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The power of a push goal: Alli’s home organization story

What if one small change could cause a series of events, changing everything? It’s not only possible, but doable. It’s called a push goal, a term coined by author Chalene Johnson, and means that if we can find the one goal that matters most, it will cause a cascading effect of positive change, and allow us to accomplish a bunch of other goals along the way. For example, if you are trying to run a marathon, you may “accidentally” accomplish other goals along the way: eating healthier, losing weight, or improving your spirituality. Home organization works the same way, as my recent client Alli found out.

Alli has been anxiously awaiting her second child, and was doing some cleaning to create a nursery when she realized she needed a little more help. After my first consultation with her, we tackled the one item causing a cascade of other problems around the home: her closet. From there, the rest fell into place, including other closets occupied with clothes, a linen closet, and more. Here are some takeaways anyone can benefit from that Alli learned during her time working with Simply Organized Interiors.

Step #1: The Closet

Alli and her husband’s clothes were combined in one closet, intermixed with each other’s stuff, creating disorderly chaos. She also had a 7-drawer dresser that held other clothes, making for an annoying back and forth process when getting dressed. She also had other clothes around the house in other closets, including some in her soon-to-be nursery that had to go, and some in the basement from other seasons. So, we purged, separated her items from her husbands, and got to work creating one uniform closet system.

Alli learned:

  • She needed a separate closet system from her husband (both from IKEA, we used the Audral system for him and the Boaxel system for her)

  • She needed fewer bins, hanging dividers, shoe organizers, and other contraptions that were a good attempt to get organized but weren’t working

  • She needed matching, velvet hangers for uniformity and to keep clothes from slipping off wire hangers (I recommend these to all of my clients)

  • She found that with half of the items in her wardrobe, she didn’t need other closet space in additional rooms, freeing up her nursery closet and some basement space

Step 2: The Dresser

Do you use your closet and your dresser to get ready? If so, consider how much you are going back and forth, and if your set up makes sense for the order in which you actually put your clothes on. Organizing the closet led to a natural next step, the dresser (this is how a push goal led to house-wide impact for Alli!).

Alli’s dresser was overflowing with clothes, and drawers were hard to close. We used the KonMari method of folding shirts (in half and in half again, then stacked vertically) to ensure the tops of the items were lower than the edges of the drawers, so they could close. This allows you to see exactly what you have in one glance.

The dresser now reflects the order that Alli puts her clothes on: underwear and bras on top, shirts next, and pants on the bottom. We reserve her precious closet space for nice work and going out tops, shoes, jeans, and dresses. Most days, for lounge wear or a workout, she can get completely dressed at her dresser.

Step #3: The Linen Closet

The domino effect of organizing her closet is that the rest of Alli’s upstairs was crying out for a reorganization. Alli’s linen closet had been overtaken by multiple sheet sets that were often missing pieces, pet towels, blankets, laundry products, and other items. The couple had even considered bringing in a contractor to build out some shelves in a corner nook in the hallway for laundry detergent and more storage, but didn’t end up needing to. By the end of our time with her linen closet, she told me how shocked she was that not only did everything fit, but she had room to spare.

First, we purged any sheets that weren’t part of a complete set, or weren’t in the best shape. For example, she’d used a facial product in that past that ruined some of her sheets but they were still in there, not being used...when she saw the look on my face after she asked if they needed to go, we both started laughing. Sometimes it just takes another person to realize how unnecessary the items are that we are holding on to.

Then, we moved all of the folded sheet sets to the bottom, and moving upward in the closet we folded and organized all the towels. Pet towels now have their own location so her husband doesn’t use her favorite luxurious bath towel on the dog on accident.

We purchased these clear bins from The Container Store, which I love for storing extra household products, such as Alli’s laundry detergent and other loose items in her linen closet. We focused on strategically choosing baskets and containers that helped solve a specific problem (overusing containers can actually lead to more disorganization). The Water Hyacinth Round Basket and the Twist Water Hyacinth Basket fit perfectly in her space and added some visual interest to an otherwise basic linen closet. If you find boxes, baskets, containers, and hanging storage systems around your house, take a minute like Alli did to consider if they are really helping or just containing disorganization.

Step #4: Setting up for the future

With a clean linen closet, dresser, and closet, the push goal effect was in the full force in Alli’s house. She noticed immediately that she had so much more room, such as in the nursery closet, to prepare for the dynamics a new family member will bring.

When I left Alli’s home she was already applying the concepts she learned from other rooms, such as her 2-year-old daughter’s closet. One of the benefits of working with Simply Organized Interiors is that you don’t just leave with a calmer space, but the knowledge and tips to apply to whatever other spaces you want. So, what’s your 2021 push goal, that would lead to better organization in multiple areas of your home?

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