCESS. It starts with having a Plan and ends with a Smile. Decluttering plays such a huge role in the organizing PROCESS but it’s one people try to avoid. Yes it’s hard and requires some decision making; however, the more we practice it the easier it gets, I promise!
Another area of growth for me was learning how to say no. Organization isn’t just about organizing our stuff but also our time. For me, it was about learning how to slow down and recognizing that jam packing my family’s schedule was a choice I was making. My kids didn’t need to be in multiple activities and everyone was much happier when we weren’t running around constantly on overdrive.
It would be hard to go back to living that way now that we’ve experienced the incredible impact it has had on our home and our stress levels.
3. Do you have any guidance for those wanting to create a warm, relaxing, and organized home? Perhaps some preparation tips, tools, or mindset suggestions?
The problem with clutter and chaos is that it can be pretty overwhelming, that’s for sure.
One of the things I recommend is to break down projects into 5-15 minute tasks. It’s much easier to make the time for a quick organizing task than find the time to organize an entire room. Drawers can be done in a small amount of time for instance. Closets may take longer so it might make sense for you to start with shoes, then pants, then shirts, etc.
Get in the habit of doing one small organizing task a day and before you know it, you’ll be feeling much more at peace in your space. Removing the things that you no longer love or use or have the room to store will allow your home to become a beautiful sanctuary for you and your loved ones.
4. Do you have any products or tools you’re passionate about or find useful in your home creation and organization?
Oh yes I do!
Some of my favourites include cabinet shelves in my kitchen cabinets to add more space, and plastic stackable drawers for extra storage in my bathroom cabinets and linen closet.
I also absolutely love using the space on the back of all the doors in my house. This space is so often ignored but it’s prime space for hanging shoe organizers to house anything from hats and mitts to bathroom products. Over-the-door hooks also provide storage for purses and bags to even jewelry. The possibilities are absolutely endless.
5. We are strong advocates for living green. Do you have any environmentally friendly organizing ideas to share?
Take a look at some of the product packaging that comes into your home. There are so many instances where these things can be reused to help you create organization.
For instance, tissue and tea boxes make excellent dividers in drawers. Simply cut off the tops and line your bathroom and kitchen drawers to create separation. This will help immensely when it comes to finding what you need.
6. What are a few unconventional, surprising, or quirky tips you have for creating and organizing your home?
People are often surprised when I tell them the goal of organization isn’t about having a magazine-worthy home where everything is perfectly placed. Instead, the goal should always be to create spaces that allow you to breathe easier, that don’t stress you out, and where you can easily find what you need.
The beauty of this is that what works for you may not work for someone else. So it’s important that we don’t compare our home to another. Make your space work for you and your family! You can start by storing stuff where you use it.
For instance, this may mean keeping dishes in lower cabinets so your kids can help themselves or put them away out of the dishwasher. Your home should function for the season of life you are in. Organization is not once and done; it’s a constant tweaking of systems to make life easier, not more complicated.
One of the posts on my blog that always surprises my readers when I bring it up is that I don’t sort my laundry. I know I’m such a rebel! Yet this area alone has been life changing for me and I highly recommend it if laundry is an area that stresses you out.
My basic advice: Simplify, simplify, simplify even if it goes against everything you’ve ever been taught, ha!
Laura Wittmann has been working as a professional organizer and blogger since 2006. She is the founder of the blog I’m an Organizing Junkie where she provides regular encouragement and education for organized living. By providing organizing advice and tips, a little bit of tough love, and citing her own personal experiences as a mother of three, she inspires her readers to move from chaotic clutter to sensible order. Laura’s advice has been featured in numerous magazines, including Woman’s World, Better Homes & Gardens, Canadian Living and Family Circle. She lives with her husband and kids in Alberta where she’s constantly on the lookout for her next organizing “fix.” You can also find her on Facebook and Instagram. For additional tips on how to organize your home, you can also drop by your local London Drugs and talk to any of our in-store experts.