Holiday Organizing: A Gift to Your Future Self with Lea Gallagher of Untangle Organizing

Wondering what to do with all of those holiday decorations all around your home? Lea Gallagher is a professional organizer and provides tips to get that holiday organizing handled. After all, there can be a lot of chaos around the holidays, with busyness, deadlines, and—let’s face it—wrapping paper everywhere. As you start off the new year, you can give yourself a gift now that will mean a lot next holiday season: organization!

Holiday Organizing Basics

As you’re packing up all of your holiday decorations, it’s a great time to think about how you can organize it to find it better next year. The best time of year to evaluate your holiday décor is right after the holiday has ended.

As you’re putting things away, ask yourself first: Did I use these things this year? If you didn’t, will you use it next year. Likely not, so perhaps you can purge. Ask yourself these questions:

1. Do I need it?

2. Do I use it?

3. Do I love it?

If you answer yes to two of those questions, keep it; if not, it might be time to find that item a new home.

The Benefits of Holiday Organizing

One of the best benefits of taking some time this holiday season to get organized is that you’ll reduce your stress next year. Essentially, your past self is taking care of your future self by getting organized.

Another great benefit of holiday organizing is that you can reduce, reuse, and recycle. That’s at the heart of sustainability and huge in organizing. After all, if you reduce the amount of stuff you have, there’s less to maintain. There’s less guilt in throwing things away. And you save money and space by reusing what you have.

Subscribe on iTunes and get the show notes on The Green Gab Podcast. Get the gab with us as we share what we’ve done, as well as tips for greening up your home, your job, your family and your life! Get in on the gab for why green matters.

Resources

Everyday Green Home

Untangle Organizing

Untangle Organizing on Facebook

Untangle Organizing on Instagram

Full Podcast and Transcript Below

Marla:                   Hey, it’s Marla Esser Cloos, The Green Home Coach and you are listing to the Green Gab Podcast here from our new studio in Edmond Oklahoma. Outside of Oklahoma City and I love this place. I have a super, super fun guest today and we’ve been reveling in the podcast studio here. This is Lea Gallagher with Untangle Organizing her in Oklahoma City. [crosstalk] How are you today?

Lea:                        I’m really good. How are you?

Marla:                   I’m awesome. I’m just happy to be back in studio it’s been awhile.

Lea:                        Yeah, this is a really sweet space. I like the set up.

Marla:                   I know. So I want to give a big shout out. We’re actually using the podcast studio in vault 405 co-working space in downtown Edmond Oklahoma. If y’all are in Oklahoma City, see I still got my y’all going with Oklahoma, I know.

Lea:                        It’s hard to avoid. I like y’all.

Marla:                   Aww thanks, I appreciate that. All y’all right. But this place just opened up in March of 2018, and is just been such a great little jewel. I know just walking you around, you’re like jaw opened going, “Wow this is cool” but that’s exactly how I felt when I first came here. Then having the podcast space as well was just, that clinched the deal.

Lea:                        Yeah, I geeked out over how all of the tables and chairs have wheels and you can just rearrange it super easy and not have to break your back.

Marla:                   Exactly. I know [crosstalk]

Lea:                        It’s the little things.

Marla:                   Everything here rearranges so easy. So it’s really set up to be very flexible and to accommodate freelancer’s or work from homer’s, or you just want a place to get out. Or some companies that need a place. Matter of fact, there are several small companies that are headquartered here, so it’s pretty cool.

Lea:                        Awesome.

Marla:                   Yup, you have to come back some time and have lunch. Urban Agarian is mainly local and regional foods and lots sustainable foods and they’re on the corner of the space. [crosstalk] Shout out to the folks here, doing some cool stuff. I’m excited to be a part of it.

Lea:                        Yeah, that sounds really good.

Marla:                   You are a professional organizer.

Lea:                        Yes.

Marla:                   What does that mean?

Lea:                        That’s an excellent question. I get asked that a lot. No, I do not do community organizing, but I essentially, declutter and help people create systems in their homes and home offices that makes sense to them. So, that they can find what they need, when they need it. Everything’s accessible and they don’t have to waste time searching for things or waste money buying duplicates of stuff that they already have.

Marla:                   Oh, that never happens.

