Vacaville Organizer-stepping away

Hello organizing friends! After a great deal of contemplation, I have decided to no longer accept new clients or book consultations through the end of the year. This change is effective 9/1/16. I appreciate your overwhelming support, referrals and partnering with many of you with your organizing goals.

Happy Organizing!-Lorinda, owner of Vacaville Organizer

Vacaville Organizer and LuLaRoe

Screen Shot 2016-07-05 at 10.06.31 PM

I see a lot of closets. Just recently, I helped a client edit and organize a closet which yielded 18 black garbage bags in donations. Closets are a woman’s inner sanctum…the place we let few people see. Why? I think it is one of the most personal spaces in the home. Our closets are full of memories-both good times and bad. Closets usually house our various sizes; I would say most women have at least three sizes in their closet. There is often regret about garments with the tags still attached. It is, generally, a place that I am not invited to organize with a client until a relationship is established. Revealing our closet contents makes us vulnerable.

Working with clients has made me realize that there is a need for comfortable, modest clothing. How many times have you purchased a stylish outfit and counted the seconds until you could take it off and get comfortable again? I see closets packed so tightly that you can’t remove a hanger, yet the client truly feels that she doesn’t have anything that suits her. Accessories are brimming off of the top shelves and piled on the floor in an attempt to put “your individual” stamp on mass-produced items.

I share this with you because I can relate personally. In fact, I was so frustrated with finding clothing 6 months ago that I considered sewing the skirt myself! (Sewing is an amazing skill, but not when you don’t have the time, talent or proper equipment.) It is about this time that I was introduced to LuLaRoe. I fell in love with my first item. I couldn’t stop talking about it; I wanted to tell everyone. There is nothing like it on the market.llrspring2016_188

This unique company offers on-trend, modest and comfortable clothing. Only 2,500 items of each print are ever made so you won’t see your shirt on every corner. I love that this company embraces all sizes of women by offering sizes from a 0-24. There are solid, conservative styles and fun patterns that suit the most creative personalities. Pencil skirts, dresses, “buttery” leggings, shirts, tunics, maxi skirts and more in every woman’s size.

Further, LuLaRoe clothing can enable women to edit their wardrobes down to simple basics that actually fit, make them feel good and express their unique style. When organizing a client’s closet, it actually becomes easier to dress with fewer items. A capsule wardrobe that travels well can free your time, budget and emotions.

As a professional organizer, I am excited to have a resource for individuals who are looking to simplify. As a LuLaRoe Consultant, I look forward to helping women bring organization to their closets through mindful editing, folding techniques, storage ideas and space planning. Organization and mindful clothing selection go hand-in hand.july4th_llr_85a

Screen Shot 2016-07-05 at 10.06.31 PM

Inventory and exciting things are coming in August! This blog, my LuLaRoe Facebook page and Instagram will all have updates about organized, comfortable clothing.

 

-Lorinda, Organized Fashion Consultant

 

Could a baking center help you get organized in the kitchen?

covercollage416

Does it take you 15 minutes to grab all the ingredients to make a simple batch of cookies? Do you often begin a recipe only to find out that you are lacking a simple staple? Does the way your kitchen is set up deter you from cooking?

Maybe a baking center would help.

It is no secret that I have an affinity for organizing kitchens. I love the huge difference that a few hours can make. I work in a full spectrum of kitchen sizes and with a different budgets/needs. The size of your kitchen does not limit its ability to work hard for your family. If you enjoy baking and cook frequently, a baking center could greatly simplify your life.

Kitchen Zoning

The concept of a baking center is centered around setting up “centers” in your kitchen. Julie Morgenstern, author of  Organizing From the Inside Out, does a terrific job illustrating the various kitchen zones. Delineated areas within the kitchen should be centered around the family’s natural activities. I encouraged clients to list the various activities that occur in their kitchens. Some of these zones may include:

  • coffee zone
  • baking zone
  • lunch/left-over zone
  • beverage/bar zone
  • trash/recycling zone
  • food preparation zone
  • food storage zone
  • daily cooking zone
  • arts and crafts zone
  • home school zone

A Baking Zone

The baking zone could be set up in a cupboard, in the walk-in pantry, on a set of kitchen shelves or on a rolling kitchen cart. The mindset behind each of these zones is the same-to consolidate the necessary items required for tasks and simplify storage. An organizing fundamental that consistently works it to put like items together.

