Sorted Obsessions

3 Years Of Being A Lady Boss

If I had to describe being a business owner I’d liken it to being a toddler. One minute you’re happy and the next you’re crying in the corner and don’t know why. You can’t explain the ups and downs you feel but you do.

Looking back on my third year of business it has been my favorite year. Clients and revenue feel consistent. I feel confident in the relationships I’ve built over the years and know everything I’ve done up to this moment is setting me up to succeed.

Each year brings different perspectives, wins and challenges. As for 2017, I’ve had my fair share.

Wins:

  • Being featured, published or interviewed in over 15 media outlets
  • Doubling my annual income and surpassing my financial goals
  • Rate increase
  • Constant flow of clients
  • Successfully partnered with other organizers for larger projects
  • Being more strategic with my partnerships
  • Built workflows around administrative tasks

Challenges:

  • Better work/life balance
  • Taking time off
  • Spreading myself thin by not automating repeatable tasks 
  • Combating imposter syndrome
  • Being more consistent and prioritizing social media publishing
  • Formalize an on-boarding process for clients and partners 
  • Handling the stress of being a business owner
2 Years Of Being A Lady Boss

Hero-about

November marks 2 years since I started Sorted by Anna full-time. I remember  first setting out on this path, blindly navigating entrepreneurship, essentially running with the mantra of, “fake it ‘til you make it.”

My first year was all about surviving, my second year was about growth. How can I become a better organizer? How can I grow my business? Where do I see my business going in the future? It can, at times, feel extremely overwhelming because the reality is for a lot of those questions, the answers aren’t so clear. At least not at first.

To spare everyone from a sappy, deep internal monologue, I’ve created a list of wins and challenges which occurred this past year. I am already eager to look back at these next year to see what has transpired.

Wins:

  • Adding home staging to my services
  • Adding interior/commercial design to my services
  • Perfecting my folding technique to an obscene OCD level
  • Interviewed for an entrepreneur book
  • Other professionals inquiring how to become an organizer   
  • Increasing moving clients
  • Doubled annual income
  • Meeting other amazing women business owners

Challenges:  

  • Expanding more education with design
  • Expanding client base outside of NYC
  • Increasing productivity on tasks that do not excite me
  • Creating a strategy for consistent creation and engagement for social accounts
  • Self doubt
  • Not being open enough to change
  • Pitching more article content to publications
  • Being ok with asking for help

Here’s to being the best damn lady boss I can. Happy anniversary, Sorted by Anna!

Startup Office Gets Redesign

I had the pleasure of designing and organizing, startup, Coursehorse’s new office in Manhattan. The primary challenge was to select multifunctional pieces that worked well functionally, but also tied the space into one company vision. Coursehorse as a whole is friendly and cheeky so incorporating fun horse elements within the decor was a playful touch that really defined the space as their own.

The final space came together for Coursehorse, providing employees an environment that evokes collaboration, inspiration and fun!

Below are a few select before and after shots.

*After photos shot by Mark Clennon 

 

 

 

 

Playroom Must Have Solutions

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Playrooms are a difficult area in any home to keep clean and organized. Kids lack the know-how depending on the age, to read and understand what labels mean.

The key to any successful playroom is containment! Bins, desks, and bookshelves with lids, doors and tops are a must. Being able to easily put things away while also keeping a lid on it, means if you’re sharing your adult space with your kids that it doesn’t look like Toys R Us exploded in the living room. Keeping things neutral also allows for pops of color with their art work, rugs and other fun decorative touches.

One. Desk– Every kid needs a place to do arts and crafts and eventually their homework. The IKEA PS 2014 is an  affordable and sleek desk for any space. Having the folding leaf saves space and allows for you to keep the necessities inside which prevents clutter unlike large desks with multiple drawers.

Two. Hamper– Large toys, dress up clothes and masks take up a lot of room. Using woven hampers are a great resource for any playroom to house unruly items. Hampers tend to be cheaper than larger woven bins but have the same look. Opt for ones with tops so you can easily conceal items.

Three. Bins– My latest obsession from the Container Store are the Nordic baskets. They are durable and come with wooden tops that are simple for kids to put back on. Easy to clean if any markers or paints leak out and you can easily label them or clip on pictures, helping younger children develop literacy skills.

