Tuesday Ten: Get to Know Professional Organizer Becky Marple

Bee Neat Organizing
In this week’s installment of Tuesday Ten, I’m excited to introduce you to fellow professional organizer Becky Marple of Bee Neat: A Professional Organizing Company. Becky and I connected via Instagram and I’ve loved getting to follow along with the great work she does in the Oklahoma City area.

Honey Hive Home: Tell us a bit about yourself.
Becky: I am a mom to a 3-year-old little girl and happily married to my guy for 8 years.  I am #7 out of 10 kids!  Yes, 10: 5 boys, 5 girls.  Dad was military so it’s no wonder I am a pro organizer 🙂

Becky's Website Photo

Top three words to describe yourself.
Tenacious (don’t tell me I can’t do something), energetic, empathetic & sensitive – I wish I could rescue the world.  It hurts me deeply when I hear of child abuse, neglect or hunger.

What do you love most about being an organizer?
What I love most about being an organizer is probably two parts. I love seeing the results of a big project and showing the client how pretty their home can be. Equally, I love teaching and coaching the client so that they can maintain our work long after our appointment.

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What do you find to be the most challenging?
For me, a hoarder who is a resistant client is the most challenging aspect of my job. I am a happy go lucky person and love to work in happy environments where the client is open to changes and new systems. In negative environments where a client is borderline rude and I am having to explain how it’s unsanitary or not okay to hoard trash or certain items, it wears on me.

What advice do you have for a new professional organizer?
My advice for a new PO would be to do as much research as possible. Read, take online organizing courses, read magazines and work for free helping friends and family for at least a year before launching your business.

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What about for someone thinking about hiring an organizer?
I would recommend someone who is considering hiring an organizer to do their research. To see before and after photos, to ask for at least 5 references and to ask a lot of questions before hiring someone. Hiring an organizer is a very personal thing, and you want to find the right the right fit for your personality and your home.

What are your must-have products when organizing?
My label maker and cute labels, chalk marker and chalk labels, contractor trash bags, plastic gloves and my measuring tape.

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What’s a favorite space you’ve organized?
My favorite space I’ve organized was a client’s master closet. It was a huge mansion, there was no budget and she wanted everything top of the line. She is an Interior Decorator so I felt so much pressure to get it right. I asked the right questions and used how she already decorated as my guide to her taste. I ended up spending $3000 just in containers, boxes and baskets but it was the most beautiful finished closet. It looks like a closet straight from the Kardashians! 🙂

What do you love most about where you live?
I live in Edmond, OK, which is just 15 miles outside of Oklahoma City. Some of the nicest people live here and although we have a bad rap for tornado alley, it’s really not that bad. It’s usually beautiful just about year round. Our schools are ranked some of the highest in the nation and overall just a great place to raise a family.

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Please share your #1 tip for someone looking to get organized.
My number one tip for someone who is looking to get organized would be doing something is better than doing nothing.  Start somewhere, you can do it! If you get overwhelmed, recruit a friend or hire an organizer!

All photos provided by Becky Marple.

Thank you for sharing with us, Becky! I love your tip for folks looking to get organized. I’m a firm believer in progress, not perfection, so making even small steps to get organized can yield big results over time. Also, I’m totally ready to move into your client’s closet! Anyone else? It sounds like a dream!

Are you a professional organizer? Get in touch so we can feature you in a future edition of Tuesday Ten!

A Space-Saving Way to Organize DVDs

Here’s an easy and inexpensive way to get your DVD collection organized and corralled. We don’t have tons of DVDs, but they were definitely taking up more space than I liked (read: the entire cabinet below, with multiple rows of stacks). It was difficult to find what we were looking for, which made watching movies less than enjoyable. When I came across this solution on Pinterest, I knew I wanted to do something similar in our space.

how to organize DVDs
We now have plenty of space in this cabinet not only for our DVDs, but also for video games and the controllers for the Xbox and Wii systems.

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I started off by going through our DVD collection (while watching Friends on Netflix, natch). We had them stored in their cases, as well as my college DVD collection, which were in two CD cases that were filled to capacity. I pulled out anything that we no longer watched (highlights included the entire first season of Laguna Beach) to donate, which immediately freed up some space.

