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  • Writer's picturetriciahofacker

Pros & Cons of Living with a Professional Organizer

Updated: Sep 24, 2020

Kyle Eberlein speaks out about the good, the bad and the uncomfortable truth of living with a Professional Organizer.

I bribed Kyle Eberlein with Taco Bell so he would answer my questions


"You're really good about moving things around if a system doesn't work for me."

Reevaluating the systems in any space is super important! Just because it works for now, doesn't mean it will work forever. I try to think about everyone sharing the space- their age, height, and personalities. Things can evolve quickly, so it's good to take a step back and ask yourself what is/is not working.

"When I come home, I know where to put everything (keys, wallet, sunglasses, headphone, bag). I find that I don't accidentally wash my pants with coins, keys or headphones in the pockets anymore."

It took 5 different attempts to set up a system for Kyle's drop zone (it's the important shit landing pad). This current system works almost perfectly. It still isn't 100% perfect because of the damn drawer. Below is a photo of what his drop zone looks like when everything put away. Usually, his sunglasses and wallet end up next to the key tray because the drawer doesn't like to open all the way- making it inconvenient for him to put things away quickly. I don't blame him, and it doesn't bother me enough to want to buy something to replace it. #budgetforever

Kyle's drop zone. This is as far as the drawer comes out. And there's a picture of my Nana with wine in a mug!

Speaking of washing your clothes with things in your pocket... In order to wrangle all those items before placing them into the washer, I added a basket on top of the dryer. First, it holds the wool dryer balls, essential oil, and my intimates bag. Also, it has a small dish to hold treasures I find in clothes: collar stays, coins, gum, etc. I address it probably once a week and put everything in their homes.

"I love Bin Manuel Miranda. I've never had just one place to look for all my bathroom products before, and it makes it easy to find things."

Ah, yes. Bin Manuel Miranda...He's a large canvas bin in our bathroom closet that contains all of Kyle's bathroom items which he doesn't need daily/weekly. He never knew what to do with all the other stuff he didn't need all the time until...Bin Manuel. He loves the name and the purpose, which means he actually uses it! We've labeled all our canvas bins with nontraditional labels because, why not? *It should be noted that Lin Manuel Miranda is a really famous human person and we thank him for the binspiration.

It may be mismatched, but it works!

"I'm much more aware of what I own and how often I actually use my stuff. I do the One-In-One-Out rule you taught me because it makes a lot of sense. I think about it when I go to buy new things."

Yay! He's so on board with this rule. One-In-One-Out means for every new of something we bring in, we should be prepared to get rid of just as many old. For example: Buy two pairs of boots? Consider donating two old pairs you don't wear to make space. It makes cleaning and maintaining balance in the apartment so much easier. It also keeps us from impulse shopping (to an extent, duh). I placed this donation bin (pictured below) by the drop zone. Once it's full, we grab it on our way out, and donate the contents at Goodwill (for clothes/shoes/household goods) or the Humane Society (sheets & towels). We fill it up frequently and I usually end up making a Goodwill run once a month for us.

Donation basket by drop zone

"I like that we make our bed, and that our apartment feels clean. When we come home, it feels so nice."

So cute/gross. Each of us wants to make the bed for each other as a kind of gift or luxury, I suppose. We get so into it that we refuse to go to sleep sometimes (schedule dependent) until the other person has seen it. He literally said, "Going to sleep is great, but going to sleep in a made bed is so much better."

The side tables may not match and our beams may be low hanging, but we LOVE this made bed vibe.

"The metal shelves (in the utility closet) make it so easy to find things when I need them. Holiday decor, lightbulbs, Kleenex, whatever. It's easy to access things- it's nice not to have to move four boxes to get to something. And it's easier to take stock of things in there before we go shopping."

Please see the photo collage below for before (on the far right) and after's of the utility closet. We maximized the height of the space by adding the shelves. We don't buy bulk for most things, but we go through so many Kleenex's with our allergies and having a ton of toilet paper never hurt. It's nice that all our paper goods live together and don't clog up other spaces.

