Janelle Cohen is a professional organizer, interior decorator, and entrepreneur; her clients include household names such as Jordyn Woods, Emma Chamberlain, Jay Shetty, and more, many of them everyday families looking to bring magic back into their day to day.
The age-old yearly trend of spring cleaning resonates with many as an important ritual of ridding clutter, others perceive it as cliche and misunderstood. I see it as a microcosm, where small simple changes in one’s home can reverberate throughout their life, influencing positive improvement in mental health and interpersonal relationships.
Life is full of unknowns, many that we don’t have any control over. As a Type A planner myself, I used to find myself emotionally drained when outcomes in my life didn’t go as planned. I learned that taking that energy and applying it to what I could control, aka my space, I felt a sense of calm and ease. After I became a professional organizer years ago, I was able to see first hand how slight adjustments in my clients’ homes could effectuate greater positive change in their personal lives.
Here are my tips for utilizing organization in order to achieve better mental health.
Be specific in your aesthetic.
Identifying what truly feels like “you” will give you identity and power in your space. Over time we accumulate items, but we also evolve. As we evolve, so does our style. Allow your space to evolve with you. A space that accurately reflects your personality will ultimately truly feel like your home.
Have the right amount of stuff for your space.
The key to being organized is not being at maximum capacity. If you are constantly at 100% or more, you’ll always undergo subconscious stress when shopping, tidying up or cleaning. If you maintain a 75% capacity, you’ll find that a quick tidy is much easier and effective both aesthetically and mentally.
Create organized systems around your natural habits.
New habits are not created overnight. They take time, patience, and thoughtfulness. Spend a few days evaluating what is adding stress into your space.
As an example, if you come home from work and take off your shoes and throw down your keys, but you don’t have a system in place to collect these items, you’ll feel like there is constant clutter. Place a cute bowl near the front door that you can put your keys in and a shoe rack to hold your shoes. If you carry a purse, or your children have backpacks, consider installing a hook near the front door to hang these items. This will give your space intention and will blend seamlessly with your routine, so that you can relax into your new system.
Maximize your closet drawers and shelving with folding.
Folding is the best way to maximize your space without having to spend any money. Most people feel overwhelmed when they open their dresser drawers because they have trouble finding what they are looking for. Learning the skill of file folding is a great way to make it easy to see what you have. This style of folding will bring order and aesthetic to your dresser drawers. File folding is aesthetically like folding your clothing like papers in a file cabinet (rather than stacking on top of one another).
Don’t try and do it all at once, space it out and enjoy!
Spring cleaning and organizing should be a process that you enjoy. Setting realistic goals that you can conquer will help you to have a positive association with the ritual, rather than feeling like a chore or obligation. I love to set a timer and put on my favorite podcast. I’ll plan to edit a section of my closet for the duration of the podcast, making sure to include cleaning up in that time so that I can finish within the time frame. If you get to a place where you get overwhelmed, you’ll end up with a bigger mess than when you started. Set yourself up for success so you can take on your home one section at a time!