5 Questions For a Professional Home Organizer
Meet Tinka, a big-hearted woman who will help you declutter, organize and bring joy to your home actively or via a remote session with her business, Solve My Space. She helped us with various projects from maximizing our space & decluttering the Baba Souk loft, to organizing our paperwork – She’s THE BEST and she’s revealing some secrets for us today!
I love how Tinka can simplify the process and keep things fun. If you’re anything like me, organizing a closet or decluttering a desk feels like as much fun as a visit to the dentist.
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1. Do you recommend any specific mental prep before tackling any room decluttering?
- A mental pep talk is absolutely key. A quick reality check: decluttering and editing takes TIME. It took you time to accummulate what you own so remember it’s not going to be a lightning speed process to go through it all. Yes, it will take time but you can do it.
- Do the download. Make a list of all the decluttering projects you feel you have in your home. Write them all down. The list may end up being long and intense BUT the key is to unload it. And while you may not do of the projects, it’s good to know the pain points so you can get motivated to prioritize and start tackling them.
- This is a positive process. Physical posssessions can start to feel suffocating and overwhelming when the scale tips into over-volume. The process of decluttering is meant to be liberating and to create more space for the life you want to live. Remember—it is truly a form self-care and a win-win. You’ll end up with a lighter, brighter home and your donated items will go to a new home too.
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2. What are the 3 most efficient steps to get started with organizing and decluttering a room?
- Start small. Choose a mini, concrete + straightforward project to begin any decluttering effort. Good contenders for initial projects include a junk drawer, a sock drawer or a pile on a coffee table. Start with the small projects to avoid the overwhelm and paralysis that can happen with too much decision-making. The key is to see that you can make progress!
- Use a timer. Set it for 15 minutes. You can do anything for 15 minutes! You’ll see how quickly the process goes and how you start to feel as you experience the changes.
- Have your supplies + categories ready.
For supplies I recommend:
- recycling bags
- black trash bags (for donations + trash)
- empty boxes (for sorting)
- post-it notes (for labeling).
- For eco reasons, I’m a big fan of using paper lawn bags for donations. They are sturdy and hold a lot.
For categories, I use these for the sorting process:
- Give to a Friend
- Lost + Found is another useful category for missing items or pieces that need to be returned to elsewhere in the home.
- And also, make it fun. Think about how you can make the process more enjoyable and go for it! Some ideas include: listening to music or a podcast, making yourself a cup of coffee or tea and rewarding yourself at the end (chocolate works for me).
Steph: “I’ve been incorporating this tip and it’s such a GAME CHANGER I’ve been listening to my favorite podcasts when I need to tackle something that I really don’t feel like doing – Like folding the laundry, emptying the dishwasher…I’m now looking for more piles of laundry to fold haha! 😉
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3. What are your top 3 go-to accessories for organizing?
- Well, of course, any basket from Baba Souk is an immediate go-to! I often joke with my clients that my last name should be “Bins + Baskets.” When you organize, you are essentially creating homes for items so you need to figure out how to contain each of your categories within their designated “homes.” Baskets are terrific for corralling objects, whether a basket by the front door for extra shoes, a basket for ongoing donations, or one for each kid for school-related items. We also have a basket in the kitchen called our “Clutter Collector” for anything that doesn’t belong in the kitchen. Things get tossed in all week long and then emptied out on the weekend. Whatever doesn’t have a home, gets the bye-bye treatment.
- Clear plastic storage boxes. Investing in good quality transparent bins is worth it and I especially like the latch-top ones. There’s a uniformity that is both functional and pretty when you have the same family of bins. Transparent bins are terrific because everything is visible and you can use them everywhere (closets, toys, garages, under-the bed, etc.) Still, I recommend labeling all your bins (and kids are great labelers and picture-drawers btw.)
