Get it done / Expert advice on organizing your home
Start those cleanouts!
Photo by kc kratt
Aly Luccari realized her knack for organization while working as an assistant in New Orleans. Her employer, she realized, didn’t need an assistant—she just needed to be organized. Luccari launched her business, Bright Organizing Solutions, in 2005, before moving to Buffalo in December 2011. In that time, she’s worked with clients to organize everything from small spaces to an entire home or office. Here, she shares her advice to get—and stay—organized this spring.
When someone decides to get organized, where should they begin?
Start with the mindset: remove any judgment and fear, and just look at items individually for what they are. Do you need to keep them? If you haven’t used something in five years, why are you holding onto it? Are you holding onto the past because you’re fearful of the future?
How do you determine a client’s goals, and where do you go from there?
I like to talk about how they feel when they walk into the space and/or use the space, and get a feeling for where their true angst is. Some people say, “My kitchen’s a mess. I want more organization in my kitchen.” But then when you talk to them about what’s really going on, a better place to start might be the dining room table because it’s piled with things they don’t have homes for.
Don’t necessarily worry about the top of the dresser or the clothes left out on the couch. Go into the drawers, as deep as you can into the nooks and crannies. When you pull that stuff out and shine a light on it, you acknowledge what you have. You may have forgotten about some things and realize you can let them go, and when you free up that space, everything that’s been left out, that didn’t have a home, now has a home.
How do you recommend deciding what to keep or discard?
Think about what you need—what you truly need. Are you holding onto something because it was passed down and feel an ethical obligation, but it’s all tattered and there’s no purpose for it? Maybe we take a picture of it and let it go. It’s really about defining your needs. And in a world where there’s so much advertising, they make us think we need things for happiness, when, in reality, the less we have, the more happiness we have.
Once someone’s organized, how can they stay organized?
Honor the system you’ve created and set markers for that. I like to have landing zones for people when you come home; typically, your arms are full and you just need a place to put everything. My personal system is that I am not truly home until that [landing zone] is cleared off and everything is in its appropriate home.
What’s neat about organizing is it’s really about premade decisions. You know the junk mail goes in the basket to be shredded or recycled. You know where your groceries go. Organized people get that, but it’s a critical step. One of my favorite pieces of information is the fewer decisions we make, the better quality decisions we make. If we know where everything goes that we’ve gathered throughout the day, that’s fewer decisions we have to make.
What’s your biggest piece of advice?
Let go of any negativity or judgment. You are who you are. You are a beautiful person inside and out, and your environment is not a judgment of who you are. And then, go deep. If it scares you, if you get a knot in your stomach opening a box or drawer, just do it. Tackle that fear—and tackle it with excitement.
Bright Organizing Solutions