Karen Duncan, Certified Professional Organizer®, has helped thousands of clients in Northeast Florida improve productivity by creating life systems to solve organizing needs.
If overstuffed drawers and misplaced mugs are all too common in your home, Karen Duncan is here to help.
As one of only a few Certified Professional Organizers® in Northeast Florida, Duncan has turned disorganized homes and offices into arranged works of art since 2003. Over the years, Duncan has served thousands of clients spanning all ages and walks of life, as well as helped those living with chronic and situational disorganization. Along the way, she's learned all the best tricks of the trade.
Follow her five tips to make the most of any space:
1. Define your vision
It can be hard to envision a room as anything more than what it is now, but the truth is, the possibilities are endless. When done right, organizing a room, office or kitchen can create a space that's functional and fabulous.
So, what's the secret to getting started?
"Decide what you want for the space is the first step," Duncan said.
Although that sounds simple, she understands it's easier said than done. That's why she directs her clients based on their preferences to look at relevant websites and select photos that stand out.
"Sometimes clients like a space, but they can't figure out what they like about it,'' Duncan said. "I take a picture they like and point out different aspects to see why they are drawn to that look."
Once your vision is in place, you're on to the next phase.
2. Make it functional
Think of a crystal bowl of ripe fruit placed perfectly in the center of your dining room table. Now, imagine the same bowl sitting in the middle of your closet. Not the same effect, huh?
It's important to make sure you're setting your space up for success from the beginning. Take inventory of what is already there, and decide if you will keep it, or relocate it to another area.
"Making an area aesthetically pleasing is important, but more than that it needs to be functional," Duncan said. "If it's not functional, then it's dead space."
She also urges clients to really think about their daily lives. While a display of glass jars filled with sugar, nuts and cookies may look picturesque on your kitchen counter, if you're not the type to consistently refill the jars as you use them, it may not be the best organization design for you.
"I want clients to think about what's realistic. If they aren't going to use them, then it's a waste."
3. Put it in, or throw it out
Play a sad song, write a long letter, or pucker up for a kiss goodbye — whatever you need to do, it's time to say sayonara to your unnecessary possessions.
Whether you choose to throw away, donate or sell your unwanted goods, it can be helpful to have a professional on hand who knows the value of similar items.
"There have been times when clients have had a really valuable item, and they didn't know it," Duncan said. "That's why it can be really helpful to have someone like me or my team there to help make those decisions."
If the items are gently used, but you're not interested in selling, there are tons of local charities that are happy to accept donations, including Hubbard House, Hope's Closet and BEAM thrift, and pick up services are available through Vietnam Vets, Goodwill and the Salvation Army.
4. Make a home
Once you've purged all non-essential items, it's time to find a permanent home for everything you're keeping. According to Duncan, "This is the fun part!" It's an opportunity to nail down where you will keep everything. When each item has a home, it makes your life less stressful. You won't waste time searching the house for missing clothes, shoes, backpacks or electronics.
As you decide on placement, think about how often you use an item. If it's something you reach for daily, you'll want it in an easy-to-access space. If it's a file you check once a year, it can be kept out of sight.
5. Think long-term
Making sure each item has a home is essential to getting (and staying) organized, and it's a process that needs adjustment every so often. Once every six months to a year, take inventory on what's changed in your home. Discard any unnecessary items and find a home for anything new.
"I've worked with some clients that when we started, they had babies," Duncan said. "Now, their children are grown. We've had to adjust their system as their needs change. That's the only way to stay organized."
Organized Home/Organized Office by Karen Duncan, Certified Professional Organizer®, specializes in organizational solutions that range from project management, decluttering, moving and unpacking management, home and small business offices, as well as closets, kitchens garages, and just about any other space. To learn more, visit jacksonvilleorganizer.com.
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