Ask The Expert: Q&A with an organizational guru
Ortal Kaslassi grew up as one of five siblings and from very early on she saw the importance of organizing your home.
“It was mainly because I came from such a large family, there always had to be some order in place,” Ortal said. “It helped everyone stay grounded and less chaotic.”
Even from an early age, Ortal appreciated the idea that if you are organized and know where everything is, you are less stressed and chaotic in hurried moments.
Years later when her friends got married, moved out and had kids, their lives became hectic and she started noticing that they were constantly asking for her help in organizing and de-cluttering their homes. Ortal realized that her passion could become a business and she could help others in need. Now she shares her tips and tricks on her Instagram account organize_this.
1. Why do you think organization is so important? Why is this especially true for people who transition between homes frequently?
I think that organizing is extremely important because it helps calm the mind, and helps you stay focused. For those who transition between homes frequently, you have to be organized. When you move frequently, it may be easier for items to go missing, and sometimes those items are of huge sentimental value. Being able to stay organized through it all will make you feel less anxious and more confident about your whole moving experience.
2. What are some organizational tips you can share with people who are living in a temporary home (1-3 years) that will help them be ready to move?
People who live in a 1 to 3-year home will always feel that their place is never organized, but every little bit can help. Items such as photo albums, sentimental items (for example, from when you were a child) that you don’t use much can always be stored in a labeled box and put away either in a basement or attic. Things that you will need access to more frequently (like your tax papers) can be stored in a clear plastic bin in front of the less-used boxes. Having all similar items in a labeled, clear bin gives you easy access for finding items quickly. Every couple of months, go through these boxes to make sure that they are stored exactly as you would like them. This is especially important right before a move.
3. When is the best time to purge unwanted items? When you move into a home or before you move out?
I feel that the best time to purge items is before you move. You can take advantage of throwing things out when you know recycling and garbage days in your neighborhood and when big items can get picked up. It makes for a much easier transition when you have moved to your new place. Being able to enter the new home with less clutter provides you with more energy to spend elsewhere. It may be hard to get rid of some sentimental items, but try and take the plunge before you pack up the truck.
4. What is the best way to determine what to purge? How do you know if it is time to get rid of items in your home?
My rule of thumb in determining what to purge is if you have not used it in a year, it should probably go (unless it is a significant item of sentimental value). Going through the clothes in the closet and realizing that you have not worn those fishnet stockings since 1995 means that it’s time for them to go!
5. How can you organize without spending a ton of money?
Organizing without spending a ton of money is very easy to do. First, think about how you would like to organize. Do you want to organize in alphabetical order, by color, or a completely different method? Investing in a label maker can make a world of a difference. But if you don’t want to go that far, even just going to a dollar store or online and buying bins can help. Little investments for such a large accomplishment goes a long way. The thing to remember is you never have to invest a lot in organizing, especially for those moms that are always on the move. Stages and situations can change how you want or need to organize, so stay flexible. There will always be something to organize and de-clutter so don’t bother investing a lot into something you will have to change up in 1 to 3 years.
6. Your whole house can seem really overwhelming, what is the best room to start in with organizing?
You’re right, a whole house to organize can be very overwhelming! I would suggest starting off with a small challenge and see how well you do. Begin with organizing the bathroom. Organize the cabinets the way you see fit and after you are finished, see how it works for you over the next week. If everything is set up in a way that is easily accessible to your family and you feel confident with it, then move on to another room like the bedroom closet. Giving yourself that one week time in between each room gives your mind the time to digest your changes and accept them. And if you don’t like it, you can always change it again until it suits your needs. That’s the best part of organization: it is all dependent on your likes and needs!
7. Best way to organize important documents that you will need each move?
The best way to organize important documents that you will need each move is to have them in a binder, divided into sections (check out this option, here). I myself have a black binder at home with dividers. Each divider is labeled with the corresponding documents and service. I also have an index page for quick finding. You can do the same method using a clear plastic bin with hanging file folders, but a binder just provides me with that added extra protection. If the bin falls the files and all paperwork can easily be scattered all over.
8. Any other advice you have for transitory families that move every few years to stay organized?
For families that are constantly on the move, my biggest suggestion would be to buy only what you need. Do not become hoarders for the “what if” moments. Do not buy things in the hopes of thinking that one day I will need this. Being able to determine the difference between a want and a need can make a huge difference in your household and your peace of mind during each move. And, as always, take the time during every season to look through what you have and purge!
For more helpful tips from Ortal, email her at email@example.com or check her out on Instagram at organize_this.
Do you have any tips to add about staying organized while always on the move? Send them our way! Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org!