Three Home Experts Share Their Top Home Organization Tips
NEAT Method Jupiter
For Blaire Davidson, the owner of NEAT Method Jupiter, organizing has always been a key part of her life. She graduated from Parsons School of Art and Design in New York City and later became a merchandiser for Polo Ralph Lauren, tasked with setting up the European showrooms, closets and styling interiors. “Since I was a child, I always liked having things in their place and finding a sense of order,” she says. “I’m definitely a little Type A.” After relocating with her family to South Florida in 2014, Davidson launched the Jupiter iteration of NEAT Method, a lifestyle service committed to providing a more luxurious and smartly appointed living space. Her goal each day is to find a personalized solution that fits each client’s needs. “The organizational system we put in place is unique to that individual and really considers everything from how they live their life on a day-to-day basis, to the aesthetic of the home, and the client’s unique personal style,” she says.
Where should someone start when organizing?
I would always recommend by starting with a small space first. Nothing that would be too overwhelming; [something that] could be completed in a day. Think a junk drawer, or a kitchen cupboard.
What are your tips on organizing a kitchen pantry?
1. Begin by taking everything out of the space you are organizing. No cheating. Take it all out!
2. Group similar items together in matching containers or baskets, like all your baking items together, or snacks or pasta.
3. Use labels where possible on containers or on cupboards/drawers. That way everyone living/working in the home knows where to put things.
What materials do you use to organize?
I love to use a variety of products from woven baskets, to clear plastic bins and dollar-store finds. The Container Store, Marshalls and Target are all favorites. NEAT Method also makes several products available for purchase from drawer dividers, to glass canisters and metal baskets. I am always trying to use sustainable and environmentally conscious products, as well as repurposing existing items in the client’s home where possible.
What do you do with items in the donation pile?
When donating items clients no longer need, I always try to support local charities including Our Sister’s Place, Habitat for Humanity and Faith Farm. 917.297.8103; neatmethod.com/jupiter
The Wardrobe Refresh
Robyn Wellikoff’s career began with a 15-year stint in the public relations industry, organizing lifestyle, fashion and beauty brands, in addition to wardrobes for family and friends. She launched her Boca-based company, The Wardrobe Refresh, in 2016 to help clients in Miami to Palm Beach simplify their wardrobes. She also assists with moves and home improvement projects. “We refresh their closets prior to a move, unpack them in their new home and organize their closets,” Wellikoff says. She also provides assistance with things like closet build-outs and renovations.
Is there a wrong way to organize?
I’m not one for dumping the entire contents of a closet on a bed and going through it piece by piece. The entire process is often very overwhelming, so approaching it cautiously is a must. It usually takes a few sessions and many hours to sort through an entire wardrobe, and I believe working section by section is best. Piling is everything to help determine what each client will keep, donate, try on, consign or tailor. It’s important to stay organized when you are organizing.
What are your tips on organizing a bedroom closet?
1. Organize a wardrobe first by silhouette and then by style. So, all the pants would go together and then the section is broken down by type: skinny, wide leg, trouser, etc.
2. Hanger choice matters! I love to use velvet Huggable Hangers because they are ultra-slim, save space and are affordable. I also love to use acrylic hangers. The most important thing to remember is that they match. Oh, and never use wire hangers. Take off dry cleaning bags immediately but save a few of the bags. They help keep clothing wrinkle free when packing and traveling.
3. Shoes and handbags should be put on display. Don’t store them in their original boxes. They should either be kept on a shelf or storage rack, or in a clear plastic box. Making a closet as visual as possible is key to understanding what you have and what you actually wear.
BONUS TIP: If space permits, jeans and sweaters should always be folded on a shelf. Shelf space is never utilized properly. I walk into so many closets with empty shelves. Not everything has to be hung. Folding key items on shelves leaves some breathing room between your hangers to find garments easily and keep them wrinkle-free.
What types of materials do you like to work with?
I absolutely love clear shelf dividers. They are a closet essential when folding and organizing clothing on a shelf. I also use them to organize handbags and clutches. I like to bring my label maker to a Refresh session. For those items not worn frequently or those items that need to be stored (based on the season), placing items in a storage bin with custom labels helps clients remember what they have.
Korinne Kubena Belock
You might not think the owner of Urban Simplicity spent a decade in politics prior to opening her business, but think again. Korinne Kubena Belock organized campaigns and operations for former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, as well as elected officials in Congress to the White House. Belock got burnt out from politics and she created Urban Simplicity in 2010. “I learned how to organize from working years in politics, and I knew I could somehow use those skills to help people,” she says. “I really had an inherent aptitude for organizing before I knew I could make it into a business.” Today she runs her full-service organizing company in Palm Beach and New York City. Services include organizing closets, to paperwork, to garages, and everything in between.
What’s your style of approach to organizing?
While organizing principles are the same (sort, declutter, contain, label), the way people process information and use their things differs greatly. An organizing system is not one-size-fits-all. That’s what we address. Our goal is to understand their priorities, how they live in their space, and how they use their possessions. Out of that, we create custom systems rooted in simplicity.
What are your tips on organizing a bedroom closet?
1. Do a little prep before organizing your closet. Label five large boxes or bags—sell, repair, toss, donate and keep—so you immediately know where to put an item when you remove it from your closet.
2. Hang items on matching hangers, organized by type, then color. Consider separating workwear from weekend wear to make getting dressed in the morning quicker.
3. To maintain your closet organization, use the “one in, one out” rule. For each new item you buy, make a decision to let one item go. It will prevent you from overstuffing your space.
For someone who doesn’t know where to start first, what do you recommend?
Start with something simple. You don’t have to undertake a complete organizing overhaul on your own. Instead, walk around your home or office with a trash bag. Or leave a box in your closet so you can drop in unused items as you go. No matter how big or small, it’s all progress.