For those of you who have been loyally following The Beauty Bean since our launch in January (thank you!), you know that one of the main goals for the year here at The Beauty Bean was to work on our organization! We’re all very visual people (hence why we work in media) but, for better or (in this case) worse, we like to see everything, which makes putting things away difficult (and seeing our desks even harder!). Lucky for us, professional organizer and founder of Chaos Theory, Dayna Brandoff, not only contributes to The Beauty Bean, but also oh-so-generously offered her services to us. Her first task: helping Alexis Wolfer, our Founder and Editor in Chief, organize her office.
We talked to Alexis and Dayna about the problems and solutions so you too can organize your office for less stress and increased productivity.
What was the problem?
Alexis: Everything! We are sent lots of products to consider for inclusion in our stories. While I know right away that some are perfect for articles we’re working on (and to which writer they need to be sent) or that some are immediately destined for the beauty closet (where we put things we’re either done working with or not considering), a considerable amount of the inventory we receive is great, I just don’t have a place for it yet… Unfortunately, as a visual person, I like to keep all these “for consideration” products in eyesight so I can keep track of what we have and what we’re working on. That being said, I knew full well that having everything (piled-high) on my desk wasn’t working.
Dayna: As an editor of an online magazine, Alexis receives a lot of products (and press releases about these products). Some she’s ready to write about right away (think “in the now” trends like Spring 2010 Trends), while others she will keep until she’s ready to include them in a story. Some she assigns to other writers (or sends to a photographer) — so small shopping bags are almost always packed and ready to go out the door. When I arrived, everything I just mentioned was out on the main table at The Beauty Bean Headquarters. Currently, after each item has been featured, it goes into the Beauty Closet (a magical place and fantastic perk for this contributor), which was organized at one time, but has gotten a little out of shape.
What was the goal?
Alexis: To clear at least enough room on my desk to work!
Dayna: The first goal was to clear off the table and find better homes for the main categories: Current Article Subjects, Upcoming Article Subjects and For Someone Else. Because some of these things would be stored in the Beauty Closet, we’d need to get that area under control too. Clearing this surface would give Alexis a good place to write, plan and eat, of course! Re-vamping the closet would give her easy access to her office supplies, fitness equipment (used for video and photo shoots), gift-worthy beauty products, products she plans to use for herself…. you get the picture.
What were the challenges?
Alexis: Not being in control!!
Dayna: There’s not a ton of space at The Beauty Bean Headquarters –so we needed to fit a lot of stuff in a small area. When you’re dealing with limited space, you often have make room by getting rid of some things that you no longer need or want. Alexis was more than happy to part with things, but was concerned that these things go to people that could really use and enjoy them. Some things were easy — items that were still in their packaging can be used in gift baskets for charity auctions or would be eagerly accepted by a women’s shelter. But items that had already been opened and sampled (but will never be used again) are not eligible for these organizations — and need to be thrown away. I think that it was hard for Alexis to see so much great stuff go to waste.
What were the solutions?
Dayna: Alexis already had some great organizational tools in place — for example, drawers were installed in one side of the Beauty Closet, and sweater bags were hung on a rod in the larger part of the cabinet. Alexis was using the sweater bags to hold Upcoming Articles Subjects (one subject per slot) — this system was working for her, so we went through to make sure everything was up-to-date and added some more samples from the table. I asked Alexis if a similar system could work for her Current Article Subjects — she liked the thought, but still wanted to be able to see those items everyday (the sweater bags were kept behind closed closet doors). A great compromise came in the form of a clear over-the-door shoe bag that we hung on the outside of the closet door — one slot for every subject. Inside the closet, we categorized “like with like” so that all the office supplies, gift items and samples were stored together (not scattered around the closet) — and we labeled these areas as a reminder (and so that co-workers and assistants could keep up the process too!). For those “For Someone Else” items, we found some great-looking boxes to keep them by the door.
Alexis: Dayna helped me place an order from The Container Store for some items she thought would provide the solutions I was looking for. The best idea, I think, was the over-the-door shoe organizer that neatly held lots of small items while still allowing me to see everything. Even better was The Container Store’s same day delivery, so Dayna really could help see the project through from beginning to end.
What was the result:
Dayna: Alexis was definitely excited about our progress when I left her. When I followed up with her, she admitted that she had let things collect again for about a week but it was easy for her to put these organizing tools back in effect — and thinks that it will be something she can keep up!
Alexis: I have a desk again! It’s amazing how a few hours spent organizing can make your valuable time so much more productive. No longer am I looking for that eye cream I know I just saw, because now we have a place for it! It was the best use of 3 hours I’ve spent in a long time!
If you’re in NY, you too can have Dayna come to your office or home! Visit her at ChaosTheoryNYC.com