I am so excited to introduce you to a good friend of mine, Amanda Marmins. Amanda is the founder and owner of Type-A Organizing, a professional organizing company in Atlanta, Georgia. Amanda and I lived in the same neighborhood in Georgia and I can attest that she is living in her “Zone of Genius” (for any of you that have read “The Big Leap” by Gay Hendricks). She was meant to do this work and I have seen it first hand in her own home. I can’t tell you how many times, in the process of moving into a new house, I have thought, “Where would Amanda put this?” and “Boy, I wish Amanda was here to help organize!” She is that good!
I asked to interview Amanda about organizing because the root chakra is associated with home and your surroundings. When your root chakra is imbalanced, it can show up in clutter, disorganization and in extreme cases, hoarding. Getting a handle on the clutter and chaos in your own home can bring some balance into your root chakra and peace into your life.
Thank you, Amanda, for sharing your gifts and knowledge with us. I know you are going to learn something great from Amanda!
What is the most common problem area (s) that you see people struggling with in their homes?
I have organized every room of a house, from garages to bedroom closets. The areas that require the most help are usually the common areas, such as the kitchen and family room. These are rooms where the family spends most of its time, so it’s natural for everyone to contribute to the clutter that accumulates in these areas.
What are the biggest obstacles to being/staying organized for your clients?
Our lives are busier than ever. With both parents busy working inside and outside the home and carpooling the kids to several activities, it is hard enough to have a regular family dinner and keep up with the daily chores, such as laundry and cleaning. Straightening up the house falls to the very bottom of the list and one day you realize the clutter is so bad it seems overwhelming. So, it just continues to build up and families permanently give up a certain amount of living space.
How do you help your clients? What is your process and can you share your steps with the readers?
I organize their house and help bring order to their lives. This not only improves the look and functionality of their home, it decreases their stress and anxiety. They can be more productive and focused with their families and jobs. The Wall Street Journal just last month published an article addressing the psychology of organizing.
I have a simple 4 step process that works for every area of your home, from a “junk drawer” to a closet to a garage or playroom.
Step 1: Remove everything from the area you’re organizing.
Step 2: Weed out contents of the area. Make four piles; keep, donate, consign and trash. Many of my clients pay a significant portion of my fee with consignment proceeds for things they had not used in years. They also benefit from the joy of providing clothes, toys and other goods to people in need.
Step 3: Plan the space for the items the client will retain. Together, we decide what organizing tools are necessary to keep the space in order. This may include shelving, containers and other handy items such as shoe racks.
Step 4: Neatly replace these items back in the space.
This process not only organizes the space, it also makes maintaining the space easier.
Yes, it is a process that often brings a range of emotions. At first, most of my customers appear disconnected from the process and say they just want me to “fix” their house. Next, they experience some stress as we proceed through the weeding out process. There’s always a story behind every piece of clothing, every photograph (even the bad ones!), every movie stub, magazine and knick knack. People often struggle with the idea that giving up these items does not invalidate the experience and memories that they were tied to. Then, they start feeling good about themselves by donating and selling items and watching space appear where there used to be clutter. Finally, they become excited and grateful at the order that has been restored in the most important place in their lives – their homes. I rarely leave without a heartfelt hug.
Any special success stories to share?
I was helping a customer weed out her closet, and I found over $400 in gift cards. She was so happy when she saw what was buried in all the clutter. It was like my customer made money by paying me to organize her house!
Another customer hired me to organize his wife’s bedroom closet as a surprise Christmas gift. He arranged for me to have access to the house when the family went on vacation for the holiday. His instructions were to do whatever I wanted in order to amaze his wife. I spent three days transforming the space. When they arrived home he called to say I had been successful. That was wonderful, and a lot of fun!
What is the best tool or gadget to help with organization that you can recommend for a family?
A kitchen command center. Create a space (often the back of the pantry doors, which is where it is in my house) with a white board and magnets where everybody keeps a weekly calendar, as well as emergency contacts, tickets to upcoming events, etc… If you have a large active family it’s hard to remember where everyone is on any given day. In addition to the kitchen command center, I also recommend a really good calendar. I got mine from Mom Agenda, and it goes everywhere with me. Everywhere!
You have 10 minutes a day to spend on keeping your house organized. What do you recommend the reader does?
Do not let paper clutter accumulate. Open your mail every single day while standing at the trash can. Put bills in one pile and then pay those bills at a designated time. (Time Saving Tip: If you can change the due date for all your bills to the same day, then you only need to pay your bills once a month.) Throw everything out you will not need immediately. Throw out newspapers, magazines and other timely items regularly. Party invitations, school meetings, travel itineraries, etc… get written down/printed up and placed in the calendar.
What is the best way for the readers to continue to be educated and inspired by you?
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