Baking Zone In An Existing Overhead Cupboard

Pantry#3

 

 

This wonderful client loved to bake and already owned most of the pieces we used to assemble her baking cabinet. Building upon her existing Rubbermaid storage set, we adjusted the cabinet shelf heights, gathered all her necessities next to the stand mixer below this cabinet and a baking cabinet was born.

pantry#1

This client designated an over-head cabinet in her newly built home for her baking necessities. It is important to take into consideration the largest size quantity of any baking staple you normally purchase and choose containers to accommodate this size bag. An organizer can help guide you to the correct pieces and capacities.

Baking Center in a Walk-in Pantry

pantry#4

 

 

 

 

 

A professional can not suggest storage solutions and its dimensions, but also tie the items together with custom labels. The perfect labels are not only a visual incentive for things to return to the correct place, but they also unify the various zones in the kitchen to reflect the client’s style.

IMG_3143

pantry#5

 

 

 

 

 

 Keep A Modular Footprint

A common mistake many homeowners make when setting up a kitchen baking zone is not using uniform containers. The containers do not need to be expensive, as is seen in the next photo using dollar store options, but they do need to all be modular.IMG_2756

Sometimes you don’t have to purchase any new containers. This client only needed a couple of extra containers to make her existing set work after we searched her kitchen. A quick wash and repurpose and we had a baking center.

Pantry#2

 

 

 

Think Outside the Cupboard With Your Baking Center

I love to use this inspiration photo to set up baking centers when there really aren’t any cupboards or a pantry to use. This is often the case with apartment and condo clients and those renters who need to customize their rental for a short period of time. I love this chrome shelf option because it can later be reused in a variety of spaces in the home and garage. Source: http://theeverygirl.com/feature/alaina-kaczmarskis-chicago-apartment-tour

Screen Shot 2016-04-13 at 12.24.54 PM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A rolling cart also makes a fabulous baking center and can move to various spaces. This is my present inspiration for a darling client with a love of baking.

Screen Shot 2016-04-06 at 9.31.59 PM

 

 

 

Do you love to bake? Vacaville Organizer would love to help you create a wonderful baking station in your home. Consultations for local, Vacaville residents are free. Call (530)902-5960.

Happy Organizing!-Lorinda, owner of Vacaville Organizer

The Magic of Two Hours

twhourclock

Where does the time go?

Two hours can pass so quickly. In two hours you can watch two evening television programs, one movie, wash and dry a load of laundry, make and serve dinner, drive back and forth to work, go to the dentist or a myriad of other seemingly ordinary, mundane tasks. Do you ever ask yourself where the time went at the conclusion of a busy day? You may feel exhausted, but you look around and get discouraged that more of your goals weren’t accomplished.

You are NOT alone.

The majority of my clients describe their daily life as “over-whelming”, “exhausting”, “fast-paced” and “difficult to manage”. These same clients are successful in their professional lives and at home, but lack the time to tackle projects that would improve their quality of life. A recent business article entitled, “12 Things Successful People Do Before Breakfast” by Jenna Goudrau will surprise you….specifically #4 and #10.

Working on a Personal Project

Strategizing and Planning

 

The Silently Overwhelmed

I recently had the privilege of working with a lovely, successful and gracious client. This client had worked hard to develop her professional career, devoting 8 hours or more daily at the office, extended education, travel and working into the night at home fielding calls, doing reports and managing her team. She is a single mother who runs the household, is an attentive and nurturing parent and has more friends than most. She is fun. She is talented. She is career-driven. She is also over-whelmed, but you would never know it looking from the outside. She may be just like you….quietly drowning. 

“Throw me a life preserver!”

I share my lovely client’s struggle because she is like so many clients that I am privileged to be invited into their inner-circle to help. She may even be a little like you…the “you” that doesn’t come out at dinner parties or at work. I want to tell you that there is a life preserver that can help “drowning in clutter, projects, unfinished business”. It is two hours. In two hours, magical things can happen partnering with a professional organizer. At the two hour mark, we can dig you out of a proverbial hole and you will begin to see headway. Two hours of concentrated and planned work can lift your spirits. Those same two hours can give you the encouragement to press forward. Successful people realize the importance of their own projects and strategize how to devote time to get them done. In Goudrau’s article, she outlines that successful people plan to be able to do things that are important to them. As a professional organizer, I would add that doing those nagging clutter-clearing projects that make your life difficult will give you peace. Two hours can throw you a life preserver in a sea of chaos.

Maybe you have a room, a garage or a corner in your home like this one.

