My Two Scents

Getting a puppy is the best thing ever. Getting a puppy smell out of your apartment, well that’s a different story.

After trying every air freshener, enzyme cleaner and carpet powder on the market, I constantly felt disappointed. I realized a lot of products out there are great at masking smells but not actually removing them. I also tend to like natural cleaning products versus those with harsh chemicals.

I went on a mission to find the best air purifying products that would kick that pup smell out of my apartment for good. To my surprise, I still use them regularly and have also incorporated them into my business of professional organizing. Closets, storage units, garages & kitchens are examples of spaces that can benefit from air purifying.

Here are my two scents that I can’t live without!

  1. Sage: This aromatic plant has an extended history of medicinal properties and is native to the Mediterranean region. Burning sage has definitely been a trending topic for quite some time and I see it being sold in boutiques, yoga studios and health food stores all over the place. It is used in smudging practices that aim to purify air and also tell bad energies to hit the road. After my experience, I definitely agree with all of the above. As for being a dog mom, sage is one of the few things I used in my apartment that really made that puppy smell vanish. I would light it every morning and every night before bed. After a few days, I felt the air in my apartment neutralize. Although Otis is now all grown up and he never has accidents in the house, we still use sage religiously to keep our air and energy feeling fresh.
  2. Qalo Santo: Palo Santo is a tree native to Mexico, Central and South America that is burned similarly to incense. In Ecuador, burning Palo Santo is used to clear bad energy and dates back to the Incas. Similar to sage, PS has a lot of medicinal and spiritual uses. I use PS when I do my at home yoga practice, meditate, need to relax & when I need to cleanse from some bad vibes.
 Sage Smudging Stick

Sage Smudging Stick


Palo Santo sticks from Lockwood Shops

Why Hire A Pro. Organizer?

“So what do you do?”
“I am a Professional Organizer.”
“Oh wow, are all your clients hoarders?”

This is a conversation I have weekly (sometimes multiple times a week). The short answer: No, you don’t need to be a hoarder to benefit from the services of a Professional Organizer. But who exactly does need an organizer and why.

Here are five reasons why hiring a P.O. this spring can be just what you and your family need:

1. Conquer The Clutter: Whether its boxes of old photos, or clothing we haven’t worn in years, we all have items that can cause clutter. Working with a pro to tackle these areas will make the process a lot easier for you. Professional Organizers help you sort through these items and decide what stays, gets donated or discarded. We then piece it all back together by creating a system that is simple for you to maintain. #clutterconquered

2. New Perspective: Sometimes we get too comfortable with how we use our space. Having a fresh set of eyes can shake things up; usually for the better. I learned this first hand designing closets. Clients would call me for a consultation and say things like “I doubt there is anything you can do with this space, it’s just so small.” After taking some wall measurements and assessing their storage needs, I would design two to three options per closet. The client would usually respond with “Wow, I didn’t even think that was possible.” The same can also be true for organizing.

3. Relax More, Stress Less: A main reason people call up a P.O. is because clutter and disorganization is adding unwanted stress to everyday life. We don’t always realize it, but clutter can signal to our brain that our work is never finished. That is a very stressful way to live and an organizer can help relieve some of that stress.

4. Save Time: When I started my Professional Organization business, I was inclined to learn about time and how we waste it looking for things. All those mornings we can’t find our keys, sort through boxes to find that one pair of shoes you need for a wedding, or that bill you can’t seem to remember where you placed, add up. In general, the average person uses around 1 year of their life looking for things. My mind was blown after I heard that number and I want to help my clients gain some of that time back.

5. Save Money: Similar to time being wasted, money can be wasted as well. A classic example of this is buying the same hot sauce three different times because they are all buried in different areas of your refrigerator and you can’t find it when you need it. Another example is when a client and I are sorting through their closet and we find multiple items with tags still on them that have never been worn and essentially been forgotten about. When you have a more organized system in your closet, or in your fridge, you may just want to wear something you already own, and not need to re-buy something that you have but can’t find.

How To Perfect Your To-Do Lists

To-Do lists are always a hot topic. Personally, I can’t live without them. However, I have made the mistake of putting too much on a to-do list, not getting it all done & then BOOM, all of a sudden you feel like a failure. That’s not a great feeling. My advise to everyone: be kind to yourself and allow the realistic. Here are some to-do list tips that help you do just that.

