The Joy of Tidying

How to Get Started and Stay Motivated

Article by Kimber Patterson

Photography by Ampersand Studios + Jayla DeWitt + Heather Bifulco

Originally published in Boise Lifestyle

Call it spring cleaning or IG envy, but this is the time of year I want everything – and I mean EVERYTHING – organized in my kitchen and closets.   While I’m pretty good at maintaining an already-tidied space, tackling the not-so-tidy closet is where I need help.  Heather Bifulco of TidyHomes came to the rescue with some great advice on getting started.

“My biggest suggestion is that you start small,” said Heather.  “Don’t aim to tackle your pantry or closet in one organizing session.  Our clients really struggle with the edit phase of the organization, but by the end they completely loosen up and start to have fun.  For example, start under the kitchen sink.  Lots of wins to be had there!”

Great tip.  Now I had a plan of attack.

Next up?  Creating categories. Organizing a space means taking out EVERYTHING and categorizing. Once that’s done, Heather always thoroughly cleans to inspire the flow of great ideas and have a fresh slate.  Consider everything from dusting the baseboards to replacing light fixtures to adding a coat of paint to change up and freshen the new look.  

Now for the fun (and sometimes hard) part: touching every item in the category piles and asking myself whether something actually serves a purpose.   “This is the time to rid your home of things that don’t work, things you have a better version of, things you never use and things that no longer make you happy,” says Heather.  The key word here is 'things.'  “Whether it’s an old umbrella or a new pair of rain boots,” she said, “the ask is the same.”  Deep breath.  That green hat I’ve loved forever?  Keep.  Three versions of the same jacket?  Donate.  The pile of single gloves?  Toss.  Once I got going, it became easier and faster to make those decisions. 

Once you can actually see everything you're keeping, you want what you use most often within arm’s reach. Seasonal items can go on higher or lower shelves.  The sweet spot of shelving is dedicated to what I need to grab daily.  Heather found beautiful baskets and bins that make me happy just to look at them.  “Finding containers you love will provide so much motivation toward completing an organization project,” she said.  

The whole goal at the end of organizing is to have no clutter.  That’s right, this isn’t an attempt to harness clutter, but to eliminate it entirely.  That being said, some of us live with little people who contribute to clutter every day.  Heather’s advice on that subject turned out to be life-changing.  She suggests creating ONE drop zone, not several. 

Finally she revealed her most important tip. “There are no exceptions to this,” she admits. “Labeling is the key to maintenance and to eliminating the pain of not being able to find something.  We have so many beautiful options for labeling now that it shouldn’t even be a question.  Label.  Always label.”  

Great advice from the top of my closet to the bottom. This is why I’ve already scheduled Heather to help me organize the entryway and kitchen!


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