BeforeIMG_4165

This photo was actually taken about twenty minutes into the clearing process, when we could actually swing the door open. This was a weighty project on another client’s list. His adult child left home AND a big mess. Over a few months, this morphed into a completely unusable room and a great deal of stress for the homeowner. The project became more unmanageable and unpleasant to consider beginning. Work, the holidays, travel for work and family obligations seemed to fill up every opportunity to tackle such a big project. The client decided to book an appointment with me for four hours. He planned to make this personal project a priority, just as Goudrau described. At the two hour mark, we snapped these photos of the room:

after_4173

 

 

after2_4174What a difference two hours make.

I give high marks to this client. He was ready to make decisions and a hard worker. We took bag after bag of trash, donation items and things to be relocated out of this space. We had a strategy, we set aside the time and just dug in. Amazing things can happen in the span of a few hours. Nothing was purchased for this project. The only tools required were different colored garbage and donation bags. The room was now functional again! More importantly, the burden of clearing out this space was removed from my client’s list of things that were weighing him down, causing him stress and even disturbing his sleep. This room was no longer a daily irritant.

Vacaville Organizer books appointments for a minimum of four hours. This enables us to build in time to strategize, clear out the space and get it to a point of equilibrium before we leave. I am always so excited to reach that magical two hour mark with a client and see encouragement in their face. Two hours can make a difference in even the largest of projects. At four hours, there are usually high fives all around!

Do you have a Monster Project looming over you?

Screen Shot 2016-01-31 at 8.20.30 PM

Do you feel overwhelmed, over-worked, under-appriecated and without hope due to a situation of excess? I would encourage you to develop a plan and set aside time to work toward your goal. Your plan may involve partnering with Vacaville Organizer, hiring a babysitter to help with the children so you can work uninterrupted, taking a day off of work or another creative solution. Then set your phone’s clock for a two hour alarm and dig in.

Screen Shot 2016-01-31 at 8.24.35 PM

You’ll be surprised with how much you can accomplish in just a few hours.

Read, set, organize!

-Lorinda, owner of Vacaville Organizer

 

 

 

 

 

Free, In-Home Consultations

baking season adI saw them setting up the Christmas isle in Target yesterday. Holy smokes! Yes, the holidays are just around the corner. Baking, parties, family gatherings and big dinners are a part of the fabric of many families during the holiday season. Ask yourself-

Is my kitchen ready for baking?

Would I feel comfortable having holiday guests?

There is plenty of time to schedule a free consultation with Vacaville Organizer before the “holiday hustle” begins.

Why not give yourself a little help this year? 

Most of us juggle work, sport schedules, demanding careers, family obligations, children, church responsibilities and community work. There is a lot on your plate. Vacaville Organizer would be honored to set up your pantry, get those counters cleared, find a home for all your paperwork, get your laundry room functioning better, clear out the toys to make way for Santa’s offerings and shrink your personal “to do” list. You work hard and deserve a bit of help too.

We hire other professionals in our life to support us. An organizer is simply another member of the team.

Gardeners, accountants, piano teachers, repair people, house keepers, dog groomers, hair stylists and the list goes on of people who are our “helpers”. Many people don’t realize how a professional organizer can help. Some of my recent projects included:

  • setting up a baking center
  • organizing two decades of back-logged business paperwork
  • creating gorgeous pantries (our specialty)
  • a linen closet over-haul
  • making a laundry room function
  • creating a drop-zone for a busy family

There is never any judgement. I often work independently, after the client has given instructions, so you do not even have to be present for the entire work day. Your identity can remain closely guarded. Some of the clients I work for never want a photo taken or others to know that I was there…working behind the scenes. I love making others look good!

An “organizational boost” can make all the difference.

Sometimes my work with a client is just the little “organizational boost” they need to feel better about their space. Once we complete one area together, I often hear back from them and they have gone on to complete other areas on their own with great success. They are excited, energized and full of hope.

Families are busier than ever. My clients are accomplished mothers/fathers, business owners and professionals. An organizer’s support simply gives them more time to devote to the more important areas of life, while I quickly catch them up on the clutter back-log that occurs when families are busy.

Professional organizing services are more affordable than you may think.

Local consultations are free. From there, a few hours of support may be all you need to take a deep breath and cross off a big area on your to-do list.

Vacaville Organizer’s services make a great gift.

This season we have beautiful, new gift certificates that are ready for gift-giving. This is the one gift that won’t end up at the back of that cluttered closet! I would love to talk with you about your ideas for business client, friend and family gifts.

