Kim Menges has been a household name (pun intended) to the organizationally challenged in RVA since starting her business in 2002. With legions of devoted clients who have improved their lives with her guidance, she has skills and practices that we can all use. When I asked if she could provide our readers a takeaway, like Organize Your House in 5 Easy Steps (haha, I know you’re laughing all the way to the junk drawer), she replied that she doesn’t do lists like that.
Her premise and approach to working with clients is everybody is different and a system that works for me may not work for you. She doesn’t take a cookie-cutter approach. Instead she seeks to know you and your family and in the process determine what works for you and what your stumbling blocks are. Then she helps devise a plan that fits your lifestyle. Call it Real Life Organization, not the kind found in sexy organizational publications found in the grocery store this time of year.
First Kim helps you sort through and determine the disposition of your stuff, then she figures out how to make an organizational system work for you. The result is a household that gives you more time in your day because you don’t waste time looking and looking for something. Music to my ears.
Our visit with Kim took place at her house where she invited us to play a game. She said, Open any drawer, cupboard or closet.
This is how I live. I try to practice what I preach, that we are all imperfect. But because I have organized my house, I function at a high level and don’t waste time looking for anything. My husband and (three) children know where things belong and where to find them.
She had me at imperfect!
Throughout our visit, we eagerly pulled open drawers and peeked into closets,
and Kim’s organizing philosophy revealed itself. It can be boiled down to a few fundamentals:
- If you don’t love it or use it, get rid of it. The less you have, the easier it is to organize your life.
- Don’t look for perfection in your organization, i.e., your resulting system doesn’t need to look like it stepped out of the pages of a Pottery Barn catalog, but it should work for you.
As we opened drawers and cupboards
we had lively conversation centered on the Q & A’s she has with her clients as she helps them sort through stuff, evaluating belongings using the use it/love it rationale.
Do you use it? If yes, then
- Put it in the room where you use/need it.
- Group like things together.
Do you use it, but not very often? Put it where it’s out of the way, yet accessible.
If you don’t use it, can it be re-purposed? Would you use it and love it then? aRm arrived at our choir Christmas party this year bubbling about her Kim Menges idea:
Kim convinced her that her chipped Spode Christmas Tree plates could be repurposed into leave-behind serving trays for parties. Naturally I thought it was ingenious!
Okay, those were easy questions. Now for the hard ones. Imagine her asking you:
If you don’t use it, are you hanging on to it because you love it? Does it bring you joy? Hmmm…fairly easy to answer.
Do you have too much stuff that you love? Oh, getting harder.
Can you not part with something, even if you don’t use it or particularly love it? Now are you uncomfortable?
Part amateur psychologist, part task-master, Kim helps you get to the bottom of your stuff, literally and figuratively.
The bulk of Kim’s clients now are estate-oriented: she works with seniors trying to downsize or with adult children charged with clearing out a parent’s estate. In both cases, you can imagine the emotions attached to stuff, but her compassionate psychologist/task-master demeanor works well to bring about change.
As I tackle my basement, going through the dumping ground
that doesn’t make the house tour but holds an insane amount of stuff I might use, I hear Kim’s words, Do you love it? Do you use it? over and over. The visit to Kim’s home has instilled me with new resolve to continue to purge, recycle, donate, repurpose and just plain throw away until I’m satisfied. If you don’t hear from me, you’ll know where to send the rescue squad.
Many thanks to Kim for gamely opening her home to us and sharing her professional expertise. If you think you could use Kim’s help, she can be contacted at email@example.com.
Keep Calm and Organize On!
January 21, 2015
p.s. It’s the final hours of our anniversary giveaway. If you want to win this Dana Gibson Emperor pillow, you have to enter. Please confirm that you have indeed entered.
The giveaway closes at 11:59 p.m. tonight