You Can Get Organized!


Bathroom Before Organizing and DeclutteringI first talked to “Clara” 3 years ago on the phone.  She had heard me on the radio doing an interview on a talk show.  She was excited with what she learned on the air and called me almost instantly after the show was over.  We talked for 20 minutes and she decided that she could not afford our services.

Never one to give a hard sell, you either are ready to get help or you are not, I told her that we would be around if she decided she needed the help.  Three years later she called, “My friend told me that if I had let you come over when we first talked I would not be so frustrated now.”

We started with an assessment of her entire home.  She had experienced some severe trauma in her life — family members severely injured in accidents as well as a few deaths.  Her entire life had been turned upside down to care for family members.  It is no wonder that things began accumulating.  As more things accumulated, she got more frustrated and defeated.

We decided to start in the bathroom. 

There was over 20 years of products that had accumulated…  Let’s see if some of these phrases are familiar to you:

  • I cannot stand it, it makes me break out, but I spent so much money on it!
  • I keep looking for a lotion that I will like better
  • I used to like that color eyeshadow. . .
  • I have no idea why I have been keeping that!

Guidelines for Cosmetics

Any color you have found that you do not wear at least once a month should be thrown out.  There are a lot of other guidelines on when you should let go of cosmetics. Here’s a quick guide on the shelf lives of typical beauty products.  We then used some great makeup organizers so that she could find her favorites quickly.

Other Non-Garbage Things

After we got rid of the items that were not sanitary to share and/or were expired, we decided on what was staying and what was not.

  • Lotions & soaps with pumps were placed in the caregivers’ stations and they were told to take what they wanted
  • Hair scrunchies, barrettes, etc. were packed up to send to a niece
  • Nail polish in colors she decided she did not like – to health care workers
  • Hair curlers to church bazaar, etc.

Overall, she purged 67 pounds of products!  (Yes, we did weigh it!)

Then What?

After we got rid of everything that was old or not liked, we were able to get down to organizing!

  1. Counter top organizers were used to chorale small items that she used often.
  2. Bathroom cleaners were collected and stored under one of the sinks.
  3. Shampoos and conditioners were put in the shower.
  4. We collected all of the other items and arranged them in drawers by type of  use.

Bathroom after organizing and de-clutteringShe had not been able to take a bath in the bathroom for well over a decade because it had been filled with other things.  Her reward?  A long luxurious bath surrounded by candles and her favorite music.  Doesn’t that sound good?

What have you done to gain control over your bathroom?  Have any inspiration stories to share with our readers?  I’d love to hear about it!

Believing in you,

Stephanie Calahan

Your Organized Home


7 thoughts on “You Can Get Organized!

  • April 23, 2008 at 4:33 am

    “My friend told me that if I had let you come over when we first talked I would not be so frustrated now.”

    Totally true! I’m still in that post-student stage of my life, so when I hired a professional organizer it felt like such a massive expense. It was SO worth it, even for one day, and I would recommend anyone struggling with their clutter to at least look at the possibility!

    Caitlin @ C³’s last blog post..Bloggy Giveaway

  • April 23, 2008 at 9:43 pm

    Caitlin –
    I am so happy that you had a good experience with your organizer. It is sometimes intimidating for people to take the first step, but I often hear people say how happy they were willing to take the leap into a better happier life.
    To your success,

    Stephanie LH Calahan’s last blog post..Unwrapping the Gift of ADD (teleseminars)

  • April 26, 2008 at 11:00 am

    I am retired and in the process of trying to organize on my own and now that Ive found this website, Im getting the hang of it. But I have to have a major foot surgery that will take a year to recover from as they have to break one of my feet in three places and restructure it. I would like to know how I can find or contact someone who does this declutter and reorganizing. I cant stay on my feet very long so I am thinking of hiring someone who does that but I have no idea where or how to find that someone. Could you please guide me in the right direction and information. Thank you so very much. Have a great day…Charlotte

  • October 9, 2008 at 8:51 pm

    I feel so demoralized. I am 49 years old, I live with my aunt in her home and I am completely overwhemed by the papers and books and clothes in the one room I have control over which is the bedroom I sleep in. I am out of control. When I lived on my own, my small studio apartment was like this, too. I feel like a failure. tomorrow I will clean for 10 minutes. I’m scared.

  • December 30, 2008 at 4:46 pm

    Hi Mary, etc…

    When I lived in a studio years ago, I had three 2′ x4′ sturdy folding tables and would put three drawer plastic rolling carts underneath so I could roll them in/out as I needed them. I would use one table for computer, etc, another to eat, put small ironing board on/off to iron, etc., and the third for misc. mail, books, everyday items. I put one at end of bed, the other two on separate walls.
    I also used half of the one closet with boxed, labeled items…and used rubbermaid large storage containers wherever there was room and yet although my studio looked a bit crowded it was organized and I had a ton of stuff.
    Another idea, I just came back from visiting family and saw that my son made a two level corner curved shelf system so that every(rubbermaid?) container fit perfectly on each shelf. I was amazed at how many it held and how nicely it looked and the bonus is the large TV sits nicely on top. Don’t be discouraged, you are not a failure,we all have moments like this…remember “We are all failures, at least, the best of us are.” J.M. Barre
    Take care,

  • July 18, 2010 at 11:17 pm

    On April 28 2010, I was so frustrated with my small house! It was embarrassingly starting to look like an episode of extreme hoarders. That day, I had only 30 mins to spend on cleaning something.
    Just out of sheer anger (and a few choice words) I decided that I could for sure find 5 things in that darn garage that I could throw away.
    I stomped out there, picked up an empty box and put it in the recycle bin! Then grabbed 2 ziplocks that had stones and shells and I dumped them around my tomato patch. Then I grabbed a small bag.. It had birthday cards from my 40th birthday.. I’m now 58! I shredded those, but saved the stamps to donate to the church.. they collect the used stamps for something. I grabbed an armful of old clothes and put them in a bag for give away. Same with the old fish tank light (fish tank was gone at least 5 yrs ago).
    There! 5 things, 30 mins.
    Such a feeling of accomplishment that I decided to continue with the 5 things a day.
    The rules. Throw away (trash or recycle), give away or put away.
    The goal… Make enough room in that darn garage to be able to convert it into a pottery studio.
    Today, (July 18 2010) I was feeling really frustrated because I couldn’t decide the best way to arrange the tables in my garage for the best workspace for the studio.
    Then it hit me. I’m rearranging furniture in my garage! I have cleared out enough stuff that I actually have room to arrange furniture!
    5 things a day.. throw away, give away, put away.
    Who woulda guessed?!

  • July 19, 2010 at 8:34 am

    Christine – That’s fantastic! Congratulations on your new space! What an inspiration you are. Now make some beautiful pottery. 🙂

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