Getting Organized and Staying Organized: Q&A with an Interior Designer and a Professional Organizer
At Turnstyle, we believe design and organization go hand in hand. We sat down with Turnstyle Design principal designer, Lieve Saether, and our friend, declutter and organization guru Sara Fritsch, owner of Moxie Space Organizing LLC, to ask them a few question about getting and staying organized in your home or office while maintaining good design aesthetics.
Turnstyle Design (TD): What comes first? Organization or design?
Lieve Saether (LS): Organization first every time. If it doesn’t fit, suit or tackle a challenge, the design won't even come into play, so ensure the former first, then have fun with the aesthetic.
TD: What motivated you to get into organization as a profession?
Sara Fritsch (SF): Once I started organizing I found how drastically I could help people change their lives. The cool thing about organizing is the instant gratification you recieve. My clients are able to see the results immediately. For me, the motivation comes from helping people transform their lives and get back in control of their spaces, therefore getting them back in control of their minds.
TD: We couldn’t agree more, since this is embedded in our own space design philosophy, but do you think there are mental and emotional benefits to living in an organized space?
SF: Yes. I think what we see influences what we think. In turn what we think influences what we produce and how we live our lives. Not only does having an ordered space make you happier, but also it helps alleviate the chaos that happens in the mind. Our minds are constantly thinking and processing - organizing your space helps you free up the mind to focus on other goals and aspirations.
TD: How can both an organized and visually appealing space lead to better workplace productivity?
LS: Inspiration and more inspiration. The more you love the look and feel of organized space, the more free you feel to explore your thoughts and actions. Organization helps you avoid that terrible nagging feeling that you have to take care of that little something first before you can truly get to your intended task. In other words, organization is freeing!
TD: When should people consider hiring a professional organizer?
SF: A person should hire an organizer when they have reached the point that they’re willing to release something. They’re wanting to change in some way. It’s hard when I’m working with a client that has hired me to make a change, but they’re fighting me the whole time. I’ll never force anyone to get rid of anything. My role is to simply catalyze you and get the conversation going to hopefully lead you to understanding why it might be a good idea to let certain items go.
TD: How do you know that it’s time to get organized and what are the first steps one should take in the process of getting organized?
SF: If you are constantly noticing that you’re wasting time by looking things or if you’re buying multiples because you don’t know what you have at home - it’s time to get organized and declutter. You don’t want coming home to feel stressful. The first step I always recommend is to get clients to decide what to keep or toss. It’s pointless to organize anything you’re not keeping.
TD: What are some practical ways to increase storage space in your office without creating an eyesore?
LS: Like Sara said, choose wisely and first go through an honest editing process before you put everything back. Collate and triage and part with the things you truly don’t need or love. One you lovingly place them in beautiful organizational containers, you’ll love not only the look, but the experience as well.
TD: Do you have any tips on how to decide what stays and what goes?
SF: I don’t have a hard and fast rule, but I ask clients to think along the lines of how the items in their space makes them feel. For some people, answering that question may be really difficult for them, but with practice, I think it’s a skill that can be developed and improved upon.
TD: How can organization enhance the way you view your office / home office?
LS: Just simply – and most importantly – in that it makes your life better. The easier it is to find and have a consistent place for your things, help you ease a crowded mind and gives others in your household the opportunity to be more independent in what they own and how they take care of it. That way you aren’t always in the: “mom, do you know where my x is” scenario.
TD: What are your suggestions for incorporating organization into your design aesthetic?
LS: Since we each have different ways of learning, and therefore staying organized, first figure out what type of organization suits you and your lifestyle best. If you are a bin person, you should think along the lines of beautiful boxes or soft bins, if more of a built in person, seek out more permanently designated storage needs. From there you can determine aesthetic and what items to blend with your style. If you like bold, aim for patterned canvas bins, which are also great for wash-ability and a fun way to add in color. If you like something more subtle, think rich wood colors and pastels in wooden boxes or enamel finished containers.
TD: Suggestions on staying on top of paper clutter?
SF: The easiest and quickest answer is that you must have a designated space for the papers to go. If there’s not a home for an item, that’s when things get out of control and attract more clutter.
TD: How do you stay organized when the things in your space are constantly changing?
SF: You need a system. It’s probably best to set a recurring time (once a week or once a month) where you go through and clear out and tidy your space. I recommend setting a reminder on your phone. Consistency is key when it comes to keeping your items organized especially in an office with so many moving parts.
TD: Any other best practices to pair with consistency?
SF: The process of decluttering has a way of making you very aware of all the things that have come into your space. The wonderful by product is when you’re out shopping you think twice about your purchase -is that item worthy of space in your home?
TD: Knowing that creatives can sometimes be the most unorganized bunch, how can you maintain a level of organization while still allowing your creativity to run wild?
LS: For me, the best creativity starts once I am organized. As mentioned previously, I find good organization the freedom to think freely. Yes, it is important NOT to be afraid to get messy in order for your creativity to flow – but knowing you have the right place to put it all back in, is a great way to round the creative process back out. Good organization is certainly a full-circle affair!
Turnstyle Design collaborated with Sara of Moxie Space Organizing, putting the above tips and tricks into action to improve the office organization during a time of transition. Stay tuned to see the before and after of the office update.