"I like how organized my closet is, and my shirts hang light to dark."

My heart just exploded.

"I know how to file papers so that I'll find them. And I sort my mail."

Damn right. These file boxes are from The Container Store's Bigso collection.

Our filing system
Mail inbox tray, urgent basket, and follow up/file basket. Works like a charm. Oh hey! Another Lin Manuel Miranda shout out!


"It's annoying that you change things around after I've already gotten used to it being in one place."

That's legit. I do move things around a lot to test out systems before recommending them to people. Or I'll have an Ah Ha moment that something "makes so much more sense" somewhere. Sometimes I'll see something posted a fellow Organizer on Instagram and I'll get inspired. I think it's a new annoying quirk of mine. Sorry!

"Sometimes I don't know how to put something away because it could belong in two different categories/places."

Yeah, that's an ongoing question. Case in point: lint rollers. Right now they live in a small bin in our bathroom closet with other "garment care" items. We don't have the luxury of a mudroom, but that is where I would probably put them otherwise. Kyle thinks it could live in the dresser, which serves as our mail station and makeshift desk/office. It also has travel sized tissues, gum, and portable chargers (for a quick grab & go). So honestly, he's right! A lint roller makes sense since we pass it on our way out the door. There's no reason we can't move it there!

"I don't really know if the lazy Susans in the fridge are necessary and they take up a lot of space. And the fridge bins are a little noisy."

Again, he's not wrong here about the lazy susans. We have two lazy susans in the fridge, which I love. One to store dressings & sauces and the second for breakfast specific items (maple syrup, creamer, cream cheese, etc.). But recently, we haven't been using the breakfast one as much, so it is kind of taking up space we could use for other things. Time to reevaluate!

I don't know what to say about the noisy fridge bins, bruh. Be less aggressive? *shrug*

"I don't understand why you needed to redo the pantry. Although, I guess it's better now that we don't waste food because it expires."

I put a lot of effort into figuring out a configurations which would accommodate both of our needs in the pantry and allow us to actually see and use what we have. It also makes it easier for us to write a grocery list so we don't overbuy. Also I made it look pleasing to the eye, which is hard to do when you have not a lot of cash to make it happen. (Not pictured- two large baskets filled with chips & Kyle specific snacks on top of the fridge.)

"I don't necessarily want to 'follow the rules' all the time."

Fair. And neither do I, even though I created most of them. The "rules" are in place as a sort of suggested maintenance manual for the apartment organizational ecosystem. But we're human. Often, I will leave clothes on the floor of my closet because I know that when I come back to address it later, it will take me less than two minutes to put it all away. I can let it sit there for a day or two before I get the itch to pick it up. Of course, this goes back to the idea of coming home to a tidy apartment. Would it be nice if everything were done when it could be done? Absolutely. But can it wait so we can do something more valuable with our time like search for a movie on Netflix for an hour? You bet your ass.

"Those metal shelves are an eyesore."

Yeah, but they'll be a beautiful thing when we have a garage some day!

"I'm just happy you're doing things. I don't wish it was any different than it is now, but I'm sure you'll change things anyway."

Here is his list of things I've organized that he didn't think needed to be organized before I said it bothered me:

Creating a drop zone

Moving the mugs closer to the coffee station

Fridge & Freezer organization

Evaluating how much stuff we had that we didn't use

Utility storage Laundry Hamper positions

DVD's (or rather, donating them and not having them)

Living with Kyle is so easy. He's been so patient with me through the past year while I reorganize our lives. So! It's only fair I get to state at least one con, right? I dont care if you agree, I'm doing it because AMERICA NEEDS TO KNOW THE TRUTH.

"Kyle disrobes and puts his pants NEXT to the hamper, and not INSIDE it"

Flames. Flames on the side of my face.
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