Top 25 Dorm Room Storage and Organization Ideas

College is back in session and students everywhere are busy creating their dream dorm rooms. Living in a dormitory means that you have the ultimate benefit of being close to your classes while still enjoying the independence that comes from being on your own. On the other hand, it might also mean having to scale back on your belongings.

While you might be eager to start decorating with your favorite wall art and brand-new comforter, the truth is that you need to spend some time getting organized. These dorm room organization ideas will have you ready to start your year with a clutter-free space that shows off your sense of style.

How Do You Organize a Small Dorm Room?


clean and organized dorm room

Most dorm rooms are small, meaning that clutter can build up fast. Keeping clutter down is critical for helping you to avoid stimuli that make it harder to focus while studying. So, how do you do it? No worries, as you’ll be able to organize your space in no time with these DIY dorm room storage hacks.

1. Think Strategically

The first thing you need to do is create a game plan that you can follow. Therefore, take a moment to gather information about the size and general layout of the room. Most residential halls provide essentials, such as a bed, desk and closet. But you’ll want to find out about the other amenities, such as whether or not you have storage cabinets in the bathroom.

If possible, reach out to your roommate before you start packing. Finding out if they’re bringing a microwave or stereo system can help you avoid doubling up and wasting space. Plus, it’ll help you start building a good relationship that minimizes conflicts about how you organize the shared parts of your room.

2. Prioritize Necessities

students studying in dorm room

In small dorm rooms, you need to use every inch of space to its fullest capacity, meaning you’ll need to pare down your packing list to the bare essentials. You’ll naturally need bed linens, towels and personal items such as toiletries and medication. 

Most college students also need tech equipment to accomplish their schoolwork. Keep in mind that saving space should always be at the forefront of your mind when you create your packing list. 


3. Hang On-the-Wall Shelving and Hooks

You also don’t want to leave wall space unfilled. On-the-wall shelving units can hold containers that you can fill with everything from school supplies to snacks. Or you might choose to place items on the shelf that can double as decor. For instance, an over-the-bed shelf leaves space for your headboard, and you can put a potted herb plant or coffee mug on top that looks cute and has a purpose.

On-the-wall shelving is great for solving those little problems that tend to pop up in dorm rooms. For instance, you might like to have a wall shelf hung up high so that you can stash things you might need from the top bunk at night. Being able to reach over for your water bottle rather than having to climb the ladder could make a huge difference in how you feel in the morning.

As you use your vertical wall space, consider adding hooks to your list of supplies. You can find hooks that attach to the wall with special adhesives that won’t remove paint yet are sturdy enough to hold many common dorm room items. In addition to using hooks for obvious reasons, such as to hold your coat or hat. You can hang small baskets from them to place pencils, pens and markers on the wall next to your desk. 

4. Use Vertical Space

organized book shelf in dorm roomIn most dorms, the bed and desk will take up the bulk of the floor space, but you can bet there will still be plenty of room on the walls. Over-the-door shoe holders are great for storing your favorite footwear, and they can also double for storing other objects. 

You can use these to hold accessories, toiletries and other small items that might not fit in your available drawers. If you have a bathroom and closet attached to your room, this gives you three doors to fill with your belongings.

5. A Curtain Wall

If you want to make your dorm feel bigger, hang a curtain over a cinder block wall. Not only will this instantly make your space feel larger, but it will also make your space seem much more sophisticated. Don’t try to drill into the wall, however. Instead, use heavy-duty tape or Command hooks instead. 

6. Give Your Room Some Much-Needed Style 

As you look at your dorm room, you probably feel a bit of panic at the idea of getting all your stuff inside of it. Instead, get yourself a nice coffee table that has hidden storage inside. This is the ideal place to store extra blankets, which will really tidy up your room. 

How Do You Maximize Storage in a Dorm Room?

well organized dorm room

Now that you’ve got your basics, you might be wondering how to take things even further. After all, you may have a few extras on your list that you don’t want to leave out just because you lack space. Most dorm rooms have even more areas to stash your stuff once you start getting down to the wire. All you have to do is know where to look.

7. Under the Bed Storage

You have multiple options for turning the space under the bed into the perfect storage spot. Some dorms allow you to rent or bring your own loft beds that provide space for a desk or dresser to fit underneath. If you don’t have this option, don’t fret. You still have several ways to transform the space under your bed into an easy place to stash your extra belongings.

Organized dorm room spaces

First, check to see if you can lift your bed. Bed risers fit underneath the feet of the frame, and they can lift it up by quite a few inches. Once your bed is lifted, you can then measure the space to figure out which storage containers will fill it in while maximizing every inch. Depending upon your bed’s height, you might even be able to place containers with drawers that help you to add an extra layer of organization to your room plan.

If you can’t lift your bed, then most types of frames still sit a couple of inches off the floor. This makes it possible to use under-the-bed containers that may lack height but are relatively wide. These are great places to stash things like sweaters or hoodies that you might only need on cold weather days but take up way too much space in your closet.

8. Multi-Use Furniture

If you do need to bring furniture into your room to make it comfortable, then look at each piece from every angle to make sure it maximizes the use of the space. For example, a storage ottoman gives you a place to stash books and other necessities while also serving as a comfy place to sit when you invite your new best friends to your room.

Cube shelves are another fun piece that might take up space on the floor, but you can alter them slightly to use space vertically. After picking out a shelf that holds your favorite items, you can then put a cushion on top to make a versatile bench seat. These units also tend to be able to be placed on their side or standing vertically, which gives you options for using space in your dorm room.

Rolling carts are another multi-functional piece of furniture to consider bringing along. They can serve as a nightstand, or you might use one to create a makeshift kitchen. Depending upon how much space you have, they can also be used for bathroom necessities, such as towels and styling tools. 

9. Don’t Forget to Use Your Windowsill 

window sill use for dorm room storage

One area that often gets forgotten is the windowsill. However, you’ve got such a small space to work with that it’s truly a shame if you don’t take advantage of these little spaces. You can set a lamp on the windowsill, along with a mini wicker basket. This is the perfect place to store a few books or other items that you need to have convenient access to! 

10. Closet Contraptions

Not having to search your closet for something to wear when you are late for a class can be a load off the mind. And one of the dorm organizing ideas that will make your life easier is closet organizers. Closet organizing systems range from being incredibly complicated to basic shelving units. While you won’t necessarily need a customized unit with lights and moving rails, professional organizers tend to recommend using closet organizers to make more room in this often-underutilized space.

