• Caroline Mitchell


Organizing is not for the weak of heart. If you think it’s all fun and games (i.e. putting belongings into tidy “donation”, “gift”, “keep”, and “toss” piles) you are sadly mistaken. Sure, there’s a tad bit of that. But, generally, decluttering and organizing is messy -- WAY messier than what your home looks like at the onset of the process.

Imagine stepping around piles of stuff, en route to the bathroom for a little break. Imagine there being so many different piles that you can’t remember which one is which. Imagine starting the process with only one cup of coffee under your belt, forgetting to eat lunch, only to then finding that you don’t have any chardonnay/beer chilled at around, say, 3 pm. You red wine drinkers will be ok, I guess.

This is how it works. The sorting starts immediately. The goal is to “Touch Once” (i.e. make a decision about the belonging the first time you touch it), but that doesn’t always work. Sometimes you need to see all 15 pairs of your black pants (or scissors or cutting boards) in one place in order to determine which ones must stay, and which must go. Regardless, you’ll need to keep a garbage bag, a recycling bag, a donation bag, and a few boxes (for heavy or breakable items) nearby for those quick and easy decisions.

What kind of piles do you think there will be? Here is an example of a recent kitchen organization project.

· Dishes (daily, special, and the odd bits)

· Glasses (tall, short, wine, plastic, etc.)

· Mugs (coffee/tea)

· Serving dishes (bowls, trays, ladles, etc.)

· Pots/lids

· Pans/lids

· Appliances (standing mixer, food processor, crock pot, popcorn maker, immersion blender, blender, handheld mixer, juicer, pressure cooker, air cooker, waffle maker, George Foreman grill, electric kettle, break maker, salad spinner, etc.)

· Cooking utensils and gadgets (spoons, spatulas, whisks, scrapers, pie servers, bottle openers, you name it)

· Bake ware (glass, metal, pottery, etc.)

· Cookie sheets, muffin tins, cooling racks, etc.)

· Plastics (plates, bowls, etc.)

· Paper plates and single use items

· Don’t forget about under the kitchen sink

· Plan to sort the food separately

It takes a long time to organize with a professional, and an even longer time doing it on your own. I would suggest that it take EVEN LONGER to do this with a loved one. Plus, the “Loved One” status can go a bit wonky after a day of this kind of heavy lifting. You can expect a kitchen organization project to range anywhere from 4 to 8 hours (to include the food), depending on the size of the kitchen. And those hours are for two people working...with one of them being a professional organizer. So, really, you’re looking at 8 – 16 hours to organize one kitchen with a professional. Sounds like something you want to do on your own, right? Okay, if you said yes, then you are weird.

I advise my clients to dress in super stretchy comfortable clothes, and plan to work in no less than 4 hour increments (it takes awhile to get your stuff out of its hiding places -- large cupboards, deep closets, and large U-Haul boxes). Deciding what you are ready to part with can trigger an emotional blow and is physically demanding. You’ve got to be prepared. Start with a strong cup of coffee, have plenty of snacks, and wrap it up with a supersized glass of wine.

p.s. I “borrowed” the picture from Wayfair. Go there to buy the Coffee Wine Sign.

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