Raise your hand if you LOVE getting organized in January? While we’re always sad to wrap up the holiday season, we get pretty excited for the opportunity to simplify our space. This month we had the chance to chat with professional organizer and co-founder of Nice & Neat Homes, Alexia. Enjoy her 6 tips to make holiday clean-up more streamlined and organized this year!
Alexia: Nice & Neat Homes was founded by my older sister Priscila and I back in 2018. Due to our age gap of 10 years, we have always been in different phases of life, but one big thing we have in common is a knack for organizing. I was working full-time in the corporate world itching for a career change and she was a stay-at-home mom to three kids.
Our business unintentionally started when our mom moved into a new home and we wanted to surprise her by unpacking and organizing her kitchen while she was out of town. She was so relieved to have this stress off her shoulders, that it sparked the idea that maybe others could use organization in their lives too. It had always come relatively naturally to us both, but we didn’t realize it was a talent that others would actually hire for!
Fast forward and we have serviced hundreds of clients and hundreds of homes. Each time we refine our skill set to be more adaptable and effective. We love to collaborate and problem solve until we find the perfect solution.
Each year brings us more challenges and successes and we feel lucky going through it together. What started as a “potential” way to help others, has evolved into a service that transforms lives.
Dorai: How do you usually work with clients?
Alexia: We transform spaces with functional and beautiful solutions to simplify everyday living. We have an initial virtual consultation call with clients during which they tell us more about what they are struggling within their space and how they would ideally like it to function. From there we shop for all of the bins necessary for the product and bring in a team to handle the spaces in one day according to our 5-step organizing method.
- Remove all contents from the space. Empty out any drawers or shelves so there’s a clean slate to work with.
- Categorize and sort. Separate out like-items into different categories so we have a clear perspective on contents.
- Keep, toss, donate. Determine whether each item is a keep, something to toss in the garbage, or an item that can be donated.
- Incorporate product. Place organizing product that fits both the space and the contents. Containment is key!
- Establish a system. Prioritize valuable real estate for most-used items. Add a label to ensure long-term success.
Dorai: What have been some of your favorite organization projects? What has been one of your most challenging?
Alexia: One of my favorite projects was a dear client Lisa. She and her husband had just finished building their dream home after years of planning, decision-making, and the stress of raising their family. She hired us to unpack their belongings into their new home and set up a system for every space (kitchen, pantry, office, closets, etc). The timing of this project was also right after a long stretch of us not being able to be in clients’ homes due to the pandemic. Our team was really anxious to get this project right and make sure we went beyond her expectations.
When she walked into the pantry after the first day, tears immediately formed in her eyes. She was overwhelmed with emotion– relief that her spaces were set up and finished, awe in the beauty of the containers and placement, and overall appreciation that a system would be in place for her family. Her sincere appreciation and praise reinforced that the work we do for clients is meaningful, impactful, and transformational. It was the exact encouragement we needed to keep pushing on with the business after a scary and bumpy 2020 year!
One of the most challenging projects we did was the basement level and 6 car garage of a 5000 sq ft house. We organized for 4 straight days with a team of 7 organizers per day for a combined 160+ hours of work. Our partners Clutter B Gone came to do a junk removal two of the days with a massive truck and trailer. We made a huge difference in the space and the client was very happy, but we were exhausted by the end!
Dorai: Do you have any products you recommend for helping with organization and/or smarter storage for items you don’t use all year long?
Alexia: Yes! We have all of our favorite products linked on our website and our amazon storefront separated by space. If I had to choose my favorite and most transformational products, it would be the following:
Turntables - These are one of the most impactful organizing product investments. You can place them on a tricky corner or high shelf and be able to access what you need. Whether it’s in a pantry, kitchen, or bathroom.
“Our” Clear Storage Boxes - This line of bins from The Container Store is our go-to’s for all clients. They have a variety of sizes available to fit any space and they coordinate well with each other (2 shoe bins stacked are the same size as 1 tall shoe bin). The clear material is also great to see what’s in the bin if you are storing items for a long period of time.
Dorai: Getting your storage spaces organized can feel overwhelming at the start. What are 3 simple tips to help with organizing your less frequently used items such as decorations or seasonal clothing?
- Instead of tackling an entire storage room at once, organize as you go. When you pull out Christmas decor, donate anything that you didn’t end up decorating with that year. Then invest in some matching bins that you can organize into when you put it all away. Repeat for the next holiday and one daunting project will now feel seamless since you split it up throughout the year.
- Use the one-in-one-out rule. If you purchase a new pair of snow boots for the season, then donate your old pair. This will help you manage your inventory and prevent clutter from building up!
- Set aside uninterrupted time. Often we underestimate how long organizing will take (finding the bins, sorting, folding, labeling, etc). Find a little time each week to dedicate to organizing one small space or category at a time where you won’t be interrupted by work, kids, or other tasks. It can be as simple as organizing gloves and donating mismatched pairs one day and tossing dried-up markers the next. Make it manageable!
Dorai: What are 3 tips for stowing away hard-to-store items like wreaths, Faux the Christmas tree, etc.?
- Think outside the box and look for wall or door space. You can hang wreaths using a command hook or nail behind a storage room door or even on the outside edge of a shelf.
- Toss the box your tree comes in! Save yourself the headache and instead invest in a box or bag to store your tree.
- Keep your garlands untangled and stored away for free! Find a piece of cardboard and cut a small slit on both ends. Weave the end of one side of the garland in the first slit and then slowly wrap the garland around the cardboard until you reach the end and can secure it in the second slit. You won’t have to worry about untangling next year!