We teamed up with Erin Gaskins, a professional organizer, to learn from an expert how to make spaces and systems that can help organize your life. Transform any room in your home or office into an eye-catching space with less ambient noise.
“Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.”
Whether you’re at home or in the office, organization is essential. That’s why we at Felt Right spoke with Erin Gaskins, CEO and Founder of Room Redefined, to learn from an expert how to make spaces and systems that can help organize your life. In addition to her expert tips, our sound-dampening felt wall tiles can help you declutter your life, get organized, and transform any room in your home or office into an eye-catching space with less ambient noise.
Read on to learn more about Felt Right felt tiles and advice on how to finally get yourself and all your spaces in order.
Take control of your space with Felt Right Wall Tiles
I’m a professional organizer. I DON’T do this work because everything is perfectly placed in my home. I live in a real home with a real husband, 10-year-old son, and our dog. Our home certainly has its share of problems.
I DO this work because I have a very low tolerance for these problems. Disorganization raises my levels of stress. Rather than taking out that intolerance on my family and pet, I decided to use my energy to find solutions to those issues so things run smoother for everyone.
I DO this work because I am impatient. I hate wasting time looking for things, struggling to get things out, or putting things away. I have no patience for making decisions about what to do with things every time I touch them. I want everything to have a place, so I don’t have to make those decisions more than once. One and done.
I DO this work for my family. My son is very impacted by his physical environment. As someone with neurodiverse tendencies – highly gifted, diagnosed with ADHD, and on the autism spectrum, he has no interest in initiating organization himself. However, it is hard for him to focus and function if he does not have the right kind of structure in his surroundings.
I DO this work for me. I derive great joy from living and working in spaces that are functional, and beautiful. I work so hard on our environment because I find joy in the results of that work. It is important to me that our spaces feel beautiful, but also feel like- us.
When I combine a low tolerance for problems in our physical environment with my brand of impatience, and my son’s need for structure, and my need to have our physical spaces be functional and beautiful, I find I have a skill set that lends itself well to professional organizing.
I DO this work to help bring about lasting change for others. As a former educator, it’s in my nature to assist others in making lasting changes in their lives. I am deeply interested in how to help others do more than just clean out and put away the things in their space, whether that’s your home, school or business.
I am motivated to help people “redefine” their spaces. I want to help them find the courage to face their clutter, develop systems to take control of it, and identify the right products to help bring their personal touches to their space. I want their spaces to help them live their best lives.
Let me tell you about OUR problem.
We have a space in our home that is almost always our greatest source of clutter and confusion. Let’s call it our “muddy entry laundry breakfast nook,” or maybe just “the problem,” for short. We all have one (or more) of these spaces. You know, the type of space that must fulfill multiple functions, contain just a little bit more than it was designed for, serve as a launching pad for the users of the space, and do all of this beautifully.
My husband, son and I live in a small home. We like the cozy space, but this room is taking that notion to the extreme. Our “laundry” room is a wall in the back corner of our kitchen next to the entry door from the garage- our main point of entry/exit to and from the home. That means all our outdoor gear, school backpacks, work bags, mail, deliveries, keys, and shoes pile up in this place. Oh, and my son just took up whittling, so a random stick pile occasionally crops up here as well.
This space has become our family command center where we post outgoing mail, keep track of family schedules, and manage family activities. We do laundry here. The dog has her food and water bowls on the floor. And, being adjacent to the kitchen, we have a cute little breakfast table that sometimes pulls double duty as a LEGO building or Pokémon card sorting station. Size of the room? Only 121 sq. ft.
Where is your problem space? Is it an office that negatively impacts your productivity? Is it a home entryway that makes you want to turn around and leave? Is it a command center that is commanding more than its share of attention for all the wrong reasons? Maybe it is a classroom that just does not have much “class.”
Changing the narrative from “problem” to “potential.”
If left unattended for too long, the problem areas in our spaces develop lives of their own. They stop serving us as the users and we become slaves to the “things” that build up. My solution to this and any space? Follow simple organizational steps to reclaim control over the space, show the room who’s boss and make it work for and represent the best of the people who spend time there.
- Determine a place for everything and put everything in its place.
- Create systems that are easily understood and maintained by everyone who uses the space.
- Make the space personalized- reflecting those who use it.
Step 1: A place for everything and everything in its place.
To take back ownership from “the problem” I had to roll up my sleeves and show it who was boss. You see, if we don’t take that control, our spaces will gladly accept anything and everything put in them. I have had to say “no” to off-season clothing, returned papers from school, unopened mail, unwashed laundry, long-term Pokémon and LEGO situations, and anything else that migrates to this family zone.