I then took DVDs out of their cases and slipped them into these sleeves, placing them in alphabetical order into our new storage bin. All of the old cases went into a bag to donate to The Scrap Exchange, a local nonprofit here in the Triangle, but they aren’t currently accepting this type of donations, so they’ll be recycled instead.

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Once all of the DVDs were in sleeves, I pulled out my handy label maker so that we would know which DVD  was missing if one was ever empty. I decided to go with labels instead of writing on the cases in case we ever wanted to reuse the sleeve after getting rid of a DVD.

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I then made section dividers so that we can easily find what we’re looking for when searching for a particular title.

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And there you have it! A simple and inexpensive way to organize DVDs. Since I purchased two containers, I used the second one to store Kate’s video games, as well as my exercise DVDs. I’m so happy with how this turned out and hope you’re able to implement something similar in your own space!

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Product Sources
Gray bins: Target (these but solid gray)
CD sleeves: Amazon
Card stock, stickers, chalkboard labels: Michael’s

The post “A Space-Saving Way to Organize DVDs” was written by Hillary Bruce and first appeared on Honey Hive Home’s blog. Honey Hive Home is based in Chapel Hill, NC and provides professional organizing in North Carolina and across the U.S. via virtual organizing.

Tuesday Ten: Get to Know Professional Organizer Beth Penn

Bneato Bar 1

This week I’m thrilled to introduce you to the Los Angeles-based professional organizer behind Bneato Bar, Beth Penn. Beth works to make organizing affordable and accessible to her clients, which are two things I can totally get behind. She has also worked with some of my very favorite bloggers and designers, including Bri Emery of DesignLoveFest, Joy Cho of Oh Joy!, and Emily Henderson (whose HGTV show I watched religiously when it was on the air #nerdalert). Needless to say, Beth is the real deal, and, as you’ll see, brings a fun and fresh take to organizing.

Honey Hive Home: Tell us a bit about yourself.
Beth: I am a professional organizer living in Silver Lake, CA. I recently got married and we jumped right in and got a puppy last month! I enjoy running my own business, eating and then finding ways to burn off those calories so I can eat more:)

Beth Penn

Top three words to describe yourself.
Goofy, punctual, routine-oriented.

What do you love most about being an organizer?
Staying up to speed on the newest apps and ways to keep my clients efficient and organized. Helping folks and experiencing that moment with clients when they’re like, ‘OMG, this is SO MUCH BETTER!!’

Bneato Bar 2

What do you find to be the most challenging?
Managing client expectations. A lot of folks think that it can all happen overnight (reality shows— while I love them, often give unrealistic expectations on how long things take).

What advice do you have for a new professional organizer?
To be a great organizer, you need patience, an open mind. Get as much experience under your belt by assisting fellow organizers. Read as much as you can and take as many NAPO classes before going out on your own.

Bneato Bar 3

What about for someone thinking about hiring an organizer?
Ask around and see if a friend hired an organizer and get their feedback. What was their experience? What would they have done differently or done the same? For me, I try and go with my gut, Yelp reviews and if I can get it, a referral to someone that a friend worked with.

What are your must-have products when organizing?

  • Clear wall pockets
  • A label maker
  • Sharpies and Post-its

Bneato Bar 4
What’s a favorite space you’ve organized?

I love decluttering and containerizing closets. The before and after is just so much fun!

What do you love most about where you live?
Hands down, the weather. Also, we live on the Silver Lake reservoir so all I have to do is step outside and I have a pretty amazing race track at my feet.

Please share your #1 tip for someone looking to get organized.
Read Do Less: A Minimalist Guide to a Simplified, Organized, and Happy Life by Rachel Jonat.

All photos provided by Beth Penn. Photo #1 by Casey Brodley for Oh Joy; photos #3 & 4 by Tessa Neustadt for Emily Henderson; photo #5 by Sheila Gim for DesignLoveFest.

Thank you kindly for joining us, Beth! I’m so excited to add Rachel Jonat’s book to my reading list. I also love what you said about that moment when clients realize how much better their space is after working with an organizer. It’s totally worth its weight in gold! I may be a tad bit jealous that you live on the Silver Lake reservoir; it’s absolutely beautiful there.