It really is that easy. I know that this holiday season can be one that you can enjoy, free from stress. Vacaville Organizer can assist you with your mental list that is already beginning to grow. I would love to talk with you today through my Facebook Page, text/telephone at (530)902-5960, company website or this blog. Let’s chat about my favorite topic….your organizational projects and ideas!

Happy “almost” holidays and happy organizing!

-Lorinda, owner of Vacaville Organizer

 

Food Storage Containers…You Need LESS

Food storage containers

I promise you that you need less food storage containers than you think.

Open your food storage cabinet and take a peek for yourself. I can give a pretty good guess what it will contain:

  • A huge stack of disposable containers
  • A pile of mis-matched Rubbermaid bowls. You have about half of the matching lids
  • A few good TupperWare pieces. You only have one or two of these lids. You know where each of these came from.
  • Most of the contents are stained.
  • Over half of the storage containers have dishwasher spots and very visible wear.

You will insist that you need ALL of them for various reasons. 

I can attest that you do not need all the food storage containers in your cupboard. Perhaps you will argue that you do. Here’s a few points to consider.

How many left-overs do you have, at one time, in your refrigerator?

If you are like most of my clients, you have about two meals worth of left-overs that are fit to consume in your refrigerator. You would need just a handful of food storage containers to accommodate this many meals.

Letting go of excess food containers frees up valuable kitchen space.

When I help clients evaluate spacial concerns in the kitchen, I like to gravitate to the food storage cabinet. Inevitable, there is lost space to claim if careful editing and organizing is done here. Very often, food storage frustrates the client and the containers get tossed “willy nilly” in frustration and end up taking up a lot of space. That space could be used for so many other things that would benefit the client more in terms of kitchen storage and meal preparation.

How often do you do the dishes?

Most of us do the dishes every day or pretty close to that. There is no need to keep a month’s worth of food storage containers in reserve, just in case the ones we are using are dirty. In fact, since food storage containers are so much easier (and more pleasant) to clean right after they are used, keep the bare minimum and wash out what you used if you need to refill them. Once again, this helps with storage as well.

I need to keep a huge stash for my family to use for packing lunches. In fact, I have two sets of everything…the old, disgusting set that goes to work/school and my “real” food storage pieces.

Do you realize how many pieces were are talking about? This mindset will fill your cabinets and drawers in a hot second! A few, inexpensive plastic pieces are reasonable to keep for this purpose. Consider having enough for each member of your household to pack one lunch…no more. Additionally, this “disposable” mindset conveys to the family members that you don’t care about the food storage pieces because there are so many. Who cares if they empty their lunch boxes when there are 100 more containers in the cupboard? Who would even notice if they lost your nasty, old CoolWhip container?

What if (gulp…) I don’t have enough storage pieces after I purge?

I can see the look of terror in your eyes. Firstly, this will enable you to know what sizes you truly are missing. Are you running low on a piece to put extra salad in? Is it a larger container for a side dish you are missing? Maybe you need a container to take a left-over to work. Instead of purchasing large sets with many sizes you will never use, consider purchasing the sizes you truly need. There is very little difference in cost because you are only investing in the food storage pieces you use most. Additionally, if you really get in a pinch and the panic begins to set in, you can:

  • use disposable storage bags as a temporary solution for many items. This actually can conserve refrigerator space if you need to store a lot of leftovers.
  • clean your fridge and reclaim storage containers by dumping unused left-overs. We all have them.
  • Canning jars make wonderful storage containers for many items. Don’t be afraid to get creative when you are in a pinch.
  • Cover a plate/dish with wrap or foil until the proper container can be acquired.

I don’t want to spend a lot of money.

I hear you. Food storage doesn’t have to be expensive and you don’t have to buy everything you need at once. Once you have determined what you use and need, I would advise you to also consider five important points:

  1. Buy square or rectangular pieces. They maximize the space in your fridge and lunch boxes. They also stack much better in your refrigerator and cupboard.
  2. Purchase glass storage containers for left-overs. They are a little more expensive up front, but will not stain or get that “container funkiness” that plastic often does. Glass is dishwasher friendly, doesn’t leach chemicals when you warm it up and will last exponentially longer than plastic.
  3. Research before you buy a big set of anything. Check on Amazon reviews or with friends. What sets wear well and avoid leaking? If you really won’t use all the pieces in a larger set, consider gifting the extras to someone else or purchase the pieces you need individually.
  4. Ensure that your food storage containers are easy to clean and store. You want a type of container that is easy to maintain. Consider where you will be storing these new containers and make sure there is room to spare. A few dollar store baskets to contain lids or small, lunch containers is often helpful.
  5. If you have difficulty using your hands or small children will be using the containers, make sure that the latches are easy to open and close.

