Are You Properly Storing Your Clothes In The Off-Season?

Last week I finally got around to ‘swapping out my closets’. The great thing about having small closets (I tell myself) is that it forces me twice a year to go through my clothes. I donate what I no longer wear to The Wardrobe, take all my winter clothes out of my bedroom closet, transfer them to my daughter’s unused closet, and vice versa. This process is not as easy as it sounds since I play both the client and professional organizer roles.

Me as the organizer, “Janet, when was the last time you wore this?”

Me as the client, “Well, it’s been a while, but I can’t bear to part with it”. 

The internal conversation can get a bit hairy, as you can imagine! But I digress as the topic of this article is how to store your clothes in the off-season. Here are the guidelines I use for myself and our clients:

  1. Take any natural fiber garments to the dry cleaners at the end of the appropriate season.  Moths are attracted to dirty clothes containing traces of sweat or pieces with stains. They thrive in cluttered closets – another good reason to do a twice-yearly edit!
  2. Handwash any woolen or cashmere sweaters or take them to the dry cleaners
  3. Remove the dry cleaner bags from your clothing as soon as possible. Plastic dry cleaner bags prevent your clothing from ‘breathing’. This leads to discoloration. Replace with cotton garment bags for items that need long-term protection.
  4. Use the correct hangers. Remove your garment from dry cleaner hangers, especially if your dry cleaner uses hangers with foam. I’ve seen too many garments ruined by the disintegration of the foam on those hangers. A good quality wooden hanger is recommended for coats, heavy jackets, and suits. Velvet slimline hangers work well if your storage is climate controlled.
  5. Store your garments in a climate-controlled space. The extreme temperatures of an attic will adversely affect your clothing.
  6. Fold anything that will stretch or lose its shape if hung and hang anything that will wrinkle if folded.
  7. If you must store items in clear storage containers, make sure they are properly clean and dried with lids that seal properly.
  8. Turning our attention to footwear. Make sure winter boots and shoes are clean to get rid of any grime and salt which will lead to deterioration if not removed during the warmer season.

If all this seems a little overwhelming and you live in the Philly area, give us a call and let us help you with your twice-yearly edit and clothing storage.

Cheers to the warmer weather!

Avoid These Five Most Common Mistakes Before You Move

Moving season is upon us. ‘For Sale’ signs are up, open houses are in full swing, and my local UHaul is busier than ever. According to many sources, moving is one of the most stressful life events we will experience. These five tips, however, will help alleviate much of the stress.

  1. Declutter at least 6-12 months in advance. Whether you have a one bedroom apartment or a five bedroom single family home, decluttering takes much longer than you think. According to The Daily Mail, the average home contains 300,000 items. That’s a lot of decisions that must be made. Create a timeline to keep you on track and methodically go through each room to determine what moves with you and what needs to be donated, sold, or recycled.
  2. Pack in advance. Packing is physically exhausting! If you no longer need certain items before the move, consider packing as much as possible in advance. If your home is going on the market, locate a place to store pre-packed boxes. Consider temporarily renting a storage unit or Pod if you don’t have space in your current home.
  3. Use good quality moving supplies. Perhaps you’re saving all the shipping boxes that you receive. Many boxes, however, are too flimsy for fragile items. Purchase double-wall or heavy duty boxes. These boxes have two corrugated cardboard layers instead of one. Same goes for tape.  Nothing drives our team more crazy than poor quality tape! We only use Scotch shipping or  Scotch moving tape on our projects.
  4. Learn how to pack a box. It’s not rocket science, but it’s amazing how many poorly packed boxes we open if we are only hired for the unpack portion of a move. No offense to movers but writing ‘FRAGILE’ on top of a box will not protect your breakable items. Save every bit of bubble and air pillows you receive. Pad boxes with towels, blankets, and pillows. We are proud recyclers at The Organizing Professionals and have an entire storage unit filled with recycled boxes and packing paper.
  5. Pace Yourself! Remember when I said packing is physically exhausting? Take a tour of each room in your home, estimate how long you think it will take to pack…then double it. Most of us are notoriously poor at estimating how long a project will take. Packing always takes longer than you think. Increase your estimates and plan on completing your packing at least one to two days before your move. The last few items always take the longest.

If you live in the greater Philadelphia area, hire us for your move. We provide complete move management services which will help you avoid the five most common mistakes before you move. Click the link for more information.