Closet contraptions include shelves that cover more of the wall space from the floor to the ceiling so that you can hang your clothes rather than just stacking up bins. Or you can use shelves that hang directly from the rails to store foldable clothing or shoes. If you share a closet, then using an organizing system also makes it easier for you and your roommate to keep up with whose stuff goes where.

11. Organized Drawers 

dorm room drawer organizedTaking the time to put together organized drawers will save you so much room in the long run. Using acrylic bins is a great way to turn this idea into a reality! You’ll have a specific place for everything, which is the best way to keep your space clean. Make time at least once a week to tidy up your room so that you can ensure the space stays clean. 

12. Cord and Tablet Organization 

One of the first things each college student should get is a desk organizer. This makes it simple to keep your desk in better shape. You’ll be able to keep everything much tidier because the cords will go behind the organizer. Now, you’ll have a charging station that won’t scream that it’s a charging station. 

13. Use a Floating Bookshelf 

Everyone in college needs a bookshelf. Using a more space-efficient option requires you to purchase a floating bookshelf. This particular method of storing books doesn’t take up much space because it only allows one book per level. You can take up every slot if needed, and it’ll take up vertical space. This leaves a lot of horizontal space for everything else you’ll need. 

14. Use Several Drawers 

Desk side organizationDrawers are ideal for dealing with dorm room storage. They keep everything out of your way, but they don’t take up a ton of space. In fact, if you need to, you can even get separate storage cubes and stack them all up. Either way, using several drawers is a fantastic way to store everything. 

15. Use a Stool with Storage 

You’ll need a place to sit down at your desk. Getting a stool with storage inside it is the best usage of your minimal space. Whether you keep something in it or use it for your curling iron, etc., this space provides another way to keep everything you need handy. 

17. Use Your Nightstand as Storage 

Again, any way to incorporate extra space into your dorm room is going to be a game-changer. Purchase an ottoman that has storage inside of it. Then, put all the little things you need in it, including extra phone chargers. If you only pull out an item when you need it, you can keep your dorm tidy while also keeping everything with you. 

18. Jewelry Storage 

dorm room jewelry storage

The most annoying thing about jewelry is trying to store it properly. After all, jewelry can easily become tangled. You can save yourself from this type of problem by hanging all your jewelry up, though. Hanging your jewelry will also introduce some color into your dorm room, which is a fantastic touch if you don’t have much artwork. 

19. Use Space-Saving Folding 

There are tons of different ways to fold your laundry, but some take up much more space than others. Fortunately, there are multiple different techniques you can use, so you should be able to find a t-shirt rolling method that frees up a lot of space. 

20. Hang Clothes Under Your Bed 

This idea may seem weird at first, but it’s actually genius! As long as you have a higher raised bed, you’ll be able to put a tension bar between your bed posts. From there, you can hang up your clothes without touching your closet. 

21. Buy Stuff After You Move In 

Although this may make sense, it’s not what most college students do. But if you can get yourself to wait for some lesser used items, you’ll be able to see much more clearly whether they’ll fit or not. Taking stuff with you without deciding how it’ll all fit is a disaster in waiting. 

22. A Dorm Bed Skirt Helps a Lot 

Have you ever wondered whether a bed skirt could help you? If you’re looking for additional ways to create space, then definitely toss a bed skirt into the equation. What does it gain you, you might ask? The entire underneath of your bed can be as messy as you want it to be. No one will be able to see the mess, which means that a bed skirt is a perfect solution! 

Dorm Room Storage Hacks

college student packing

Learning how to organize a dorm room also requires exploring a few hacks that take keeping things straight to an even higher level. In fact, you might soon find yourself thinking about how just about any container might work for an organizer. For instance, magazine holders have slim shapes and come in cute colors that you can use to keep your and your roommate’s notebooks separate, but they can also hold hair styling tools or video games.

23. Collapsible Organizing Tools 

Collapsible organizing tools are also helpful. Most dorm rooms don’t have a washer and dryer, and you might not have time to run to the laundry room after getting caught in the rain. A collapsible drying rack can fit in small spaces, and it can be a lifesaver for preventing mildewed clothes and towels when you’re short on time.

24. Under-the-Cabinet Baskets/Shelves

Under-the-cabinet baskets and shelves are another option to explore. These are made to fit around the pipes while giving you a way to double the amount of shelf space underneath the sink. If you share a bathroom, then consider dividing the space in half using the shelves to make it easier to grab what you need.

25. Create a System for Yourself

Finally, the best hack of all is to create a system that works for you. If you know that you’ll remember to rotate your clothes when you go home for the holiday break, then make enough space for just your fall or spring wardrobe. Or you might need to create double the amount of room if you know you’ll forget to swap things out.

Get Help from a Professional Organizer

We hope you enjoyed these dorm room storage ideas and organization pointers we’ve listed here and found them helpful. Conversely, there are so many tips and tricks that go into planning an organized dorm room, and you might find that you lack the time to do it right when you’ve got orientation and other college life events filling up your calendar. If so, then contact our professional organizers today. We’ll help you with new dorm room storage ideas and set up a room that feels more like home, while also setting you up for success.

Green Moving:
8 Tips For A More Eco-Friendly Move

moving clothes in a sustainable wayMoving can be fun, scary, hard, exciting—usually, all of that at once. It can also wreak havoc on the environment. But it doesn’t have to. Approach your move with our sustainable moving tips and you’ll help reduce the carbon footprint of the move while also saving yourself some stress.

Sustainable Moving Tips from Professional Green Movers

1. Plan everything ahead of time

Moves and relocations require a great deal of time and coordination causing most people to feel stressed and overwhelmed. Like any big project, it all starts with planning and organizing — you need to plan the work and then work the plan.

Begin by creating a master list of things you need to do. Then break that list down week-by-week and day-by-day. The earlier you start this process the more time you will have to hire a green moving company, sell, donate, and recycle any items you’re not taking, and acquire sustainable moving supplies. Plus, you’ll be less stressed. Here is a great sample of a moving plan checklist.