With the holidays approaching, I will need to be prepared for baking and large gatherings with reserve containers.

I advise my clients to purchase disposable containers for each event and not to store extras. Who wants to have Holiday themed GladWare set stuffed in their cupboards for the other 11 months of the year–just to be sure you have enough on hand in December? With the exception of clients who live in remote areas, far from shopping resources, consider purchasing disposable storage containers with your specific event in mind. This will enable you to also get the exact sizes and patterns you will need and not “make do” with whatever you discover in the back of your TupperWare cabinet.

Place more value on what you have and you need to own less. Toss those food storage pieces.

Here are some resources for left-over storage solutions. (Plastic may be preferable for packing lunches/child use.)

These are not affiliate links.

Amazon 20 Piece Snapware set

Amazon PopIt 12 Piece Storage Set

Amazon Glasslock 4-Piece Rectangle Set

Happy Organizing!

-Lorinda with Vacaville Organizer

NEW! School Memory Book Service Offered

Memory Binder Ad

New Service:  School Memory Books

In nearly every home I encounter bins of school papers. The most common explanation as to “why” families haven’t done anything with their children’s paperwork, school photos, artwork and memorabilia is two-fold:

  1. They simply do not have the time. These are busy, dedicated mothers and fathers who often have more than one job and adding to their already lengthy daily “to-do” list simply isn’t possible.
  2. They don’t know what to keep and what to toss. As a result, they simply keep EVERYTHING.

Would you like to eliminate the guilt of collected school memorabilia for your child?

 

Would you enjoy being able to access those memories/photos/papers to enjoy them now…rather than in 20 years?

Vacaville Organizer is offering a limited time service of creating memory books for clients. The process is a simple 3 steps.

  1. Make an appointment to Vacaville via phone, email or text.
  2. Vacaville Organizer will come to your home (within our service area of Fairfield, Vacaville, Winters an Dixon) to pick-up your items, in a sealed tub. We will provide you with protective envelopes in which you can sort your child’s art/mementos/photos by year in school.*
  3. Within two weeks your finished product will be returned to your home.

*There is a $40 deposit required for each book.

What do the books look like?

Vacaville Organizer uses crisp, white 2 and 3 inch binders with acid/archival free page protectors. The outside of the book will be customized to your specifications. Some clients choose a “school theme”, while other prefer a simple color that matches the decor of the home. Dividers are placed to delineate each year in school. The format includes a school photo, class photo, reports cards and then any artwork, reports, certificates and school memorabilia for each year in school.

Generally, it takes (1) or (2) 3-inch binder(s) to cover grades K-8 and one 2-inch binder for the high school years.

What will be included in my binder?

All school photos, report cards, 8.5X11 artwork, personal writings, certificates and anything with a hand print will always be included. Generally, workbooks, mass-produced art, tests and things that are not personal in nature will be put aside and returned to the client in a sealed enveloped.

What if I have over-sized items that I would like to include?

We can absolutely do that. Our answer to those bulky items it to take a photo of the trophy, diorama, jersey or oversized art piece and include that in your memory book.

Can you scan it?

YES! Vacaville Organizer uses a high-powered, professional Fujitsu ScanSnap scanner. We can scan your entire school memory book for you and provide you with a disc containing the image of each page. You can their ensure that these memories will last a lifetime, you can share their memory books with loved ones and store a digital copy of their books in a different/fire-safe location such as a safe or safe deposit box.

The cost is for scanning each book ranges from $75-100 per book, depending on the amount of pages in each book.

What if I later want to scrapbook these items?

If, at another point in life, you decide that you want to make a scrapbook for your child, the School Memory Book Vacaville Organizer creates will have preserved the integrity of all of the important photos and artwork for you, in chronological order.

Let go of the guilt today.

I help many families who are simply overwhelmed by the task of creating a way to enjoy their children’s keepsakes. Vacaville Organizer would be honored to partner with you in creating a keepsake that can be easily displayed on a bookshelf and enjoyed with your children for years to come.


