“Start small and celebrate your progress.”

“Start small and celebrate
your progress.”

Kim Powley is a home organizer who’s spent years helping families inside the beltline make the move from one home to another. She’ll be providing a free one-hour consultation for all new residents of The Wade. Here she shares her perspective on the process, and offers practical suggestions for steps along the way.

Download this PDF to get additional tips from Kim.

On how she got started

I started out organizing closets, and then real estate agents started sending clients to me—they wanted somebody to help them declutter before they listed. Then those clients liked that so much they hired me to go to their new home and organize things there. I’ve got people where I’ve helped three generations in their family.

On helping clients get started

For a lot of people moving is just overwhelming. You don’t even know where to start. If you break it down into small portions it’s much easier. Start someplace where you can see immediate results, like a linen closet, a bathroom, a laundry room. It’s easy to go through expired medicines and old makeup. It feels good: okay, this isn’t as hard as I thought it was going to be. And you get on kind of a roll.

On the worst decision you can make

In the midst of everything, you’re not thinking about the fact that the moving company is charging by the ton. So if a person gets overwhelmed they’ll say, “I’ll worry about this when I get to the new house.” Well, that’s the worst decision. The problem is still there; you’ve just paid to take it someplace else.

On taking the first step

Start early. Of course, January is always a great time. It’s a new year, and you’re typically indoors more anyway. Just pick a project: this weekend I’m going to work on the pantry. Or set a timer on your phone: I’m going to work in my closet for 30 minutes. That’s manageable.

On the joy of decluttering

I don’t know about touching things and seeing if it brings joy, but I do know that when people don’t get rid of stuff it can bog them down. It does feel good to let go of stuff and just keep the things you love and will use. I tell people, when I leave you’ll feel 10 years younger and 10 pounds lighter. You feel happiness when your life is simpler and more organized.

On putting things to good use

People want to know that their things have value for someone else. Maybe that means a family member or friend, but it could also mean a much-appreciated donation. The Lions Club collects used eyeglasses; the SPCA will take old sheets and towels. There are places that take business clothes and make them available for people who need clothes for interviews. I keep a list for all kinds of things people can give away.

On a new lifestyle

Often it’s not just about living somewhere else; it’s about changing your lifestyle. Maybe you want to travel. You want to walk out the door and go somewhere and not have to worry about a yard or the mail. I imagine people who’ll be moving into The Wade are thinking along those lines. They’re looking forward to being close to Cameron Village and downtown; doing something new and taking control of things. It’s exciting.