The second we begin a new year, our urge to organize kicks in. Sometimes it involves large-scale projects—like the time Anastasia cut her entire kitchen storage in half. Other times, it’s a much smaller undertaking, like a simple linen closet refresh. Whatever the end goal, we stick to many of the principles outlined by our dear friend and professional organizer, Shira Gill. She wrote an incredible book on this topic and her simple, no nonsense advice inspired us to tackle a studio clean-out of our workspace here in Austin.
Between the dozens of photo shoots we hold throughout the year, we’ve acquired quite a few odds and ends that need a new home. And if you’re in the design industry, we’d be willing to bet you’ve got some extra bedding, furniture, and housewares to pass on, too. Come along as we share our approach for a quick studio clean-out, plus where to donate your gently used goods.
No matter what you’re organizing, you first need the right tools for the job. We typically visit The Container Store to grab supplies, and have used their Water Hyacinth Storage Bins collection time and time again. They look great on open shelving and can be easily labeled for a clean look. Make sure you have enough containers to cover each major group of items and prevent random knick knacks from going astray.
While it might feel counterintuitive, the next step is to clear everything out. We like to say that things get worse before they get better with organizational projects, but it’s all part of the process. Starting with a clean slate is key and helps you see the space you’re actually working with.
Step number three is all about following Shira Gill’s advice of creating general categories for each storage basket or bin. Every design studio is going to be a little different, but some category ideas could be: Fabric Swatches, Tile Samples, Product Catalogs, Office Supplies, and more. The categories should be broad enough to cover all your bases with the guiding philology of “everything has a place.”
Now all that’s left to do is organize and style. As you clean out things you no longer need, have one pile to toss and one pile to recycle or donate—more on that below.
If you’re an interior designer undergoing a studio clean-out, you likely have some pieces that need a new home. Whether you’re donating furniture, bedding, blankets, or kitchenwares, you’ll find so many organizations that can put them to good use. One great example is the Habitat for Humanity ReStore. They accept new and gently used furniture, appliances, home goods, and building materials with locations all over the U.S. We also love organizations like The Furniture Bank Network. Their mission is to prevent tens of thousands of pounds of furniture from entering landfills each year, which is just one way to be more sustainable in your interior design business. Here’s a full list of organizations to consider on both a national and local level:
Local Women + Family Shelters
Local Refugee Resettlement Programs
Happy cleaning, and cheers to a fresh new year!
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