A Guide to Organizing

by Cristina | Last Updated: September 13, 2021

We all have that bin in our closets that we have been avoiding.  Who am I kidding?  If you’re anything like me then you have several bins and drawers that you’re avoiding. 

Every now and then, I get divine inspiration and I attempt to organize little areas. I will tackle the junk drawer in the kitchen.  I will go through t-shirt drawers and donate what isn’t being used.  The small projects, I can handle. However there is just one area of organization that is just so far out of my league.  In all my moments of believing I can organize my house, I still could not bring myself to face this pile.  This pile of course is all my kid’s school work and achievements that have accumulated over the last 8 years.  

I don’t know what it is about all their work, but it overwhelms me.  I  have their school papers and art work in different drawers and spots all over the house.  Finally one day I just put it all into a bin and shoved it into a closet.  But lately it started to whisper my name at night.   I had put it off and I put it off and I put it off, and now I am literally swimming in so much school papers and art work that I can’t even pass the closet without feeling uncomfortable.  It’s coming out of everywhere.  The project just seems to have snowballed into a beast and I knew I had to tackle it but I didn’t want to do it alone.  

So I called Christine.  

Christine with her two beautiful daughters Olivia and Sienna = Olienna

Christine started her new business, Olienna Home, to help people like me who are organizationally challenged. She believes in creating systems that will help save you time in the future because you will actually know where things are AND where they belong.   She sat me down and we went through her process when it comes to declutter and organization especially for school work and memorabilia. 

I brought her my bin: 

The first thing she said we had to do was empty the bins and take a look at what we are dealing with.  Ugh this was going to take forever.  But it didn’t.  She started to split the work into piles, “Blake” “Dylan” “Tristan” and garbage.  She moved like a ninja.  I wanted to keep everything, and she gave me the tough love I needed to stop being such a hoarder. For example, keep the report card if you really need to, but maybe just keep the final report card that displays all 4 quarters and toss the rest.

Once we had our piles the next step was seeing what containers would work well for what we needed to store.  This is the part where I really just want someone to step in and tell me what to do.  I could spend 4 hours at The Container Store and just freeze up because I have no idea which one of these 1,000 organizational solutions is going to work for me.   I was so glad I had her to guide me through a couple of options to find what would work best.  Because Lord knows I have no idea.  

She had two containers in mind: 

We ultimately went with Option A, the Boot Box from the Container Store.  I had a lot of art projects with different sized paper, so Option A was a better fit for my problem. It could store everything and it was easy enough for me to open a lid and drop in the latest papers. The final product was something so simple and clean: 

If you are thinking about tackling that project in your house that you’ve been putting off here are some good tips Christine gave me to help guide you through the chaos. 

Here are her tips to help make organizing approachable:

  1. Be real with yourself.  The system has to be manageable.  You can organize all you want but if the system isn’t easy to access- you’re still not going to use it. 
  2. Have a finite set of boundaries.  Don’t keep everything, don’t toss everything.  But come up with a guidepost for what is important and try to stick to it.  Christine, my new guru told me, “overflow creates clutter.” 
  3. The Keep/Toss Decision: In deciding what to keep or toss ask yourself did it make them proud, does it mean something to you or them.  If it doesn’t have too much meaning, remember taking a digital photo is always a option and you can save yourself some space. 
  4. Make it Convenient: whatever container you decide to use, the key to making this work is storing it in a location that makes it easy for you to access and use. 

If you feel a little overwhelmed and looking for someone to help, I could not recommend Christine enough.  You can find Christine on her beautiful Insta Page Olienahome

Christine and her fur baby, Zoey