Be sure to keep up with Beth on Instagram, too. She’s the perfect mix of inspiring and hilarious!

Tuesday Ten: Get to Know Professional Organizer Tara Bussema

neat organization and design 1

This week we’re back with our second installment of Tuesday Ten, this time with Portland-based Tara Bussema. I came across Tara via Pinterest and fell in love with her talent and eye immediately (just visit her website if you need further proof!). I immediately knew I wanted to include her in this series. Through emailing back and forth, I found out that she grew up just minutes away from where my brother-in-law and his family live. Talk about a small world! Without further adieu, I’m so excited for you to meet Tara!

Honey Hive Home: Tell us a bit about yourself.
Tara: My name is Tara Bussema and I founded Neat Organization and Design about two and a half years ago. I grew up in Long Beach, California but have resided in Portland, Oregon for the last year with my husband, Kevin.

tara bussema headshot

Top three words to describe yourself.
Intentional, relational, genuine.

What do you love most about being an organizer?
My favorite thing about organizing is the people. It is an honor to be in someone’s space working with them and their belongings. It is an intensely personal process. I love getting to know people, hearing their stories, and giving them a fresh start. I truly believe that the state of our space reflects the state of our heart and vice versa. Organizing is not just physical work. It is also emotional and even spiritual. I love taking this journey with people and ultimately, helping them lighten their load and start fresh.

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What do you find to be the most challenging?
Hmmm… good question. I would say the business end of things is the most challenging for me. Being a relational person, I am not great at marketing or self-promotion. 90% of my business has come by word of mouth, and I almost prefer it that way. As far as the actual process of organizing, the only part that can be a little challenging is entering a space for the first time and having to figure out where to begin. After that, the rest just flows.

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What advice do you have for a new professional organizer?
I would say to start by offering help to family and friends, especially those who are willing to spread the word. One of my best friends owns a mommy-n-me workout franchise. I organized and redesigned much of her house and she was absolutely crucial to the initial growth of my business. Also, take lots of before and after pictures and start using social media!

What about for someone thinking about hiring an organizer?
Organizing your own home can be absolutely overwhelming. It’s so easy to put it off or be paralyzed about knowing where and how to start! While it may not be your first choice to pay for help, the truth is that it will totally be worth it. Organization is not like re-decorating. It is not just an issue of whether your home is attractive or not. This is about your day-to-day ability to function efficiently in your home. It’s about feeling a sense of peace and calm in your space. It’s about saving time, reducing stress, and increasing enjoyment of your domain! Good organizers provide guidance, accountability, systems that are easy to maintain, and a fresh start! It’s like sending your house to therapy! 🙂

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What are your must-have products when organizing?
Good question! My personal basics are definitely a camera, measuring tape, and my trusty labeler. As far as must-have products I use in almost every home I organize… here’s the trifecta:

  1. These Handled Baskets from The Container Store – $3.99 to $4.99 – They are perfect for everything from organizing snacks in the pantry to making it easy to retrieve items stored up high. The handles make them easy to grab and return to their place.
  2.  Small to Large Lid Organizers like these from The Container Store – $3.99 to $4.99 – These are excellent for everything from pot lids, baking sheets and cutting boards to sorting and storing reusable bags, tupperware lids, purses, craft paper, etc!
  3. Turntables! Like this one from The Container Store – $5.99 – These are especially helpful in deep cabinets, high places and small spaces, where it is hard to reach in and find what you need. They are great for spices, jars and cans, water bottles, perfume, nail polish, vitamins, etc! You can use them in the refrigerator, pantry, and even under your bathroom sink!

What’s a favorite space you’ve organized?
I would say one of my favorite spaces I’ve done was also the most unique. I converted an overly packed coat closet into a crafting nook with a desk. Once other closets in the house were organized, we were able to clear out this particular closet and give a young mom her own space to keep crafting supplies and spend some much needed creativity time.

