Interview: Spring Organization Tips w/ Janis Nylund

Monday, March 1st, 2010

Spring doesn’t officially start until March 21, but recent weather in the Fraser Valley certainly feels like Spring. The ritual of Spring cleaning began as a way to get rid of smoke residue leftover from wood-burning stoves that burnt all winter. Spring was an ideal time to open the windows and get rid of the dust before it was hot enough that bugs coming in would be a problem.

Although modern heating and vacuums have eliminated the need for cleaning to take place in the Spring, it is a great time to take stock of your possessions and re-organize your house. We turned to professional organizer, Janis of Orderly Concepts & Solutions, to give us some tips on spring cleaning and organization.

Spring Cleaning
Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License by Dan Morelle

Do you think Spring cleaning should be an annual ritual or should people try to minimize clutter all year round?

I think it should be both! If you are always maintaining whatever area it may be, it makes it less of a task if it is continuous throughout the year. Having an annual Spring Cleaning gives you the opportunity to take a look at what you may not have used last season or throughout the year.

How should people decide what area or room they should clean and organize first?

There are two ways to start off a project; a person needs to decide what is ailing them the most or what is the easiest task for them to start that will keep them motivated.

If people are losing money, buying duplicate items, not paying bills on time because they can’t find them, then that should come first. If it is just a matter of wanting everything organized and they feel overwhelmed, starting with a small linen closet can be great therapy!

Would you recommend scheduling a certain day each week to clean/organize your home, or do you find more success with breaking it up into certain tasks each day?

It really depends on the persons schedule; if they can dedicate one certain day per week; then they are making a commitment and therefore will more than likely stick to it.

In other cases where certain days cannot be dedicated, then dedicating themselves to a per project basis would have to be the way to go instead of breaking it up into different tasks. If you break it up, you won’t finish off what you started!

What are some of your favorite items for keeping homes organized?

I love just about any kind of container or basket as long as it functions properly and suits the space. One of my favorites for under bathroom vanities are the Sterilite stacking drawers; because they are plastic nothing can get wet, they come in all different sizes for making a custom fit, and they can be used elsewhere if you move or change things around.

When do you know it’s time to throw something out?

When you can honestly say to yourself that you really don’t use it – need it – or want it! And if it is something that is taking up valuable space, is it something that belongs in that room? You have to ask yourself a lot questions to see what the answers are!

How does one hire a professional organizer?  What is the process to get started?

Well with the help of the internet, we are much easier to find these days. I belong to a national association; Professional Organizers in Canada, there are organizers right across the country to be found and I was the very first member from BC.

Getting started with an organizer is generally chatting on the phone at first to get an idea of what is in store and then to actually go in for a complimentary consultation and see the space. Once you have explored their issues; the next step is to get started with a plan of action and follow through!

What is a common misconception people have about professional organizers?

Some people are not exactly sure of what we do. All professional organizers do provide a range of services from residential, small businesses and even in the corporate sector.  Some ask if we clean. While we will not put something back onto a dirty shelf we are more than just cleaners.

Professional organizers really work with their clients by asking a lot of questions, from why they are holding onto certain things to just providing better systems for those who wish to be more efficient. We all have a variety of backgrounds and education for the areas that we deal with.

If you could share one simple tip to help someone get (and hopefully stay) organized, what would it be?

To be honest by asking themselves some important questions, such as:

  • What purpose does their “stuff” have?
  • Do they even know what they have?
  • Is it really that relevant?
  • Would they miss it?
  • Are they losing money because of it?
  • Are they feeling weighed down?

We should feel good about our surroundings!  Too much stuff or paper can fill a room or person with non-productive, negative energy!

Orderly Concepts & Solutions
White Rock, BC
Ring: 604.536.1288

Contributor: Kelly Neufeld

Kelly Neufeld is a freelance writer who lives in Abbotsford with her husband and their two daughters. In addition to writing articles for the Fraser Valley Pulse, Kelly is a contributing writer & Marketing Coordinator for Impowerage Magazine. She enjoys spending time with her family, staying active and shopping.

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