These items all have an important place in our home, but that place cannot be in this room. Our laundry is sorted and stored in bedrooms. Off- season clothing is washed and packed away in a storage closet. Pokémon and LEGO have a rightful place in the family room. School papers are sorted and stored in my son’s bedroom. Mail is opened daily and sent to our home office or the shredder as appropriate.
With the superfluous removed from this hardworking zone, I can tell the remaining items where to go. Literally. I make sure each item has a designated space in our room. Suddenly the “problem” is feeling a little less overwhelming and a lot more purposeful.
Your turn. It’s time to show your “problem” who’s boss. Take charge of the items in your space. Evaluate what really needs to be in there for that space to be productive, and what should live somewhere else. Keep in mind that “somewhere” can be a more appropriate place in your home, a donation bin, or even a recycle bin.
A more appropriate place can also be simply moving items from horizontal to vertical surfaces. Consider a kitchen. It is very easy for items to build up on counters. To avoid this clutter trap, try a purposeful wall design from Felt Right on which you can pin your favorite recipes, daily reminders or that postcard from Aunt Betty’s trip to Thailand that you wish to display. These felt tiles are an ideal way to add color and warmth to your space while helping you organize your items.
Step 2: Create systems that are easily understood and maintained by everyone who uses the space.
Now that I have told my things where to go, I want to make sure that they stay there. I am taking control of my space after all. The key? Develop systems so that everyone who uses the space can help maintain it. The systems do not have to be complex. In fact, it’s often better if they aren’t. Your systems can be as simple as grouping all similar things together and putting them in a bin. Label that bin with words or pictures so everyone knows what belongs there.
Need to have things on a shelf or counter? Try placing things that have a similar purpose on a tray. This gives them a defined home. You can also create visual schedules, lists and reminder systems. Go vertical. Use the walls. Make it simple, easily readable, and relevant to your family members. And finally, teach them how to use the systems you have put in place.
Are you a teacher? Try Felt Right felt tiles in your classroom this year. This innovative felt wall tiles takes the notion of vertical organization to a whole new level. This is the right product to create colorful classroom displays, useful felt pinboards, and easily updated organizers. And bonus – these felt sound panels have a unique sound-dampening quality to them that helps to absorb excess noise. Who wouldn’t want that in a room full of busy six-year-olds?
Step 3: Make the space personalized- reflecting those who use it!
If my “muddy entry laundry breakfast nook” could read this blog, at this point it would be feeling very bad for causing me so much grief and heartache. I hope I haven’t given it, or you, the wrong impression. You see, I love this space. It brings my family and me a lot of joy! I have had to work through my issues with it, but we have come to great terms. And I didn’t stop with the clean out and systems creation.
Those were important key steps, but a room isn’t truly “redefined” or working for the people who use it until it reflects the best of you. While you are sorting out the superfluous and giving homes to the necessary in your problem space, remember that your space will support you not only through the tangible organization, but also through the feelings you get by being surrounded by that which brings you happiness.
Our “muddy entry laundry breakfast nook” has become our hardworking family command center. But it also has a rug on the floor with a retro design that makes us smile. There is also a bright yellow stool to help us reach the items we had to place on upper shelves.
We have a lovely round table in the center that is easy to move around, but is also ideal for family meals or card games. There are framed vintage posters from the Tour de France- my husband is a huge fan- hung over the computer monitor that displays our daily schedule. There are brightly colored Felt Right tiles on the walls over our cubbies for outdoor gear. These tiles bring warmth to the room, while offering us the perfect backdrop for organizing our comings and goings as a family. Now, finally, this room is truly ours.
To get started on organizing your problem spaces, visit Felt Right’s My Studio to design your very own felt tile display. You can also choose from one of their many popular Felt Right designs for inspiration. If you’re looking for a design choice that is easy to install, can help you get organized, reduce unwanted noise, and look great all at the same time, Felt Right wall tiles are for you.
Erin Gaskins is owner of Room Redefined, a professional organizing company based in Denver, Colorado. After 25 years in public education, Erin decided to put her passion for organizing to work in the service of others and entered the entrepreneurship journey. Five years later, Room Redefined stands out in their dedication to offering customized organizing services to homeowners, businesses, and schools. She and her company are strongly committed to the work of changing society’s narrative- helping other women feel comfortable with the notion that we are all stronger when we give up the “superwoman complex” and work together to accomplish our goals!