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What do you love most about where you live?
Portland is a great city. It’s the best of all worlds. Culture, nature, and great food and drink! We’ve lived here only slightly longer than a year, so we spend tons of time exploring. You can go to the amazing farmer’s market downtown, hike to a waterfall nearby, visit distilleries and breweries, pick from an unending number of amazing restaurants, and then finish off the day with some amazing Salt n Straw ice cream! And… it is just beyond beautiful here. We live up the street from Mt. Tabor, which is a forested, extinct volcano. I go for walks there frequently and I forget I’m in the city!

Please share your #1 tip for someone looking to get organized.
If you feel you can take on your home by yourself, my advice would be to start small. Focus on one area at a time. Set aside a few hours each weekend to organize a different space. Strangely, I recommend starting with the garage or basement. That’s where things tend to build up, and chances are, most of the stuff has been out there forever and you haven’t thought about it in years! Once that’s cleaned out, it will be much easier to organize and re-situate other items in your home. If you’re still overwhelmed, call a professional! We’re eager to help! 🙂

All photos provided by Tara Bussema.

Thanks so much for sharing, Tara! I particularly love her tip about starting to organize in the garage or basement. This will also give folks more space to spread out when organizing other areas! I also strongly agree that organizing is more than physical; as a person of faith, I definitely think that it can be a highly spiritual process.

What do y’all think? Aren’t Tara’s spaces just fantastic?!

Tuesday Ten is a series here on the Honey Hive Home blog. Each time, we’ll meet a professional organizer who will share interesting information + helpful tips, all via their responses to 10 questions.

Virtual Organizing Giveaway

Hi friends! How is your week going? Mine has been full of wonderful, pinch me moments where I’m just so incredibly grateful to be doing something that I love and believe in so passionately. Organizing truly changes people’s lives! I’ll be heading north bright and early tomorrow morning to visit family + friends and work with a client in Connecticut. Before I leave, I wanted to share something exciting with y’all: our very first giveaway!

chapel hill professional organizer_virtual organizing giveaway

What You’ll Get

  • 60-minute Skype or FaceTime (your preference) conversation with a professional organizer
  • Step-by-step customized game plan to organize your space going forward
  • Detailed suggestions for products to help you get organized (as needed)

Here’s how to enter to win:

  • Hop on over to Instagram and make sure you’re following @honeyhivehome
  • Like the post with the image above
  • Comment on the post tagging two friends to let them know about the giveaway
  • For a bonus entry: repost the image on your feed + tag @honeyhivehome (your account must be public so we can see this)!

That’s it! The giveaway will close two weeks from today. A winner will be chosen at random and will be notified by Instagram. If we don’t hear back from the winner within 48 hours, another one will be selected. This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only. This prize is good for one 60-minute virtual organizing session. It cannot be transferred to another recipient or exchanged for another service. There is no redeemable cash value for this prize.

In the meantime, I’d love to know: what space would you like help organizing?

5 Things to Organize on a Snow Day

chapel hill professional organizer_5 things to organize on a snow day


Whether you’re enjoying a snow day here on the East Coast or are somewhere with warmer weather, I thought it might be helpful to put together a list of things you can organize with a day, or even just a few hours, spent at home. Think of the following ideas as a choose your own adventure of sorts, but with each of the options resulting in a more organized and less cluttered space!

Option 1: Pantry

  • Toss anything expired
  • Make a bag of foods your family isn’t going to eat + put them in your car to donate to a local shelter or food bank
  • BONUS: Host a ‘Chopped’ competition with your significant other, kids or roommate to use up foods that are about to spoil

Option 2: Clothes Closet

  • Try everything on (or have your spouse or child do this; there may be some bribery involved if it’s not you trying the clothes on!)
  • Toss, donate, or sell anything that doesn’t fit, isn’t your style, or hasn’t been worn in the last year
  • Post anything you want to sell online (here’s a great article from The Everygirl on how to sell clothes on EBay)
  • Put back everything that remains in an organized fashion (I prefer organizing clothing in ROYGBIV order by category, with white + tan coming before those colors and gray + black coming at the end; it makes finding a white top or a black skirt a breeze!)

