There’s no question, an organized space makes life easier. Have you ever searched endlessly for your keys or stepped over laundry strewn across the floor? An organized life is a good life and that’s why we spoke with Jenna Nelson, a professional organizer, about what she does to get us back on track! Working with clients who want to live a more organized life, she can help at all stages, from getting you more organized at home to unpacking after a move, or decluttering before a listing. You’ll love her thoughts on living more organized!

Tell Us About Top Shelf Organizing. How Did You Get Started?

I started Top Shelf in 2014. I grew up dancing and nannying my entire life and wasn’t doing either in early 2013. I eventually got a job working at a baby boutique and did organizing and merchandising for the owner after she had a baby. Once I was no longer needed I realized how much I loved organizing and even better, I was good at it. I spent the next 6 months researching how to start a business – creating a name, getting a logo made and a website, reading books, taking online classes and once everything was set I officially launched Top Shelf. This year I brought on 2 assistants to help me and my business is growing and it’s been a huge blessing. A huge undertaking and the hardest thing I’ve done, but I wouldn’t want to do anything else. 

Why Do You Believe Everyone Needs Professional Organization?

Clutter is overwhelming and adds so much weight to our daily life. Whether we realize it or not, there’s a guilt that comes every time we look at items we don’t use, clothes we don’t wear, books we don’t read and messes we don’t address. And even if you realize there’s a guilt and want to deal with it, life often gets in the way. Hiring a personal organizer is a great way to carve out time when you have to address those issues. And bringing in a pair of outside eyes is a good way to bring about new and better systems for spaces that you may struggle with.

What Are A Few Projects You Really Enjoyed?

I honestly love all of my clients and enjoy working with them in their spaces. I don’t think I could pick specific favorites, but closets are always fun. They make a big impact in a person’s every day life and they make great “After” shots as well! And pantries are the same. They make a big impact and they make great “Afters” as well.

What Are Three Tips You Would Tell Clients When Considering Working With A Professional Organizer?

  • Know there is going to be a cost. Remember, we don’t work every day from 9 – 5 and a LOT goes in to each job, both before it begins and after it’s done. Make sure to check out reviews and pictures of their work first but don’t balk at the hourly rate. If they’re good at what they do, it’s worth it.
  • Be open to buying new products. It is an added cost, but having a space that is catered to exactly what you need/will need is a huge time saver and worth every penny.
  • We’ve really seen it all and we aren’t judging you. 

What Are Your Tips For Making A House A Home?

Don’t copy what you see on Pinterest or Instagram or wherever. Your home is YOUR space and I firmly believe each space should be a reflection of you. Don’t lose sight of who’s living in the house.

What Are Some Of Your Favorite Products And Brands To Use? 

Not surprisingly I’m a fan of The Container Store. They have really great products and not all of them are crazy expensive. In pantries I always recommend (when possible) the large Expand-A-Shelf for canned goods and condiments. I also love a good turntable/Lazy Susan for vinegars and oils. Bamboo drawer dividers are my go-to for large utensil drawers when working in kitchens. 

In closets, my #1 tip is to buy matching velvet hangers. The matching color is aesthetically pleasing and really makes quite a difference visually. The velvet hanger is smaller than regular plastic ones, so even if you don’t get rid of any hanging clothes, you’ll gain space by getting the velvet hangers. I usually recommend Costco or Amazon Basics.

What Are Three Benefits When Working With A Professional Organizer Versus Doing It Yourself?

  • Having a pair of objective eyes to help you see how things really are. 
  • If you have to be called away or can’t be there, the work will still be done. 
  • They may have tricks, tips, or discounts at certain stores that you wouldn’t have on your own.

What Is The Most Common Space In Need Of Organization And What Are Some Of Your Top Organization Tips?

Master closets and pantries. Containment is key. Like with like. Sort hanging clothes by sleeve length or pant length.

Do you have a favorite tip from Jenna? Leave a comment below!

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