Throughout the year, we’ll be highlighting notable women in our community. We want to spotlight those who are shaping where we live and giving back to our neighborhood. Do you know someone you think we should feature? Let us know in the comments!
While it’s typically hard to find the time to tackle an organization project, we’re all spending more and more time at home right now. And if you’re like us, the more you stay at home the more you realize some systems you have in place just aren’t the most efficient. This is where CW home comes in: founded by Caroline Fuller and Whitney Burton, CW home is an organization firm here to help your household work better for you. We chatted with the duo for our Notable Women series on all things home organization:
How did the two of you come to open CW home?
We met about eight years ago and quickly realized we had a similar work ethic and shared some of the same personal goals. We both are passionate about organizing and were always finding ways to cultivate that passion in our jobs. We talked periodically about our dream of starting a home organizing business, but the timing was never right. Then, in 2018, we were both facing a big transition with each of our jobs. We knew it was time for our dream to become a reality. We sat down at Caroline’s dining room table, and CW home was born.
When a client comes to you in need of help, what’s the number one complaint they have?
We hear the same thing from almost everyone. They are completely overwhelmed. Overwhelmed with clutter, overwhelmed with having to make decisions, and overwhelmed with maintaining spaces in their home that are being used every day (hello, “Junk Drawer”). People hold onto things as if they need permission to let them go. Whether it’s their kids’ artwork, or furniture passed down from their parents, they automatically feel guilty when they want to get rid of something. We remove that guilt and give you permission to get rid of items that no longer fit your needs or lifestyle. Our clients are always blown away by the freedom they feel in getting organized.
What does home organization entail?
Getting organized and staying organized really comes down to one thing—making choices. Every day, there are new items that come into our homes, and it’s up to us to create healthy habits around what we do and do not keep. Our job as organizers is to expedite the organizing process by purging unnecessary things and creating new organizational systems. During that process, we are constantly teaching our clients new habits that will keep the systems running. We also believe it’s important to remind our clients that a key element of staying organized is being consistent. In order to maintain systems within an entire house, every closet, drawer, and cabinet must be dedicated for specific items.
How do you decide where to start when organizing?
During an in-home assessment, we ask our clients which rooms or areas are their top priority. We are happy to provide our input, but usually start in the room that is causing the most stress. A lot of times, it’s a high-traffic area like an entryway or pantry. Once the client gets a feel for the process, it’s easy for them to prioritize rooms, and we just work our way down the list. We like to save the garage, attic, or storage space for last. We end up relocating things from all over the house to these areas, so it makes sense to finish in the storage areas.
What are your favorite organizing tools or products?
Caroline: It’s really hard to pick just one, so here are my top three. They all earn a spot because they are incredibly versatile and functional, while also being aesthetically pleasing:
- Montauk Baskets
- Bamboo Drawer Dividers
- Stackers Jewelry Trays
Whitney: I think one of my favorites and one of the most versatile products is a turntable. You can use them in the pantry for oils and vinegars. Put them under a bathroom sink for toiletries or cleaning products. There are also divided turntables that are perfect for markers, crayons, and colored pencils.
What are some tips you could give to someone who would like to organize their home?
The most important thing to remember is start small. Pick a project like the linen closet, your dresser drawers, or a bathroom. Completing a project, no matter how small, will motivate you to continue and give you the confidence to tackle something larger. You also want to give yourself adequate time to complete a project. Don’t expect to organize your closet while the kids are down for a nap. You’ll need time to pull everything out of the space you want to organize, sort all of the items, and decide whether to keep, donate, or trash the items. Then, put them back in the space in an organized manner.
What are the benefits of an organized home?
There are too many to count! Most importantly, an organized home reduces stress. When you walk into a home that is disorganized, there is physical and visual clutter everywhere. This is too much information for the eyes (and brain) to process. You may find it hard to focus or to complete a task if there is clutter everywhere. It also serves as a daily, visual reminder of the overwhelming amount of work you need to do to clean up your house. This can affect your mood, sleep, and health.
Now, imagine walking into a home where there is little to no clutter. Everything has a place, and everything is in its place. There aren’t little “piles” of stuff on the counter, the desk, the stairs, that table in the entryway, etc. You feel calm and are able to be present. You can start and finish a task because you know where everything is located. You’re not wasting time searching for that bill you need to pay, your kid’s soccer cleats, or that birthday party invitation. The sense of calm trickles down to everyone else in your home. Your kids can feel it and can learn valuable lessons about putting things away and being responsible for their belongings.
In your experience, what are the hardest and easiest rooms in a home to organize?
Caroline: My favorite and probably the easiest in my opinion is the kitchen. As someone who loves to cook, I view kitchen items as tools, so when deciding placement for those tools, it just boils down to where in the kitchen do you use them? There’s typically no emotion behind it, just strategy. I’ll never forget after doing a huge kitchen for a client, she called us that night and said, “I haven’t enjoyed cooking in my kitchen in years. I forgot how enjoyable it could be.” That is the reward we strive to give all of our clients.
For the hardest, I would have to say the Master Closet. People tend to have a hard time parting with clothing. Those size two jeans haven’t fit in years, but everyone wants to say, “Someday I’ll get back into them!” We’ve found that with clients who struggle to purge their clothing, that doing smaller seasonal purges is more effective. Likely, once they get the taste for it, they will be calling us back to say they are ready to get rid of more!
Whitney: For me, the hardest room is a kitchen. I am picky about where kitchen utensils, cookware, and tools are located in my own home and so I always assume that everyone else is as well. I think the easiest room to organize is a playroom. First, you get rid of everything that is broken, missing pieces, or that the kids have outgrown and then sort the toys into bins by category. We use a set of matching bins or baskets for smaller toys with easy-to-read labels or picture labels, making clean-up a breeze for kids. Big items, like stuffed animals or dress-up clothes, can go in a larger soft-sided bin.
What are the benefits of hiring a professional organizer?
For one, your sanity! It can be overwhelming to try and go through clothes, or kids’ toys, or keepsake items and decide whether or not to keep them. You have an attachment to the items and even though you haven’t worn that pink, sequin mini skirt in 10 years, you think, “Well, maybe I will next year.” With us, we ask you some important questions if you’re struggling to decide whether to keep an item. Have you used it or worn it in the last year? Five years? Do you like the way this looks on you? If you saw this in the store today, would you buy it? Going through stuff is time-consuming. Your time is valuable, and you might be working a full-time job, or have kids, or both! Most people don’t want to spend what little free time they have cleaning out a closet. Another benefit is that we have a vast knowledge of the organizing products that are available in stores or online. We’ve used tons of products and know what works and what doesn’t. We can cater to any budget or can use products you already have.