Professional organizers are just like you. We tote around bags of essentials. But our most prized possession is our organizing bag. It’s where we keep everything we need to make your home the most organized and functional it’s ever been. What you need from this bag of tricks will vary depending on the person and their needs, but for the most part, we use everything in it.
Organizing requires more than storage bins and an eye for structure. It also requires certain tools of the trade.
If you have never worked with a professional organizer before, I’m here to show you what’s in my organizing bag. Mind you, this list is unique to me and other organizers might have more or less. Just like you, our tastes differ. With that said, let’s get right into it.
What’s in the KMA Organizing bag?
What’s a professional organizer without their trusty label maker? We swear by them. Labeling is one of the best ways to maintain an organized home. Labels tell you what belongs where. Labeling in the professional organizing field serves a major function. It keeps things in order and helps you along the way.
Do you need to keep the label on once you’ve trained your brain into knowing that’s where this certain item goes? No. You can remove it if you feel the need to. But most of my clients keep the labels on because they find it offers a sense of calm.
Don’t think you need to label everything. Be strategic. Tell the organizer where your trouble spots are. That’s where the majority of the labels are going to go.
Before I label anything, I pre-structure with sticky notes. These are great temporary solutions and I use them in a few ways.
First, I use them as a game plan. I’ll put sticky notes where I think we should store certain items and talk it over with my client. Once they commit to the idea, we can then switch to putting the actual stuff away and use the label maker to finish it. If they don’t like the setup, we can move the sticky notes around with ease until we settle on a strategy we like.
Color coded sticky notes are a must in my organizing bag. Color coding is a great way to keep things in order. I love using them to differentiate piles. For example, the boxes or bags with the yellow sticky note are things to donate. The blue sticky note equals storage. And the pink sticky note equals trash.
Part of the fun is coming up with your own color-coded system. Just make sure you explain it to people so they don’t get lost in the sea of colors.
Obviously, you need something to write with and my go-to tool is a good old-fashioned Sharpie. I prefer Sharpies because of their bold lines. They’re easier to see at a distance. And when you’re organizing and restructuring areas of your home, you need to step back to get some perspective.
Like sticky notes, Sharpies come in a variety of colors so you can use those on one shade of sticky note. Depending on the project I might mix it up. But no matter what, a Sharpie is far better to write with than a pen.
The super-thick ones are perfect for writing on boxes. So the next time you plan on reconfiguring a cabinet or pantry, grab some sticky notes and Sharpies. Play around with placement and watch how much fun you’ll have with the planning process alone.
I don’t encourage my clients to discard their entire life. I do encourage them to pare down in areas that are excessive. This is why I keep a stack of durable trash bags in my organizing bag.
As a professional organizer, it’s my job to come prepared. If I don’t my client won’t think I take this seriously. Not that having trash bags alone will prove my seriousness. But it’s always a good idea to have them on hand rather than ask the client to use the ones they paid for.
I’m here to help them. I want to make this experience as simple as possible. In my mind, that includes having trash bags on hand. This way when we do come across things the client wishes to throw away or donate, I remove a bag and get it out of their sight as fast as possible.
You don’t need a giant box full of trash bags. If the client seems like the type of person who's going to discard a lot, then bring some extras along, but a handful is all you need. It’s all I keep in my bag. It’s also a good idea to keep a box in your car, just in case.
A lot of things can happen when I’m organizing a client’s home. Things need to be moved. Sometimes furniture needs to be slightly or completely disassembled. Sometimes we need to install a hook or two.
Because of all those possibilities, I keep a small collection of tools in my organizing bag. Some of these essentials include:
You don’t need to be an expert handyman to perform some of the minor repair work organizers do. It’s rare to have to take apart an entire bookshelf, but it could happen. It’s also good to come prepared. Sometimes in the midst of shifting a unit, something could come loose. Having these tools on hand to fix it up will show your client you care about the items in their home.
The tools also come in handy if I happen to bring something for my client. A new storage piece or shelving unit. Having those tools on hand will make assembling it that much easier. Again, I’d rather not ask the client to borrow their things. Mainly because I don’t know what they have.
There you go. Everything I keep in my professional organizing bag. As I mentioned earlier, this list is unique to me and I’m always finding new and interesting things to have on hand. I hope this gave you a fun peek into the mind of an organizer and why we may come into your home with a massive bag of our own.