2. Hire a Green Moving Company

Eco-friendly moving companies are cropping up all over the place, and many have a wide variety of policies designed to keep things green. From recycled moving materials to low-emissions vehicles, these companies make it a priority to take the environment into account during their moves. Here are four questions to ask that can help you select a sustainable mover:

  1. Do you use reusable boxes, bins, or containers?
  2. Do you use biodegradable packing materials?
  3. Do you do your best to take everything in one trip?
  4. What else does your company do to ensure you are moving sustainably?

If you’re doing the move on your own then inquire about a rental truck that uses an alternative bio-friendly fuel, such as natural gas or biodiesel fuel. If your move is long distance, then consider consolidated shipping or even sending shipments by train.

3. Host a garage sale—then donate the rest

There’s nothing like a move to kick decluttering into high gear. Sell or donate as much as you can and do it early on. After you’ve created your home inventory and decided on what you’re keeping and what you’re not, look through your “not keeping” pile and decide what can be sold, donated and what needs to be recycled. You can start by having a garage sale or posting on your local community Buy, Sell page. After you’ve sold everything, you can donate the rest.

Old shoes, clothing, purses and furniture are prime items to donate. From secondhand stores to non-profits and domestic abuse family shelters, you can rest easy knowing that someone will get good use out of the things you no longer need. And the best part is, you’re not filling the local landfill site with these unwanted items. We advocate donating rather than tossing unwanted furnishings and home goods as long as they’re still of use. There are organizations such as the Salvation Army and United War Veterans Council who will pick up for free.

4. Mind Your Recycling

girl recycling while zero waste movingWhen it comes to the Rs of being green: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, there’s a big reason why Recycle comes last. Recycling isn’t always very green, because it takes a lot of energy and other resources to recycle. But after you’ve sold, donated, and gifted there’s no way around it: you’ll probably still have some stuff that you need to get rid of. Look for responsible recycling options such as the EPA’s recycling site to find local e-waste programs and stores that offer electronics recycling, Carpet Cycle for carpets and Simple Recycling for textiles.

5. Wrap fragile items in clothes and linens

From the paper, bubble wrap, Styrofoam peanuts and cardboard, packing materials can result in piles of waste but by taking time to search your home and innovate, you can keep your items safe and keep trash down. Wrap fragile items in clothes and linens or consider other everyday household items that you can use such as newspaper rags and even egg cartons to protect your belongings.

6. Pack loose items in reusable bags and containers

You know all those extra reusable shopping bags you have laying around? Put them to work. Reusable bags, crates, containers such as tupperware, even those Stasher bags you have in your kitchen are all great options for packing loose items such as makeup, cords, etc.

7. Ask your local stores for leftover boxes

Depending on your location there may be the option of renting reusable boxes. City Moving Boxes, a provider of packing materials that offers same day delivery throughout New York City has both conventional cardboard as well as reusable boxes for rent free delivery and pickup included. But you can also head to your local grocery store or wine store and ask if they have leftover boxes you can have. The boxes egg cartoons are shipped in are often a great size for packing up dishes and other household items. You can also ask on your local community pages be it NextDoor or Facebook if anyone has any old moving boxes you can have.

8. Buy eco-friendly, biodegradable packing supplies

boxes and packaging used in green movingSometimes there’s no way around it: You have to buy some packing supplies. When you do need to purchase materials look for sustainable alternatives such as cornstarch packing peanuts, newspaper, Eco-Friendly Bubble Wrap, EcoEnclose Corrugated Bubble and Greenwrap.




How to Simplify and Make Space for Positive Change In Your Life

Chair in front of Closet-How to Make Space for Positive Change in Your Life-In Order to SucceedThere’s a big stigma going on in these turbulent times about the concept of change. How change is unsafe and dismantling. Whether it’s political, social, economical, grammatical, or perhaps you want your spice rack to be alphabetical… whatever is changing, I personally think change is freaking awesome. Change represents an opportunity! Take quarantine for example. What wonderful exhaustion that was. We were given this golden snitch of an opportunity to finally stop and smell the racism, voter suppression, exes we shouldn’t be texting at all hours of the night, that diet that ‘never’ worked and the concept of belts. Out of every inner morality lesson I have learned since March the most profound was my discovery of what I wanted versus what was provided.

I spent the majority of the quarantine lockdown out on Shelter Island, NY far removed from the expensive storage unit called my apartment I continued to pay for.. I indelibly exchanged all of my past purchases and currency clutter for clear skies, good company, silk beaches, gardening by the pool, volunteering at the local mom and pop grocery store, sunset cocktails and conversation, kayaking in the rain, birds singing while sipping morning coffee. 

It was a pastoral awakening every single day that I never took for granted. It provided me with change I never thought I needed. It gifted me space. I woke up happier, healthier, my third eye was open, everything was in alignment, all because I had less. My materials had shrunk. Something in the stars had given me the user manual on how to simplify my bandwidth. And in return, what I had was community — the exuberant feeling that I was engaging, participating and giving back to the actual people and places around me. I wasn’t buried in my phone like a gnome wishing I had other people’s lives, scrolling to my inevitable doom, adding to cart every little tchotchke on Etsy.. I rediscovered past goals I had tucked away, relationships I had forgotten about, and even started running!  I felt like Julia Roberts in Eat, Pray, Love.

Now being back to the ol’ New York City grind attempting to navigate through some new semblance of normal, I am discovering the true power that is change. Having lived for nearly 6-months out of a suitcase I now have a deeply personal understanding of what I actually need. What a concept! #woke

Home Sweet Home Doormat with Mask-How to Make Space for Positive Change in Your Life-In Order to SucceedI am sure I will still go through seasonal periods of wanting to accumulate and hibernate, but what this time has taught me having hit the big red reset button is that I finally am able to confidently say, ‘No!’  No..’  I don’t need that in my life. ‘No..’ That won’t make me feel whole. ‘No..’ I don’t want to supersize my order for another dollar-fifty. What I need to do is volunteer, I need to garden and watch things grow, I need to practice patience, I need to vote, I need to call my mother! That’s growth. That’s how you simplify your life, through gratitude. When you shift your perspective and percolate on what you’re grateful for, you invent your own joy.  That spark of happiness becomes a mental health tool that you can in turn pass onto other humans.  Your presence becomes the present and when linked like that through community, when you make others happy through that joy and gratitude it can be harnessed as a force for good. And that’s when you will experience mountains of space open up in your life. Gratitude is the golden ticket.