Lea:                        Somewhere, yeah. I teach them the skills to maintain it on their own. Weirdly enough, I worked myself out of a job.

Marla:                   That’s a good thing.

Lea:                        Yeah. Like a good engineer.

Marla:                   All right. No, that’s a good thing. I like that idea. Yeah, I am by nature a fairly organized person, but I find, and I imagine a lot of your clients find this, as things get really busy they get out of control, and then it’s not a priority until it is.

Lea:                        Yes, things are important, but then get pushed back until their urgent or pass due and then that just amplifies the stress level and it doesn’t need to be that way. I like to help people minimize that and just to cut that whole stressor out. ‘Cause they don’t have to have it.

Marla:                   I’ve gotten to know you through REI Women’s Business.

Lea:                        Yes.

Marla:                   Center. I’m trying to remember what the rest of that was.

Lea:                        Yeah, I think it’s Center.

Marla:                   I think you’re right, and I’ve met so many people around here. Particularly women, professional               women, women that own their own businesses et cetera. That’s been a fabulous resource, if you are in the Oklahoma area, this is a service available, Oklahoma wide. I’ve met so many really just fun, fun women like you and women that are doing some really cool stuff. I’m so grateful for that.

                                I know the first few times we’ve talked, you really had a chance to share your story and how you got started with organizing [crosstalk] I’d love for you share that story for our listeners ’cause [crosstalk] I think it’s such a great story.

Lea:                        Sure. Well, I was not always organized. I have been organized for most of life because I’ve had to be. I grew with split custody, so I switched houses between my mom’s house and my dad’s house, and for some bizarre reason, who even knows how custody gets split, I had a split week. So every other Wednesday I had to switch houses. I don’t know I kept up with that. Probably not well because my step dad had to sit me down, give me a talk like, “You know, your teachers have talked to us and you can’t just shove your papers in your backpack and hope that it’ll come out okay. You need to use folders and talk to your mom, she’ll teach you how to do this stuff.” My mom, is super organized. She’s got binders, and excel spreadsheets, and a file that’s mark, “In case of death, check here first,” and that’s all of here estate stuff.

Marla:                   But that’s smart.

Lea:                        It’s great. Honestly, a relief. She’s still kicking. Knock on wood. We’re good so far.

Marla:                   Thanks mom.

Lea:                        Yeah, yeah, thanks mom. Eventually, we’ll have stuff in order.

Marla:                   You need that.

Lea:                        Yeah, yeah, we will and so that’s a good present to give your family is that piece of mind, but that’s sidetracked. I can go on tangents. Yeah, I learned how to be organized from my mom and because I needed to be, it’s just through necessity and I loved it. I felt so much better just when things were chaotic and stressful growing up I could organize my room, and this is my one space that’s totally calm, and I get to put things away in their homes and it looks so good. It was my sanctuary.

                                Yeah, I want to share that piece and that warm feeling with all my clients, with really the world. Again, rambling, tangent.

Marla:                   You organized a lot of your family members when you were younger didn’t you?

Lea:                        Gosh, yes, yes. I organized my sisters Pokemon collection, and then she would intentionally mess it all up so I’d have to do it again.

Marla:                   I love it.

Lea:                        Yeah, you know sisters, that’s fine. Gosh, everywhere that I’ve worked before going into business for myself, I got excited about organizing the space and making it so that it was easier for people who worked with me to find what they need and to put stuff back so that it wasn’t a pet peeve for me to put things back for them. They could just do it.

                                I don’t know, I didn’t realize that it was even a thing that I could do as a career, as a profession until I want to say late 2013. When I found the website for NAPO. The Nationalist Association of Professional Organizers, and it blew my mind. I was like, wait this is a thing. I can do this, that’s awesome.

Marla:                   There’s organizers that do digital organizing for your computers, and organizing for your house or your office and a lot of us do need help. That’s awesome and amazing. Exactly why we wanted you here to talk specifically because we’re in the holiday season.

Lea:                        Yes. Which is right with chaos and lots of busy things and deadlines and [crosstalk] wrapping paper everywhere.

Marla:                   Yeah, mines got to come out of the closet tomorrow.

                                This is just a perfect time of year to think, “Okay, as I’m putting my stuff away, how do I organize it so I find it better next year?”