Option 3: Paperwork

  • Go through that pile of mail
  • Pay any bills + automate them so you will have one fewer piece of mail each month
  • Shred any papers with sensitive information (Don’t have a shredder? Put all of these papers into a bag or bin and research local stores that provide secure shredding or community shredding days in your town!)
  • Create file folders for anything new that needs to be put away
  • File everything in its place!

Option 4: Books

  • Go through book by book
  • Ask the following questions:
    • Have you read it?
      • If yes: will you read it again? When?
      • If no: will you ever? When? (for both of these, if the answer isn’t very specific (i.e. next month for book club), it’s time to let it go!)
    • Is there someone else who could make better use of it?
    • Is it available electronically?
  • For all books you’re getting rid of, decide whether to donate, sell, toss (if they’re moldy or mildewed) or recycle (best for old editions of textbooks, since most donation centers don’t accept them)

Option 5: Linens

  • Take everything out of the closet/cabinet
  • Sort like with like by the place they’re used (i.e. twin sheets for Jane’s room, twin sheets for Noah’s room, queen sheets for guest room, hand towels for powder room)
  • Create the following categories for items:
    • Keep
    • Donate (in good condition)
    • Donate (in poor condition; these are often great for local animal shelters!)
    • Rags (I’ll use old towels or cut-up fabric to clean our home)
    • Toss
  • For each space, think critically about how many items you actually need for each space.
    • Don’t host guests often? You can probably get away with having just one set of sheets + two sets of towels (depending on the amount of space you have). If you have more people, you can always give them extra towels used by you or your kids!
    • For main living spaces, I think it’s perfect to have one to two sets of sheets (two for kids or if you have seasonal weights like flannel for winter), one to two sets of towels per person, and a few extra blankets that can be used when it’s chilly (we usually just grab the throw blankets from our living room when it’s particularly cold!).
  • Refold everything you’re keeping neatly, keeping like with like
  • If you can, keep these items where they’re used so they’re easier to find + access (i.e. extra towels in the bathroom, kid’s sheets in their bedrooms)
  • Label items accordingly so you won’t have to guess what’s what in the future

The best part about all of these? They’re totally scalable! Organize your entire pantry or just one shelf. Go through all of the clothes closets in your home, or just stick to one. Go through the pile of books on your bedside table, or your entire library.

I’d love to hear: what are your plans to get more organized (snow day or not!)?


Now Offering Virtual Organizing

IMG_6750I’m so excited to share something that has been on my heart + in my head for quite awhile now. Ever since Honey Hive Home started, I’ve sincerely wanted to help as many people remove stress + anxiety from their lives by helping them clear the clutter and get organized. Since many people are limited by location or time/budgetary constraints, I wanted to create a way to help as many folks as possible.

We will now be offering virtual organizing! Visit our website for the full rundown, but here are the details.

Who It’s For

    • Folks who have the energy + enthusiasm to organize a space in their home or office, but aren’t sure where to start
    • If you’re interested in working with us, but want to test the waters before committing more fully
    • Anyone located in the United States
    • People with internet access (must have Skype or FaceTime)

What You’ll Get

    • 60-minute Skype or FaceTime (your preference) conversation with a professional organizer
    • Step-by-step customized game plan to organize your space going forward
    • Detailed suggestions for products to help you get organized (as needed)


    • $70 + 4% processing fee
    • Payment will be collected prior to virtual organizing session via PayPal invoice


Since this is a new service we’re launching, here’s a special offer: request to book a virtual organizing session by Monday, March 2, 2015 and receive $20 off! Interested? Contact us today! I’d also love to hear your thoughts about this new service and anything else you’d like to see us offer in the future.

How + Why I Use a Purse Organizer

how i use a purse organizer chapel hill organizer

I’m a firm believer that the best way to get and stay organized is to simply have fewer things. However, I also think that some thoughtful organizing products can make a big difference in how we function! One product I’ve been loving for the past few months has been this in.bag handbag organizer that I picked up at The Container Store.

I like to pretend that I’m not a bit high maintenance, but I had been getting frustrated at how cumbersome it was to transfer my belongings when I wanted to switch purses. I love being prepared for things I’ll likely need when on the go, and enjoy being able to add a helping hand in the form of gum, ibuprofen or a hair elastic when someone’s in need. This is also really picky (like I said, high maintenance), but I didn’t like that my belongings were in a different spot depending on which purse I carried.

