Article by Margot de Boer
Having too many things in your home can significantly impact how you feel and function, with UCLA scientists reporting that mothers who describe their homes as “cluttered” have higher stress levels. Sound familiar? Westchester County native Lauren Miller Lennon has been there, and is now helping busy families transform the way their homes function through her company Transpirational Spaces (follow her on insta!). For Lauren, the process is as much about the mental health of her clients as it is about the organization of their physical spaces.
Whether you choose to bring in the professionals or are ready to dive into an organization project on your own, Lauren’s formulaic approach can be personalized and adapted to work for your specific home and family. “I have a very busy household, and with three young children and two dogs, things can go astray very quickly! My key piece of advice is to make sure you have systems in place. Systems ensure everything has a home and helps with cleaning up.”
Lauren inspired us to tackle our own spring organizing projects by sharing her four crucial steps to organizing a space. Here’s how she breaks it down:
You should never skip this step. It sets the foundation for a space that is transitioning into a more organized one. Take everything out of the space (yes, everything!) and determine what stays and what goes. My general rule of thumb is to separate your belongings into piles: Keep, Donate, Toss, Sell.
Create groups so you can see what you’re dealing with. By categorizing your belongings, it sets you up for creating zones in the space you’re organizing. Simply put, zones are just allotments of space that hold like items.
before and after photos of Amanda’s 6 year old daughter’s closet transformation!
Using a bin or a basket has several benefits when containing items. First, it limits the amount of space you have to hold said items, creating boundaries to limit the number of items you possess. It’s a visual reminder that if the bin is overflowing, it’s time to go back and edit. And two, by labeling the container it reminds everyone in the household that only that item lives there, creating accountability for all parties. Try not to get too granular here, or it could be difficult for everyone to easily follow and maintain the system.
I like to remind people that this is an ongoing process and something that requires maintenance, which is why Transpirational Spaces offers a maintenance service to clients. When every item has “a home,” which it should in any strong system, it’s much easier to upkeep the organization. For the day to day maintenance, I advise clients to practice “something in, something out” to manage the number of items in your home overall, to not put things down rather than put them away, and to keep flat surfaces clear to keep clutter from creeping back. I also encourage people to use the change in seasons to reevaluate their spaces; changing out your wardrobe can be a great time to do another edit!
Another takeaway from this organizing queen? There’s no one size fits all solution when it comes to running a smooth home. Not every product or method works for every family. In Lauren’s family, for example, “decanting” snacks into clear, labeled storage containers helps her kids be self-sufficient, know what options are available, and keeps their food fresher, longer. But if the thought of maintaining a curated snack selection will stress you out more than improve the function of your household? No sweat! Just know that even the most organized pantries can’t and needn’t look Instagram-perfect all the time.