Lea:                        Yeah. That’s an excellent question. I think the best time to evaluate your holiday décor, and wrapping stuff just the whole shebang, is right after the holiday is ended. As you’re putting it away, think first about the stuff that you didn’t use. Are you going to use it next year? Unlikely, but sometimes there’s exceptions.

Marla:                   Kind of like your clothes, when you’re going through your clothes.

Lea:                        Pretty much, it’s the same decision making process. Ask your self three basic questions, do you need it? Do you use it? And do you love it? And if you answer yes to two out of those three at least then awesome keep it and if not then it can find a new home elsewhere.

Marla:                   I should have known you are a two out of three-er. No wonder we get a long.

Lea:                        Yeah.

Marla:                   Well I know we’ve got lots and lots of tips and ways for people to get organized. So I definitely want to leap into that, but before we go down that, ’cause I know you’ve got a lot of great ideas, why should people get organized? What’s the benefit?

Lea:                        Less stress. You don’t have to keep stuff active in your mind all the time because you know that there’s a system that you can trust. It’s your past self is taking care of your future self by putting things away in their homes.

Marla:                   Oh. That’s beautiful. Your past self is taking care of your future self. I like that because you know there is no present.

Lea:                        Right, yeah, no.

Marla:                   Except the gifts that we give ourselves, right. [crosstalk] Yeah, wow, that’s a really great way to think of that.

Lea:                        Well, thanks,

[crosstalk]

I like to thank my past self when I’ve set up my clothes the next day and all my stuff is packed and ready to go in the morning. It’s like, “Oh, thank you past Lea ’cause I am not awake right now. I can’t handle these decisions.”

Marla:                   Right. Right, no that’s so perfect.

                                Okay, so let’s take a quick breather, and then when we come back I want to do two things, not only do I want to leap into all of the wonderful tips you’ve been giving me little highlights of, I also want to talk about how this ties into this whole idea of green and sustainability, because it really does in a way that I think a lot of people don’t think about. We’ll be right back.

Welcome back to the Green Gab and we are gabbing today with Lea about how to organize all that holiday stuff after the holidays. Or maybe even if you’re getting a head start during the holidays.

Lea:                        Yeah, yeah, I mean it’s okay to process this stuff as you’re decorating.

Marla:                   Although a lot of people maybe done by now.

Lea:                        Which well, I’m not

[crosstalk]

Marla:                   It’s mid December. I guess, nevermind, nevermind. I spoke too soon.

Lea:                        I still need to put up some lights and then I’ll call it done. That’s what good enough will be for me. There’s just four strings of lights that I need to put up, and then that’s it.

Marla:                   Oh, you’re not doing bad at all.

Lea:                        Yeah, that’s fine.

Marla:                   Hey, it’s an incremental process.

Lea:                        That’s right. I have ornaments up. I’ve got the little just cute little guy’s sitting out on end tables.

Marla:                   Nice.

Lea:                        Yeah, that’s it. I get pretty minimal for decorations.

Marla:                   I also want to make a point to our listeners that may not celebrate Christmas, this thought process applies to any of your holiday or seasonal decorations, or things in your home really. I mean and a lot of this I’m sure translates really to anything.

Lea:                        Yeah, absolutely.

Marla:                   Okay, we’re going to pick on Christmas, ’cause [crosstalk] celebrating people and it’s right around the corner, but do know that this translates over very nicely. Lea and I, we were talking off, I started to say off camera, off mic, and with the tie in back, well why does organizing matter to green and sustainability? Since that’s the topic of Green Gab, and you nailed it.

Lea:                        Oh, reduce, reuse, recycle. That’s pretty much the center of being green and it is a huge part in organizing because if you reduce the amount of stuff that you have, there’s less to maintain. There’s less that you feel guilty about throwing away. Reusing what you already have, you save money, you save space. Amazon boxes, like we all have probably too many.

Marla:                   Especially this time of year.

Lea:                        Yeah. I find it easy to reuse those. I’ll go on a tangent for a holiday tip. You can cut off the flaps of the Amazon boxes or even a side of it, depending on the size of your string lights, and you can cut a notch in the top end and in the bottom end and just wrap your holiday lights or string lights, whatever they are, around the cardboard and tuck the edge into the bottom notch and there you go. You’ve got flat storage for your lights.

