Girlfriend Celebrations - Because Girlfriends Make Life Better

Girlfriends, Get Organized – Together! Part 1

[It's National Get Organized Month, and we're thrilled that we were organized enough to bring you some  ideas for organization-themed girls nights before the month was over! Of course, we couldn't have done it without guest blogger and professional organizer Julie Bestry. We know you'll enjoy her girls night ideas both today and tomorrow.] by Julie Bestry Happy Get Organized Month! What? You don’t think of organizing as a celebration?  Then, Girlfriend, I’ve got news for you. Organizing isn’t about having a house or office that looks like it belongs on a magazine cover. Organizing is all about giving you control over your life—helping you save time and money, reduce stress and be more productive.  Aren’t these all things worth celebrating?  Of course they are! So, here are some ideas for planning some Girls Nights (or Afternoons) In to help you get a handle on your life, starting with physical organizing (i.e., streamlining your space, from your body outward).

Image by rversde23 via Flickr

Come Out of the Closet

Let your girlfriends channel their inner Stacy and Clinton and organize one each of your closets in full-on What Not To Wear mode. Let’s pretend you’re the focus of the show—got courage?

Give your girlfriends carte blanche to each pull out three things from your wardrobe they wish you wouldn’t wear and explain why.  You can veto them (since you’re not REALLY on the show and nobody is giving you a $5000 shopping card), but take their advice to heart. They’re your girlfriends—they care!

[Professional Organizer Tip:  If you have a beloved article of clothing you KNOW you’ll never wear again, see if you have a photo of yourself wearing it, or take a snapshot as you hold it up.  You get to keep the memory and free up space in your closet.]

Next, put your professional organizer wanna-be girlfriend in charge of showing off one category (dresses, shirts, suits) from your closet at a time and have her ask you some basic questions:

•    Do you love it?
•    Does it fit your body?  (When’s the last time it fit?)
•    Does it fit your lifestyle? (Or does your closet represent who you used to be or who you once dreamed of becoming?)
•    Is it in wearable condition?  If not, what does it need (tailoring for length or size? A return of disco?) to make it wearable?
•    Is it (even remotely) in fashion?
•    Does it go with other things (or ANY things) you already own?
•    Is it comfortable? (Is it too comfortable to wear in public?)
•    Is it a duplicate?  (Do you have seven other knee-length black skirts just like it?)

If you’ve got a fashion-forward girlfriend or two, consult on putting together some outfits in new ways, and let another girlfriend take some snapshots of the “Do” looks so you can replace those “Don’t” wardrobe days once and for all.

If something is beloved and in wearable condition, it goes back in the closet.  If it needs repair, make a plan to get it done quickly.  (Do any of your girlfriends have Project Runway aspirations?)  If it’s in decent shape but no longer needs to live with you, it gets donated or sold and consignment.  Each girlfriend gets assigned a job in the sorting process…while you get to try on clothes!  Next time, a different girlfriend gets the star treatment.  Eventually, all of you will have room in your closets…and weight off your shoulders when you try to get dressed for the next Girls’ Night Out!

Tackle the Rest of the House

What about the rest of the “stuff”?  Clothes closets aren’t the only things that need organizing.  How are your kitchens, your linen closets, your home offices doing?  Open your heart and your home to your girlfriends, and encourage them to do the same, so you can play the home version Clean House, Clean Sweep or Mission: Organization.  None of you have to be as sarcastic as the stars of those shows, but you and your girlfriends can take turns asking the tough questions.

From CDs to fondue sets, knickknacks to knapsacks, gadgets to garage door openers (for houses you no longer own), your girlfriends should ask:

•    Do you use it?
•    When was the last time you used it?
•    Why did you stop using it?  (Is it broken, or is it just hard to access?  Often the problem isn’t the “what” but the “where”, so if you want to use something often, make sure it’s convenient to reach!)
•    Does it work?
•    Do you know how to make it work?  (This may include the sub-question, do you have the manual and is it written in a language you speak?  If the manual is in Spanish and you don’t habla, why not toss it out?)
•    Is it age-appropriate, size-appropriate or lifestyle-appropriate?
•    Do you love it?  Like it?  (Did you forget you even owned it?)
•    Is it worth the time, effort and cost to fix it, maintain (or dust or dry-clean) it or display it?
•    Does keeping it save time/money or cost time/money? (If you sold it, what dreams could you achieve with the proceeds?)
•    Are you only keeping it out of a sense of obligation (because it was a gift or it was expensive)?
•    Are you sure you have a sentimental attachment to it, or do you only think you should have a sentimental attachment?  (Girlfriends remind one another that if you really cared about something, you would proudly display it an not let it get moldy/dusty/dirty under piles of your ex-boyfriend’s exercise equipment.)
•    Will you really use it?  (Let your girlfriends help you give this question a reality check!)
•    Could it be a greater blessing to someone else (via charitable donation, consignment or auction) than it is to you?
•    If you keep it, how will you remember you have it?

[Professional Organizer Tip: If you only use something on special occasions, talk to your future self.  Make a note in your November calendar, a week before Thanksgiving, to remind you to take the crock-pot (that you only use for the holidays) out of the blue box on the left side of the attic storage space.]

You and your girlfriends can clear the clutter, create new “homes” for everything, box up your donations, and once you’ve made the cycle through everyone’s spaces, you can reward yourselves with a whole Girls’ Day Out for dropping off donations, delivering to (and shopping at) consignment stores.

Julie Bestry is a Certified Professional Organizer, speaker and author, who helps individuals and businesses save time and money, reduce stress and increase productivity through new organizational skills and systems. For information on how Julie can turn your chaos into serenity, check out Julie’s blog, Paper Doll or visit Best Results Organizing at Click here to sign up for Julie’s newsletter “Best Results For Busy People: Organizing Your Modern World”—and get a bonus gift, “Organize Your Way With A Pretend Career Day”!

1 Comment »

  1. Thanks for this post – great tips. I love the idea of using your girlfriends as your sounding board – your close friends will be honest on what you should toss or keep ;)

    Comment by Shanel — January 12, 2009 @ 1:27 pm

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