The beauty of vertical storage

18 July 2019

To the extent possible I love storing things vertically, rather than horizontally. Think about how files are stored in a file cabinet—it’s much easier to access them than a stack of file folders.

But vertical storage isn’t just for files. I love using the principle all around my house (and with clients). For my office supplies, for example, I have three shelves in my office supply closet where I store supplies vertically (see the photo below). Notice how my Post-it® notes and other supplies are stored vertically using acrylic containers (a divided one similar to this and a 4 × 12 × 3 like this) on a shelf. I used small containers inside a basket so help me store as much as I can vertically on the middle shelf of the photo. And on the shelf, this magazine sorter allows me to store clipboards and portfolios vertically. I repurposed a box from Bare Minerals so store a small collection of handy pouches.

I have some notebooks I like to keep handy on the radiator behind my desk. One of them is the one grab when I’m on the phone on a business call. By using a desktop file holder, I can store notebooks vertically so I can easily (and silently) grab the right one when I need it.

Long before Marie Kondo was telling us how to fold, I was folding my t-shirts in half again and storing them vertically in the drawer. I love that it enables me to see the shirts and just pluck out the one I want. I do the same thing with my leggings—I store them vertically and use this closet drawer organizer to keep them upright.

When you’re organizing in your home, I encourage you to think about how you might integrate vertical storage. I think you’ll find it life-enhancing!

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Shopping mindfully

15 July 2019


Today and tomorrow are both Amazon Prime Days, where members of Amazon Prime are offered special pricing on lots of items. I took a peek today at some of the specials in categories that interest me and managed to turn away without buying.

I dislike artificial pressure to buy, like special sales or outlet stores or even yard or estate sales. Those situations set up a feeling that if you don’t buy now, you’ll miss out. I can’t tell you the number of so-called bargains that I’ve clients declutter over the years. It’s not a bargain if you don’t use it or it clutters up your home.

I encourage you to shop mindfully, whether it’s during a special sale or just everyday shopping. If clutter is an issue in your life, then decluttering and letting go is part of the equation for relief. But the other part of the equation is modifying your acquisition behavior.

Before you purchase anything, I urge you to ask yourself these simple questions, which are very similar to the questions I ask clients when we’re decluttering:

  • Do I love it?
  • Will I use it?
  • Does purchasing this item contribute to my vision for my space?
  • Where will I store it?

If you don’t have room to store a new purchase, then either forgo buying it or commit to letting go of something to make room for the new purchase. When clients who are struggling with clutter tell me they can’t resist a bargain at an estate sale, I encourage them to stop going to estate sales. If Amazon Prime Day feels irresistible and you don’t have room to comfortably store all your belongings, then I encourage you to either ignore Amazon Prime Day (or any other special sale) or go into it with a list of specific items that you need and would buy anyway and then search for those items only.

Even if you have plenty of room to store everything, mindful shopping leads to a more peaceful life, in my opinion. It saves you time, money and self-recrimination. It’s excellent self care.

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Latest knitting project

11 July 2019

These days, I’m spending less leisure time knitting and more time practicing hand lettering (and writing postcards to voters. But when my friend told me her daughter was pregnant with her first child, I just had to pull out my needles and knit my favorite go-to baby gift: the Harry Bear teddy bear, a free pattern from Berroco.

I have a small stash of Berroco Chinchilla yarn. It’s discontinued, but I love how it knits up into this bear, so I bought some from folks on Ravelry a few years back. It was fun and easy to knit this bear and for the first time I embroidered the face myself. (I usually have a friend help with that.) I kept the facial expression subtle, to say the least.

Here’s a photo of the sweet little bear. It was a well received gift and I enjoyed giving it!

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New Secrets of Getting Organized magazine

9 July 2019

I was delighted to receive in the mail over the weekend the Summer 2019 issue of Secrets of Getting Organized magazine from Better Homes and Gardens Special Interest Publications. I was a bit puzzled because I didn’t remember doing an email interview recently, but my memory isn’t the greatest.

So I opened to the back, saw my picture in the list of contributors, and thumbed through to see what I was quoted about. It seemed very familiar and one of the articles I remembered from a couple of years ago. Very mysterious. And then I took a closer look at the cover. There, down by the bar code, it says, “Back by Popular Demand: Second Printing of Secrets of Getting Organized Early Spring 2018.”

Mystery solved.

Here’s the cover, along with a couple other Janine-related snaps. (I always get a thrill when I see myself included on the contributors’ page!) I’m quoted in three of the articles (Stop Paper Pileups, Goal: Conquer Media Room Clutter, and a kitchen-organizing article called In the Zone).

It’s a particularly good issue, which I urge you to take a look at, if you have the opportunity. You can order it online at the link above, or look for it in newsstands and book stores nationwide. While the interior is identical, the cover of the Summer 2019 issue is different from the Spring 2018 cover (which you can see in the post I wrote about it at the time). I wouldn’t want you to inadvertently buy it if you already have it!

I love these magazines. They’re free of advertising and just plain eye candy. And, because the editors reach out to professional organizers for the ideas and tips in the stories, the content is terrific!

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A calm summer thought

1 July 2019

I’m a big fan of Yogi Soothing Caramel Bedtime Tea. (Be forewarned: It’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but I think it’s delicious.) One of the things I love about it, in addition to its flavor and its soothing nature, is the words of wisdom on each teabag. I haven’t had any other types of Yogi tea, but I assume all their teas have wise tea tags.

This one caught my eye:

Being owner of Peace of Mind Organizing, I naturally love any mention of peace of mind. (It’s so important!) And of course, I’m all about breaking things down into small steps and making incremental progress toward your goal. So the message on this tea tag really resonated with me. I hope it touches you too.

