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  • Writer's picturetriciahofacker

5 Organizing Principles I Learned from Mom & Dad

As I visited my parents this weekend, I reflected on the ways they have inspired my passion for organizing, and taught me how some very important principles without even knowing it. Here's how...


#1 - Display Sentimental Items with Intention

Everyday, I help clients sort through their memorabilia and help them find a way to display their most loved items. Seeing your items proudly on display feels so much better than just knowing they exist in a storage box.

My parents still live in the house I grew up in: an old schoolhouse in small town Ohio. I've always thought this house is magical, with its creaky floorboards and tall old windows. They have cool heirlooms displayed, all that help tell the story of the home and our family.

For example, this framed diploma from a graduate of the class of 1914 hangs above the photo of spooky ghost children/students and teachers posing in front of the schoolhouse. Views of our tiny village of Casstown seen in the background when it was once all trees and dirt roads with a few farms. Then, there's the small clock, proudly displayed on the bookshelf from my Dad's Great Grandfather, which still works and chimes every hour. I can tell it makes my Dad really happy to hear it.

Cool skis next to original windows from the schoolhouse

#2 - Use What You Have

You don't always need to buy new containers to create a more functional system.

My Mom teases my Dad about his forgetfulness often, which is why she helps him "find his marbles" and stores the collection in these Ball jars. These are displayed in a cabinet with a few pieces of special trays. So cute. :) This idea works on a bigger scale, too. In the upstairs bathroom, my Mom has created more shelves by turning a plastic basket on its side and adding two shelf dividers on another shelf. It's easy to see everything, keep it tidy and grab what you need. She's added hair product back stock in a bin behind the shelves, which you can easily access.

#3 - Use Your Real Estate Wisely

Whether it's a wall or an entire room, I help people figure out how to best utilize their spaces to meet their needs.

My Dad wears a hat everyday, and he likes to see ALL of his options. My parents turned this walkway into a mudroom of sorts by utilizing coat hooks and nails. Each nail holds at least one hat for my Dad to go shopping, and each hook provides a zone for coats on their way into the home from the garage. They don't need to worry about a large seasonal swaps with the amount of hooks they have here. My Mom has an entire scrapbook room, which I admire. It's filled with LOTS of creative stuff which she has organized nicely by utilizing office supplies.

#4 - Everything Has a Home

People assume that being organized means that you always put stuff away and there is never clutter laying around. WRONG. Wrong on so many levels. Being organized means that when you have clutter laying around, you feel less overwhelmed because you know it has a designated home, and you'll get around to putting it there eventually.

My Dad laid out these tools into categories a very long time ago in order to put them away. He knows where they will go, but he just hasn't put them away yet. He doesn't feel overwhelmed looking at this space because he knows that when the time comes to clean up, he has a plan. While it may look chaotic, he has a method to his madness.

#5 - Containment is Key

The key to getting organized is to simply keep like things together. This is done easily by putting categories together in a bin, labeling it, and coming to an agreement with the entire household that things can be found/put away as such.

I organized their kitchen as a Christmas gift last year. I found these white plastic bins on Amazon for super cheap, and worked with them to figure out categories that made sense based on their buying habits. Eight months later, they are still managing to keep the categories together (while maybe overflowing a little). There are just some things they like in certain places, even if it doesn't fit into the categories, like the chocolate syrup between the tea and hot cocoa. And if it works for them, then I celebrate it!

Did you pick up any organizing habits from for parents? I'd love to hear about it! :)

Until next time... later skaters!

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