Make space for life friends. Make space for possibilities. Make space for proactive, productive, applied change. I like to think of it like a cross country train ride, each stop is progress.

P.S. be sure to laugh at some point today. Laughter is so necessary and important. It’s vital. We all need the life affirming laughs, now more than ever. It really is the best medicine, next to actual medicine.

Jonathan Cobrda is a Life Management and Social Media Consultant at In Order To Succeed

Jonathan Cobrda is a Life Management and Social Media Consultant at In Order To Succeed 

Minimalist Gift Ideas – Gift Giving With Less in Mind

If anything, we learned this  past year that being with friends and family IS important.  And maybe materialistic presents aren’t that valuable. Throw in supply chain and shipping issues, and creative gifting is sounding real tempting.  Here are some ideas on how to really share good tidings after a crazy 2021: 

1. Give a Gift that Pays it Forward – Donation Gift Giving

Cute girl decorating Christmas tree with a dad.

There are many nonprofits that offer gifts that give, like these adorable stuffed animal baskets from the World Wildlife Federation.  Or turtle coasters that benefit Positive Legacy. Or chandelier earrings from The Metropolitan Museum of Art .  Give a gift that pays it forward. Tip: During this holiday, don’t order anything unless it says “in stock”. And check the shipping time.

2. Shared time, or “Presence over Presents”

Especially kids, they love an hour set aside with a loved one.  Give them a gift certificate for an hour, afternoon, or activity of their choice.  Do this with your family or friends, too, but make it a lunch date, dinner date, show, hiking or day of their selected activities.  Tip: Try for a custom gift certificate.  

3. Donate to a Charitable Organization  

While many of us are exchanging presents and spending time with loved ones this holiday there are so many who are not as fortunate. If you want to gift something that gives back consider supporting a charity this season.  It could be a local shelter, food pantry a Secret Santa program. Consider an organizations such as Toys for Tots or Operation Blessing.  With a little research you can figure out a way for you and your family to give to those in need.  It’s truly a gift for you AND the recipient when you make someone’s holiday a bit brighter!

4. Take Time to Create!  

Making items for decoration, gifts or even yourself is always a wonderful mental break. Even better, do it with a family member or friend so you can share creative ideas. Michael’s has a jolly large quantity of craft kits! And of course, Pinterest has so many ideas from kids’ projects to toilet paper snowmenBusiness Plug Tip: if you become obsessed with crafting, and need to figure out how to organize your new hobby, business or side-hustle of DIY art, In Order to Succeed can help you orderly set up your space .

5. Cut the Clutter – Gift Ideas for Home Organizing Enthusiasts  

Ok, the thought of organizing during the holidays just puts another task on your plate. And the stress of #Covid2020 and #Covid2021 may have been too much for you to deal with this goal last year.   But what if you decide, as a 2022 New Year’s Resolution, to de-clutter your house?  A future  long term project can get you through the December frenzies.  My favorite organizer?  Marie Kondo.  Her book and Netflix series changed my attitude towards de-cluttering.   And then, of course, all the staff at IOTS  can help anyone clean out a house, room, office or closet.  New year, clutter-free house!

6. Take a Hike.  Or Beachwalk.  Or Stroll in the Park.

Or check out holiday decorations in your nearby city or town, by foot.  If you didn’t learn during the height of the pandemic that walking is good for stress and your soul, it’s not too late.  You can even refer to this activity with a fancy name, “flaneuring”. This  French-derived word, means to  leisurely ramble and soak up the beauty in those details we otherwise overlook.  Leave your phone home, or on “Do Not Disturb” (you’re only bringing it to take pictures, correct?). 

This holiday season will hopefully be different than last (Omicron, please go away). So MAKE it different. Give the gifts that won’t create clutter.  Offer up more to those you care about, those you don’t know, and also to yourself.   Spend time with the people you love but be sure to remember to take time for yourself to decompress every once in a while too.

Tips on How to Keep Your Holidays Meaningful and Bright!

*sounds of Santa’s Sleigh bells ringing*

Ho! Ho! Holy smokes is it that time of year again?! We’ve been planning our days between peppermint coffee time and frasier fir blitzen cocktail time. Did another year that felt like a strange 10 finally get to the most magical and busiest of times? Since it’s started getting dark at 2 PM, Santas Outlook has maxed out its storage from all the Black Friday sales and my alarm clock has been set to Mele Kalikimaka I think … “Oh by gosh, by golly” it is! (try not to picture Santa in a Speedo).

I thought I would chime in for a seasonal eggnog cool yule chat to offer some tools to give you all the inspiration you need to stay positive and organized this holiday season amidst such a monumental year.

“You better watch out
You better not cry
You better not pout
I’m telling you why

Santa Claus is comin’ to town
Santa Claus is comin’ to town
Santa Claus is comin’ to town”

1. Pay It Forward

If this year has taught you anything it’s what you need versus what you want. You don’t need anything on Etsy Kelsey. So please for the love of schnitzel with noodles and all things gingerbread do not add to cart that electric scooter. Come January 1st you will solely regret it. You have everything you already need right in front of you; however, sadly there are still so many people that are in real need this Christmas — that have undergone profound loss, hardship and are struggling to stay jolly this time of year. So, Santa says, “Pay it forward when no one is watching.” Friends, a little kindness goes a long way. Buy the person in line behind you at Starbucks their grande mocha frappe wanna hippopotamus for Christmas with 17 pumps of caramel and an extra shot of sugar. It will make their day more than you know. Christmas, is more about giving than receiving.

“Pa rum pum pum pum”

2. Donate

Remember that warm winter coat or hand stitched sweater your Auntie made you that you know you will never wear? Santa says, “donate” it to a nearby coat drive at your neighborhood congregation. Or donate $1 to 10 different organizations that are truly making a difference in our world everyday. Ones that are the nearest and dearest to your hearts. Folks, those people and places are where real magic have occured. The real heroes of 2021 should be celebrated. Even better donate your time to a local homeless shelter or elderly community. We all need to be reminded of humanity this Christmas and give the gift of laughter, love, and community. The theme of 2021 was coming together, apart. We learned and experienced how powerful every little bit can count when we all act and do our part. It takes each of us to be the change we want to see.