Marla:                   Nice. You know what my mom does, I thought was a great idea that I never thought about, she puts her extension cords inside of toilet paper rolls.

Lea:                        Yes, oh that’s so good. I love that.

Marla:                   I’m like, I’ve done it before to hold my gift wrap.

Lea:                        Yeah.

Marla:                   I’ll wrap it around like a cuff, but I’m like, “Mom, that’s awesome. I had no idea.”

Lea:                        I like your mom.

Marla:                   Hey, what is it, necessity is the mother of invention right?

Lea:                        Yeah, man.

Marla:                   A lot of us have stuff that we pull out once a year for the holidays for that four, six weeks, however long we leave it up, and depending on what frame of mind we are when we take it all down, usually depends on how easy it is to put it back up the next year, and how easy it is to find stuff. Where do you start?

Lea:                        Well, that’s an excellent, excellent question. You can start pretty much anywhere, as long as you get started. I think the where is less important than the just doing it, but you could start with as you’re taking the decorations down, take a look at the stuff that did not get put up. Evaluate whether or not you’re going to use that next year, if you are, then go ahead and keep that with the stuff that you’re putting away, and make a donate bag for the stuff that you just don’t see your self using next year at all.

                                Maybe that will be an inspiration to start a new tradition for somebody else, and it’s not necessarily that you’re throwing it away, you are giving it a new life elsewhere and freeing it from being buried in one of those bins in the closet,

[crosstalk]

or basement, there aren’t that many basements around here.

Marla:                   Attic.

Lea:                        There we go. I’m used to the basement section of holiday decoration in those big ole Rubber Maid tubs, yeah.

Marla:                   Me too. Past life.

Lea:                        Exactly.

Marla:                   Okay, so many of us inherit family treasures.

Lea:                        Yes.

Marla:                   Or, maybe not treasures, or you have your children’s first grade ornaments that they made for you and if you’re really good at keeping that stuff, you may have a lot of it. Or you may have a lot of things from family that you feel obligated to keep because they were great grandma Gertrude’s or whatever, how do you go through that stuff? What’s that emotional process like? A lot of that stuff you may like, “I got stuff I’m keeping for my kids.”

Lea:                        That ones really tricky. Depending on the age of the kid, you can ask them if they actually want those things for later or even now. Again, if they’re adult children then they’ll probably be frank with you like, “Yeah, I totally want that,” or, “No, thanks mom, but no.” The sentimental stuff is a lot harder to go through just because it brings up all of those memories and feelings.

                                Again, those three questions, do you need it? Do you use it? And do love it? Really be honest with your self, and if it’s a happy memory then I think that it’s good to keep it in the tradition and hang or display or whatever you can do with this thing in a prominent place where you’ll definitely see it and enjoy it.

                                If it’s a sad or painful memory, you might not really want to put that up.

Marla:                   Let it go.

Lea:                        You can let it go, or if there’s a story that you really want to remember but you don’t like the object itself, maybe it’s not your style, and it was grandma’s style but you’re feeling something different. If grandma’s still alive, then fantastic, go ahead and talk with her however way you can. Phone, Skype, in person, and record the conversation. You can just hit a voice recorder app on your phone or whatever fun tech stuff you want to do. Have that story and you can compile a collection of family stories.

                                I started working on that with family and that’s more valuable than the item itself. Is the story that the item holds.

Marla:                   That makes a lot of sense ’cause so many times when the families getting together to decorate, “Oh, remember this? Oh my gosh I remember when we went there” I used to collect ornaments from all the places that we went.

Lea:                        Yeah.

Marla:                   So of course as we were decorating we’d have all the conversations about all the places we’d gone and stuff.

Lea:                        That sounds like a fun tradition.

Marla:                   I think part of what you’re hitting on that I think is important is, prioritize right, and decide what’s really important and place the emphasis on that, and then let go of the things that don’t necessarily add in a positive way to that.

Lea:                        Right, yeah, exactly.

Marla:                   I think with holiday stuff that the holiday’s can be really hard for a lot of people and I think we probably put a lot of stress on ourselves that we probably don’t need to.

Lea:                        Yeah.

