Somehow, Katie Buchanan of Little Rock Paper Scissors manages to make organization fun. Her tried and true strategies for cutting clutter, combined with her quick wit and outgoing personality, make for an enticing and informative read every time. This time of year especially, we’re all seeking ways to add order to our lives, and we’re happy to report that Katie will be here with you every step of the way! Her new column begins today with an office makeover for her mom.
Once upon a time, I was hired for an amazing office organization project. I would have free reign to really show off one area of my business, Little Rock Paper Scissors! I would assess the space, toss out junk, shop for supplies at The Container Store, organize it all neatly and get to do so for one of my favorite clients in all the land: My Mama!
Just when I thought the deal couldn’t get any sweeter, I was also able to see for the first time what a huge, disorganized, closet slob my mom really is! The project put a very sharp end to her ever-present suggestions of tidiness, and I hope my sister, Susan, is reading this.
âSusan, if you can hear me…Mom has been living a lie! And her days of giving us domestic advice with just a hint of brow-raising assessment are over! You hear me? O-V-E-R.”
Now, one thing I do pride myself on is what my friend Betsy calls my being a “perfectionist without judgment.” Just because I can make things fall into place spic and span-like does not mean for one single second I will ever judge anyone for less-than-tidy spaces! We all have our strengths and weaknesses. Mine just happens to be that I am a very strong event planner, organizer, personal shopper and obsessive-compulsive neat freak who actually likes making messes just so I can clean them up. Don’t forget, they make doctors and pills for this.
However, when it comes to Mrs. Perfect America Mother, Francois, well, now that’s a whole different situation. Judge on, my friends.
Please be warned, the following photos are very disturbing:
If you need eight rolls of scotch tape, seven glue sticks and 894 dried up, topless ink pens,Â she’s your woman.
I know you may find this hard to believe, but what you have to realize is that this entire 10 by 12 foot room is gorgeous and spacious. Everything is top-of-the-line. Including the mess that is EVERYWHERE.
Hey, Susan, look, there’s a great picture of you and your precious children…right behind the heap of ziploc bags she uses to organize other, smaller ziploc bags.
The above cabinet quite possibly has more square footage than my entire house. Seriously, I could lie down flat with arms open on each of the eight shelves.
I could go on, but I think you are getting the picture. I’ll stop here. Sure don’t want to risk losing her as a client!
Fast forward one trip to The Container Store and four highly productive hours later:
Sadly, I could not get her to budge on the Yellow Pages. They are here to stay. Right next to her PowerMac that is used primarily for web surfing (I hear a rumor that the yellow pages can be found there) and crossword downloading.
Supplies at The Container Store: $375
Four hours with Little Rock Paper Scissors: $400
Being the mother you always wanted to be: Priceless!
And honestly, who could ask for a better boss? I love you, Mama!
To close, some real world tips from me, professional organizer/daughter of the year:
1. Organizing begins and ends with psychology. It is OKAY to be a cluttered mess. It is also OKAY to toss things. I promise. Swear, cross my heart. If there is an article in the newspaper you are dying to read, the topic will come up again. And the Internet is a very magical thing!
2. Go in this order: Purge (ruthlessly), sort, store/file, label, repeat. Each time you do it, and over time, the less there will be to worry about. Kind of like plucking your eyebrowsâ¦
3. Use FREE expert advice! www.containerstore.com has FABULOUS tips for organizing every area of your home. Their products are the best and most preferred. They can also be pricey. Find what you like, and shop around to find things you love that wonât break the bank. Even shop local!
4. Organization can be useful and beautiful. There are always ways to incorporate your personal style into a functional space. Donât let organized = restrictive and less-than-pretty! Let the colors and styles you love in home dÃ©cor and fashion reveal themselves in the products used to organize your life. (We picked out Mamaâs stuff all pretty-like, and it matched the outfit she had on that dayâ¦in autumn colors that suit her!)
5. Did I remind you to label, label, label? Store it, file, label it, forget about it. If you never go looking for that âgotta have itâ file/instruction manual/bill again, then you know to purge it in a few months, which is when you need to re-organize. About twice a year, as seasons go warm to hot and back again, PURGE!
6. Although organization can be and IS fun, donât be completely silly. Get a fire-proof safe for the major things that cannot be replaced and/or have life or death ramifications. Be ruthless about what life or death ramifications REALLY mean. Pictures of European vacations are nice, but they can be kept in the brain for years and years for free. A birth certificate and the passport that carries you from fabulous place to place, cannot.