When I was doing some perusing at The Container Store before the holidays (#professionalorganizerproblems) and came across this handbag organizer, I figured I would give it a try! So far I’ve really loved it for the following reasons:

  • Having all of my belongings in set places, regardless of purse
  • The number of pockets + sections it has, allowing me to have a place for everything
  • Being able to create sections within my purse, since the organizer also acts as a divider
  • Using the snaps + zippers on the sides to keep the footprint of the organizer compact, so it doesn’t take up too much space
  • Adorable polka dots + stripes – I’m a sucker for form + function

Here’s what I keep in it on a regular basis:

how i use a purse organizer 2 chapel hill organizer

Clockwise from top left: headphones (kept neat with this cable turtle), pen, hair ties, nail clippers + the best bobby pins; lens wipes (great for glasses, phones + laptop screens) + roller ball perfume; ibuprofen, eye drops, antacids + blister bandaids; business cards in a handy carrying case; breath fresheners + lip gloss; hand lotion + my favorite hand sanitizer; hairbrush, minimergency kit + EpiPen (silly food allergies!)

With all of these things, there are still a few items I keep separated from the handbag organizer for easy access: my wallet, glasses case, cell phone and chap stick. The first two are kept in the main compartment of my purse right next to the organizer, and the latter are in the zippered pocket of the purse, along with car keys if I have them.

I love being able to switch from one purse to another easily, blindly find whatever I need in my purse, and know that I have pretty much anything I could need with me at any given time. It’s also great to easily identify what doesn’t belong, like a wayward receipt or something I picked up while running errands.

I’d love to hear: how do you keep your purse organized? What other organizing products are you loving lately?

Tuesday Ten: Get to Know Professional Organizer Perri Kersh

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I am so excited to introduce a new series to the blog! My plan is, at least monthly, to introduce you to a professional organizer who will share interesting information + helpful tips, all via their responses to 10 questions. First up is a dear friend + mentor of mine who is also based here in Chapel Hill, the fantastic Perri Kersh.

Honey Hive Home: Tell us a bit about yourself.
Perri: I live in Chapel Hill, NC with my husband Carter and our 14 and 11 year old children. I’ve had my organizing business, Neat Freak Professional Organizing, for 10 years, but truth be told, I’ve been organizing my entire life. When I was 3 years old, my imaginary friend was a tie organizer named “Wrinkles,” and my senior superlative in High School was Neatest. I am truly doing the work I was born to do.

perri kersh headshot

Top three words to describe yourself.
Generous, Funny and Speedy.

What do you love most about being an organizer?
I love that people feel better after we’ve worked together. Clutter causes a lot of stress and anxiety, and for many clients, they just don’t know where to get started. I like to bring in a framework of productivity, help facilitate decision making and help them start and finish a project. By the time we’re wrapping up a session, most people feel happy—and I love that!

What do you find to be the most challenging?
It can be challenging when people aren’t ready to change. It’s not my job to force my clients to get rid of stuff or to live their lives differently. And not everyone is ready, even though they thought they were when they hired me. It’s challenging to see the potential for organization but the client just isn’t quite there yet. But hopefully they’ll call me back when they are!

What advice do you have for a new professional organizer?
Just get started! Many people spend a year or more “starting their business” but they don’t start seeing clients. While there are some amazing educational opportunities for new organizers and plenty can be gained from networking and marketing your business, it’s important to put yourself out there and start working hands-on with people. Even if you work for cheap in the beginning (but never do it for free!), you’re gaining that hands-on experience we all need to be better organizers.

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What about for someone thinking about hiring an organizer?
Recognize that organizers do more than just make things look good. They are there to coach you on productivity, time management, and help teach you how to organize on your own. Making things look good is helpful, but learning how to get AND stay organized is what will make the experience of working with an organizer last.

What are your must-have products when organizing?
I carry around a lot of tools with me, but the tool I use most often are garbage bags! Not only for trash, but also for donations or items to sell or consign. I encourage my clients to embrace a “less is more” attitude and to recognize that having less stuff to take care of and to work around in a home or office makes life easier.