Marla:                   Then how am I going to get everything decorated, and is decorating a tradition in your home or is it a chore? Or is it a joy?

Lea:                        Right, yeah. For me, it feels like a chore and that’s why I am pretty minimal. It’s like heres my five things, we’re done. It used to be a fun family tradition as a kid, it was a huge, huge to do at my mom’s house just putting everything up and then at my dad’s house we were minimal-ish about it. It was still a fun family togetherness activity, and then I guess after moving out on my own, it really wasn’t the same, so traditions do evolve over time, and it’s okay to change your practices and your decoration collections as your traditions change.

Marla:                   Yeah, that’s a good point.

                                Okay, back to getting people organized.

Lea:                        Aw, yes.              

Marla:                   Besides prioritize, but prioritizing [crosstalk] is the first step in organizing isn’t it? [crosstalk]

Lea:                        Sorting [crosstalk] like with like, it’s easier to see how much of a thing that you have. If you put all of your ornaments in a section you see, “Oh, maybe I have way more than we’ll ever fit on any tree that I get, so let me just pick my favorite ones and keep those,” it’s easier to prioritize that way.

Marla:                   Do you recommend any kind of specific storage items for people that are helpful for their holiday decorations and seasonal stuff?

Lea:                        Sure, there’s a couple fun things. There’s that cardboard wrapping thing for the string lights, and for bulb ornaments you can reuse empty egg cartons or I think apple cartons if they’ve got the bigger [crosstalk]

Marla:                   Apple cartons, or apple boxes, I know what you’re talking about [crosstalk] that’s a great idea.

Lea:                        Then wrapping paper rolls can be stored in a bunch of different ways. You can just use an umbrella stand if you want, or there’s what my mom used to do, is this like hanging plastic sheet [crosstalk] over the door stuff and just stick them on down there and there they are. You can see what you have, ’cause it’s clear, and it’s out of the way. It can be behind a door, inside a closet if you’ve got limited space. Or just on a hanging rack in a closet somewhere that has more space.

                                Man, closet space is so good.

Marla:                   Yeah, too bad I don’t have enough.

Lea:                        Yeah.

Marla:                   All my wrapping stuff’s in a clear plastic box, but it’s in the bottom of the closet so the rest of year, I use gift bags because I can’t get to the wrapping paper.

Lea:                        Yeah.

Marla:                   Not all bad. I actually save and reuse all the ribbons and the gift bags [crosstalk]

Lea:                        Me too. I have a bag of bags, it’s great. I never buy the ribbons or gift bags, it’s like, “No I’ve got enough.”

Marla:                   Yeah, yeah. I agree. I don’t need to do too much of that.

                                What about when people are taking things down, I love your idea about going through and seeing what you used and what you didn’t use, for things that people don’t use but maybe aren’t quite ready to let go of, do you recommend putting those in a separate box or container?

Lea:                        Yeah, I do actually. You can set a date to revisit that box or not necessarily to, well I mean you can revisit it, so you can set a date to re-access that box. It can be six months it can be a year, whatever arbitrary date that you decide feels good. Slap that label on the box of what’s in it, and the date that you want to revisit it, and if you have not opened that box before that date, it’s okay to just let the box go unopened. Take it to Goodwill or wherever you want to gift it to. Wherever you want to donate it to.

                                If it’s really sentimental stuff and you do want to go through it again before making that decision, yeah, go ahead, but be honest with yourself if you really want that box, or those things to take up the space that it took during that period of time, that six months or a year that you set it aside. It’s like, “Oh, I’ll decide later.” Well, yup, now’s the time to decide.

Marla:                   I think that’s probably the hardest part is the emotional part isn’t it?

Lea:                        Oh, yeah. I’ve gone through some of my memorabilia box recently it happens once every year or two, and I’ll pair down some of the pictures. I’ll get rid of some things that just don’t hold the same strong emotional tie to me anymore. Or I’m just in a different phase of my life and it’s not as meaningful anymore, but then there are other things where it’s like, “Nope, that’s too painful to revisit. Let me do that next time.”

Marla:                   That’s okay.