Four. Bookshelf– A playroom would not be complete without some type of bookshelf. If you have younger kids, having a lower bookshelf is important. They should be able to pull things out themselves as well as put things back, which helps invoke organizational habits. What I love about the KALLAX bookshelf is it already comes with doors on the bottom shelf, making it easy to store larger puzzles, books or unappealing art supplies. The wheels also allow for mobility around the room as the kids tastes and activities change in the future.

Four Must Have Entryway Products

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When it comes to your entryway, staying organized and sane is a must. It’s the first place you enter and want to put down your things. You can easily achieve order, function and design with 4 simple affordable products.

 

One. Mail organizer Every home needs a mail organizer and your kitchen counter does not count! Focus on a solution that has more than one slot to put in-coming mail as well as anything out-going or timely.

Two. Hooks- Every season brings new accessories and there will always be a need to hang those items. Being able to buy individual hooks helps customize how many and where you’d like to place them for each individual in your household.

Three. Bins Invest in bins to store shoes, extra hats or sporting equipment in your entry way to help cut down on visible clutter. Going for plastic or rubber bins over cloth or whicker ensures its easier to clean and maintain in the long run.

Four. Bench No one wants to sit on the floor or hop on one leg to put their shoes on. Having a bench in your entryway not only provides a nice design touch but can be a home base for setting down groceries, packages and storing shoe bins and family accessories.

Quick Household Hack

If you’re like me and own a trash can where the lid opens up, you quickly realize that it hits the wall every time you throw something out. After I painted my kitchen, I noticed my trash can was leaving black marks on the wall whenever I opened it. I purchased furniture pads and placed on the back on the trash can. This quick hack helped from making marks or even dents on my wall, and cost less than $5 to do. Sometimes solutions are quick, easy and affordable!

 

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Three Steps To Help Keep Order During Chaotic Times

I recently had a check-in call with a client who is a mother of two young kids and a business owner with her husband. During the call she recalled her hectic life over the past 3 months. Between a newborn and a toddler running around causing mayhem and her tutoring company gearing up for finals, there wasn’t much time and energy left over to keep the house organized.  

One thing she pointed out to me during the call was that even though things became messy due to their work schedules, after finals were over, she was able to pick up the pieces much faster. Due to our work together to set up organizational systems early on, she was able to re-establish a tidy house more effectively.

Before_SortedbyAnna

This conversation got me thinking about the many families out there who go through busy, stressful, and often, messy times and the important things to remember before, during and after these periods.

 

Set up systems during down times  

It’s important when things are slower to make the time to set up organized systems for your home and family. Scan all of your kids artwork, get that shoe rack you’ve been eyeing for the pile of cluttered shoes, install a mail organizer instead of letting it pile up on your dining table or kitchen counter. Or make it a family effort by giving little tasks to your kids so that everyone feels like they are helping. If you’re sticking with realistic ideas/expectations, whatever it may be, finding the extra hour to do it will ensure when you’re trying to get back to a tidy house putting things back together will be so easy you could do it with your eyes closed!

 

Be realistic

Knowing how much time a project will take can be difficult. But you know your life and schedule better than anyone else.  Be realistic with how much time you have and how long it may take you. Not setting up a plan of action only to then fall short of finishing can leave you feeling discouraged and potentially put you in the mindset to not complete the project. If you’re dream is to have some Pinterest perfect laundry room that’s great, but be realistic on how long it will take you and how your family will adhere to the vision you have. Start with organizing the detergents, or setting up a folding area, chipping away at things so it feels less overwhelming.  It may be you have to tweak some things so that your idea of perfection matches the reality of your life.

After_SortebyAnna

Forgive yourself

There are times when life is super busy and the dishes go unwashed for a few days, laundry piles up or your hair has more dry shampoo in it than you ever thought it could absorb. And it’s okay. It’s so easy to start blaming yourself or letting negative thoughts fester. There are always going to be busy periods and setbacks, but if you’ve set up systems and set aside time to organize, you’ll be amazed at how quickly your house bounces back.  Just remember to always take a deep breath and know the mess is not representative of who you are, or that you have failed in some way. It’s just temporary.