 

Darling Dollar Store Pantry

Is the biggest obstacle standing between you and organizing your pantry money? Perusing Pinterest would give you the impression that it can be expensive to give the heart of the kitchen-the pantry-a facelift. Take heart..today’s post features a darling pantry done on a dime. What I like most about this pantry is the cute client’s sunny personality shining through. Let’s take a quick peek:

Robertsoncover#1

Like every good project, there is a beginning and happy ending to the organizing story. I share with you the beginning to let you know that you are not alone in your efforts to keep your pantry organized. This organized client’s pantry has to serve a busy family and gets used on a daily basis. Considering the function of a pantry is foremost.

Robertsonbeforenafter

After a client assessment, this on-the-ball client didn’t wait for me to get started. She emptied the entire pantry out, cleaned it, purged and had in painted in a matter of days. I was so impressed. Being able to do the ground work independently truly helps your budget and often allows the organizer just to come in to do the finishing/spacial work. This client saved a great of of her budget with this step alone. The bright,white paint provided the perfect clean canvas for this organizing project.

Another way we stayed within a small budget was to take advantage of what storage the client already owned. We re-thought her existing containers and moved all her staples into the Rubbermaid containers she already owned. The dollar store provided the three needed remaining containers for things like cornstarch, baking powder and cornmeal. Consider all of the containers you presently own and ways that you can use them differently. Sometimes the client already owns the perfect solution.

robertsondollarbins

Our big spurge (still only $26 dollars each) were the rolling can organizer racks which the client purchased from Amazon for the project (link here). Having the cans function better and finding a long-term solution to inventory issues was a priority for this on-the-go mommy. When making a budget for any organizing project, decide what items you can splurge on and what items you can save on. In this case, the ultra-narrow shelves were perfectly designed for bins found at our local dollar store. If your project centers around dollar store finds, consider allowing extra time in your timeline to acquire all the needed items. In this case, many trips to several different store locations over a few weeks enabled us to have the right combination of sizes/colors to complete the project. A little work on your part can save you plenty of money in your bottom line. Find out when your local dollar store receives shipments and don’t be afraid to ask the employees to help you find the items you are searching for. I have found that they are more than willing to help on days that the store isn’t too busy. (Asking sweetly helps too!)

robertsoncanrack

Choosing a cohesive color theme with labels and bins can tie a project together. In this case, the inspiration was this cute palette of blue and yellow against a crispy, white pantry backdrop.

Screen Shot 2015-05-26 at 5.24.24 PM Screen Shot 2015-05-26 at 5.25.03 PM

Finally, add a touch of yourself to your space. Not only does it give your newly organized space personality, but cognitively is encourages you to keep the space organized and tidy. I often refer to it as “putting your moon flag” on the new space. You are claiming it for your own!

robertsonpersonal

I encourage you to look at your space with fresh eyes if budget has been a deterrent. Find ways to recycle what you have, rethink the space, pay a visit to the dollar store and personalize your pantry with your own, special touch.

Robertsoncover#1Vacaville Organizer would be happy to help you with a budget pantry facelift. Local consultations are always free.

Happy Organizing!-Lorinda Childs, owner of Vacaville Organizer

Beautiful Pantry Reveal

Edmonds pantry #1

The kitchen pantry is a high traffic area of the home. Most families are in and out of their food storage cabinets/pantries multiple times a day. To complicate matters, the pantry is a communal space as all families members need to access it. It is a heavy-traffic area in most homes. According to the book, What Americans Build and Why: Psychological Perspectives, 85% of Americans want a walk-in pantry. I have helped clients organize a pantry that is one small cabinet in an apartment, to a large walk-in pantry. The dimensions may vary with each space, but the process remains consistent. An organized pantry of any size makes life and cooking SO much easier.

I had the privilege of organizing a pantry in a new built for a recent client. After consulting with her about her family’s habits, food patterns, her desires for the space and analyzing the measurements, we hatched a plan to make it both pretty and highly functional for her family. Let’s dig in to the process that works for all pantry organization projects!

Take a “before” photo.

This step will be immensely helpful later when you need to assess space usage in the pantry. You will need to study the photos to see how food is being stored. Additionally, it is extremely rewarding to review these photos after you complete your beautiful pantry project. Bask in your “awesomeness” and hard work!

Begin with an empty space.

IMG_2315

I know, it is A LOT of work to empty out your entire pantry. I promise it will be worth it and will provide you with the best results if you begin with an empty space. Put on some fun music and some comfy clothes and dig into emptying out every cracker, crumb and box from your space. As you empty, begin to categorize things into what I call “lands”. (Much like Disneyland does!) I have categories like: cracker-land, sweets-land, canned veggies-land, condiment-land, etc. As you are sending your food to their respective “lands” or piles, check for any expired food. This is also a good time to really evaluate food that you know that your family does not like and will never eat. Unopened food that is still within date can be donated to your local food bank.