Lea:                        It sticks around and it’s okay, yeah. Marla:   Okay. Hey lets take a quick breather, and when we come back, now that we’ve gotten through the hardest part of organizing

Back on the Green Gab, talking organizing especially holiday organizing with Lea of Untangle Organizing. That is so hard for me to say.

Lea:                        Yeah. I realize that, that non existing D is actually really tricky.

Marla:                   It is but it makes you very unique.

Lea:                        Aw, thanks.

Marla:                   Right?

Lea:                        I’ve had people ask if I’m a hair stylist ’cause of the name Untangle and I realize, “Aw, no, I missed my calling. Should have done that,” but no, this is actually way better for me.

Marla:                   When I first saw the name of your company, the most vivid picture that came to mind was untangling necklaces that would get all [crosstalk] meshed together in my jewelry box. I remember as a kid when I could still see without glasses, learning to pick apart the strands.

Lea:                        Yeah.

Marla:                   That was the vision I had when I first met you.

Lea:                        Well, I have done that.

Marla:                   [inaudible] It kind of fits.

Lea:                        Yeah, it definitely does and that honestly plays into proper storage.

Marla:                   Well, there you go.

Lea:                        If you’ve got the right kind of storage for your necklaces or holiday lights or whatever.

Marla:                   Exactly.

Lea:                        Yeah, [crosstalk] that was great. Oh, we rocked this one.

Marla:                   Okay, you’re going right down the path, this is good. I don’t even have to lead you since we wanted to talk more about [crosstalk] physical attributes of what to do with all the holiday stuff.

Lea:                        Right.

Marla:                   Keeping it so it doesn’t get all messed up for the next year is primo.

Lea:                        Yeah, exactly. A really appealing ginormous plastic tote bins a lot of them are fun colors. I’ve seen a lot of red and green ones for the Christmas stuff, but then since there solid colors you can’t really see what’s in them, and some of the bigger ones will hold literally everything. They’ll be too heavy to lift, and the stuff at the bottom just gets buried or damaged, if it’s not put away properly.

                                Think about the size of the things that you have and how delicate they are. You might not want to put your breakable ornaments in the same box with your bulky, I don’t know

[crosstalk]

stuff.

Marla:                   Okay, so I have a bunch of miniature Christmas trees.

Lea:                        Oh, yeah.

Marla:                   And garland and so I can put those in a big box together ’cause they’re lighter.

Lea:                        Yeah.

Marla:                   But then my ceramic ornaments and breakable ornaments’ I’d want to wrap in tissue and put in a more protected smaller box [crosstalk] it won’t be so heavy, is that what you’re saying?

Lea:                        Like the egg carton and you can even put the egg carton inside not necessarily a shoe box but just a smaller tote bin.

Marla:                   Yeah, okay. Okay.

Lea:                        Think bigger items bigger boxes, and tiny items tiny boxes.

Marla:                   As long as they’re lighter right?

Lea:                        Yes. [crosstalk] yeah.

Marla:                   I’ve got several of the three foot long boxes or four I don’t know.

Lea:                        Okay.

Marla:                   I’m only five foot tall, so they’re big to me. I’m trying to think what else went in those. I have the Christmas trees and the garland’s, and oh my Santa’s, ’cause I have a Santa collection.

Lea:                        Oh, yeah. Yeah. Collection’s [crosstalk] you can keep those items together.

Marla:                   Together, okay. [crosstalk]

Lea:                        You might have your Santa collection bin. You know exactly where that is and you’re ready to put all your fun little Santa’s and there they are all are. You don’t have to search for them or go like, “Now, I know I’m missing one, but where is it?” It’s all just there.

Marla:                   Then sometimes I have a few Santa’s that could be ornaments, or they could be Santa’s, so I had to choose which one are they really.

Lea:                        Yeah.

Marla:                   I’m assuming there’s not a right way or a wrong way?

Lea:                        No, of course not.

Marla:                   It’s what works for you but I’ve been okay organized with Christmas stuff, and this year it paid off because I didn’t decorate this year. Well I decorated for an hour, but my home looks lovely.

                                You know my husband was in the hospital for about a month, he wasn’t supposed to be there for a month, but it happened. The second or third time we thought he was coming home, we wanted to get decorated for Christmas, ’cause I didn’t want to be doing it when he was home. Some of his buddies came over and did the lights, which of course somebody else, a complete stranger, a friend of a friends, okay, not a complete stranger.

