A place for everything

Professional organizer shares her tips for spring cleaning and keeping things simple

By

Published:

 

Professional organizer Krista Colvin offers the following tips for spring organizing. To contact her, call 921-2843, e-mail krista@kristacolvin.com or browse her website at www.kristacolvin.com.

Give yourself some guidelines: Decide where the castoffs will go. Consider a local charity, a yard sale, consignment options or Craigslist.

Take five minutes: Do a "dash and dump" run to the garbage and recycling, or a "dash and donate" to a local charity. Five minutes can also be spent doing a general pick-up and clean-up session.

Start your organizing in the kitchen pantry: The pantry is an easy place to start because there are only choices for items are to keep, toss or donate. * Look through your linen closet: Keep only two sets of sheets per bed, and possibly a third set if you change out to flannel for the winter. Share the overflow with charities such as the Community Warehouse. www.communitywarehouse.org.

Organize your bathroom drawer: Toss old makeup and hair products you never use or don't like.

Say no to junk mail: Go to www.catalogchoice.com and opt out of it.

Professional organizer Krista Colvin offers the following tips for spring organizing. To contact her, call 921-2843, e-mail krista@kristacolvin.com or browse her website at www.kristacolvin.com.

Give yourself some guidelines: Decide where the castoffs will go. Consider a local charity, a yard sale, consignment options or Craigslist.

Take five minutes: Do a “dash and dump” run to the garbage and recycling, or a “dash and donate” to a local charity. Five minutes can also be spent doing a general pick-up and clean-up session.

Start your organizing in the kitchen pantry: The pantry is an easy place to start because there are only choices for items are to keep, toss or donate. * Look through your linen closet: Keep only two sets of sheets per bed, and possibly a third set if you change out to flannel for the winter. Share the overflow with charities such as the Community Warehouse. www.communitywarehouse.org.

Organize your bathroom drawer: Toss old makeup and hair products you never use or don’t like.

Say no to junk mail: Go to www.catalogchoice.com and opt out of it.

In an ideal world, we would all come home to cleaned and organized spaces, without huge mail piles stacked up and threatening to take over the dining room table.

But sadly, in the real world, most people are busy with work, activities and life in general, and so the mail stacks up, the rooms remain cluttered, and those “to-do” projects never get done.

This is where Krista Colvin comes in to help.

A professional organizer and Camas resident, Colvin runs a website with free quick tips and suggestions. She is also available to come to a client’s home or business for a consultation.

Colvin taught marketing and DECA classes at Hudson’s Bay High School in Vancouver until 2004, when she took maternity leave with her second child.

“I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do, go back to work or branch out on my own,” she said. “I was watching an organizing show and had no idea people did that for a living. I thought, ‘It’s me.’ I did some research, opened my business and never looked back.”

After a battle with breast cancer last year, Colvin decided to change her business model. Before, her monthly website organizing program had been fee-based. But after doing some reading about giving of yourself, she realized she needed to employ that concept into her professional endeavors as well.

“I restructured my business model so that I could still make money and give back to the community at the same time,” she said. “Before, I was doing very little hands-on organizing and consulting. Now I am.”

This time of year, many people get into cleaning and organizing mode, having realized how much stuff they’ve accumulated over the winter months.

But many are overwhelmed as to where to begin.

“One of the easiest things to do is take a few minutes and do what I call a ‘dash and dump’ or a ‘dash and donate.'” Colvin said. “With the dump items, you put them into the trash and recycling. With the donate items, you take the perfectly good but unused items and place them in the car for the donation center. What’s clogging your home is all the stuff you don’t use anymore.”

Locally, places to donate items are the Goodwill drive-through donation center in the parking lot near the Washougal Safeway, 3307 S.E. Evergreen Way or the Inter-Faith Treasure House, 91 “C” St., Washougal. For those who need to throw out a large amount of trash, the Washougal Transfer Station, 4020 S. Grant St., is an option. The transfer station charges a fee for garbage but recycling is free. For more information, browse www.clark.wa.gov/recycle/washtransfer.html.

Colvin said that the most difficult challenge people face in organizing their home is getting started.

“It’s like going to the gym,” Colvin said. “Once you start, you’re fine. It’s just getting there that’s the problem. Often, people don’t know where to take stuff. Other times, they have an emotional attachment to the stuff and don’t want to get rid of it, even if they don’t need it.”

For many people, their closet is a classic example of disorganization.

“Just because you have an emotional attachment to something like a concert tee or a race shirt, doesn’t mean it needs to be in your closet,” Colvin said. “Your closet is not a museum. You can store the items you don’t use elsewhere if you have room for them.”

Another suggestion she offers for de-cluttering is taking a photo of the item you are attached to, then donating it or throwing it away.

“Creating a photo book is a great idea to keep your emotional attachment to the item without having it there,” Colvin said. “Also, periodically revisit your keepsakes. You may find that something you were attached to two years ago does not have the same meaning now.”

She added that the biggest advantage to being organized is saving time.

“People spend a ton of time looking for things and money replacing them,” Colvin said. “If you’re organized, you’ll also feel more of a sense of control over your space.

“With my clients, there’s a big sense of relief once they get started on organizing and realize it isn’t as difficult as they thought. There’s also a relief factor because they have a plan.”

Recently, Colvin helped Jamie Twyman, former owner of Bloom Organic day spa in Camas, organize her home in preparation to offer massage therapy.

Twyman decided to sell the business and work from home so that she could spend more time with her three young children.

“Krista always has really good ideas for everything,” she said. “From colors and wallpapering to organizing and making things functional.”