  1. Decluttering Is Not Just For Stuff:  Decluttering is a huge part of any organization project but should not only be limited to physical items. It can be applied to email inboxes, spending habits and also to do lists. Sometimes, we can get over zealous and put 20 items on a list. However, in reality, doing this can be overwhelming, distracting and stressful, just like physical clutter.
  2. Prioritize Your List: Putting urgent tasks at the top of your list is key. Try to get them out of the way earlier in the day if possible. You will feel like a weight is lifted off your shoulders, and you will be motivated to continue on with the rest of your list. 
  3. Create Stretch Goals: In retail, you usually have sales goal for the day and once that goal is met, you aim to hit a stretch goal. The idea behind a stretch goal is to essentially get ahead of your goal for the month, quarter and year. I have been applying this tactic to my to-do lists, because I feel way less stress in my life when I am one step ahead verses always playing catch up.
  4. Practice Intentionalism:  The intentions behind things can motivate you more then just the task itself. It gives meaning to your work. Be conscious of your true intentions when you are making your to do list. For example: some people find the task of laundry to be daunting. But if we focus on the intention behind doing laundry, we realize that we love having clean clothing and outfits that make us feel confident. 
  5. Pick A System That Excites You: Since we are in a digital age, there are so many to-do list apps that are awesome. I am more old fashioned, and prefer writing things down, but which ever you choose, pick a system, program or notebook that excites you and makes writing daily to-do lists that much more enjoyable.

What Would You Do With An Extra Year Of Life?

Today I spent the morning researching “wasted time.” Often times my clients tell me they waste time in the morning finding things in their closet and their biggest goal is to be “in and out.”

This got me thinking, how much time are we wasting looking for things? How many minutes do we spend trying to find our car keys? How much time do we spend looking for matching socks? How much time do we spend trying to find a book we’ve had on our bookshelf for years and suddenly want to start reading?

According to US News and World Report, the average person spends one year of their life looking for misplaced items. I will say that again, one year. What would you do with that extra year of your life if you were able to gain it back? 

Here are a few tips to help you get that year of your life back:

Have A Specific Place For Your Keys. I have on small drawer in my entry way cabinet that is specifically for keys. I come home from wherever I am and my keys go right in the drawer. Trust me, this is a big time saver on those dark cold winter mornings. 

Plan An Outfit For The Next Day. Before going to bed, hang an outfit for the next day. Having to scramble and put together an outfit in the morning could be stressful and may set you up for a whole entire day of stress which is unhealthy and unnecessary. Take it a step further by steaming and lint brushing the night before. Now your outfit is fresh and ready to go and you have a couple of more minutes with your beloved cup of coffee.

File According To Urgency. I tend to keep my desk as clutter free as possible. However, I always leave a folder out with my most urgent bills and priority mail. That way it’s in my face, I can get to these important documents quickly and I don’t have to waste time scrambling through drawers. 

Categorize Your Home. Rule number 1 that any professional organizer will tell you is categorize your stuff. Keep tank tops together, skirts together, socks together, keep pots and pans together, keep like foods and snacks together in your pantry and the list can go on and on and on. Everyone’s home is different and the list of categorize vary per each household. One thing I know for sure is that this will definitely save you a lot of time, stress and energy when it comes to finding things.

I would love to hear from you: What items do you always misplace or can never seem to find?

 Photo by Gearstd/iStock / Getty Images

Photo by Gearstd/iStock / Getty Images

TOP 10

These are my Top 10 favorite items to sort through when I am feeling the itch to declutter and create more space in my apartment. I recommend these items to clients because a lot of them end up being dust collectors and once you let go of them you most likely won't ever think about them again. 

Side Note: PLEASE remember, just because we say "let go" or "purge" or "part ways with" does not mean they need to end up in the garbage. Donate to those in need, make sure to recycle and download apps such as "Declutter" if you want to make some money off of electronics, CDs and books. 

Please share any items that you love to purge in the comments below:

PURGE PHOTO.001.jpeg


One of the items I find the most annoying to arrange and organize are stockings. 

  1. They are delicate. One broken nail rubbing them the wrong way can result in a run.
  2. You can't tell their print or pattern.
  3. They are long and don't look very neat in your drawers.

One of my must have closet products is called "Stoxbox" which is the go-to stocking lifesaver. My favorite feature of this product is that you can see the print. This saves you a lot of time and will help you get some new outfit inspiration. 

Check out the photos below. 


Before & After Of The Week

One of the many reasons a client tells me they are interested in hiring a professional organizer is because they can never find anything (especially during those dark early mornings when you are rushing to get to work or your beloved 6AM spin class).

Step one during any closet revamp is taking everything out, sorting through your inventory and then dividing by category. This will make your purging process easier and extinguish that "where did I put my pink button down blouse"  panic.

Tip to Take It A Step Further: Color Coordination. 

Closet Organization By: Drea Montali    |   Closet System by: California Closets