Take the opportunity to start fresh.

You have done the hard work to now have an empty space. This is a perfect opportunity to line shelves, paint, add lighting or even paper the walls. Not only does this have an obvious visually pleasing effect, but it also mentally signals to the brain that this space is WORTH keeping clean. This psychological cue often encourages clients to maintain their newly organized space because it feels fresh and different. The client is also further vested in the success of the project.

Edmonds #10 wall

The darling client, in this case, wanted a pop of unexpected color in her brand-new pantry. Surprisingly, the pretty paper featured above is simply shelf liner. Get out of town…. I know! Shelf liner is a little trick that enables clients to have the sense of wallpaper without the cost, commitment and tricky installation. Additionally, when they tire of the pattern… simply pull it down. (I always recommend a clean wall to begin with to optimize the liner sticking properly. Wiping it down with a solution of diluted rubbing alcohol also helps to ensure tackiness.)

Have a plan.

This is your chance to finally fix what DOESN’T work with your pantry. Yes, you probably can’t change the space allocated in your home for a pantry, but you CAN change how you utilize it. It helps to consider the following ideas as you hatch your grand pantry plan.

  • Are you utilizing any door space available to you?
  • Are you maximizing the vertical space between shelves?
  • Are there side walls that you could harness additional storage from (i.e. mounted racks, hooks, or bins attached to the side wall)?
  • Are there items that could be relocated to other areas of the home?
  • Are pantry items arranged with children or those with physical limitations in mind?
  • Can you easily see your food to make inventory possible?
  • Does a stool need to be tucked nearby to access the top shelves?
  • Is the food arranged for healthy eating choices for the family?

Measure.

One word, but it makes all the difference in a well-planned pantry. Measure the dimensions of the cabinets, width of shelves, distance between shelves, the tallest items to be stored, your existing containers that will be put back into the pantry, back of the door clearance and the swing distance of any doors. Use your phone, if that is easier for you, to record the information. You can use these vital numbers later if you need to purchase additional storage systems.

Get creative with storage.

This is the time when using a professional organizer is often helpful. Strategic placement, efficient organizing tools and creating unique systems make your pantry work to its potential. Here are a few ideas for this particular cute client’s recent project.

Edmonds #12 bins

This gorgeous pantry had plenty of space under the last shelf. The client and I decided that it would be the perfect home for her root vegetables and some extra picnic/paper supplies. The wooden crates have cotton liners to catch any debris from the onion skins or potato dirt and roll out smoothly without damaging her beautiful floors.

Edmonds bins #2

Edmonds #4

I love to organize nuts, legumes, dried fruit and pasta in half gallon canning jars. I think the textures are naturally beautiful and the tight, twist seal ensures their freshness. Additionally, you won’t lose any bags of these items at the back of the pantry anymore. My client has wonderful, healthy eating habits and these jars showcased her “artful” food.IMG_2434

Edmonds #7

Baskets that slide right onto the existing shelves doubles your storage and makes small packages visible/easy to access. I also love these wire baskets for bread storage to keep it from getting smashed and simply forgotten about.

Edmonds #8

My client has fabulous taste and picked out these grey hatched plastic baskets as the inspiration for her pantry design. They keep food categories separated and contained. Additionally, they provide storage limit guidelines. The fact that they are plastic was another wonderful choice on her part as they are durable and affordable. Their uniform design adds to the tidy and unified feeling of space.

Edmonds #8

After loads of research, I finally settled on these SnapWare containers. They have an opening which allows you to reach in/pour as well as an airtight seal. This client has a large family and needed containers that would accommodate Costco sizes of many items, including cereal. This particular SnapWare 23-cup sized container is constructed with little hands in mind, as you can grip it on one end. These are dishwasher safe and will stand the test of time.

Screen Shot 2015-04-29 at 7.59.58 AM

IMG_2457 (1)

Rolling can racks are a fun addition that make the client’s pantry feel more like a high-end grocery store. A quick glance at the cans which are organized according to type allows her to take quick shopping inventory. No more running low on a particular canned item!

Above the racks are a series of lazy susans. The client’s pantry had fairly deep shelves which would have made access to her oils/vinegars, condiments, sauces and spreads difficult. We also wanted the children to help put away groceries and keeping everything lined up just wasn’t realistic. These rotating lazy susans are a wonderful way to maximize the space and keep all of her staples at her fingertips.

Label.