- Glass mason jars. I love glass mason jars for organization and storage. Whether in the pantry, bathroom, school supplies or art projects, glass jars are affordable, eco-friendly and easy-to-clean. They also come up in multiple sizes and have lots of labeling options (hello Sharpie paint markers—you are so fun!) In our home, we use mason jars for baking supplies, cereal, coffee beans, grains, cough drops, Epsom and bath salts, markers, spare change, tealights, art supplies, yarn, dog treats, and the list goes on! Now that my kids are older, we also use them for all of their snacks (nuts, dried fruit, popcorn kernels, chocolates, etc.) and they know to re-fill from the back stock when almost empty.
Steph: “We’ve been using clear plastic bins since Tinka helped us re-organize our back store and let me just say that it’s 1000 times easier to find stuff! Hallelujah!
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4. For the messy creative type like me, can you share 3 quick tips to keep your house organized and somehow tidy on a daily basis?
- My creative clients are often incredible visionaries and dreamers so my advice is always to figure out how to keep it simple and practical at home. Don’t overcomplicate your organizing—make it easy and straightforward for you (and everyone you live with) to accomplish. For example, if a filing system isn’t your thing, just make sure all of your important papers are in the same box/bin/basket/place!
- Choose a few things to do each day. I really like the quote, “You can do anything but you can’t do everything.” It’s such an important reminder for all of us. My advice? Choose 3 things that you know you can do everyday and that will make you feel good in your home. Some ideas include: make your bed, put all the dishes in the sink (or even better yet, clean them!) and wipe off your counters.
- Invest in an evening routine. I highly recommend taking 15 minutes before bed to prepare to “unwind” your home. I usually make a to-do list to download all those ping-pong-y thoughts before bedtime and tidy up the kitchen so that it’s ready for breakfast/lunch-making. Other ideas include: make sure your purse/bag/backpack is ready, lay out your clothes (or have a general sense of what you’ll be wearing!) and set your alarm. This all helps feeling more organized and prepared to start the day ahead!
Steph: “I love this last idea, I need to try this! It seems like investing 15 minutes to download and prep would make me feel ahead (And maybe help me sleep better) I’m in!”
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5. I know you’re really into bringing JOY inside a home and you know we’re also really into that concept. Having visited your home, I can confirm it’s a happy place, filled with color good vibes! What brings the most joy to your home?
Joy can look and feel like so many different things. For me, besides my family and our dog—of course 🙂 what brings me most joy in our home includes: micro-changes, light, color and greenery.
Micro-changes: I LOVE mini-decorating projects and I’m known to do them (a lot). It’s extremely joyful to give spaces a new look just by switching up what you already have at home. Moving around furniture, swapping out artwork, creating a seasonal display on a shelf—these are all options for mini-transformations at home. A small shifting of a space can make a big impact!
Light: We are lucky to have a lot of natural light in our home but we also have long winters in Montreal where light can be scarce. In the winter, I hang up copper fairy lights all over our living room that we turn on at 5 pm each day and I also light candles every night. If you don’t have a lot of natural light, I recommend using light paint colors for your walls, adding more lighting throughout your home and using mirrors.
Color: Color, color, color—oh how I love you! I love bright pops of color in all hues, but right now I’m really into pink and neons. I’m extremely grateful for the artwork we have in our home from artists like Rachel Castle and Ara Osterweil who are brilliant with color. I also love textile artists who weave incredible tapestries rich with rainbow-inspired colors like Judit Just and Nova Mercury.
Greenery: Plants, trees, flowers, twigs, branches, bulbs, succulents—you name it, I get a lot of joy from all the greenery in our home. We have a shelf in the kitchen where I’m constantly adding and mixing up different plants + planter pots. I buy fresh flowers at the supermarket when they are on special. I have a terrarium with cacti and I added some vintage wooden mushrooms + fairies for a little fun. If you don’t have a lot of light in your home or truly don’t have a green thumb, try air plants or hardy succulents. And if all else fails, there is an increasing range of realistic options for artificial plants!
(Shop this look: Colourful Moroccan Rugs, Light Tan Leather Pouf, Sunshine Basket, Wild Ones Print, Pompom Garland)
Styling: Baba Souk
Pictures: Lalor Photographie