Name: Autumn Nyby
Business Name: Space for Living Organizing
Location: San Diego, CA
Number of Years in Business: 2
The delight on a clients face when a space has been transformed.
What is your favorite space to organize? Why?
I love organizing an office. It is such a major lifeline (and dumping ground) in a home or business. So many people struggle to make their office work for them. And paper can be a major hurdle to clients. When an office is running efficiently and can function with minimum effort it is such a rewarding feeling.
What is one of your favorite organizing products? Why?
Do I have to pick just one?? I love labels and baskets. You don’t realize what a big difference labels make until you try them! It magically helps you put items back where they belong. It is a lot harder to throw something up on a shelf when there is a label staring you down telling you where it really goes.
I also love baskets because they keep things hidden, but accessible. Plus, they add interest to a space.
What do you find is the toughest part about being an organizer?
(Writing a blog, ha, ha. I would much rather be working one on one with a client than trying to articulate my ideas in writing. But I keep blogging because it’s a wonderful way to share ideas on a larger scale and virtually “meet” others.)
As an organizer, I also find myself reassuring my friends and clients that I am not a perfectionist. My house is not always clean and I sometimes misplace a paper. My role is to cheer you on and help find solutions, not to judge the clutter. We have all experienced a level of disorganization. Some just have a higher threshold before they call for backup.
Do you think you were born with the organizing gene or have you developed the skills over time?
I was definitely born with a dislike of visual clutter, but I increased my organization skills over time. From helping college roommates, to organizing an elementary classroom, to raising two kids under 2, I have experienced the many benefits of organization. I’ve sought out strategies that can make life simpler.
What area of your own home do you find the most difficult to keep on top of?
Photos. I was not a big photo taker until I started blogging. Now I have a ton of digital photos. Most are organized by year and month but some are by topic. One of these days I’ll get them all in order. But for now my search option works great!
What do you have a collection of? How do you display/organize it?
Hmm. I don’t collect anything. I do love Jadite kitchenware. I have 8 pieces total. I use and love them all. I don’t have a desire to buy anymore because I love what I already have. Plus I am not big on displaying items since it’s more to dust.
How would your mom describe your room as a kid (in terms of organization)?
Clean for the most part but I don’t think I was particularly organized. I liked knowing where everything was but I can remember it getting pretty chaotic at times. Then I would get fed up and do one big giant cleaning session.
Do you have an organizing mantra for yourself and your clients?
Make room for the things that matter most. Sometimes we get so caught up surrounded by our “things.” If we take a step back for a moment, we can see more clearly, that these “things” fade.
As lovely as that sounds, putting it into practice can be challenging. It is not about creating picture perfect homes, but instead creating functioning systems that take up less of our time and energy. Less clutter equals more space and time for people and memory making.
In a few sentences, can you tell us what your approach is for taking clients from overwhelmed to organized?
I like us to start with the long term goal in mind. It is easy to forget why you are getting organized when you are overwhelmed. By keeping that bigger goal in mind we can step back and refocus if we get too bogged down by the little things.
When I’m working on a particularly overwhelming space, I like us to move a box of items out of the cluttered space to sort through one at a time. I find it’s important to focus on what we have accomplished so far, how much stuff we have gone through, and the tough decisions we have already made, instead of looking at how much we have left to do.
I also try to keep the process fun. Uncovering treasures and creating a home you love is a wonderful and worthwhile endeavor. I feel so glad I get to help clients make that happen.
What is one thing you want others to know about working with a Professional Organizer?
It is easy to wander into disorganization but it is hard to wander out. A professional organizer can create a plan and walk with you down the path. Even if you know what path you want to take we can coach you through it. Just like it took time to create the mess, it takes time to create order and establish new habits.
Before and after pictures are so motivating. Could you share an example of your work with us and tell us a little about what you did?
This small room had to serve multiple functions: as a pantry, a laundry room and a storage closet for four roommates! We started small and focused on one box at a time. As we sorted like with like and found duplicates (or even triplicates), we asked the tough questions, how many extra sheets do you really need? How many coffee cups are reasonable? Be ruthless! We set limits, kept what was loved, and let go of the rest, two car loads full to be exact.
In the end, the space was functional and all of the stored items were accessible. It made a huge difference and meant that none of the roommates had to make the dreaded climb over boxes just to get to the washer and dryer! Success! You can read more about the makeover on Space for Living’s blog.
In this space we had boxes and piles of books, as you can see in the before picture. The room was meant to be library, but there were more books than would fit on the 3 bookshelves. Giving away books was not an option for this client.
We brought the 2 smaller bookshelves out of the closet into the room. Then 3 bookshelves were used in the closet to maximize all the closet space. Taking the doors off the closet and sorting books by topic makes this space a real functioning library now.