Your kitchen is clean, but prone to paper bags cascading unexpectedly from shelves and disappearing cookie sheets. Doing the dishes is one thing, but diving into the Bermuda Triangle of tupperware is something else entirely. Good thing you can hire someone for that.
“You may feel overwhelmed,” Kathy Meckley explains, “but once you get started, you’ll feel a huge burden slide off your shoulders. When your kitchen is organized, life gets a whole lot easier.”
Meckley has seen it all: kids’ rooms so piled with junk that the kids didn’t sleep there, unusable storage spaces, sixty years of accumulation. “I’ve waded waist-deep through musty piles in basements,” she says. “I’ve sorted through mountains of mail and loads of laundry and hundreds of books.” Such is the life of a professional organizer. It’s like being a sherpa of people’s lives – she carries them to a glorious vista, but has to haul a whole lot of stuff before everyone gets there.
As one of seven siblings, Meckley was practically born organizing. “We lived in a very small house, three bedrooms and one bath for nine people,” she explains. “That was kind of cozy. Organizing was always part of our life.” She didn’t abandon her early training and kept organizing as an adult, starting with her college dorm room, which she rearranged to maximize space. And after thirty years of experience in property management, she can walk into a home and know precisely what changes are needed. Now she’s the organization mastermind at Transforming Spaces.
She believes everyone wields the superpower of organization, but sometimes that skill hasn’t been nurtured. “Everyone has a different level of organization – how I live isn’t the way you live. Some people are formal, some are casual.” There’s no specific standard, though you do want it to be sanitary. “If people are like ‘I just can’t live like this any more,’ that’s a good thing,” she says. It means you’re ready for a change.
Tips from a Pro
- Simplify. “One of the biggest problems people have is duplicates,” Meckley says. “Like dust bunnies, they pop up everywhere. How many vegetable peelers do you really need?”
- Create zones. Store everyday plates and utensils near the dishwasher. Keep mixing bowls and measuring cups near the food prep area. Store your cookware and your microwave cookware together and keep each set near its designated appliance.
- Check the expiration dates on your spices.
While there are always things you can do on your own, the advantage to hiring an organizer is that they can come in with fresh eyes, see what you have to work with, and invent solutions to suit your lifestyle. “We look at the whole picture,” says Meckley. “Like how the kids use the space when they come home for snacks.”
“Every time I come back to work on another area, the stress level goes down,” she says. “It’s not just about making the house prettier. They’re calmer, the kids are calmer – it has that effect on people. That motivates people because they can see the changes in the dynamics of the household. They just needed an extra pair of eyes and hands to get them through,” she explains. “It’s a good feeling, knowing you’ve helped someone reach their goals.”