Getting organized: Don’t get overwhelmed in shaping up home

By Kristen Tribe | Published Wednesday, January 17, 2018

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Starting a new year is a good time to get reorganized, but the task can be overwhelming for some homeowners.

Professional organizer Payton Boner, who operates Perfect Spaces by Payton, encourages clients to start small rather than trying to do it all at once.

Before and After

Before and after

“Start with what’s in front of your face instead of going head first into your attic or garage,” Boner said.

The 2012 Decatur High School graduate and 2015 graduate of Midwestern State University suggested looking at a room and thinking about what a visitor sees when they walk in.

“That’s where you want to start,” she said. “People try to dig out closets and the deepest crevice they can find and that can get overwhelming.”

To stay on track and reorganize an entire home, Boner said to make a checklist of rooms and spaces and do one per week or month.

When she starts going through things, she asks herself “ditch or donate?”

“That’s my No. 1 rule when I’m helping a homeowner go through their things,” she said. “People have emotional attachment to weird and unnecessary things.

“I think that’s why people call me in,” she said. “They need that outside opinion and some things just need to go in the trash.”

If a homeowner is unsure what to do with an item, Boner said a good question to ask is if it’s been used in the last six months.

“If you haven’t touched it in a year,” she said, “you’re probably not going to.”

Boner admits this is a trying task but said it gets easier over time. She also noted homeowners may find it easier if they’re donating items to worthy causes.

“There are a lot of people in our community that can use what we keep under our bed or high up in our closet,” she said.

Once the items have been sorted into ditch, donate and keep piles, it’s important to find ideal storage solutions for the things that will remain in the space. Boner said it’s common for people to start buying bins, crates and baskets without a plan.

“They go in spurts and bring back a few things here and there, and in the end it looks like a mess,” she said.

She encouraged homeowners to evaluate the space and decide what will be kept in that room so they know what type of storage items to buy. It’s also important, whatever type of storage is being used, to know what size is needed.

Boner’s favorite places to shop for home storage are Target, The Container Store and HomeGoods. Locally, Walmart and even some of the dollar stores have organizational options.

Boner said after a job is done, some homeowners are overwhelmed at the thought of maintaining it, but she encourages them to take a deep breath and make time to put things away.

“It’s a behavior thing,” she said. “You have to apply a new rule to help it stay that way. For example, if the toys in the playroom are stored in boxes, have the kids take five minutes before you leave the house to put everything away.

“You just have to do it or I’ll be coming over a lot,” she said with a laugh.

Boner has helped numerous homeowners organize their space and says there’s a way to store everything.

“There’s a way to optimize any room,” she said. “Every space – there’s a way.”

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