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Worth repeating: The key to finishing my big knitting project

24 June 2019

I was taught to knit by my mother and grandmother when I was a child. But I put down the needles in college and didn’t pick them up for 20 years. One of the first projects I did after re-learning to knit was Barbara Walker’s Learn to Knit Afghan. It took me two years to finish knitting the 63 squares of the afghan. A year later, with the help of friends, I figured out a pretty layout for the squares and seamed them together. (I used only 48 of the 63 squares.) I started a knitting a binding around the edge. And that’s where the project stalled. In 2016, I finally finished that afghan and I am so darned proud of it. Today, I’m re-running most of the post I wrote about it at the moment of completion in 2016.

I bet I hadn’t touched the afghan between 2010 and 2016. In 2010, I placed it in a bag and put it in the closet because (a) knitting the applied i-cord binding was unbearably tedious and (b) I didn’t even know what I was going to do with the afghan when I was finished.

All that changed in October (2016). My knitting group now meets at the City Sewing Room a wonderful place for people who sew to use sewing machines (and other sewing accoutrements) and get advice. You can also have alterations and special projects sewn for you there. On October 19 when I was there, I saw that Anne, the owner, was sewing a flannel backing to a knitted baby blanket. My antennae immediately went up.

With the encouragement of my crafty friends who were there—and who helped me lay the afghan out way back in 2009—I talked with Anne about the possibility of her sewing a flannel backing on my much larger afghan. She said that wouldn’t be a problem. When I lamented that I still needed to finish knitting the binding, she mentioned that she could sew a flannel binding on. Sold! In no time, I ripped out the binding I’d already knitted. It felt great.

Two weeks later, I’d purchased and washed flannel and brought it to Anne, along with the clean and blocked afghan. I now have a beautiful, cozy afghan I can sleep under in bed or lie under on the couch. Last evening I used it as a lap blanket.

Here are a couple of photos. It feels like a miracle.

I got to thinking about how this happened and realized the key:

Impossible projects become possible when you enlist the help of experts.

For me, binding that afghan and then figuring out how to make it useful (it’s wool and too itchy to use without some sort of backing) was an insurmountable hurdle. For Anne, it was no big deal, just a few hours work. Just like laying out the afghan felt impossible to me but was easy peasy for my crafty friends.

The same is true for clutter or all sorts of other projects. My team and I come in and, in a few hours, help clients transform spaces in their home that had felt impossible to tackle on their own.

I am so happy to have this project completed and so glad I found an expert to help me. And I’m very grateful to Anne and my craft sisters for helping me make it happen!

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A year of good enough

14 June 2019


Tomorrow marks the one-year anniversary of Getting to Good Enough, the podcast I co-host with my good friend and life coach, Shannon Wilkinson. I can’t believe it’s been a year already!

The idea of the podcast, which is all about letting go of perfectionism so you can do more of what you love, is all Shannon’s. She approached me in April last year, suggesting we start a podcast together. I didn’t know the amount of work that would entail, but I thought it sounded like fun. For several years, Shannon and I had had a weekly accountability phone call together (which sometimes included other people) but for a variety of reasons that had fallen by the wayside. Podcasting seemed like a great excuse for us to talk every week.

After a brief discussion, we decided to go for it. And we made a solemn vow to one another: If making the podcast stopped being fun for either of us, we’d stop doing it.

I’m happy to report it’s still fun! Shannon and I record weekly. She does the (minimal) editing and I do the show notes and publication. We keep a list of topics and usually decide at the end of a recording session what we’ll record next, though sometimes we don’t decide until sit down to record. We don’t spend time prepping, beyond a brief conversation just prior to recording. We really have let it be easy.

We’ve never missed a week, though we did intentionally re-run the premier episode (Done is Better than Perfect ) over the holidays. We’ve produced one product for purchase, Good Enough Goal Setting. (Oh, and a mug.)

It’s been really interesting looking at life through the filter of good enough vs perfect. As we say at the top of the podcast, I’m naturally good at good enough (I’m really not a perfectionist at heart), but I’ve discovered that in some areas of my life I do have some perfectionistic tendencies. Now that I’m keeping an eye out for them, they pop out at me and I can usually shift to a good enough mentality. (Shannon and I discussed how a year of podcasting on this topic has affected us in Episode 52: A Year of Good Enough.)

We’ve been delighted to receive some great feedback on how the podcast has helped people. (Check out the comment on this Instagram post from @bn.mhcn. It made our hearts sing!)

Getting to Good Enough has been more popular than we ever imagined: In less than a year, there have been more than 60,000 downloads. (What?!) Those downloads have come from every continent except Antarctica. If you know anyone in anyone in Antarctica, please tell him or her about the podcast and ask for a download!

Shannon and I have even applied to speak at a podcasters’ conference! Fingers crossed.

If you haven’t listened to Getting to Good Enough, I encourage you to give it a try. You can subscribe at Apple podcasts, Google Podcasts or Spotify. You can also listen to the podcast, and read show notes, at our website, Getting to Good Enough. If you listen, please consider rating and reviewing at iTunes. That helps a podcast be found more easily.

If you’ve thought about starting a podcast yourself, keep an eye out here because I’m working on a blog post about how we used a “good enough” mentality to start the podcast with minimal effort and angst. We were able to go from idea to publishing our first three (fully realized) episodes in under two months. It doesn’t have to be hard.

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About Janine

Hello! I’m Janine Adams — a certified professional organizer based in St. Louis, and the creator of Peace of Mind Organizing®.

I love order, harmony + beauty, but I believe that the way that you feel about yourself and your home is what truly matters.

If you’re ready to de­clutter with a purpose and add more ease to your life, you’ve found the right blog — and you’ve found the right gal.

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  • NAPO Golden Circle

  • Getting to Good Enough podcast