Now that we're all social distancing and spending more time in the comfort of our homes, it's the perfect opportunity to tackle some spring cleaning and organizing projects. We chatted with Alexia Sauer of Nice & Neat Homes and got her tips, tricks, and favorite products to get your abode in order this spring! Read our Q&A below and hop over to our IGTV channel to watch our newest episode of "That's My Jam!" with Alexia and Fawn Design founder Jenny Wecker!
Tell us a little bit about yourself and what inspired you to start Nice & Neat Homes?
My name is Alexia Sauer and I grew up here in Salt Lake City, Utah. My professional background is in advertising and customer experience marketing. My older sister Priscila and I decided to start this business after we helped our mom unpack and organize her kitchen in her new home. I was itching to start on the entrepreneurial route, but doing something that helped people, and when my sister mentioned that people organize for a living, a lightbulb went off! I had always helped friends organize their spaces and loved the creativity involved with picking out bins and fun labels. It's also extremely fulfilling to be able to help others with something that may not come naturally to them. The more I looked into it, the more I saw a need and a desire for organization. I've loved the opportunity to work along side my sister (we are ten years apart!), and the experience of growing an idea into a business I'm proud of.
With spring cleaning and organizing in mind, what are some tips, tricks, or hacks that moms can do today in their own homes?
Start slow! Don't try and do your entire pantry or closet in one day or else you'll get overwhelmed. Instead, take it one step (and category) at a time like focusing on your "swimsuits" or "winter sweaters." Once you've narrowed down your categories, you can then start to look for bins or new hangers you can incorporate that work for what you have.
File folding is a zero-cost game changer! File fold your kitchen towels, linens, and dresser drawers and you'll actually be able to SEE what you have and instantly be more organized.
Get creative! You don't need to go out and buy all new bins-- you can often use what you already have in your home. Use a mason jar to hold drink packets in your pantry, place a shoe box into a drawer to contain your candles in one place, or flip your iPhone box upside down in your office drawer for your pens. It doesn't have to be complicated. Just think of "containing" and being consistent.
Labeling is truly the final touch to any space and is what actually solidifies an organized system that everyone in the household can keep up with. Again, you can use what's in your home or we love this packet of chalkboard labels for an affordable option. When you're labeling, start out with general categories and then you can get specific. General label examples for a pantry are: dinner, snacks, breakfast, baking. If you purchase a lot of the same item, then you may want to consider being more specific. Specific label examples for a pantry are: apple sauce, chocolate chips, popcorn.
When deciding where to place something, just think about where your most "valuable real estate" is in that space. This is typically the areas where items can easily be accessed and where you want the items that you are using the most. The less inconvenient, the more likely you will continue to systemically put them away. If there's something you rarely use (say a party platter or a cupcake stand), you'll want those up high and out of the way.
"Decant" as much as you can! This means removing items out of their packaging/large boxes. When you do this, you'll be able to see what you have and how much you have, which will help prevent you from overbuying items or tossing out expired food.
What are you best tips for small spaces?
- "Buy for the house you have, not the house you want." If you don't have space to store bulk, then avoid purchasing in bulk.
- It's also a good idea to create zones and limits. For example, if you have one bin that's designated for scarves, don't go out and buy another bin when it's full. Instead, donate scarves you no longer use so that the "zone" you created for those scarves doesn't exceed the "limit" you set.
- Prioritize what you keep and where it's located! In a small home, all space is "valuable real estate," so you really want to be intentional about what you're holding onto and where you are keeping items that you use the most vs. the least.
What are some of your favorite organizing products and how do you use them?
Multi-purpose bins: This bin really lives up to its name! These are affordable bins that can really be used almost anywhere. We love them for items such as coloring books, cleaning supplies, storing reusable bags, and even auto/gardening supplies!
Zipper pouches: These are the perfect solution for game and craft storage. The kids can easily open/close them and they are much more durable than your typical ziploc bag. They are also great for inside your purse for activities on-the-go.
What projects are you currently working on that you're excited about?
I just recently added a shop section to our website where you can shop some of our favorite and tried & true products by space. I am also in the process of creating vinyl sticker labels we can sell and also to take our labeling and "final touch" design to the next level! Next up is growing our team so we can continue to tackle large jobs as efficiently as possible :)
Do you have any funny or memorable stories from past projects?
One of our very first clients flew us out to Virginia to organize his entire townhome while he was out of town. It was 30+ hours of nonstop work (I'm talking labeling at 2am and back to folding socks at 7am), with over 25 bags of donation and 25+ bags of trash by the end of the weekend. We finished with literally zero time to spare before catching our flight out of there. We thought if we were able to do that, we could do anything! We are still so thankful to that client for believing in us and trusting us so early on in our business.