Decluttering Mantras to Kick Start Your Spring Cleanout

I saw my first bunch of daffodils yesterday as I took a walk outside. They gave me a jolt of happiness and a spring in my step (pun intended!) The emergence of spring gives me renewed energy and motivation to think about projects I haven’t tackled during my winter hibernation (or procrastination depending on how you look at it!) My garage, for example, is currently begging for a little TLC. I may need more than a glimpse of some spring flowers to get me started. That’s when I bring out my four favorite decluttering mantras:

  • If I don’t love it, need it, or use it, it doesn’t deserve a place in my home. This is my all-time favorite because nothing really gets by this (and if it does, I proceed right to the next three bullet points. Every time I’m on the fence about keeping something, I recite this. It keeps me honest, ruthless, and accountable to my mission to live with less.
  • Just because something is useable doesn’t mean I need to keep it. This is an easy pitfall for even the diehard minimalist. I frequently use pens as the ultimate example when I’m giving a presentation. We all have too many pens (that most of us got for free anyway!) While they appear innocuous, they represent all the other items we hang onto because they are still in good working order. If we have multiples of the same item and keep them because they are still useable, you know what you have…clutter. 
  • If I keep everything then nothing is special. I recite this when I am going through memorabilia. Perhaps it’s your kids’ artwork from kindergarten or mementos from a trip. Keeping a few pieces is fine. Keeping every masterpiece your child created in preschool is not. (Your adult kids do not want them either, ask them!) Digitally preserving our memories has never been easier. Do you really need the map of Amsterdam and the ticket stubs of the boat cruise when you recorded half the trip on your phone? Snap some pics of your child’s artwork along with the mementos you brought back from your trip. (We discuss digital clutter in a separate newsletter). Pare your mementos down to one tub per person.
  • I will declutter without guilt. When you give a gift do you intend for the recipient to keep it forever? I hope the answer is no. Why then do we struggle to let go of items that were gifted to us? How many times have I heard from a client that they can’t part with something because it will hurt the gift giver’s feelings? (Frequently) Gift giving should come with no strings attached but even if it doesn’t, we should not feel obligated to keep something we don’t ‘love, need, or use’. 

If you feel you need a little (or a lot) more help with your spring decluttering do not hesitate to reach out. We are always here to help!

Other news! We made it to the elimination round of Best of The Main Line. If you voted for us previously, thank you! Could we please ask you to vote one more time?  Voting ends on 3/17/23. We are in the running for ‘Best Professional Organizer’ and ‘Best Closet Organizer’ Please help us make it five years in a row!

Match Made in Heaven: When Designers and Professional Organizers Collaborate

It should come as no surprise that The Container Store is my happy place. I can wax eloquent on the pros and cons of almost any item sold there. I know what works and what doesn’t. Put me in a home décor store, however, and I walk around in a confused daze. I am no longer operating in my ‘zone of genius’ to borrow a phrase from Michelle Gage, owner of Michelle Gage Interiors
Some of my favorite projects involve the collaboration between The Organizing Professionals® and local interior designers.

Edit Before Design: Suzy (not her real name) wants to decorate her home. She contacts her Designer who comes out to do a consult. There are boxes and bags crammed in all kinds of nooks and crannies. The Designer realizes Suzy’s first step is to do a thorough declutter before the project can begin. This is where we step in. The Organizing Professionals® work with Suzy on a thorough edit of the rooms she plans to decorate. Not only does this bring Suzy the peace of mind that comes from letting go of items she no longer loves, needs, and uses, she is able to make better decisions regarding the design and function of the space. Suzy and her Designer are now able to better focus on design that fits her needs.

Pack & Label: When the project is about to start, Suzy is able to get on with her busy life while we pack and label all the contents from each room. We can also create a detailed box inventory. So, if Suzy happens to need something packed during the project, she can easily locate it.

Post-Decoration and Installation: Here’s where the magic occurs. Suzy’s decoration project is complete and looks amazing, but she has neither the time, energy, nor organizing expertise to unpack and put away all those boxes. We return and take it one step further. Whether it’s a kitchen, closet, or bathroom (or anything in between!) every item is put away and perfectly organized. Clothes are categorized and hung on matching hangers in color order. We strategically organize kitchen items with systems that work for Suzy and how she functions in her kitchen. Effective collaboration with an interior designer means he or she has sourced the perfect dresser and/or credenza giving Suzy beautiful pieces that provide storage solutions. If organizing products are needed to corral items, we have the experience and knowledge as to what works. We shop, deliver, and install those products too.

While Suzy’s Designer focuses on creating a beautiful aesthetic, we look to maximize the space and concentrate on the function. Suzy benefits from both our unique skill sets. The result is a space that’s beautiful yet practical for everyday living.

Check out our recent tips featured in Homes and Gardens

Organizing makeup so it’s neat, tidy and well-ordered is the best way to streamline your beauty routine. However, with varying sized tubes, tubs, palettes, bottles and brushes, implementing a system that’s both practical and aesthetically pleasing can feel like a challenge. 

Organizing a bedroom (or makeup room, depending on where you store your makeup) to its best potential is the best place to start. Whether you have an extensive collection or a few core cosmetics you use every day, they should be easy to find, easy to access and easy to keep neat and tidy.