“A very Merry Christmas
And a happy New Year
Let’s hope it’s a good one
Without any fear”

3. Presence over Presents

Listen, Santa knows that this was going to be your year. 2021 was going to be the year you got everything you wanted — success in your job, your relationships, your emotions, health, finances, everything was going to align and be coming up roses, but this is the year you were given where you ended up knowing what you were truly grateful for. What really matters. Santa says, “Sometimes limitations can set you free.” 2021 taught us to do less than obsess. This Christmas, whether you are with family, friends, or your roommate remember that their presence their gifts of life that you so freely borrow are the best presents that don’t come with a gift receipt. Show how much you appreciate them by giving those gifts back and raising a glass in their honor.

“Love and joy come to you
And to you a Wassail too
And God bless you and send you
A Happy New Year
And God send you a Happy New Year”

4. Sing

Wherever you are this holiday season whether in the snows of New England, up in the Pacific Northwest, or on the warm tropical beaches on the Florida Coast I really hope you get into the spirit of a festive Christmas sing this year. I don’t mean sitting back in your Lazyboy listening to Uncle Earl have all the fun, I mean throwing back your heads, opening up your hearts and singing as loud or as pretty as you know how. Gang, singing is a lot more fun than you’ll ever know unless you give it a go sometime. So, Santa says, “Knock back the Christmas punch and let that elf on the shelf fly baby!”

“The moon is right
The spirits up
We’re here tonight
And that’s enough
Simply havin’ a wonderful Christmastime
Simply havin’ a wonderful Christmastime”

5. Make A List and Check It Twice

I have said it once and I will say it again. One of the best tried and true ways to start succeeding in your organizing needs in all aspects of your life is to make a list. Santa’s got it down pat, I am a very organized man dealing with many little rugrats across the globe. Santa says, “Make a list (that you won’t lose) of everything to get accomplished that week.” The name of the game is attainable goals. Not reaching for the stars Brendan, nothing outside the realm of possibility Angela, but tangible, attainable goals. Groceries, gifts, appointments, reminders, etc. If you throw it all into one singular sensation of a list, you’ll be able to essentially prioritize more successfully your outsourced to-do’s instead of feeling so overwhelmed to accomplish it all in one day that you run for cover and the Chardonnay. So, be your own Santa this year (including the quaranten), make your list and check it twice. Who knows, maybe you’ll do so well, someone special will leave you a plateful of milk and cookies.

6. God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen

This is a year this has been a year that will go down in infamy. Do yourself the biggest blessing you can and end it on a good note. I know we all have every fatigue in the book (you try keeping a mask on Rudolph), but there is finally light at the end of the tunnel. We are in a new age of healing, empathy, forgiveness and faith.

Can I ask you a question? At some point this year did you ever lay in bed wide awake? Did your thoughts take you in every corner of anxiety and helplessness wondering what the next day was going to look like? How you and your family will make it to next month? Yes? Me too. I’ve received so many letters asking for guidance, hope, a better situation and to that end I’d like to share with you that whenever Santa is laying in bed wide awake thinking of all of you, I like to hum that classic Bing Crosby tune,

“When I’m worried and I can’t sleep
I count my blessings instead of sheep
And I fall asleep counting my blessings
When my bankroll is getting small
I think of when I had none at all
And I fall asleep counting my blessings”

From the bottom of my heart I wish you and your family a happy, healthy, and hearty holiday. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Oh! And I almost forgot, please don’t forget to wear a mask this holidays season. Be smart — don’t try to pull a fast one over Santa … I know when you’re sleeping I know when you’re awake I know when you’re not wearing your PPE so be safe for goodness sake! Santa out!

*sound of Santa dropping the candy cane mic*

Jonathan Cobrda
Life Management Consultant

Jonathan Cobrda is a Life Management and Social Media Consultant at In Order To Succeed 


Tips For Upsizing or Downsizing Your Home

What You Need To Know To Make Upsizing or Downsizing Your Home Simple

You surely know somebody who, in the past year and a half, headed for the suburbs or “the country” during Covid. They needed more space, wanted to get away from the crowds, or just decided to make that final switch to suburban life full time. Others sold bigger family homes due to attractive real estate pricing (25% increase!), tighter economic situations or, again, a lifetime goal.

In Order to Succeed has great ideas to make your upsizing or downsizing move even simpler. We look at this professional packing and moving service as three projects – The Sell, The Move, and The Better Home. 

1. The Sell (Home Organizing and Staging Your Home for Sale)

There are two projects your home will need prior to selling – Home Organizing and Home Staging. From toys, clothes, paperwork….you name it, your house needs to look almost inhumanely neat to impress potential buyers. To get inspired, check out some home decluttering ideas to inspire you. These tips include ways to determine what to throw out and what not to, such as: enlisting the help of an unbiased person to help throw out unneeded items, considering when an item was last used, and determining if the item spark “joy”.

I can’t talk about cleaning your house out without mentioning Marie Kondo, who has turned into an international spokesperson for neatness and organization. In her Best-Seller, the Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up, she explains how all your belongings should spark joy.  Clean your house by item category, not the room they are in. And don’t start with mementos. Designate a location for each item. This will be important for the next step of The Sell, home staging. 

House staging is a necessity these days. I like to describe it as, “making your house look like no one lives in it, but they really do”. Anne Carr of Los Angeles-based Anne Carr Designs remarks, “Most people (read:buyers) cannot see beyond what is in front of …them. You need to show them what is possible. Sometimes rooms are awkward and you need to show people how a space can be best utilized.” They “may not be very good with space planning.” 

Your house will most likely need rearranging, furniture substitutes, and/or redecorating so that you sell it more quickly. Be ready to paint rooms, put away carpets, store personal items, even hit a discount furniture store to replace a well-loved chair. Again, getting a professional interior stylist to help you can reduce the emotional stress of making buyers fall in love with your house, not your home. 

2. The Move (Home Packing and Moving Services)

Denise Caron-Quinn, the founder of In Order to Succeed, directed me to not make this blog a sales pitch of the organization, so let’s just say I am lauding their abilities. Moving has become their speciality. They have been called “an army of angels”. They can help you move down the street, or across the country. They move clients from one home to two separate homes. They move your furniture, your artwork, your piano, and your cars. They literally manage the whole process. You can tell them, “Here’s my current house. I want it all to go to the new house, with the exception of xyz.” And presto, it happens. You will not find a better Moving Concierge than In Order to Succeed.

