Organizing Tips From a Pro

Is your New Year's resolution to bring new order to your life? Start with these tips.

Photo courtesy TruOrder Kristi Schneider founded Atlanta's TruOrder over ten years ago partly based on principles she learned as a teacher at the Montessori School. 

Have you ever dreamt that elves snuck into your home in the middle of the night and organized your storage? In the morning, however, your cabinets and closets were in the same nightmarish condition as when you turned out the lights. If your New Year’s resolution is to tame that dragon, call in a pro like Kristi Schneider of TruOrder who helps Atlanta folks get organized, downsize and even conduct estate sales. 

The Atlanta native told FrontDoor that she started organizing as wee one in the market with her mother. 

Photo courtesy TruOrder As a child, Schneider organized her mother's groceries in the cart and now regularly donates gently used items to charity. 

“While my mom grocery shopped I would sit inside the basket part of the cart organizing the groceries as she placed them into the cart,” she said. “Then I became a Montessori teacher I learned the importance of order. I quickly learned that everyone needs order in his or her lives to feel calm and secure. I now visualize creative solutions for disorganized spaces and make a plan with the client’s design style in mind.” 

Schneider is the middle child in between two other girls, which made for lots of fashion miscues, hardly worn shoes and dolls that never came out of the box. Consequently, her father instilled in her the importance of donating the family’s gently used items.  

“We donated regularly to Calvary Children's home and seeing who we were donating to made a huge impact on me as a human being,” said Schneider. “Someone’s clutter can actually thrill and bless someone else once it is donated. The kids would light up when they saw the toys and clothes they were helping unload.” 

Tips from the pro

  • The best way to get started is to rid your home of clutter and trash. Purchase plenty of trash bags and laundry bins for sorting. Choose a room in your home and start tackling the clutter. Label several bins: Donate, Recycle and Not Sure. Be hard on yourself while making decisions on what goes. 
  • If it has not been used in a year, donate it. If the item is damaged throw it away or recycle it. If you are not sure, place the item in the “not sure” bin.  Make a decision at the end of the day. 
  • The next step is to take the donate items straight to Goodwill, your favorite charity or thrift store. This is the best way to see the difference it makes to rid a room of clutter. My clients talk about how great it makes them feel once the clutter is gone. Words I often hear are: This is so freeing; I can breathe.
  • Once the room of free of clutter then it is time to organize the keeps. Sort like items together and find a home for it. If you do not have a home for it you have to make one by purchasing storage furniture, shelving, bins, home organizing products or a custom closet.
  • Random keeps need a home too. Junk drawer organizers are a great way to store random small to medium sized items. By the way, every room needs a junk drawer. It’s important to be realistic with your organization. No one is perfect. 
  • Once everything has a home it is good idea to label containers and sometimes shelving or drawers if it help you to stay organized. If you are storing items in a bin, it is important to label what is found in that bin. 

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