It Takes a Village



If only this were true and everyone in the house was a trained organizer!

Reality is we have more hunters and gatherers.

Before you start reading on this Motivational Monday, fair warning, this is a long post. It might sting a little bit in the beginning but if you hang with it you will see there is light at the end of the tunnel.  Here we go.

In every home there are more hands carrying things in than taking things out.  Once something is in the garage or house…we have to deal with it.  Unpack it, store it, pick it up and clean it.   These are committments of our time and energy we just signed up for everytime something new comes thru the door.  It’s life and it happens.  Even with the necessities of our daily needs…things get out of control very quickly.



So the next step is we conveinence ourselves that a fancy, expensive set of shelves or containers is going to change our world.  Right.  If your family can operate and maintain the pantry below then you can stop reading right now.  You might hyperventilate looking at what the rest of us go through!


Amanda Organizes

All joking aside, most of us need a little more help tHan simply buying the vast majority of products available to organize our lives.  WE NEED SYSTEMS THAT WORK FOR US! Not for the manufactuers of all the cute little monogramed boxes, not for institutions that buy everything in Costco bulk, not for our best friend who sleeps with her label maker and not for our mother/mother in laws.



Ashley Cook

Ashley is our friendly, respectful, and firm Dynamite that we need to finally get things under control.  She is a professional organizer with the heart of a teacher. Ashley took time away from one of “your” projects to chat with us and share some real life examples of systems that work!  Thanks so much!


What do you ask clients to do before you begin your services?

To do nothing. Hide nothing. Touch nothing before I arrive. Let me see how you live a “regular” day. Be an open book. Maintain a good sense of humor. Let’s start first thing in the morning when there is plenty of coffee and clarity.

All design projects have one thing in common … they address a problem. Your service is also based on problem solving. Is there a difference between organizing something and developing a system of organization for us to implement?

Yes, there is a difference.

Organization is multi-layered. There are a few key steps in between organizing an area and following through with an organizational system. Implementing the “system” is icing on the cake. And for it to be a successful and usable system, the legwork has to be done on the front-end.

Organizing begins with an honest assessment of the area – what works … what doesn’t … and ideally, what we’d like for it to look like and function as. With a goal in mind, the next step is ACTIVE purging. Choosing only your favorite things (things that bring you joy) and being able to let go of “too much”. Too much stuff creates visual noise. It drains our energy, physically and mentally.

Once an area is purged, a system can be set up where everything has a purpose and a place. In this state, minimal maintenance is required to keep things neat and tidy.

What area of our homes do you get asked to organize the most?

I’ve been on a roll with garages. I’ll post before and after photos of garages on my social media/Facebook and then that spurs on a number of garage makeovers.

I also do a lot of closets. Clothes have a way of taking over space and wreaking havoc with our morning routines.

I love re-working kitchens and pantries. We spend so much time in these areas, daily, that a makeover is very rewarding. Just editing the clutter visually is so appealing. Add in the functionality of ease of use at mealtimes and you’ve done something wonderful.

There is no job that is too big, small or odd. I’ve even organized a hotel room in Beverly Hills for one of my clients who decided to stay long-term in a short-term living arrangement. That one required some ingenuity!

Too many times we see a lot of money being spent on the latest “pretty” storage containers and not enough time spent completing the organizing.

This reminds me of a quote that I’ve seen (and love) … “Organized clutter is still clutter. Get rid of it.”

What are some materials we already have in our homes that we could use to better organize things?

I am the queen of repurposing what you already have. Let’s say we’re doing a bathroom and you have an old toilet brush/stand.  I’m happy to ditch the old plastic, generic stand and substitute a pretty ceramic planter to hold the toilet brush.

A cute, rarely used dish or an interesting coaster is a great soap dish.

Old pots and vases are wonderful for storage pieces inside of cabinets or set out on counters for active use.

I’ve repurposed an armoire to use as food storage in a kitchen without a pantry.

When you decide to live with less, every piece is important … and I’d prefer them to be unique and beautiful rather than generic.

How do you help clients know what to buy if new storage items are needed?

My hourly rate ($50/hr) can be used shopping – locally or online. I frequently set up Amazon gift lists and send different ideas/solutions and recommendations in varying price ranges. My client will then select and buy what they want for the completion of the project.

What are your favorite organizing tools?

I always have post-its and I use my sharpie to write next steps for items … “to donate”, “give to school”, “return to neighbor”, “take to be fixed”, “animal shelter”, “punch holes”, “file”.

Zip ties are magical for tidying up wires and keeping things out of sight or in place.

Command Hooks, varying sizes, help to streamline and make use of interesting spaces.

Heavy duty wire shelves (from Costco).

Hanging organizers with pockets are fantastic for collecting and displaying jewelry (for easy access and use). They are multi-purpose and can hold chargers, cords, wires, ear buds, etc.

Do you ever worry you are doing such a good job you will put yourself out of business with your clients so organized?

If I’ve done my job well, I shouldn’t have to come back … unless it’s just for a friendly coffee and to celebrate our victory over clutter.

How does a client contact you to inquire about a service?

You can call or text my mobile – 502-558-9865


Check out my website:



A Garage

Sometimes its obvious there is a better way!



AvisB2 2.jpg


Oh my…do you mean I can park in the garage now?!


A Closet

Sometimes it’s not as obvious…after all we’ve bought all the items that were supposed to do the trick!

Closet mess.jpg

closet mess 2.jpg

The After Closet




A Bonus Room

See…sometimes she will let you buy the cute little boxes!


An Office

We have an upcoming post about offices…our new junk room it seems!


OfficeAFTER.jpgIn closing, as designers our ultimate goal is to see you enjoy your new home, the renovation to your existing home, or the updated decor you’ve created …to the max.  Nothing is as important as having our homes work for us every day.  There is a system for your perfect LBD.

Could you be more organized?

You don’t have to wait for…..

Boxing Day

Thanks for spending more than a few minutes with us today!

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7 thoughts on “It Takes a Village”

  1. One of my favorite posts. Life is so much simpler when you stay organized. However, I do confess to one junk drawer!!!

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