What’s a favorite space you’ve organized?
One of my favorite spaces to organize in any home (including my own!) is the pantry. Not only does an organized pantry make your life easier—you can see what you have, avoid buying duplicates or having to throw things out, and you can save money!—but it also symbolizes family time together. Cooking and eating meals together is so important and is practically a lost art. Anything I can do to help a family sit down together, even if only once a week, makes me feel like my work matters.

What do you love most about where you live?
Our home is in the middle of a town that we love and we’re up in the woods—we have the best of both worlds. We’re also situated on a hill so we’re literally up in the trees. Having lots of natural light in our house is so awesome—and it actually helps me stay organized! I don’t want a lot of clutter sitting around to catch dust since the light allows you to see every speck! I also love that our house is lived in—having two kids, two cats, and a not so neat husband means our house is not perfect. And it shouldn’t be! Everyone should live and love in their house and keep it organized just enough to let them function on a day to day basis.

Please share your #1 tip for someone looking to get organized.
Figure out what matters most to you and focus on that. Only keep and do things that bring you joy, cause you to laugh, create a feeling of warmth and make you feel like a rock star.

Thank you so much for sharing with us today, Perri! I found myself nodding along through everything, particularly in your last point about keeping a home organized enough to function well on a daily basis. I hope that this makes the process of organizing seem at least a bit less daunting for folks looking to get started!

I’d also love to hear from folks in the comments: what do you think of this new series? If you’re a fellow professional organizer and would like to be featured in the future, please let me know!

Home photos by Kathleen Hunter; head shot by Tommy White; all photos provided by Perri Kersh.

Tuesday Ten is a series here on the Honey Hive Home blog. Each time, we’ll meet a professional organizer who will share interesting information + helpful tips, all via their responses to 10 questions.

Organizing My Whole 30 Food Plan

organizing whole 30 food plan

As I’ve mentioned several times on Instagram over the past few weeks, Kate and I decided to try the Whole 30 food program over the past month. For those of you not familiar, this basically meant lots of produce, lean proteins and healthy fats. It also meant being asked more than once by grocery store clerks if I was “cooking for a crowd.” Nope, just our family of two! With our food choices relatively limited, I also had to put my organizing skills to good use to make sure we always had plan-approved meals at the ready, even when our schedules got busy.

Overall it was a difficult but worthwhile experience! I felt abundant energy, slept really well, and lost nearly 20 pounds(!). I also had some crazy cravings and points where I just couldn’t really stomach any. more. meat. Since our 30 days just wrapped up on Tuesday, Kate suggested that I share a bit about the experience, and I thought I would add in some tips that helped keep us organized during the month.

Things I Learned from Whole 30

  • I can do hard things
    • This has been my unofficial mantra so far this year! It has been really motivating to push my limits and  see that I can successfully do things outside of my comfort zone. Foregoing sugar, most carbs and gluten for a month? Definitely not easy, but super empowering!
  • Willpower is a muscle that you can flex
    • For me, these whole 30 days were a huge exercise in willpower. It made me realize how frequently I’d been stopping by Starbucks or grabbing chips + guac just because I could. I’m a bit embarrassed to say that not being able to do those things any more really challenged my willpower. This was such a valuable awareness for me to being building, and has caused me to shift my thinking about needs versus wants in this arena moving forward.
  • Food is fuel
    • This seems a bit trite to say, but I’d never really applied this phrase to my own relationship with food. Food instead was a comfort, pleasure, source of energy, or way to bond with others. I won’t lie and say that I’m totally perfect (because, hello, this was 30 days over the course of over 27 years!), but I’m starting to see how food really impacts my mood, energy, sleep and more. While food can sometimes be the things I listed above, I feel a lot better when I’m using it to fuel my body.
  • Spices can make a huge difference
    • Cooking foods that were well-seasoned really made a huge difference! We bought a ton of spices and always enjoyed meals more when they were prominently featured. There were so many times when fresh basil, garlic powder, or cumin really made all the difference in terms of how it tasted. This is definitely something we want to continue moving forward!
  • Sugar is sneaky
    • As we are currently reintroducing foods that we had eliminated over the past 30 days, yesterday was the first time I had my favorite soy latte from Starbucks (pictured above). I would normally get some sort of flavored syrup added, but thought I would try a few sips before adding any additional sweetener. I was amazed at how much my palate had changed in just 30 days! The plain latte (with soy milk that is surely already sweetened) was nearly too sweet by itself. I can’t believe how much sugar I previously thought I “needed” in order to find coffee drinks appetizing. This realization definitely makes me want to

