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Friday, July 25, 2014

Live with Less: Hire a Professional Organizer

Stuff is a funny thing.

I am pretty sure stuff does not make me happy. Therefore spending time, money, and space in my life to accommodate stuff feels like time, money, and space that could be spent doing other things that would make me happier. But sometimes stuff can make my life easier (a really good hair straightener, or a laptop that stays on more than 5 minutes without being plugged in). Sometimes stuff can me feel good (my full size body pillow, a fantastic pair of shoes that everyone compliments me on). But at the end of the day, I know that consuming more and more will not make me happier and happier, so it is something I really need to sort out.

It was one of my personal goals this year to learn to live with less. I don’t know exactly how I will track my progress on this, but I do have a few ideas on how I hope to achieve a life with less stuff.

First step, find someone to help me prioritize the stuff and get rid of what I really didn’t need. That’s why I hired a professional organizer.

Kristen (a.k.a. Minima) is amazing. I heard her give a talk at Ellwood Thompson’s on how she approaches an organizing project and was completely sold. Our first project together was actually Boho. I hired her to give recommendations on how to layout our studio and was thrilled with her ideas on how to make the most of the space when it was still a big empty shell. And if that wasn’t enough, I toured her home during an open house and was blown away at how few items she had, yet how complete her space felt.

After all this, I knew I had to have her come home with me. Here is a very very quick synopsis of what she did at the Greenwood house:

1. She came to my home and walked with me and Evan through every room in our house.

2. In each room she asked about how we use the space, and gave us tips on ways we could improve how we achieved our goals for that particular space.
  • Example: you could get rid of this coat rack and put hooks on the wall for easier access to your coats when you need them and one less clunky piece of furniture.

3. She looked at the stuff, and gave ideas on how to sort through and in some cases, helped us come to quick decisions of what we could get rid of or move in that particular space.
  • Example: If you really don’t use this extra table, why not sell it on Craigslist?

4. She gave us quick tips on how to tackle the organizing of particular spaces, like our spare bedroom, laundry room, and closet.

5. She followed up with an action plan that we could execute ourselves (or hire her to execute) with a list for each room to make it function better for the purpose that we gave her.

6. She even took one load of items (that we have been planning to donate for who knows how long) off our hands that day straight to Goodwill the day of her visit.

We opted to execute her plan on our own and have made great progress. We sold a bunch of stuff on Craigslist, cleaned out a whole room for a very specific purpose that will be coming in October, and immediately felt the relief of lightening our load of stuff.

I leave you with two realizations that I had after working with a Professional.
  • Getting rid of stuff feels good.
  • It is easier than you think to get started.


  1. That's so awesome! I think I might need to hire her once we get a house. We've gotten a lot better at "living with less" since our apartment is pretty small and we just didn't have room for unnecessary stuff. But things always seem to pile up, so I have to stay on top of it!

  2. I heard about minima and was thinking about getting in touch to see if we could have a "come to Jesus" talk with her (my husband likes to collect, I do not...except dresses and shoes...) Thanks for the write up :)

    1. She is wonderful and never makes you feel like you are doing something wrong if you have a lot of stuff. She just gives you ideas on how to deal with the stuff you have, and suggests ways to part with the stuff you don't need. If you do reach out to her, tell her I sent you!