Spring Is Here + Spring Cleaning Is Essential! Tips on Clearing the Clutter! #Guestblog

As you all know I moved last year. I had to not only clean out closets before I moved (which I did prodigiously and donated clothing and household stuff to my fave charities), but I also did it on the other end– meaning I started cleaning out more stuff after moving in because the storage was less than the previous house. I am not completely done but I know what I am going to do and I am almost done! That said, I felt really good that I had donated my not-so -necessary items, but also garage sales and made up bags of “stuff” for friends with the caveat of “pay it forward”.
I find this topic of personal organization of closets and especially handbags to be incredibly helpful and useful. So when I had the opportunity to score a guest post from Natural Born Organizers’ Tanisha Lyons-Porter

Tanisha Lyons-Porter

Picture this: you wake up one morning, full of energy and enthusiasm, and decide that today is the day: the day you are going to tackle the clutter. You approach the designated space with confidence and make a quick assessment. Only a few minutes pass before you become overwhelmed by the sheer volume of stuff and start to rethink your decision-making skills. Then, you officially change your mind and go back inside to watch TV. Turns out, today is not the day.

That’s where people like me come in. I’m Tanisha Lyons-Porter, owner of my own professional organization company, Natural Born Organizers, and a director on the board of the National Association of Professional Organizers. My business is helping you de-clutter, so I’m going to start out by letting you know that you can do this. Today, right now. However, instead of spending an entire day sorting, purging and organizing, a professional organizer would suggest focusing on one specific area at a time and in doing so, making great progress and getting significant results — FAST.

How do we define clutter? All those disorderly heaps of “stuff” in your home? That constant state of confusion you feel when you’re trying to find something in an endless pile of “things?” Being cluttered is a hallmark of excess and simply put, just too much.

That being said, I’m including some clear, easy-to-follow tips you can use this week to minimize the clutter across the different spaces in your life. Read on for more details!

Most of us carry some form of clutch, purse, backpack or messenger bag every day — to work, to the gym or out to dinner with friends. Being that as it is, this daily must-have is highly prone to becoming a catch-all for the various things we pick up every day.

A recent personal example: during a girl’s getaway weekend, I picked up my friend’s purse to hand to her — boy, was it was a back breaker! Of course, she was so embarrassed and begged me not to look inside. I didn’t because being an organizer is not about judging personal situations — it’s about helping people create the best systems for their lives. I handed her the purse and we agreed to tackle the handbag by the end of the weekend. And we did it in less than 30 minutes with five easy steps. Here’s how:

Purse Cleanout: Before

Purse Dump_BEFORE - NBO

Step #1:
Dump all of the contents of your handbag onto a table or the floor — you need room to sort!

Step #2:
Get ready to TOSS! Throw away everything that is trash. You know: all of the stuff you put in your purse because there wasn’t a trash can near you at the time. Gum wrappers, old receipts, empty medicine containers — all of it needs to go.

Step #3:
Sort it out: group all contents of your handbag into specific categories: cosmetics, money/cards, medicines, keys, pens/pencils, jewelry and so on.

Step #4:
Identify: what are the staple items you need on a daily basis? This will probably include your wallet, keys and phone. Then identify the exceptions: any first-aid items, snacks (for you or your children) and toys for the kids. To stay truly clutter-free, do your best not to keep these items in your go-to handbag every day — keep a separate tote bag for them that you can grab and go with, and not the same purse you use when you run into Target for a quick shopping trip.

Step #5:
Use the compartments! If your handbag is equipped with compartments, zippers, and pockets (like this one from DagneDover) (http://www.dagnedover.com/#email_signup_popup), pat yourself on the back for making an excellent choice and get to work determining the function of each of those blessed pockets. Find a little home for your staples that tend to get lost in the abyss of the purse: your cell phone, keys, gum/mints, your favorite pen or your go-to lipgloss. Store larger items, like your wallet, in the larger main section of your handbag.

If your handbag doesn’t have compartments like Lola, my Louis Vuitton Speedy Bag, then you need to adopt a “divide and conquer” approach by purchasing either an awesome purse organizer, like the ones on PursePerfector.com (http://purseperfector.com/), or a few different sized pouches to hold all of your necessities.

That’s it — you’re done!

Purse Dump_AFTER - NBO
Purse Cleanout: After

Bonus Tip:

In order to maintain your new, freshly de-cluttered handbag, break the habit of using your purse as a permanent trash bag. Instead, make it a point to throw the trash away the next time you have the ability to do so — when you are back at your desk at work, when you are walking into the store or as soon as you get home. You should think of all of your belongings, including your handbag, as investments — when you picked it up at the store, was your intention to use it as a trash receptacle? Keep that perspective.

