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Organized Chaos: Team Interview


Podcast Cover with a photo of the team and the title of this month's podcast episode

On this month's podcast episode, I had the opportunity to sit down with the entire team during our company retreat and picked their brains. It's not often that we all get to be at the same place at the same time since Brittany works virtually from Pennsylvania so I wanted to seize this opportunity to not only get their insights, but to showcase my entire team


{Disclosure: Links below are affiliate links. This means that, at zero cost to you, I will earn an affiliate commission if you click through the link and finalize a purchase.}

 

We started things off with introducing everyone. In the photo above, left to right, we have Lexi (Organizing Champion), Shannon (Organizing Hero), Me: Amanda (Clutter Master), and Brittany (Virtual Assistant). We next dove into everyone's different family, home, and lifestyle. We all come from very different places and environments and I wanted to show how different organizing techniques work for different people. This is one of our main focuses when doing consultations, planning and organizing, creating systems that work for each specific client. There were three areas of organizing I wanted to discuss with everyone, kitchens, kids/pets, and clothes.


Kitchens

Shannon started us off talking about kitchens. She discussed her favorite thing to organize in kitchens was the pantry. The one thing Shannon really loves about organizing a pantry is all of the products you can use(she's a bin fanatic). She specifically called out the five compartment lazy susan which is one of our favorite organizing tools we use. Check out our blog post about food organization to learn all the great ways to use lazy susans. She also mentioned one thing that she has found that doesn't work is putting all of the heavy items (such as a bin of different oils) on the top shelf. It's definitely more accessible to have heavier, more frequently used items on a more centrally located shelf.


Lexi continued the kitchen conversation by discussing how she is no stranger to small kitchen spaces having lived in a basement apartment for a period of time. She is super thankful for her closet pantry that is in her new apartment. She is also a huge proponent of lazy susans. Her go to lazy susan is the classic non-skid lazy susan.

She loves using these for organizing oils and such. Lexi and I also discussed how sometimes our organizing is subject to the architecture of the kitchen and finding ways to utilize the sometimes super small cabinets the builders just threw in to give the allusion of added cabinets. Lexi added that she loves the idea of spices in a drawer versus in a cabinet.


Brittany talked about her small kitchen as well. She has about 10 feet of counter space but loves her small appliances. To help with the clutter, she puts some of the more frequently used appliances in a separate storage space close to the kitchen while to not so frequently used small appliances are stored in the basement pantry. She also discussed keeping snacks and items for her daughter at a reachable level so that she can help herself.


I also have a small kitchen so storage is always a pain point. I actually have a really great solution for my spices in a narrow drawer. I have small, tick-tac size containers that I keep my spices in and they fit perfectly in the drawer I have designated the spice drawer. I am definitely a minimalist and try to multipurpose everything and minimize everything. I also have an area for my son's stuff (including his own mini-fridge). I've also downsized on our utensils and dishware. We have a set of three or four so the dishes don't pile up and we have way less clutter.


Kids and Pets

I started us off with the subject of kids and pets. I have one son and one dog and I hate toys. I keep a super minimal amount of toys because my son is more interested in what I'm doing (like using a screwdriver) versus his own toys. I also utilize a toy rotation. Another way I keep my son organized is keeping a calendar specifically for him. It mostly keeps track of who is watching him on any given day at this point but will also house anything that he has going on as well.


Brittany discussed how she keeps things organized with Sydney, her daughter. The major pain-point for her is getting places on time so at the end of the school year last year, she implemented a timer. While Brittany still has to keep on top of the time, it gives Sydney a sense of time and helps her stay on track while getting ready for school. She also utilizes a color coded calendar in Google and a physical calendar in the kitchen. Sydney (and her husband) are the colors of their schools (blue and purple respectively). I also asked Brittany what didn't work for them and her response was a chore/habit chart. It just added another thing they had to keep track of and it fell by the wayside.


Next up was Lexi. She doesn't have any kids but does have a couple of cats that are basically kids. Despite them being not very hard to take care of, there is the element of kitty gear and keeping the litter boxes cleaned. She does utilize a three tiered cart and keeps each of the tiers labeled. She also has a system for cleaning the litter boxes with a calendar on the wall that they will mark off each day if they clean the litter. She also mentioned building in buffer time for her boyfriend because he suffers from ADHD and struggles with time management. It seems like all four of us utilize buffer time in some way in our lives.


Shannon has two girls, Maggy (16) and Emmy (10), and Gretchen, the dog. At this point in their lives, Shannon has had to take a step back and let the girls do their own thing. It helps that they are on a whole other level in her house so they are out of sight and out of mind. Emmy is actually a natural organizer. They got some awesome acrylic containers to keep her bathroom organized. She's also been purging items on her own. Her daughter Maggy is more of a maximalist and more artsy. She's a little less organized so Shannon just leaves her to her own devices when it comes to organizing. For the pup, Shannon likes to keep the dog food in a clear container so she can easily see when it is almost empty.


Clothes

We started with Shannon for this section because her absolute favorite thing to organize is clothes. She loves clothes and has a lot of them (she is a maximalist after all)! She went into detail about how she organizes her clothes and the different categories and bins she has in her closet. I also asked Shannon what her favorite hanger was and she mentioned the slim wooden hangers by The Home Edit. Also, don't forget all of the hangers have to match.


Brittany organizers clothing seasonally, which I personally hate. She discussed the different places she organizes her clothes. Brittany's hangers do not match, but she did share that her favorite hanger are the plastic ones with the rubber grips for tanks and wideneck tops. She also mentioned that while she is in the process of rotating her seasonal clothing, she will also take the time to purge items that she didn't wear that season that no longer serve her.


Lexi's organizing tactic for clothing is to hang as much as she can to save room in the bedroom. She prefers velvet hangers. She also uses a canvas 3 compartment hanging clothing organizer for her jeans and a cube organizer in her bedroom for smaller items. She also dabbled in the age old laundry discussion. I am a firm believer that the same laundry system does not work for everyone so you have to find one that works for you!


For my clothing situation, Travis and I share a closet and a dresser. I am a huge minimalist and Travis has just come along for the ride. I basically have a capsule wardrobe. One thing I do to organize the closet is hang my clothes on white hangers and Travis' clothes on black hangers. I also don't fold bras, socks, or underwear. For socks, I have all the same color socks so I don't even have to match them! My favorite hanger is a plastic hanger with a notch in it to make it easier to put tight necked tops on them.


What is cluttering your life?

My last question for the team was the question I ask everyone, what is cluttering your life?


Brittany said that summer has been cluttering her life. With her husband and daughter out of school for the summer she has been struggling with work/life balance and indulging more in the life side of that than the work side.


Shannon mentioned that carbohydrates are cluttering her life. The struggle between not buying snacks at the store and then going home and wishing you would have.


Lexi's boyfriends car and bike parts are cluttering her life (sorry Henry!).


My life is currently cluttered with all of the tasks I have been procrastinating.


It was such a pleasure getting to sit down with the whole team and share everyone's organizing ideas with you! Let us know if you've tried any of the girls' organizing ideas or organizing solutions that haven't worked for you in the comments!

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