Teresa Dinneen is a mom of two and a professional organizer and stylist who works with a team of five to simplify her clients’ homes, and lives, and along the way shares her secrets on her Lifestyled site. This time of year, we’re all about doing just that, so we asked Teresa for some of her best tips for getting organized, including her simple 6-part process and when to know you need help!
How did you get into organizing – and what does your work encompass?
I honestly think organizing found me, rather than me knowing this would be my career path. I started my career in fashion and spent 20 years doing fashion sales for companies like Quiksilver, JBrand and TOMS. Yet on the side, I would always organize my friends’ closets and style them for nights out or vacations. When I had my daughter, I went back to work after maternity leave and tried to jump back into the corporate world but was really struggling with the schedule and lack of flexibility as a new mom. I never saw Gracen and knew that wasn’t the way I wanted to raise my kids. That is when I really looked into my passions and my skills and knew it was time to start organizing and styling for myself, as my job! I started my company Estilo, solely as a closet organizer and stylist. But the more closets I organized the more clients would ask if I could organize other areas of their homes. That is when I realized I needed to re-work my business plan and expand my offerings. That is when Lifestyled started! I currently have a team of five employees and we offer thoughtful organization and styling services to help simplify your life.
What are the most important things to keep in mind when you’re overwhelmed and want to “get organized”?
Start small! Don’t set unrealistic organization goals, like saying you’re going to organize your entire garage in one day. Believe me, that won’t happen and then you’re only going to get frustrated, overwhelmed and quit halfway through which leaves you with more of a mess than you started with. Again, start small! Start with one drawer in your kitchen or one small space that bugs you the most. Once you accomplish that, then move onto bigger spaces.
Do you have a process you go through in every room?
The organization process we use is the same for every space and room in your house! It’s six simple steps that anyone can follow.
- Remove all items
- Take each and every item out of the space you are organizing: as you always want to start with a blank slate.
- Sort and Categorize
- Group all your items into like-minded categories so you can see exactly what you have, what you can get rid of and what you need to replace
- Donate, Sell or Toss
- Toss any expired or damaged items, donate items that can be of use to others and sell anything new or of value
- Create Organization
- Store everyday items within reach and at eye level and store less often used items up high or in hard to reach places and don’t forget to label
- Style the space
- Use storage bin that are both functional and aesthetically pleasing to your space to create containment and decor
- Now that everything has a place, you know where to put it back therefore maintaining the organization
Why is styling your space so important?
While organization is incredibly functional at keeping things contained and clutter free, it isn’t always aesthetically pleasing. That’s why we love curating organization systems that are both functional and stylish. Our systems aren’t cookie cutter; but designed for your specific house and needs in mind. The styling at the end of each project is what I love the most!
How has COVID changed how your clients think of organization?
COVID has really opened our clients eyes as to how important it is to feel good in our homes. To feel at ease in our spaces and how excess clutter can have negative effects on ourselves and our families well-being. Since COVID the number one request is to help them edit their spaces, creating more space and less stuff. To get rid of what no longer serves them, and to make room for what does.
Who is a great candidate to use a professional organizer?
My best clients and the ones that benefit from it the most are busy parents. With kids it’s so easy to consume items that you think you need or items that may keep your kids busy. But all that consumption requires containment and organization and without it your house becomes full of clutter (most of it rarely used). If you don’t have systems in place to keep up with all the THINGS then it can get overwhelming and past the point of knowing where to start. That’s where we come in. We do the hard work for you so all you need to do is maintain the organization once we leave!
What is the biggest myth about home organizing?
There are two myths that I hear all the time. 1. “My house is too messy to be organized” Believe me, we have seen it all and have zero judgement. To do our job properly (and the reason you hire us) we need to see the true state of your space to give you the best organization solutions that you’ll be able to maintain once we leave. So don’t clean your house or start to declutter before we get there. The messier the better! 2. “Professional organizers are too expensive!” Yes, they can be depending on the scope of your project. But almost anyone can afford to hire a professional organizer, you just have to find someone that has the right packages for you and your needs. And be realistic about what you are looking for. If you want your entire house organized, then yes it will be more than just focusing on the one room or space that needs the most help!
Anything else you’d like to share?
Organization is my passion, so it doesn’t have to be yours!
Thank you so much for letting me share my tips to all you moms out there! Here’s to living a life…styled! Follow along on Instagram @teresa.lifestyled for more helpful organization tips.