But let’s say, you’ve got this – you sold your house (congratulations!). Now you have to get all your furniture, art, personal belongings, everything, all out and over to the new house. You need to find a good mover, switch out utilities, and figure out what needs to be completed in the old and new house before you move. Will you need a storage facility if you are moving to a smaller home? Many find it an absurd idea, but those that have downsized find it essential to have a storage unit to keep items that are valuable but not necessary year round, like holiday decorations.

Some movers will just move the boxes of items you have packed, and your furniture, from one location to the other. Others will pack your belongings, including your trash. Finding the right company to pack and move your home can be stressful in itself. The most important advice, especially these days: book your move as soon as possible. Not only is there a significant increase in moving, things just take longer these days due to demand and lack of manpower.

Another tip, for every box or item you move, label it! Consider special movers for artwork, pianos, or if there’s one area where you want to get a professional packer, it’s the kitchen. Real Simple recommends packing your plates sideways. Who knew?

To take it to the next level, you can also make your move as eco-friendly as possible. Consider the following:

  • Wrap fragile decor in soft fabrics vs. newspaper
  • Rent reusable boxes or find neighbors recycling their moving boxes nearby
  • Use bio-degradable packing material, like Greenwrap
  • Be mindful whether  a throw away item could perhaps be recyclable

3. The Better Home (Unpacking and Interior Styling Services)

Once you’ve gotten to your new place, how do you envision it? Most new dwellings require new furniture, renovations, repairs. In Order to Succeed can provide in-house Interior Styling services, or can coordinate working with your own interior decorators, repairers, and general contractors.

Most important – research, interview and hire contractors sooner rather than later. Plan your home remodeling or carpentry service needs as soon as possible. If you need work done in your new home, find contractors as soon as possible. They are busy! Hire painters, floor sanders, cabinet installers, appliance installers, so they can start as soon as you take possession of the home.

There is no better time to organize your home and belongings than when you first move into a new residence. I’m going to mention Marie Kondo, the famous tidy expert, again – to consider as you unpack after a move, do you need it? Maybe that pair of shoes will not be worn again. The second or incomplete set of dishes is unnecessary (or there is no place for them). Decide what stays in your new space. Every item needs a location.  

Many people feel, as the pandemic (hopefully) wanes, that a new start is appropriate. Moving to a new home now may be less challenging than 2020, but can be even more so with some planning, organizing, and simplification from In Order to Succeed. Contact us today to see how we can help make your next move or home project a breeze!

Before and After Binging: Bringing The Home Edit to You

As the new year approaches, we can all agree we are over 2020 and definitely over our clutter! This year we’ve seen just about everything you can imagine besides a plague of locusts *knocks on wood* *shakes salt over shoulders*, plus we’ve memorized every book title our boss has on their bookshelf because we’ve zoned out of our 20th Zoom meeting of the day.

If this year has been the best of times and the worst of times for you and you need a little perspective, our latest blog post How to Simplify and Make Space for Positive Change In Your Life is a great lesson and reminder that going in can also be a way of going out. Give it a read and let us know what you think.

Now if you’re like me and finished watching ALL of Netflix months ago and refuse to rewatch Riverdale for the 3rd time, you can also relate to my desperate need for escapism from the dreary horrors of the real world. Thankfully, the binging Gods opened the sky and blessed us with “Get Organized with The Home Edit”. If you have yet to watch this viral sensation on Netflix I don’t know what you are doing with your time! It is exactly what we need right now. The world is on fire, our country is more divided than ever, Crocs are back in fashion, we need something that makes sense. Something that gives us that effervescent thrill of watching something go from a post-apocalyptic dumpster fire of a mess to a flowing, decedent, deliciously organized bliss wherein everything has a home and maybe even a label or two.

Intended solely as an instrument of inspiration and hope, what makes these professional organizers and spearheads of this movement, Joanna Teplin, and Clea Shearer, such successes is their capacity for decluttering of both space and mind. Their spirit and energy are next level infectious and it doesn’t hurt that they’re brilliant at what they do. Their wave began on Instagram and they’ve never looked back. From cracking jokes in their separate beds in the same hotel room to sipping wine on IG Live and showcasing their rainbow method of organizing and designing. They make the business of organizing personal. They’re our new fab 5 and, here at In Order To Succeed, we couldn’t be more excited to be a part of the same industry.

Before and After Binging: Bringing The Home Edit to You - Feature 4 - Organized ClosetJust as Marie Kondo captured our attention last year with her magical “Tidying Up,” so too are the ladies from The Home Edit capitalizing on our collective desire to be more intentional with our space. We’re spending more time than ever at home these days, and find ourselves craving a surrounding that is orderly, easy, and functional. As professional organizers, we’re delighted to see our work and our mission becoming more mainstream and gathering massive attention. At In Order To Succeed, we’ve known for years that our work helping clients pare down, build the muscles of discernment and decision-making, and setting up effective systems in their home is transformational; watching it catch on in such a massive way is validating and much appreciated. As a professional organizer, I watch The Home Edit episodes craving behind-the-scenes moments, because I know from years of experience that the polished half hour they air doesn’t begin to reflect all of the time, expertise, and problem-solving that’s really involved in these before and afters. Even so, I watch their process and grand reveals with the same awe and sense of wonder I experience every time I walk into the Container Store, thinking “these are my people!”

Something that also bears witness to this fantastic ecosystem of a profession that the cameras don’t show is just what goes on behind the curtain — Like actors rehearsing a show to present to an audience, we professional organizers are preparing for our debut. Measuring each space, cabinet, drawer, desk, every nook, and cranny down to the last dimension to find just the right supplies — items that are not only functional, but beautiful as well. We undergo massive decluttering protocols whether it be purging, donating, repurposing, etc. We are ordering all products down to the last post-it note making sure everything is color-coded to perfection. We also implement lifestyle management strategies and maintenance systems that help clients implement in their daily lives and routines for maximum success. There is so much time, energy, research, and passion that goes into the prep work before the real fun begins.

So as 2020 comes to a very welcomed close, take a break from your screens and to-do lists — go out and LIVE! Then come back inside and color-code your sock drawer… or even better, let In Order To Succeed handle it all for you.

Peace, love, and respect.