                                A friend of a friend’s, complete stranger to me, was so sweet and came over and helped me get all my stuff out of the attic. So the guy’s put all of the lights up which was awesome, then my mom and a friend came over and decorated my house. I helped them for like an hour and then I had to leave.

                                That was a really good lesson, because everything was in boxes that had labels so they could find stuff, but then they weren’t married to doing stuff they way I wanted to do it, or I would’ve done it.

Lea:                        Yeah.

Marla:                   It was this whole new fresh approach to how my home was decorated.

Lea:                        That’s great.

Marla:                   Maybe we outta all switch each other’s houses every few years.

Lea:                        That’s a great tradition. I want to adopt that idea.

Marla:                   I know [crosstalk]

Lea:                        Somebody else’s house. ‘Cause obviously that feels less like a chore to me than decorating my own house. That’s social activity. That’s just fun.

Marla:                   Sure, instead of barn raising we’ll do Christmas tree raising.

Lea:                        Sure.

Marla:                   You never know what we’re going to invent on this show.

Lea:                        You heard it heard first.

Marla:                   Okay, so good containers.

Lea:                        Yes.

Marla:                   Sturdy containers, I’m assuming.

Lea:                        Yes. I would avoid cardboard or anything that would be I guess affected by the elements. If you’re going to store your stuff in an attic or a basement.

Marla:                   Oh, yeah.

Lea:                        Yeah. That’s asking          for trouble there with cardboard and fabric bins.

Marla:                   So attic’s in particular we were chatting about because living in Oklahoma a lot of houses here have attics ’cause we don’t have a lot of basements here, and attics are going to usually be suspect or subject to more extreme weather conditions than basements would be.

Lea:                        Yeah, yeah. For sure. All that heat.

Marla:                   So the heat. That was one thing we were really pointing out ’cause a lot of attics are not insulated in the roof decking so they get hot in the summer. You wouldn’t want to store anything that could melt right?

Lea:                        Right. Yeah. [crosstalk] You don’t want candle wax dripping on your Santa’s.

Marla:                   Yeah, no. If people do have things that it might be more temperature sensitive maybe put those elsewhere or?

Lea:                        Yeah, yeah.        If you have the closet space maybe a top shelf in a closet. I hesitate to just shove everything into a closet because then it’ll get buried, but for things that you use seasonally or just occasionally it’s not a daily thing or even if it’s like only a couple of times a year that you access the decorations. Or even some special serving plates or just fun stuff.

Marla:                   Isn’t that what the cabinets on top of the refrigerator are for?

Lea:                        The ones that I can never reach? Yeah

Marla:                   I need a step ladder to get up there. That’s where the candles will go.

Lea:                        Sure, yeah. Actually, that’s great. Stuff that you don’t access often can be in inconvenient out of the way place and keep the prime real estate of the arms reach cabinets and closets and stuff for the stuff that you do use daily.

Marla:                   My home in Saint Luis I had four big huge metal shelves in my basement, and I had one whole she;f dedicated to Christmas stuff.

Lea:                        Oh, wow.

Marla:                   It was awesome. That was the best organized basement I’ve ever had in my life.

Lea:                        Nice.

Marla:                   One of my challenges transitioning to an attic, I don’t have shelving up there.

Lea:                        Yeah, that’s so hard ’cause the   low ceiling [crosstalk] there’s not much that you can do for shelving.

Marla:                   Yeah, we floored more space over our garage so we had a little bit more space, so yeah, that dose force us to think more carefully about what we’re doing and where we’re putting stuff.

Lea:                        Yeah.

Marla:                   Yeah, ideally, I wish I had enough room in the garage, but [crosstalk] not yet.

Lea:                        Man, yeah garage storage can definitely be a tricky one and I’m sure that’s a whole other podcast we can dive into with that.

Marla:                   A lot of people here have sheds.

Lea:                        Yeah.

Marla:                   A shed’s going to be subject to pretty much of the same conditions that an attic would.

Lea:                        Pretty much yeah. I don’t know if it’s more or less acceptable to rain and precipitation or not depending on I guess how well it’s built or insulated.

Marla:                   Right. Pay attention to where you’re storing your stuff and make sure it’s protected.

