Prepped with an organized studio library and helpful tips we’ve learned along the way, the Laura U design team and I have fully embraced our freshly tidied sourcing and design space. While Cathryn Linn of the Organizing Organization assisted us with an in-office project, her team really specializes in home organization. After receiving such great assistance and information throughout this process I had to sit down with Cathryn one more time to talk to her about best practices for organization in the home.
How long does it take to de-clutter a home?
LU: When it came to decluttering our Library, I think our team may have underestimated how long it would take. But your specific process was super helpful and kept us on track. What do you say to homeowners who are looking to get organized, but want a good idea of how long it will take to declutter their home?
CL: The time that it takes to declutter a home can vary widely. It depends on a number of different factors. We take into account the square footage of a home and the number of bedrooms. But it really comes down to how much stuff you have. It’s taken you years to get into a cluttered situation it’s going to take you some time to get out of it. So, it depends on a variety of factors but we do our best to estimate exactly how long it’s going to take, just to give you an idea.
Are there any shortcuts to getting organized?
LU: Between familial and work obligations, a lot of people may look for advice on getting organized as quickly as possible. Is there any way around the time-consuming parts of the process that lets homeowners get straight to the relief of living in an organized space?
CL: Okay so I wish I had an easy answer for this one but the truth is that there are no shortcuts. Staying organized requires a little bit of time and a little bit of maintenance, but once everything has a home it’s easy for those items to go back to that home. You just have to set aside a little bit of time. My best advice here is to make it as fun as possible. Turn on your favorite music or have a favorite TV show playing in the background. Just try to make it fun!
What’s the best way to create “drop zones” in a home?
LU: A drop zone is a place that allows you to “drop” all of the items you may be carrying as you walk into your home. Mudrooms and coat closets could be considered the more formal version of a drop zone. In our studio, we love creating gorgeous mudrooms and being intentional with our designs. It’s always important for us to accommodate our clients’ organizational needs. But, if a homeowner is not ready for a renovation or remodel and does not have a designated area available, how can they develop drop zones to keep their spaces as neat as possible?
CL: You have to make these types of drop zone areas as functional for your family as possible. What goes into a drop zone is really dependent upon your family. My best advice is to make everything as easily accessible as possible. Use open bins for kids and for adults! I often consider lids and closed containers to be barriers to people putting things away. If you’re just getting started, make sure to have a place for your keys, shoes, hats, scarves, backpacks and things like that. You want to consider all of the things that your family may need easy access to.
What is your favorite space to organize?
LU: While residential projects are your forte, do you have a certain room or place in the home that you absolutely love to rearrange and work your magic?
CL: As you mentioned, we really specialize in home organizing and are always willing to take on all areas of the home! From pantries to playrooms to garages, bedrooms, and offices we do all sorts of things! But really our favorites are kids’ rooms and playrooms. Those are always the most fun!
Learn More from Cathryn Lynn of the Organizing Org
What’s your best advice for DIY home organization projects?
LU: We are by no means a DIY studio, we have amazing partners that help us make every detail perfect for every design. But we do understand that when it comes to getting organized many people may want to take on this type of project by themselves. What is the best way to go about a DIY home organization project?
CL: If you want to DIY your organizing project, my biggest tip is – Do not go out and buy the containers first! You will end up wasting money and wasting time. The best thing to do is sort and edit first. This allows you to know exactly what items you have left that need to be organized. I always say, “you can’t contain anything until you know exactly what you’re containing”.
How do you know when to seek professional help?
LU: Sometimes organization can be a bit overwhelming. Such was the case with our studio library. When should someone consider that a project may be too big to DIY?
CL: Well, there is a number of different reasons people bring in professional help. Number one is time. For example, if you’re a busy mom of three kids, you don’t have a lot of time to organize. Or, like you mentioned, if you’re completely overwhelmed and don’t know where to start bringing in a professional is always a good idea. If the systems you’ve tried to put in place don’t work we can certainly help with that. And lastly, if you want your space to be organized and look aesthetically pleasing, but you’re not quite sure how to do that we can help! That is our primary specialty.
It’s time for five fun, random and rapid-fire questions – ready? Go!
LU: So usually we do five questions with a designer, but today it’s 5 questions with an organizing pro! Here we go: What is in the trunk of your car right now?
CL: I have an emergency kit because I like to be prepared! It has my jumper cable and things like that. And that’s it!
LU: If you had to wear the same shirt every day for a year and it had to have the same graphic or a word on it, what would that be?
CL: It would have my logo, of course! (LU- Well that’s just smart branding!)
LU: What is your favorite trick for organizing? It could be a container or the way that you purge things…
CL: My favorite is using those old school 1980’s slap bracelets to keep wrapping paper under control. It works like a charm.
LU: What is your favorite type of room to organize?
CL: I love playrooms! I think it’s the kid in me.
LU: I’m sure that parents love that you love to organize playrooms because it can be an absolute mess! Okay, last question. Where is your favorite place on planet Earth – where do you find your Zen?
CL: I’m a homebody. That’s where my people are, that’s where my love is. I’m a homebody for sure!
LU: Interesting! I’m kind of a homebody, but I like to get out too.
Well guys, that’s a wrap! Thank you, Cathryn, for joining us today and answering our questions!