Jonathan Cobrda is a Life Management and Social Media Consultant at In Order To Succeed 

Top Tips For Moving Safely During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Boxes-Mask-Top Tips For Moving Safely During the COVID-19 Pandemic-In Order to Succeed-WEBThere’s no doubt about it: moving is one of life’s most stressful undertakings. Whether you’re heading three miles down the street or three thousand miles across the country, a move of any size can cause more than its share of sleepless nights. And while a move has always been an anxiety-producing event, it has never been more so than in the era of COVID-19.

As moving concierge and organizing experts, all of us at In Order to Succeed have had to remain flexible over the past few months as we research and engage in best practices to ensure the safety of our team members, the professionals we work with, and our clients and their families. However, we understand that not everyone has the resources to work with professional organizers and productivity consultants like us. With that in mind, we wanted to offer some general tips that can help anyone moving during COVID-19 do so in as safe and efficient a way as possible.

The importance of the “virtual tour”:

Virtual Tour-Top Tips For Moving Safely During the COVID-19 Pandemic-In Order to SucceedThe National Association of Realtors strongly encourages realtors to offer their clients the ability to take “virtual tours” of homes and apartments in the era of COVID-19. These tours, which often offer three-dimensional and panoramic views of interiors and exteriors, can provide you with a very good sense of your new home—even if it’s just on a computer screen. While we understand that it can be unsettling to consider such a major purchase based on limited or non-existent physical contact with a home, remember that licensed realtors are there to answer your questions, to help you narrow down your choices, and to find the “perfect fit.”

Should you hire professional movers?

As a concierge moving service, we work exclusively with professional moving companies that are licensed and insured. Although they may cost more, professional movers, organizers, and relocation specialists are trained and experienced. They know how to coordinate a move properly so that your goods will remain safe and will arrive undamaged. They’ve dealt with hundreds of moves and have often handled them with clients not present. Moving coordinators and professional organizers understand how to efficiently unpack the contents of your home and settle you in with as little stress as possible. 

Like all of our peer organizations, In Order to Succeed follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure health and safety during COVID-19. Professional movers are, too. The California Moving and Storage Association (CMSA) provides a thoughtful, well-considered series of steps, directed toward moving companies, that allow them to provide the best possible services for their customers. These include “maintain great hygiene,” “provide contactless customer service,” “comfort your clients,” and “remain flexible.” We feel that it’s important to share these steps with you so that you can understand exactly what precautions are being taken for your safety and the safety of those around you.

What questions should you ask before you hire a moving company, organizer, or relocation specialist?

Boxes-Blue gloves-Top Tips For Moving Safely During the COVID-19 Pandemic-In Order to SucceedIn addition to the basics—questions like “What sort of insurance coverage do you have?” and “How can you ensure that my family’s possessions will get to our new home in one piece?”—you might consider asking some questions that center around these organizations’ responses to COVID-19:

  • What type of virtual and contact-free services do you offer? 
  • Do my family and I need to be present on moving day? If we do, how will you ensure our safety and the safety of your employees?
  • How is your company monitoring the health of your employees? Do you offer them paid sick leave? (Employees with paid sick leave are more likely to stay home if they are feeling ill.) 
  • What kind of moving and sanitizing supplies do you provide?

In addition, the American Moving and Storage Association (AMSA) adds several guidelines for consumers to consider as you plan and undertake a move:

  • Give movers the chance to serve you in the safest way possible. Notify them ahead of time if anyone in your household may have contracted coronavirus, or may have been exposed to someone who has.
  • Some professional movers can provide virtual estimates, rather than in-home. If this is your preference, please check with your mover to see if they offer this option.
  • Try to provide your moving crew access to a sink, soap, and paper towels throughout your move. If this isn’t practical, and it is readily available, provide hand sanitizer.
  • If you plan to prepack any items, purchase new moving boxes and tape from your mover; this isn’t the time to use recycled boxes from online sources or from stores.
  • Your mover may also have plastic bins available for rental. Wipe down the interior and exterior with a disinfecting wipe before packing items in them.
  • If you have shelf-stable food you plan to throw out to lighten your load, consider donating it to Move For Hunger to help feed people within your community.
  • Consider deep cleaning your new home before unpacking to mitigate further the risk of contracting the virus.

Finally, the staff at In Order to Succeed recommends that you create a moving plan in advance; that you and your family wear masks if you must be present during the move; that you pack a “last out, first in” box of essentials and keep it with you; and that, if practical, you wait 24 hours before unpacking your possessions (other than that “last out, first in” box).

Moving-Boxes-Top-Tips-For-Moving-Safely-During-the-COVID-19-Pandemic-In-Order-to-SucceedHere at In Order to Succeed, we understand that these additional steps can make an already-stressful experience that much more challenging. However, we hope that this curated resource—which we encourage you to share with others—will give you and your family some concrete, actionable information as you research and plan your move. 

If you live in New York, Connecticut, Florida, or Minnesota and would like to talk about working with us, please contact us directly. If you live elsewhere, you can find a professional organizer or productivity consultant through the National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals’ (NAPO) searchable database. All of us at In Order to Succeed wish you the very best and hope that your move is as safe and stress-free as possible!

Summer of 2020—the “Summer of the Unknown”- How to engage with family routines and rituals during COVID-19

Back in April, Denise Caron-Quinn, Founder and Director of In Order to Succeed, reached out to me to ask if I wanted to collaborate on writing a piece about how students could organize their workspaces during distance learning. I eagerly agreed…but then, as so often has happened these past few months, I just didn’t have enough gas in the tank to follow through. I’m a forty-year-old adult with a Master’s degree and a twenty-year career in Education, I consider myself to be a hard-working professional…and I was absolutely flattened.

A year—or even six months—ago, it would have been impossible for most of us to imagine living in our current moment. The realities of COVID-19, and the incredible, indelible impact it’s had on our daily routines, have completely changed the way we live. Although there is a profound sense of hopefulness that we’ll be able to return to “normal” when a vaccine can be mass-produced, not knowing when that will happen creates a sense of powerlessness and fear that is unsettling and anxiety producing. In an interview with Slate’s Charles Duhigg, Bruce Felier, author of The Secrets of Happy Families, notes that, during his year-long recovery from cancer, he and his family “found ourselves in a situation that everybody finds themselves in, in which the old rules no longer apply and the new rules have not been written.” The same could be said for Americans living through the spring of COVID. For parents, the past few months have undoubtedly presented moments of joy and of frustration. Many families have found that their quarantine time together, while certainly bringing them closer, has also led to an increase in arguments, disagreements, and a non-infrequent need to retreat to everyone’s own corner.

