Clutter Free Living Tips by Professional Organizer Cassidy Turnage
In a day and time when people are living in a tizzy from the morning rush hour and from one activity to the next, running on less than ideal hours of sleep and busy to-do-list days, organization of the home seems to be an unattainable goal.
Clutter fills closets with clothes that “maybe I will wear one day” and attics stacked with boxes of unexplored and unreachable last season’s decorations. Old paper bills and junk mail peek out of desk drawers waiting to be filed or dropped into the trash bin. Streamlining and simplifying your home and work space from clutter will leave you refreshed and rejuvenated.
Cassidy Turnage, who has knack for organizing and an eye for cleanliness, turned her talents into a business as a professional organizer. Chaos to Clean by Cassidy serves clients to transform the insurmountable mess of clutter to a haven for organization and simplicity. Cassidy, a Jackson, Mississippi native, graduated from Jackson Prep in 2013. She continued her education at the University of Mississippi, graduating in May 2017 with a major in Business Administration and a minor in Entrepreneurial Leadership. While a sophomore at Ole Miss, she founded her organizing business. After graduation, Cassidy began working full time with her business, Chaos to Clean by Cassidy.
Jenny Cox Holman, Lifestyle | Travel Editor for Mississippi Matters, visited with Cassidy Turnage, owner of Chaos to Clean by Cassidy, for valuable organizing advice and tips to create clutter free homes and work space.
Cassidy, tell our readers about yourself – what brought you to your career as a professional organizer? How did you get started?
I've always been a really organized person for as long as I can remember. In elementary school, I would go to friends' houses for sleepovers & help them clean their rooms! ha.... When I was a sophomore at Ole Miss, home for my six week Christmas holiday, I decided to start my own business. It really was just a few closets here and there for family and friends; I never dreamed my business would grow the way it has. I began doing this full time in August 2017.
My business has grown and it's very clear there is a need for this service in the Jackson metro area and throughout our state. I will travel anywhere to help people get organized! Being organized really is something that is so good for everyone's peace of mind. It just makes life so much simpler.
What special services do you offer to clients?
I can organize anything! I do pantries, closets, garages, attics, junk drawers, offices, apartments, storage units, kitchens, laundry rooms, and every other area of life you can imagine!
I enjoy helping people who are preparing to list their homes on the market get rid of the things they do not wish to bring over to their new homes. Decluttering your home before putting it up for sale makes the space look so much bigger and helps the prospective buyer to envision themselves in that house. It really does make all the difference when trying to sell your home. I help people pack up their stuff as well as unpack it in their new house. I have a great team who helps me and I could not do it without them!
With spring right around the corner, what advice would you give a client with the daunting task of where to begin with organizing or how you can help?
If you're wanting to get inspired and get organized, I always recommend starting in the pantry! That is an area that's black and white when it comes to throw away/keep. You start going through canned goods, chips, medicines, etc. and a lot of it is expired most of the time. Once you start pitching expired items and seeing how awesome it feels to clean out, it motivates you to continue on throughout your home!
What are your favorite tips for cleaning out and organizing closets? Attics/Garages?
For closets, "No Wire Hangers!" I love the Slimline hangers from Bed, Bath, and Beyond. Clothes don't fall off of them & it makes your closet look incredible. Just having all matching hangers makes one huge difference in the closet.
For attics, I put everything in clear, plastic bins and label them very specifically. I always say, "keep like with like," which means if one area in an attic is all Christmas decorations then don't intermix Halloween decor in with that. Give every category its own space. As far as garages go, I love the Kobalt Storage Rails to hang all your yard & power tools as well as sports bags and folding chairs.
What do you like most about what you do?
I love the people I meet and the people I work with the most! I've met some incredible people doing what I do and have made a lot of great friends this way. I love the actual organizing part of it but most importantly, I love the people I meet and the joy they get from my work.
What do you see the most that seems to create the most clutter in homes? What advice do you have for a solution?
People who love to entertain have way too many Pyrex dishes. People who have swimming pools have too many towels! People who love take out (like myself) have too many plastic cups and those plastic forks/spoon/napkin kits. It really does vary from house to house. The best advice I can give to anyone is to just donate what you are no longer using to charity.
Do you have any favorite charities that you advise your clients to use to donate their unused clothes or home goods?
When it comes to donating, I take all the donations away for the client. It's part of my services. I take all linens and towels to CARA for the animals there. They go through them so quickly and really appreciate the donation.
A lot of the time we have lots and lots of bags that need to be donated so it just helps the client out that we take them to the charity of their choice. Anytime I do a linen closet, I take all sheets and towels to the animal shelter. Salvation Army is another great place to take donated items. When a client is moving, we gather all items to be donated and call Salvation Army and they will come pick up your donation which is amazing!
Those who have young children seem to have toys scattered throughout living areas of the home from children’s playtime. What is a simple way to organize those favorite and well-played toys for the kiddos?
When children have too many toys in front of them, it overstimulates them and isn't good for them. If the child has a playroom, then I suggest putting the majority of toys away in the closet in organized bins. I love wicker baskets from Target and I usually put one big basket in the playroom with their other toys. That way, when their parents tell them to clean up, they can put everything back in that basket easily.
Every so often, I tell parents to switch out their toys & only allow enough toys out that can fit in the basket on the playroom floor! I recommend having toys in one designated area. I understand if you have babies that area may be the living room so you can keep an eye on them while they play and you get things done. Wherever the "toy area" may be, keep it that way. Don't let toys spill into other rooms and keep them in their designated spot.
In a day and time when most photos are taken by telephone, people still love to peruse through photo albums or children’s art project scrapbooks. What services do you offer to organize photos and artwork?
I love, love, love getting children's artwork turned into a photo book masterpiece. I have many clients who have bins upon bins of kiddie artwork. Once you transform that artwork to a photo book, you will be amazed at how much more space you have.
What are some of your favorite places to find baskets or containers for stylish and efficient organizing? Do you have any advice for certain types to purchase for children’s rooms, kitchens, closets?
My favorites include Bed, Bath & Beyond and Target. Honestly, it depends on each room. For one closet, I may use bins for shoes but on the next closet that may not be the best solution for that space. It really is what works best in each space and what system is best for the client.
How would you describe your style as an organizer?
My style would be simple. I love simple and clean. One of my favorite quotes is "live life simply", and that is a great way to describe my style as an organizer.
What do you like most about what you do?
My all time favorite area to work on is a pantry!
How far in advance do you need for a client to schedule your services?
Fortunately, because I have people who help me out now, I can get you in within two weeks, usually, of when you call. It's always best if you think you might want to schedule, to go ahead and get a date on my books because our slots fill up fast!
What’s your goal with each of your clients?
That's something I ask them before I begin a job. I say what is your goal in this closet, bedroom, bathroom, etc. My goal is to make the client happy. I want to do what works for them. If I create a system that isn't feasible to their lifestyle, I always encourage them to call me back and I will come up with something else for them to try!
I've been so fortunate to work with the best of the best! My clients are so inspiring to me because I go in and switch up how they've been living, which I know takes time to get used to. I make it more functional and organized and they are always so positive and adjust to the changes wonderfully.
Do you have a motto or favorite quote that motivates you to help your clients with decluttering their favorite spaces at home or work?
I just always suggest that for clothes, if you've not worn something in the past two seasons to donate or sell. As far as other items go, just get rid of things you do not use. Easier said than done, however.
Can you tell us how to reach you through social media?
Blog By: Jenny Cox Holman
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