Lea:                        Exactly [crosstalk]

Marla:                   Basically, the message there.

Lea:                        Yeah, yeah.

Marla:                   Okay. Then I’m assuming the container should all be labeled.

Lea:                        Yes, yes. Oh, thank you for bringing that up. Labels are super helpful. If you have a label maker then great, but if not you don’t need one. You can either write on some printer paper and use packing tape to put that on your bin or you can use painters tape, and they actually make green painters tape. I think it’s called Frog Tape.

Marla:                   The Frog Tape.

Lea:                        Yes, oh, it’s so good ’cause sharpie shows up way better on that.

Marla:                   Oh, that’s a great idea. I’ve been using the blue and that doesn’t show up as well.

Lea:                        That’s hard for my eyes. I think that’s hard for anyone’s eyes, but the green tape is what I use and I’ll use that for temporary labels with my clients to be like, “Okay, this is your new thing and if you want to keep labels then great we can make fancy ones, or if you would just rather not use labels at all, this is here until you remember that this is their home. Then you can just peel it off it doesn’t damage anything.”

Marla:                   I have a sneaking suspicion, that part of the reason people love having you work with them is because it’s a lot easier to do the hard stuff when you have someone to do it with you.

Lea:                        Oh, for sure. It’s actually fun to work with me. I’m a little biased, but yeah, it is fun.

Marla:                   Well, thank goodness.

Lea:                        You dread diving into this pile of stuff whatever it is, and then somebody’s there with you and not only is it another set of hands making it go by faster, but it’s a really good energy and we just fuel each other. We’re up beat and even if there are tricky decisions, you don’t have to face it alone, and I am there to help you just work through the process. Just ask you questions to clarify your own vision, ’cause I don’t have the vision for you, you do. I don’t know it’s just so nice to watch that unfold and I get as excited about uncovering floor space and surface space as they do, so it’s just [crosstalk] amplified. It’s great.

Marla:                   Well that is a perfect place for us to wrap this up. How do people find you?

Lea:                        Wrap it up with a bow.

Marla:                   Wrap it up with a bow, and I loved it when this whole idea of a gift from your past self to your future self. I think that is exactly it on par. The cool thing about working with you is you do not have to be physically in the same location to work with you.

Lea:                        This is true.

Marla:                   So tell me how this all works?

Lea:                        Yeah, there is the awesome body doubling aspect when I am in person, but you still get that same motivation and encouragement and excitement and expertise and guidance from me. If you don’t live near me, I can reach you across the country and across the world.

                                I do virtual organizing as well as the in person stuff. We just talk on the phone, do some photo sharing and I keep track of your project. I give you your next steps in manageable chunks. I don’t want to overload you with homework. I’ll give myself some homework too. I check in with you. Help you along the way as you do the physical stuff yourself, but I do all the essentially project managing and brain work for you.

Marla:                   So accountability too.

Lea:                        Oh, totally.         

Marla:                   Maybe if people want to work with your virtually they have maybe a buddy that would come sit with them when they’re going through stuff.

Lea:                        Yeah, oh, that’s fun. I definitely encourage that. Or put on some good music and [crosstalk] just get into a groove. It’s great.

Marla:                   There you go.

                                Go your website is?

Lea:                        My website is untangleorganizing.com and there is no letter D involved in any of this. So it’s U-N-T-A-N-G-L-E organizing.com.

Marla:                   With her radio voice and your on Instagram?

Lea:                        Yes.

Marla:                   Facebook, and I can’t remember where else or maybe that’s it.

Lea:                        No I think that’s it. Just Instagram and Facebook. Also, at untangle organizing.

Marla:                   If people want to communicate with you what’s the best way to do that?

Lea:                        You can email me, text me or call me. My email address is Lea, L-E-A @untangleorganizing.com. My phone number is 405-458-0408.

Marla:                   Well Lea it has been so fun to talk with you about getting organized after the holidays and everyone out there in Green Gab land I hope you have a wonderful holiday wherever you are celebrating and however and with whomever you are celebrating. Here’s to an organized way of putting it all back together when you are unpacking it.

                                Stay green, and have an awesome holiday. We’ll rock it out on the Green Gab. Take care.

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