For children (particularly for members of the Class of 2020), the cancellation of school activities and the loss of the soothing balm of their daily routine has upended their lives. As a middle school teacher, I have seen their sadness first-hand, as yawning faces fill up my Zoom calls each day and as students, who have ostensibly reached out for video extra-help sessions, talk to me instead about how much they miss their friends and teachers.

Now, here we are. It’s June. Summer vacation is on the horizon for many students and has already begun for others. We are all looking forward to a few months’ worth of rest and relaxation; to some time to recharge before returning to whatever the 2020-2021 school year will bring. (Distance? In person? Hybrid? Who knows?!) But despite their excitement, many of our children find that layers of disappointment keep being added to their COVID cake. Beloved sleepaway camps are cancelled. Summertime soccer fields will sit vacant. That trip to visit relatives must be postponed. So many of the activities that make summer “summer” won’t happen this year. Yet again, tears and frustration seem to be the order of the moment.

When most people think of an “organization consultant,” they think of the work of organizing: clearing out detritus, finding solutions for walk-in closets, and helping to plan moves and other major life changes. But I’ll let you in on a little secret: while our professional work can often focus on the physical cataloging of “stuff,” our true obsession is with helping families build and develop new, healthy, and sustainable routines. While these routines are important for adults, they are also very necessary for children. In their discussion of a 50-year research review, the American Psychological Association notes that “family routines and rituals are powerful organizers of family life that offer stability during times of stress and transition.” So: as we head into the Summer of 2020—the “Summer of the Unknown”—how can we engage with family routines and rituals to make our children’s lives easier and our family life more stress-free?

5-Summer of 2020-How to engage with family routines and rituals during COVID-19-1Create your own summer routines and rituals: My brother, Joe, and his partner, Ashley, are raising four unbelievable kids up in Maine. They have engaged in some incredible routine-building over the course of the last few weeks. One of my favorites involves good ol’ backyard camping: they pitched a tent in a newly-cleared space, and the kids have been sleeping outside under the stars. The kids love it, the parents love it…and it’s such a simple way to switch things up.

While nobody is suggesting that you recreate a six-week sleepaway camp at home (especially after being burdened with recreating school at home!), it’s easy (and inexpensive) enough to transition your child’s distance-learning setup to a craft space. All you need are a few small plastic bins, some supplies (Amazon offers tons of ready-made craft sets for purchase and home delivery), and a consistent day each week (or time each day) to let your child build and create. Blocks and Legos work too…and so does software like SketchUp. YouTube is full of cool tutorials (origami, anyone?); I know that several of my students have been playing around with stop-motion animation. And we can’t forget fitness; from riding bikes around the neighborhood to the New York Times’ “How to Build Muscle in Nine Minutes” workout (kids and teens can do it, too!), there are so many resources for keeping in shape…and so much of a benefit to schedule a time each day to do so.

Whatever the activity, make sure that there’s a dedicated space and time for it to take place and remember: the mess is part of the learning (and the cleaning up presents so many wonderful opportunities to learn responsibility!).

Choice is key: We do better, and are more dialed in, when we can choose our own activities. The same is true for young people. Instead of generating your own family schedule this summer, sit down with your child and collaborate. (If you want a laugh, check out the manifesto that thirteen-year-old Leo Rainey wrote to his parents’ quarantine overscheduling, which his mom, Claire Campbell, recently published on
Slate.) Remember that not every second of every day must be packed with activities; although kids will complain about “being bored,” it is in those moments of boredom when our creative minds run wild.

Rearrange and reconfigure: A few weeks into quarantine, one of my advisees excitedly announced to our Zoom that she and her dad were redecorating the “room under the stairs.” It wasn’t a huge room, but they were going to make it into a small nook for playing and reading. They painted, collected some furniture from around the house, and voilà: a brand-new (actually, a newly-repurposed) space!

Believe me: I’m not talking feng shui or Kondo-ification here. Neither you nor I have the mental or emotional strength right now to do anything like that! But even something as simple as moving a bureau catty-corner to a wall can make a huge difference. And, again: let your child lead the way. Working out ideas to restructure and repurpose can be fun!

Let it go!: My next-door neighbors have had two of their adult children living in quarantine with them, so, like all thoughtful parents, they recently rented a dumpster and directed Casey and Kevin to “get rid of all this junk we don’t need.” Believe me: organizational consultants dream of this, and you can check out some of the posts on our IOTS blog for tips and tricks. For some reason, I’ve got a collection of boxes in my basement (what did I think I’d need this many boxes for?), so one of my activities next week is going to be to flatten those boxes and take them out to recycling. A little goes a long way…especially when you have help!

Finally: Leave school out of the equation and let your children be: I recently interviewed Judith Warner, author of And Then They Stopped Talking to Me: Making Sense of Middle School, for the Pequot Library here in Southport, Connecticut. During our conversation, Ms. Warner spoke about the challenges of the Summer of the Unknown. “The most important thing parents have to keep in mind,” she said, “is that their relationship with their children is more important than whatever activity they should be doing or achievement they should be acquiring…A lot of parents right now…are worried that their kids are going to be falling behind academically because of the way the school year ended, and want to pile on during the summer…That’s the biggest mistake they can make.” Ms. Warner suggests that encouraging children to read is, of course, important—but that trying to cram in academic work will be a losing proposition. As a teacher, I echo this advice: this summer, let your kids be kids—for their sake, and for your sake!

There’s no way around it: this summer will be tough for all of us. But sticking to a schedule, engaging in some fun new routines, letting your child choose, and forgetting about school for a bit are some great ways to make it as smooth as possible. (And please feel free to connect with me if you have any additional tips and tricks to add to this piece—we’d love to make as many resources as possible available!) Enjoy the long days of summer…and do everything you can to make them last!

Contact us today to learn more about our virtual or in-person assessments to promote a pathogen reduced environment for your home or office. Also, to learn more about how we can help you organize your life or manage your move please contact us here.

Ben Gott is an Education Specialist and Organizing Consultant at In Order To Succeed