Label everything to claim its space. Things are more likely to returned to their designated spaces when clear labels are used.

Add your personal touch.

Add a hook for your apron that you need to constantly grab. Paste a conversion chart on the inside of the door. Attach cork board to the inside of your cabinet for your lists. Put your signature touch on your finished pantry.

IMG_2459

Edmonds pantry #1

Perhaps “Pantry Perfection” will never be realized in such a heavily utilized area, but adding systems to maximize the space you DO have can improve your home’s efficiency, your family’s eating choices and your own sanity. Vacaville Organizer would love to make your pantry ideas a reality in a matter of hours.

Happy Pantry Organizing-Lorinda with Vacaville Organizer

Hall Closet Organized

Hall Closet Organized

Hall Closet Organized

Spring project: Hall Closet Organized

Hall and linen closets are often a goldmine of wonderful space in the home. I had the privilege of working with a darling client to organize her hall closet that served many functions. This hard-working closet served as the family’s linen closet, medicine chest, household stock warehouse and storage for more essentials than I could even list. Storage is often at a premium in homes so every cabinet needs to function well. My lovely client lives in an older home and was looking for a way to brighten and lighten the feel of the aging wood in her closet without the time, hassle and mess of painting. Within a few hours with Vacaville Organizer, her closet was transformed into a happy and organized space.

Getting started:

This was a relatively quick and inexpensive project. As with all projects, everything from the closet was removed and the shelves were thoroughly cleaned. The contents of the closet were then carefully categorized and a bit of purging took place.

Typical hall closet

Typical hall closet

 

Add some fun!

With the shelves gone, removable contact paper was installed to give my cute client the “pop” of color she was looking for. I have been encouraging clients to add color and personality while we are working on their organizational project. When you open a drawer or cupboard, seeing the freshly organized space with a lovely background of pattern is so pleasing. There are several brands of removable wallpaper and shelf liner now which enable you to add pattern without the commitment of traditional wallpaper. Some of my favorite shelf liner is found through Amazon and made by MacBeth (click here for the link). Screen Shot 2015-02-17 at 11.30.36 AMOnce the back of the closet was properly lined, the shelves were adjusted to maximize storage for the client’s various categories of items and the storage systems which we selected. One of the most common misconceptions homeowners have is that their present shelf placement is the only option. Most cabinets and shelves are fully adjustable and can be customized to your individualized storage needs.

Before re-installing the shelves, each shelf was also lined with the same fun chevron print liner. Lining the older shelves made them feel fresh again.

Loading the newly organized closet:

The contents of the closet were then carefully arranged to allow for proper access for this family. Consideration was also given to children who reside and visit the home. Medications and other caustic chemicals were arranged on the top shelves-out of reach. Vacaville organizer created a first-aid kit in a tall shoe box with inserts to hold various sized band aids and ointments.

Tall Shoe boxes perfect for First Aid

Tall Shoe boxes perfect for First Aid

First aid kits should have the ability to be removed, instead of put in a stationary storage system, so that it can be taken to the place of injury. The tall shoe boxes are also wonderful as liquids such as alcohol and hydrogen peroxide can be placed upright, minimizing leakage.

 

One of the most popular items lately for clients has been this type of “grab and go” bin. It is perfect for items that homeowners need to access quickly such as sunscreen and their deep bin and sturdy ability to stack is a recipe for success. Also, since there is no need for a lid, the system is nearly maintenance free.

Grab and Go stackable bins

Grab and Go stackable bins

  Labeling as a final step

Labeling the space is also important to ensure that items return to their proper place and to involve the entire household in the new system. We selected bright yellow labels that are easy to read for this hall closet.MP containers

Spring is just a few weeks away. Hall and linen closets have been a popular request for the clients I have had the opportunity to set systems up for this month. Just a few hours can easily create a happy and organized closet in your home.

Screen Shot 2015-02-17 at 11.50.27 AM

 

 

Vacaville Organizer can make your hall closet just a happy in a few hours time. Contact us and ask about the “happy hall closet” special for the month of February exclusively for blog followers.

Happy Organizing from Vacaville Organizer!

House of Smiths

organizing your home, business and life

A Bowl Full of Lemons

organizing your home, business and life

I'm an Organizing Junkie

helping you be clutter & chaos free!

Creative Juice

entertain your guests and kids with style and creativity

Two Twenty One

Home improvement projects, furniture makeovers, crafts, recipes, home decor, and seasonal decor ideas.

IHeart Organizing

organizing your home, business and life

%d bloggers like this: