I am SO excited to share today’s post with you! A few weeks ago, Clea and Joanna from The Home Edit came to my home to help organize my kitchen (and teach you some tips too!!!). They are Nashville-based professional organizers. I had coffee with them a few weeks before this and fell in love with them.
Now, before I share my goals, you definitely need to see my (100% REAL not-one-thing-moved-or-edited) before pics, right? Here we go–
Haha! This drawer was SO FULL of stuff that it could barely open. What’s funny (and also really dumb) is that there were a bunch of other drawers and cabinets in the kitchen that had ZERO things inside them.
I definitely just threw everything in there when we first moved in and intended to “fix it” later.
What drew me to want to work with Clea and Joanna was LEARNING ALL THEIR SECRETS. If you’ve followed them on Insta, you know they are obsessed with organizing, and they make it look FUN. Like, really fun. And I needed some of that in my life. I figured you guys did too!
So here are ten things I learned from working with The Home Edit! I hope you enjoy it.
1. Don’t be afraid to make a giant mess.
I know it seems counterintuitive, but you have to take EVERYTHING out of your drawers, closets and containers to put them back in a more functional, organized way! Don’t fear the mess.
This is how my kitchen looked for most of the day before it was basically perfect later that night.
MAKE A HUGE MESS. It’s the only way to really see what you have and figure out what you want to keep!!
2. Declutter as you go!
In the past, I’ve pressured myself to declutter EVERYTHING before I organized. And because that first step is never truly complete, I never get as organized as I want to.
When I worked with The Home Edit for the day, they taught me to declutter as we organized. There were lots of things hidden in my kitchen drawers that I didn’t use, didn’t need and didn’t even know I had. And all those things were taking up space, making it more annoying to find the things I actually needed!
Decluttering as we organized really worked for me because I was even more motivated to purge than usual since I had the big goal of completing the job THAT DAY and having a beautiful, organized kitchen by bedtime. So throwing out old, barely used or damaged items was easy as pie!
When I posted this photo on Instagram, some people were calling me out for it being “unrealistic”. But I have to say that after decluttering (MAJORLY) and finding new homes for the stuff we actually use, we now have WAY MORE drawer space. It’s prettier, but most importantly it’s easier to find things!
3. Matching containers work miracles.
Jeremy’s spice collection looked OK before, but the mismatched containers weren’t doing it any favors. And I’m not the kind of person who’s going to throw away all of my spices and re-buy them all from one brand (wait – AM I that person??).
Anyway! Clea and Joanna found theses simple glass spice jars, they put all the spices into them (didn’t have to miss one single spice!), and then labeled them and organized them by color.
LOOK HOW PRETTY!
4. Create special stations for your favorite things!
This coffee cart (previously home to a random mishmash of kitchen items) makes me so incredibly happy. Instead of storing your things here and there, combine them by theme for a prettier and more functional space!
5. Customize your pantry.
My pantry is just a very tiny closet. It’s nothing super special, but it’s way better than nothing. And since Jeremy and I have been working hard on eating more fresh food and produce, we had a shockingly small amount of food in the pantry (but you should see our fridge – jam packed). It was honestly mostly things for kids who visit (mac and cheese and things like that), things I rarely use and snacks.
Since our shelves are small and deep, Clea found these long, narrow hyacinth bins that would take advantage of the depth. They are from Target and actually in the bath aisle! If you can’t find what you’re looking for in one department, just walk around the store!
6. Label everything!
Okay you don’t have to label literally everything, but as many things as you can. It reminds you where things go and acts as a set of instructions for everyone in your home. It also gives you guilt about shoving something in a bin that doesn’t belong. (Tip: Keep your labels as broad as you need them to be so they are easy to maintain. Having a bin labeled “snacks” is a broad category and easier to keep up than something very specific like “dried fruit”.)
The Home Edit makes these super cute handwritten labels! (Yes, the “pasta” word is actually a label they make, not handwriting!)
7. Line your drawers with pretty paper.
This little detail made my drawers SO much more special! We used Rifle wrapping paper and also extra wallpaper from my dining room to line the drawers. Look how pretty it is! It’s super simple to install and since they don’t match, it will be easy to replace when one inevitably gets messed up!
8. Double buy and then return.
A lot of my hang up with organizing has been what to buy. Like, recently I drove to the other side of town to The Container Store and just walked around the store getting overwhelmed. I ended up buying one thing, and then when I got home, realized I needed (at least) two more.
Something I learned from Clea and Joanna is to buy TOO MUCH and then return all the things you didn’t use after the project is complete. This eliminates running back and forth to the stores, and it can also keep you motivated to actually complete the project since you’ll want to get that return $ back!
9. Store like with like.
Before this organizing day, I had my blog styling stuff scattered between three rooms. Things like these paper straws and cute cloth napkins were almost impossible to find when I needed them. Now, it’s all grouped together! SO MUCH BETTER.
10. Function first!
Not every drawer and space needs to be beautiful. Some are definitely going to be prettier than others and that’s OK!
First, decide what you use most often. Prioritize those spaces and make them functional. Then, along the way you can choose which ones to make SUPER pretty and which ones to not worry about as much. We all have ugly drawers (that I’m not including photos of); it’s OK!
Credits//Author and Photography: Elsie Larson. Photos edited with A Beautiful Mess actions.