Thursday, June 20, 2024

Autumn Cleaning: How to Organize Your Life and Avoid Common Mistakes

Are you as into the the home organization craze as I am, following professional organizers on Instagram? Last year lit this craze on fire thanks to us all bunkering up at home with much needed time to reorganize our homes, and lives for that matter. While staying organized is challenging, it’s a great habit to exercise. With the hectic holiday season fast approaching, now seems like an appropriate time to tend to some home organization projects. After all, why wait until spring cleaning?  

Rather than tackle our organizing projects alone, I reached out to three ultimate organization pros who were kind enough to share some expert advice. 

So, where do we begin? Well, according to Saskia Ridley, Founder of Outward-In Organizing based in West Palm Beach, “Take a deep breath and start. Don’t overcomplicate the process of organizing, and don’t expect to have an organized home overnight because it took years for disorganization to take place. It’s a lifelong journey so take it one space at a time.”

As for Lisa Jacobs, the Founder of the exclusive NYC-based organization company Imagine It Done, she recommends “beginning an organization project in the space that troubles you the most.” 

Cindy Huzenman, Bestselling Author of “The Art of Organizing” and Founder of North Miami-based professional organizing firm, Cindyology, says to start by asking yourself these important questions: 

  • Do I love it? 
  • Is it irreplacable? 
  • Have I used it in the past year?

If your answer to each of the above is “NO,” then it’s time to say goodbye. Ridley notes that “the terms ‘declutter’ and ‘purge’ are used a lot in the organizing community because of how important they are. You have to remove the things that no longer serve a purpose in your home and life so you can make room for the things that do.” 

Interestingly enough, there is one common organizing mistake people make, and I’m a guilty offender. Essentially, as much as we all love a good trip to Home Goods or the Container Store, press pause. Ridley says, “People run out to buy a whole bunch of products because they think bins and baskets equal organization.” Huzenman advises us to “Measure first, make a list of your inventory and take a picture before buying. These steps will avoid extra unnecessary spending.” The same advice is given by Jacobs, as she often sees people making an organizing plan for aesthetic rather than functionality. Jacobs further cautions us to “Use social media as a platform for inspiration and motivation, not to be confused with reality in your home.”

The good old saying, “A clean and organized home is a happy home,” which I find myself telling my 6-year-old on repeat as I nag him to pick up his toys, certainly rings true. When things are in order at home, it positively influences one’s state of mind. So it’s no wonder that our three experts find the greatest joy in knowing that they are transforming people’s lives beyond the spaces that they organize.

Happy Autumn Cleaning! 

Final Takeaways from Our Fab Organizing Pros

Saskia Ridley (@outwardinorganizing)

  • Without decluttering, you’ll be organizing clutter which will put you back in the same disorganized cycle.
  • The basics of organizing is more than pretty baskets and color coordination. A lot of it comes down to daily habits and intentional living.

Lisa Jacobs (

  • Be realistic! Estimate and design for yourself, your lifestyle and your budget. 
  • Go for it by starting an organization project in the space that troubles you the most.

Cindy Huzenman (@cindyology)

  • Take advantage of vertical space. Anytime you have an opportunity to grow your storage space, think of walls and behind doors. There’s plenty of storage ideas like behind the wall tracks, wall shelves, jewelry and shoe organizers. 
  • Never underestimate the power of a lazy Susan. It’s great for dead spaces like corner cabinets, hard to reach areas, under sinks, and even fridges. 

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Olivia Hollaus
Olivia Hollaus
Olivia Hollaus is the Founder and Creative Director of Protect My Shoes, a brand focused on creating stylish, sustainable, and practical shoe care products. She loves fashion, design, and all things fabulous, so she’s always on the lookout for what’s new and unique. Aside from running her own business, Olivia is the proud mom of two boys who keep her on her toes. Follow her on Instagram at @oliviahollaus and @protectmyshoes

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