How We Stayed Organized During Our Whole 30

  • Re-learn your grocery store
    • As the one who does meal planning + grocery shopping in our household, I thought I knew my favorite grocery stores well. I knew what times to go to avoid crazy crowds, where my regular products were located, and how to organize my grocery list in order of store layout. However, when it came to buying foods that fell within the Whole 30 plan guidelines, I was fairly clueless. For my first shopping trip to prepare for Whole 30, I enlisted Kate and blocked out plenty of time on our calendars so that we wouldn’t feel rushed. We took things slowly, allowing for lots of asking sales associates where items were located and using our phones to Google random added ingredients, like “citric acid + Whole 30,” to see whether they were permitted.
    • This was so helpful! It really allowed me to familiarize myself with the program and products that were going to work well for us in the coming weeks. I would highly recommend going to the store at a time when it won’t be crowded so you won’t feel (more) overwhelmed or rushed.
  • Look at your calendar
    • When I sit down to meal plan for the week ahead, I make sure to look over our calendar to see what events we have that might take us outside of the home for a meal. Although you can eat out during Whole 30, I honestly found the prospect pretty stressful, so I opted to eat before or after events that took place in the evenings. For things like the Super Bowl, Kate and I brainstormed things we would like to have that would fit in with this food plan and made sure we would have time to make them ahead of time to bring along.
    • It was also crucial to carve out time to cook within our schedules. Utilizing our calendars meant that we could plan when to make the bulk of our meals for the week, and also to figure out what evenings we wouldn’t be home during the week, so we could be sure to have something already prepared to eat.
  • Meal plan
    • I use the meal planning worksheets from Emily Ley’s Home Base Binder and highly recommend them, but really any meal planning sheet you use is just fine. My binder sits on a shelf right next to my desk, so when it’s time to meal plan, I can just pull it out and get to work!
    • I will share a more in-depth post on meal planning in the future if you’d like (let me know!), but here’s my basic process: I meal plan and grocery shop on Fridays so that we’ll have meals from Friday dinner through lunch the following Friday. This way we’ll have some new and exciting meals for the weekend, which keeps me from being as tempted to eat out! For Whole 30, I went to two grocery stores each week: Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods. They are actually the two grocery stores that are closest to where we currently live (#spoiled) and have a fantastic selection. I was able to get most items we needed each week at Trader Joe’s, with a few specialty items and cuts of meat from Whole Foods.
    • Pinterest has been such a huge God-send in my Whole 30 meal planning process! I created a board of Whole 30-friendly recipes and would pull it up each week to decide what we’d be eating. Any time I came across a recipe that sounded tasty, I could add it here and have everything in one central location. I really can’t emphasize enough what a huge help this was to keep me on track during the Whole 30 plan.
  • Stash freezer meals
    • Although the predicted serving amounts of the recipes we made were usually accurate, sometimes we ended up with more food than we had anticipated. Whenever this happened, I would put the extra servings in the freezer. I’d then add a note on a post-it into my meal planning binder to remind myself of what we had set aside (i.e. 2 servings butternut squash lasagna; 6 turkey burgers). These meals were great to fill into times when we would be busy but needing to eat, like when Kate was doing trivia with friends and I had a Junior League meeting.

Goodness, this post has shaped up to be a bit longer than I had originally intended! Right now we’re in the process of reintroducing foods into our diets that we had eliminated to see if any cause adverse reactions. Based on this, Kate and I are planning to figure out a way of eating that works for us moving forward. But I’d love to hear in the meantime: have you done Whole 30 or paleo before? Either way, what are some of your favorite ways to stay organized when it comes to meal planning?