Organizing for Your Lifestyle: Strategies for Developing Sustainable Organizing Solutions

Let’s be real. Maintaining a clean house most days is a challenge in itself. Now add two young children and school and we are looking at nearly impossible. But we manage somehow. Believe it or not, the hardest part is not having to pick up after our little ones but rather picking up in a timely manner. In order to do that, one needs to be…dun..dun..dun.. yep, you guessed it. ORGANIZED! Since both my husband and I are in school this semester, we figured it was high time we got our house sustainably organized once and for all. Of course, it doesn’t hurt to get a little bit of help.


In her book Organizing for your Lifestyle, Jane Stoller offers inspiration and practical advice for tackling any organization project from the smallest closet to the biggest room. The first chapter is a general overview of organization philosophy covering the very basics including the health and cost benefits of organizing as well as organization approaches such as minimalism. After that expect to dive straight in. My favorite part of the book is the way in which it is organized; each chapter serves as a guide to a different space. As someone who suffers from indecisivism (is that a thing?) I can tell you that knowing where to start is the most stressful part so following a list definitely helped eliminate that stress. Here’s how the book is split up:

  1. Closet
  2. Bathroom
  3. Kitchen
  4. Travel
  5. Books
  6. Storage Room

Suddenly, a good pre-New Year’s purging doesn’t sound too bad now does it?! Today I’m sharing five of my favorite practical tips from the book and how I’m applying them as we tackle our organizational woes.

1. Have a date with your closet every year. Jane recommends evaluating and reorganizing your closet twice annually as “this will help you to stay fully in control of what you have, and knowledgeable about what you need, while ensuring that no excess clothing outstays its welcome.” We recently tackled the kid’s closet and ended up donating a TON of stuff they had outgrown that was taking up valuable space. After seeing how much space this opened up, I added reminders to my calendar to do this on a quarterly basis.


2. Think in terms of frequency of use. Mentally sorting out your belongings into daily use/weekly use/sparse use really puts things into perspective and allows you to tailor your organization system to your practical needs so that you have what you need when you need it. This has been really helpful in our bathroom as I have tried to make sure that we have easy access to the things we use every day like toothpaste and shampoo whereas medications that are used infrequently are tucked away out of sight.

3. “Organize so your mother (or father) can cook in your kitchen.” This one really stood out to me because the kitchen is the heart of our home. If you don’t have easy access to basic tools and ingredients while cooking then you’re wasting valuable time during meal prep. Imagining someone else using your kitchen is a great exercise for thinking about the efficiency of your space. I used the opportunity to remove some unwanted gadgets, dinnerware, and Tupperware out of circulation to make room for things that I actually use and need.


4. Find a balance between function and aesthetics. What works for one person or family doesn’t work for everyone and that’s okay. It’s up to you to find a solution that is both functional and visually appealing for your needs (sometimes function will trump aesthetics and that’s also okay). This issue came up for me while I sifted through my scarf collection. Although I can see how the variety of colors and patterns hanging together on a wall can be visually unappealing, this strategy has proven to be the most practical for my lifestyle because it offers easy open access to all my scarves.


5. Make organizing a lifestyle. This is by far the most important advice because it requires you to think in the long term. With this philosophy, organizing is no longer about buying storage containers or fancy systems but rather about asking yourself, “how can I stay organized?” The answer, I think, will lie in a happy medium between a designated system, daily practices, monthly maintenance, and a quarterly assessment of successes and failures. To help us along through this process, I’ve created a diagram to envision what this would look like.

Organizing Chart

We are by no means completely organized because we haven’t had the time to tackle all of these spaces in one sitting but we have been thinking through these tips as we slowly organize our home corner by corner. These strategies have certainly helped me be more intentional about finding sustainable organization solutions and I look forward to sharing more as we work on making our home better organized. If you want more organizing inspiration as well as tips and tricks on the specifics of storage, folding, and labeling, you can find Jane’s book here.

