As you may know, we’ve declared 2015 the Year of Ahhhhhh-Some—a year to ace your space and put some zen in your den. And the largest step towards achieving spatial Nirvana is to bring order to the chaos that is your apartment.

We’ve gone over a few steps in previous posts – including getting started and letting go of emotional clutter. But now it’s time to bring in the big guns, which is why we’ve teamed up with professional organizer extraordinaire, Daphne Kohavy, owner and operator of NYC-based The Functuary. She has seen and organized it all – from sky-high mounds of paper to closets overflowing with skinny jeans – and now she’s agreed to kick some knowledge for our Manhattan Mini crew.


So, here they are! Daphne’s top tips for organizing like a boss:

Tip #1: Set your organizational intention.

As with every good rehab program, the first step is admitting you have a problem. “Clutter can be linked to so many things; growing up in scarcity, dealing with grief, sentimental attachments,” Daphne says, “and identifying the reason behind the clutter is key. Really look at your situation, acknowledge your relationship with things, and set your intention to free yourself of stuff. Remember—you are sacrificing your peace of mind for inanimate objects. Don’t grant that much power to possessions.”

Tip #2:  Shop with mindfulness.

“Organization happens while you’re shopping,” according to Daphne, “and this is your chance to prevent clutter before it begins.” As Americans, we’re surrounded by stuff to buy and made to feel it’s our duty to buy it. But before you spend your hard-earned cash, ask yourself “Do I have a home for this? Where will it go?” And then consider the organizer’s mantra: “One in, one out.” If you do buy it, know what you are going to get rid of in order to make room for your new purchase. Use these questions to guide every purchase and manage the sheer amount of things you have to organize.

Tip #3: Ace your S-P-A-C-E.

Every good teacher knows the power of an acronym, and Daphne is no exception. When working with a client, she uses the principles of SPACE – Sort, Purge, Assess, Calibrate, Enjoy –  to create a functional workflow system that supports their daily activities. Here’s how to accomplish that:

Sort: Take inventory of your home. This is when you go through the “Keep it, toss it, store it” process. Ask yourself very honestly, “Do I love it? Do I use it?” Keep what you love and use, store what you are on the fence about, and purge the rest. Remember—objects are not memories.

Purge: Purging doesn’t necessarily mean throwing away. Storage can be an integral part of a purge. From inherited items you want to pass on to sports equipment you use on a seasonal basis, storage is a great option. Another option is to donate. Many people find it easier to let go if they know their things are going to go to a great cause, like NY Cares or Dress for Success.

Assess: Think about your daily workflow and your sources of spatial stress. This is the step in which Daphne works with clients to design an organizational system that supports their daily needs and solve the areas of their space that stop them from enjoying their environment.

Calibrate: Organization is an ongoing process. Every month or so, reevaluate your space and your workflow to ensure it is still supporting your needs.

Enjoy: Just think about how good it will feel when you finally have your space under control!

So, there you have it! Top-notch wisdom from an organizational guru. Stay tuned for more of Daphne’s guidance, from storage tips for new families to true-life “clutter confidential” tales— stories of spaces gone very, very bad.