Our Neat in the New Year episode is packed with organizing tips from Nicole Loiterstein, owner of NEAT Method St. Louis. NEAT Method is the nation’s largest and most successful organizing company with locations more than 40 markets around the country. NEAT Method has been featured in REAL Simple, the New York Times, Architectural Digest and Forbes just to name a few. Nicole was born and raised in St. Louis and has a 4-year-old son, Jack who looks just like her husband, Jason. She loves neutrals and stripes both in her home and her closet and most mornings you will find her enjoying a decaf latte on her way to a client’s home .
Nicole creates customized organization solutions tailored to each client. She talks to each client and figures out what the space needs. Every home has a “drop zone”. A place where people come in the door and drop whatever is in hand, like in a mud room or kitchen table. Nicole starts with the drop zone in mind in organizing the client’s space for walking in and out the door. It’s not just about getting a bin or basket, it’s finding solutions that fit a family. Neat is making your life simpler and designing custom solutions.
We asked Nicole her #1 tip for getting organized that can change your life. She says it is the one-touch rule. For instance, when you come in the door and leave your coat on the floor, then you move it to the back of the chair and finally it goes to the coat closet after a week. Instead, what if you put the coat straight in the closet. Getting organized in this way saves a lot of time in the long run.
Nicole shares a secret to organizing around just one of your major appliances may be the key to a more organized and efficient kitchen. If you think about organizing your kitchen, it should be around your dishwasher. The items you use the most should be close it, like your cups, dishes and silverware. Everything else is a little further away, like pots and pan, as those aren’t going in the dishwasher for the most part. Also, if you have appliances you want to use more often, keep those in an accessible place. For instance, keep your blender in an easy to reach place if you want to make smoothies daily. Don’t tuck it behind the slow cooker in the top shelf!
For those overflowing closets, Nicole suggests designating a donation spot. She calls it editing (donating, trashing, giving away) and suggests you become a ruthless editor and do this weekly (harsh lol!). As things come in the home, edit things to go out. Being an editor of your things, whether in the closet or kitchen, is a great way to keep things neat and find great items that someone else could use and love. #leanliving
If you love the look of a neat and tidy space, try Nicole’s tips to achieve an Insta-worthy pantry.
First, take everything out and put items into categories like pasta and grains and baking items. Clean all of the shelves; Magic Eraser works great.
Next, decant items into containers. Decanting is un-bagging or unboxing a product and putting it into containers to keep them fresh. Cereal boxes, for instance, tend to pile up. When they are decanted into clear containers it is easier to see when you are running low. Nicole love OXO brand containers and finds most of her items at The Container Store. Individually wrapped items like protein bars can be removed from boxes and stored in small bins. Place everything back in the panty in an order that makes sense. For instance, baking shouldn’t take prime real estate in the pantry if you don’t bake everyday. Keep the things needed daily front and center and put backup products higher up.
Last, label everything. Try brown craft labels or chalkboard labels.
Nicole finds that for most people the most overwhelming aspect of getting a home organized is getting started. She recommends to start with a small project, like a wallet or junk drawer. Follow the same steps as discussed above essentially and then move to a bigger space. Once you adapt this method, she finds people continuously use it through the house.
Her three tips for the New Year to keep us neat are to use the one touch rule, organize around your dishwasher in the kitchen and to get started with a small space. We learned so much from Nicole in this episode, including her fear of all things pickles! To learn more about NEAT Method go to Neatmethod.com and check the locations tab to see bios and market locations. If you don’t see your market listed, fill out the Get Neat form to find a Neat girl.
Follow Nicole on Instagram @Nicoleloit to get all the inspiration you need to get neat in the New Year!