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DIY: Scarf Hanger/ Wall Art


If you’re like me and wear scarves daily, you likely have tried everything to keep them organized. All in vain. Whether folded away in a drawer or strung up away in your closet on some fancy loop hanger, the end result is always the same. Utter chaos. The drawer scenario is just a hot mess unless you don’t mind the daily maintenance of folding and refolding all the scarves you’ve dug through to find the one that matches your outfit. The loop hanger is simply impractical if you have more than 5 scarves, especially if they are longer in length. If you can actually fill every loop, it becomes very heavy to pull out and eerily resembles Cousin Itt. Does this sound familiar?

cousin it

Tell me your closet scarf hanger doesn’t look like this.

So I was organizing my closet this past summer when I realized that something had to be done about my scarf disaster. I thought about what I really wanted: a clean and aesthetically-pleasing look, easy accessibility, and fairly effortless organization/maintanence. And economical. I wasn’t about to build a walk-in closet for my scarf collection. After a visit to Michaels, Hobby Lobby, and Ikea for inspiration, I decided that I wanted to hang my scarves out in the open. I ran it by my husband first just to make sure he was okay with the thought of my scarves hanging up visibly on our bedroom wall. I told him that I imagined it as an art piece; like a tapestry… made of scarves. He was totally on board and actually thought it would look pretty cool. The design I had in mind was a linear arrangement, so I settled on a simple steel rail from Ikea to achieve the look. If you want to get fancy there are no shortage of options but I figured, since the scarves cover up the rail, it didn’t really matter what the rail looks like. Plus, the whole point of a DIY is not to throw away more money. I really wanted to make this solution cheaper than your basic scarf hanger/organizer and I can proudly say that it is. Lastly, I didn’t want to be a scarf hoarder so I went through my collection and donated whatever I hadn’t worn in the last year or two. For that reason, I went with two small rails that fit between 10-12 scarves each. If you have a bigger collection, by all means, go with a bigger rail. Without further ado, here’s what you’ll need and how to put it all together.

Total Cost= $5.98 (2 Bygel rails)
Completion Time= 20 minutes


NOTE: There are a number of ways to hang your scarves up on a rail. All you need is a bit of creativity.  I started first by hooking them up with the complimentary Bygel S-hooks (they’re only $0.99 for a 10-pack) but I just didn’t like the way it looked. Personal preference. You might try it and find that you like it way better than looping them around the rail. Do what you think looks good and makes for easy accessibility.


What you’ll need:
Bygel rail (Ikea)
Bygel S-hooks (optional)
Builder’s level
Power Drill
Screws (4 per rail)
Drywall Anchors (This pack comes with screws so no need to buy them separately)


  1. Pick out a good location to place your rails. You’ll want somewhere with easy access: free of obstacles and not too high because you will want to be able to reach your scarves without straining yourself. Most importantly you’ll want a space where hanging scarves won’t look odd.
  2. Once you’ve picked your spot, hold up the rail with the Builder’s level, making sure it’s straight, and mark with your pencil where you will drill your holes.
  3. Drill very small holes over each of your markings and then use a screwdriver to secure your drywall anchors in the wall.
  4. Hold up your rail, aligning the holes in the rail to the now anchored holes and screw in the rails. It’s really that easy!
  5. Get in touch with your artsy side and organize your scarves into whatever pattern or design you like.

IMG_89276. Once you have settled on your design, all that’s left to do is to hang up your scarves and enjoy the awesomeness that is hassle-free scarf organization.


As I mentioned above, I tried the look first with hooks but wasn’t too crazy about it so I took them down and looped my scarves around the rail. Other than that it was smooth sailing. I ended up installing two rails: 1) on the wall and 2) on the back of the door. Since the one on the wall was going to be a central piece of the room, I opted to showcase my floral, pastel, and colorful scarves to accent the light gray and lavender walls we have.  I’d be lying, though, if I told you I didn’t have any hesitations about how this would turn out but I am happy to report that I love the result. Any thoughts? I would love to hear your comments and suggestions about scarf organization. What has worked or not worked for you? Would you put up something like this?

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