Don’t be a prisoner to your belongings

Alcatraz jail cell. Don’t be a prisoner to your belongings.

Being organized is about having the things in your home, office, closet, etc. that you really need and enjoy within easy access and aesthetically pleasing.  One person’s organization is another person’s confusion or discomfort so as much as there are tools of the trade and specific steps I take clients through to achieve success, it is unique to the individual. Just buying the cute boxes and label maker do not an organized person make. You really have to figure out what do you need and what serves you. Get rid of objects that hold you back and keep you from being the person that most exemplifies you.

“Gee, Carrie, how do my things hold me back? Is my closet conspiring against me?” No, not actively; but what you hold on to in your home is an expression of who you are and your relationship with it is expressed subconsciously. Do you hang on to clothes that you are too small for you because you will wear them “someday” when you lose those 5-10 pounds? Do you keep arts or craft supplies because “someday” you are going to take up knitting, scrapbooking, decoupaging, or whatever? Do you keep a piece of furniture that you don’t like because some relative gave it to you and you’d feel guilty getting rid of it? Or, here is my favorite: I can’t get rid of this because I paid sooooo much money for it. Well, all of these negative thoughts are holding you captive as a person who doesn’t accomplish whatever goal you’ve set for yourself by keeping these things.

  1. Get rid of clothes that don’t fit. Only keep things that are one size either too small or too large for wiggle room and have the others altered or donate them. Think of how you are helping others by sharing what you have. Someone else needs that suit, sweater, shoes, and it will be in better use with them instead of sitting on your closet floor.
  2. Donate supplies that you aren’t using or don’t think you’ll be able to use (really use) in the next 3 months. I know Pinterest is full of great Halloween, Christmas, Hannukah, Birthday, and other ideas for crafts and home projects. By all means, pursue and create but put a reminder on your calendar and block the time to actually sit down and create these great masterpieces. If you can’t find the time in the next couple of months, then donate those supplies to a church, school, or some type of program that will use them now. If you are inspired later, you can gather those supplies again and move forward with renewed enthusiasm.
  3. Guilt is such a great motivator and usually it’s negative. If there is something in your home you don’t truly love or use, give it to someone who needs it. I personally have a hard time with this because I want to please people but, really, it does no good to keep things in your home for others. Is there someone you know who would enjoy that style of art or furniture or clothing? Can you think of someone who can make something of it? Maybe it would inspire a renaissance for someone’s artistic interpretation. Above all, it’s not serving you sitting in your home reminding you of how much you don’t like it. And that is making you cranky and resentful of the person that gave it to you.
  4. As far as hanging on to the expensive item? Well, the money is gone. Spent. Bye bye. Resolve to strongly consider the consequences before committing this crime again and get rid of the offending object. It’s just sitting there taunting you and filling you with buyer’s remorse. Let it lead a new life with a new person and bring them joy instead of you pain.

You’ve probably detected a theme here by now and it is the bedrock of Neatsmart’s   philosophy: purge what you do not need, keep what you love, make it all look pretty, and use it to its fullest. Life is too short to not have happy surroundings and your home is your haven. Let it restore you, not repulse you.

Happy organizing!

Artist’s Studio Organization Project

I wanted to share a fun project that I worked on recently that involved an artist’s studio and office space. Andrea Krakovsky (, an Atlanta-based artist, contacted me about helping her organize her studio and office spaces that are shared in the same room. She was feeling overwhelmed by projects and wasn’t able to locate all of her materials and supplies as they were scattered throughout her space. She was spending money on additional supplies because she couldn’t find them and she need a place to feel motivated to work. Sound familiar? Have you ever looked at your desk and just let out a collective “ugh” because it was such a disaster? Fortunately she recognized that this disorganization was keeping her from achieving success in her passion so we got to work quickly on clearing the space.

Studio before organization 1

Studio work space before organization

Studio supply area before

One of Andrea’s challenges, like for most artists, is that she works in multiple mediums. What that means is that she has a lot of different supplies to keep track of: pencils, paints, brushes, beads, wires, hooks, paper, etc. Her primary focus is making jewelry so that was our priority in organizing her studio but she also needed a place to do the business side of her work so we created an office space with her desk.

She also didn’t want to spend additional money on organization bins or containers. I absolutely agree that you can find a lot of materials in your own home that you can use to corral like items. One of my favorites is glass jars because they are available anytime you buy and use spaghetti sauce, pickles, mustard, jelly, etc. You can put them in the dishwasher when finished so that they are ready to be used when needed. Of course, don’t start hoarding them—you can always just recycle them, too. Being organized does not mean that you have to spend a lot of money on boxes, containers, and labels.

You can find Andrea’s work at Re-Inspiration Store, which specializes in artwork made from recycled materials. If you are in the Atlanta area, this is a great place to go for gifts and art made by local artisans.

If you are an artist who needs your studio organized, please contact Neatsmart to get started on clearing your space and making room for calm, inspiration, and motivation.

Happy Organizing!

Studio and office after

Studio supplies labeled and ready to use!

Studio workspace after: a place open for creativity and inspiration.

Thousands of beads organized by color and material into zippy bags. These will ultimately find themselves in glass jars which are easier to manage than flat, divided plastic cases.

Clear desk+organized supplies=productive space!