What does a personal organiser do?

I often get asked 'what does a personal organiser actually do?' so today I thought I would share a recent job I completed so you can see for yourself! Basically, I am passionate about helping others get organised in their homes. This blog gives lots of tips and ideas, but sometimes it can be too overwhelming to tackle a disorganised space yourself, no matter how much information you have about how to do it. That is where I can step in and help you set up a space that works for you [and your family], essentially helping you to 'take back your life'.

Alison contacted me a few months ago because she needed help setting up and organising her sewing room. She and her husband had recently moved house, and she now had a whole room to herself to craft and sew - how lucky!

Alison's goals for the space were:

1. Accessibility - she wanted to be able to come in and start work straight away
2. For the room to look good
3. A place for everything and everything in its place

After a consultation via Skype (as she lives over an hour away), Alison sent a few photos so I could get a general idea of what we were working with. The room had a great built-in cupboard for storage and a desk in the corner, but that was about it as unpacking was still a work in progress.

I got to work on the organisational plan for the day, and sent through some product recommendations after researching inspiring craft and sewing spaces. My number one recommendation was the Ikea Kallax (ex-Expedit), either one large one, or 2 of the 2x4 units, as they are such a fantastic storage option. You can have different storage baskets or boxes inside to categorize items, and use the top to display items or hold heavier objects e.g. sewing machine. This picture shows the look I was going for...

Luckily, Alison had an Expedit previously so already had quite a few baskets on hand. I also recommended some floating shelves for above the desk and shelving, and some small storage containers for various bits and pieces.

When I arrived at Alison's gorgeous new home, we got to work straight away on clearing the room. I always like to work with the client rather than on my own, as important decisions need to be made i.e. what to keep, what to get rid of, what would work best where in terms of how the space is used etc.

We cleared out the cupboard first, then started categorising everything into the baskets using labelled post-it notes e.g. embroidery cones, mending, templates, patterns, scraps etc. At this stage we were just sorting, and would find spots for everything later. It is always good to have lots of boxes/baskets/bags to throw the different items into, rather than creating lots of piles on the floor that might get mixed up. And labels are essential so you know what belongs where!

Making progress!

We then tried out some different layouts for the baskets within the Kallax unit, making sure the most frequently used items were closest to the sewing desk.

We sorted the wool collection into these 3 storage containers (which Alison already had), according to colour.

The boxes were labelled and placed inside the left storage cupboard.

The desk was the next area we tackled, sorting thread and bobbins into specific containers that Alison already had from Spotlight. The drawers were completely cleared of clutter, and now only hold thread and a few essential items in the top drawer. The hooks from the floating shelf above the desk allowed Alison to hang her scissor collection for easy access.

We then sorted all the little bits and pieces like sewing tools, buttons, measuring tapes, needles etc, into the collection of small jars and containers.

Finally, after all the sorting, purging and organising, this is how this space ended up! I think it looks fantastic, and Alison was so pleased that all her goals were met. The neatly organised units have everything labelled, categorised, and accessible. The sewing machine sits on top of one unit, and Alison's current knitting projects are in the portable carrier which she can take with her if she wishes to knit elsewhere in the house.

The fabric was neatly stacked inside the cupboard, along with bigger rolls of fabric. Patterns were stored inside magazine files and baskets. The desk is clutter-free and Alison can now get to work on a project straight away, knowing exactly where everything is, and having everything close at hand.

Love the little labelled jars and framed sewing patterns!

We were both so happy with how this turned out - here's what Alison had to say:  

‘I learned so much from Jo’s seemingly effortless ability to see the big picture and categorise our life info meaningful and useable chunks. This has had the effect of lifting a huge load off our backs. We no longer waste time and money searching for something and/or going out and buying it again because it’s quicker’

I hope this gives you a better idea of what a personal organiser does, and if you think you would like help setting up a space in your home, you can contact me here, I'd love to help!

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