 

*Note this article was originally written for and posted on Mommybites.com

 

My Tupperware Fail

Tupperware Before

Clients always ask me “Is your place super organized?” I of course say yes, because for the most part it is! However, there are a few areas that could use some time and attention in my home. It’s very easy to sometimes feel paralyzed with anxiety or stress when it comes to tackling clutter. Many of us make excuses as to why we can’t fix the issue, imagining the task is much larger than it actually is or just feel as though we have no other options spatially. 

One area of my home was inevitably cluttered, no matter what I did I just couldn’t get it organized. Tupperware. Yep, that’s right my Tupperware is a hot mess, lids are thrown about, bowls resemble the Leaning Tower of Pisa. I took a step back to figure out the best solution for this challenge, because I was sick of my containers falling out and being more work than it should.

Originally my Tupperware was stored in a cabinet above the stove. This space didn’t work for all of our Tupperware containers, nothing remained organized because it was too high.  Any time I needed to put clean containers away I’d just throw them up there and hope they’d stay put, quickly closing the cabinet before it would fall back in my face.

So, I trekked to Ikea, purchased a bin and took all of my Tupperware and organized it, relocating the bin onto a shelf beneath my butcher block. The results have been great! Now all of the Tupperware is low and at a level I can see and deal with, everything stays together. Since the bin is only so big, it makes things easier to maintain and stay tidy.

Making two changes, height and location, resulted in a huge impact on how I used my Tupperware. Recognizing that a kitchen item is high use means its location should respect that. It’s easy to get stuck in clutter tendencies because perhaps that’s how you originally set them up, but don’t be afraid to re-evaluate how something could work for your life now.

Tupperware After

Tupperware After

Popular Organizing Solutions

I always try and work with items a client already owns when organizing. However, there are times when a client’s space would benefit from purchasing certain organizing solutions.

Last year showcased a lot of organizing trends, but there are a few products I always came back to time after time to finish a client’s space. These solutions continue to be invaluable to each of my clients specific needs and guarantees they will be able to maintain the work we did together.

I have no doubts I’ll continue to use these products in the new year and can’t wait to see what other solutions emerge for 2016.

Shelf DividerShelf Divider

An inexpensive item with big impact!  Shelf dividers can be used at the top of you closet to divide those piles of folded clothes or to divide your purses so they all stay upright. You can pick these up from a number of places, Amazon, Container Store or Organizing Store.

*Best benefit: To ensure piles stay neatly organized and don’t fall into one another forming a large lump of clothes.

 

 

 

Walnut3TGripShoeRackShoe Rack:

Purchasing the right shoe rack is important, it helps keep your floor space clear, enforces your shoes stay put and saves you time when getting ready.  Your shoes do a lot of work for you, treat them right! Throwing them on the floor of your closet with the rest of your shoes isn’t cutting it.

*Best benefit: My favorite shoe rack expands so you can customize it to your closet adding more shoes if possible, win!

 

 

PullDownSpiceRackSpice Rack:

Remember that time you trekked to the store to buy chili powder only to realize later you have three other bottles in the back of your cabinet? Spice racks and trays will help keep all of your bottles in order so you always know exactly what you have and how much.

*Best benefit: Being able to see all of the spices you have means you don’t end up buying more of a certain spice. Bonus points for being able to use this for other items, like nail polish or medicine. 

 

 

OXO-Good-Grips-Expandable-Dresser-Drawer-Divider

Drawer Dividers:

Dresser drawers only have so much space and packing it full of clothes that aren’t properly folded will result in just one big lump of t-shirts. Making it difficult to know what you have to wear. Getting drawer dividers is similar to shelf dividers, it helps keep piles in one place. You can divide things up- be it short sleeve, long sleeve and tanks.

*Best benefit: Multi purpose, these drawer dividers can be used in the kitchen as well. Say goodbye to that cluttered mess of a utensils drawer.

 

 

Pot Lid OrganizerLid/Pot lid organizer:

Pot lids or Tupperware are the pits. It can be hard to keep lids organized when they constantly clank around and move when you’re just reaching for one. You can purchase a few of these to tackle your pot lids, cutting boards and Tupperware. You can pick some up at Amazon, Bed bath or Walmart and finally say goodbye to lid chaos.

*Best benefit: This will save you space and time. Having all of your kitchen items together and organized means you can prep and cook quickly and clean up is a breeze.