(SW: Stunningly easy, right!! I love this!)

I know what you’re thinking — give us more tips, Tanisha! OK, OK. If you’re feeling ambitious one Saturday morning, use this guide to give your closet some newfound space in less than four hours (it’ll fly by, I promise!).

Closet 1: Before

If your closet is jam packed with clothes, I guarantee you will see a huge difference if you do the following:

This may seem obvious, but first, remove clothes that do not belong to you or the person you share closet space with (they are taking up prime real estate)

Remove clothes that are too big, too small, or ill-fitting (yes, we know about your plan to get them altered/lose the weight/give them away — but they’re taking up space right now that could be used for items that actually fit you beautifully exactly as you are, today!)

Closet 2_AFTER - NBO
Closet 1: After

Remove clothes that are damaged (stained, torn or missing buttons or zippers — it’s hard, especially if they’re sentimental pieces, but do it anyway)

Remove any remaining clothes that you have not worn in over one year (this includes clothes that still have tags on them – i.e.: impulse purchases — trust me, we all do it!)

Closet 2_BEFORE - NBO
Closet 2: Before

If you still need space, then identify clothes that you may be able to fold in a drawer or on a shelf instead of hanging on the closet rod (t-shirts, sleeveless tops and sweaters are usually the main examples we see here).

While you’re purging, be sure to go through and check out all of your hangers: if you have wire hangers, you need to replace them as soon as possible. Hangers really do make a difference in terms of closet space and utilization and the maintenance of clothing. Wire hangers are not meant for permanent use in the closet; they do not keep their shape, and from an organization standpoint, are much more difficult to keep straight and in line.

In just a two-hour session, a client and I were able to toss all of the wire hangers in her closet and replace them with thin felt hangers which can be purchased from a variety of shopping outlets at reasonable prices.

Closet 2_AFTER - NBO
Closet 2: After

If you have wooden hangers and struggle to make space in your closet, you might consider replacing them with hangers that have a slimmer profile. Although they look beautiful and elegant, they are space hogs and are, in general, intended for very spacious dressing rooms and closets. If you can’t bear to let the wooden hangers go, you have a choice to make: keep the wooden hangers and purge more clothes, or switch out your hangers to thinner space saving brands and keep more clothes.

(SW: This comment about wire and wooden hangers is #truth!. I did that and replaced everything but the most sturdy and slim plastic hangers with the felt ones and I love the consistency and the extra space I gained!)

That’s it! Now you’re all organized and well on your way to a much happier and less stressful life. And if you ever find yourself back at square one, well, you know who to call!

Tanisha Lyons-Porter


​About Natural Born Organizers
Founded in 2012 by Tanisha Lyons-Porter, a member of the Board of Directors​ of the National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO), Natural Born Organizers (NBO) specializes in organization without the judgment. Based in Los Angeles, CA and serving Los Angeles, Orange and Ventura counties, NBO believes that maintenance is just as important as getting organized in the first place. Tanisha uses her deep experience to provide clients with systems and solutions to de-clutter and manage their spaces, encouraging a better quality of life for them and their families. At Natural Born Organizers, we live by one motto: organization is not perfection — it’s simply efficient! For more information about Natural Born Organizers, visit http://naturalbornorganizers.com/.

About Tanisha Lyons-Porter
With two decades of business experience in sales and account management and a lifelong love of staying organized,Tanisha Lyons-Porter knows very well that the “devil is in the details.” A graduate of Howard University in Washington, D.C., organization has been a passion of Tanisha’s since she was a child and spent her school breaks in the winter, spring and summer organizing her parent’s pantry in their home – every year, for more than a decade. Her motto of “no judgment” and white-glove client service follows her through every project, whether she’s working in a studio apartment, a five-bedroom home, an office space or a minivan.

A member of the Board of Directors​ the National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO), Tanisha also developed and leads lectures in a series of seminars at a southern California community college called “Organization for the Unorganized.” Tanisha resides in Los Angeles, CA with her family. For more information, please visit http://naturalbornorganizers.com/.

Follow Tanisha Lyons-Porter and Natural Born Organizers on these social platforms”:

Website: http://naturalbornorganizers.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/NaturalBornOrganizers?fref=ts
Yelp: http://www.yelp.com/biz/natural-born-organizers-los-angeles
Instagran: https://instagram.com/naturalbornorganizers/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/naturalbornorg
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCr807weAuWdFQeAmTtfD7tQ/about

Thank you to Tanisha Lyons-Porter for these terrific and smart changes that we can easily do within a weekend. If you plan it right, the closet –including hangers– can be cleaned out, repopulated with great hangers and stuff ready for donation in one weekend!! It makes perfect sense. If you have situations where could use expert help, I suggest you contact Tanisha!!

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