You know the feeling when everything in your home is perfectly organized, beautifully in place and completely uncluttered? Me neither. That is, until I recently went on a cleanse … of the spaces I live in. For me it started out as way to keep busy (guilt-free) while procrastinating on the other, less pleasant household chores we all have.
But I was completely surprised by the joyful feeling being organized gave me—I felt cleaner, more peaceful. It was like all the stuff I was needlessly collecting was also somehow clogging my mind. Suddenly I was relieved and free.
Most of us, if we’re honest, just have too much stuff. If you are like me, you hold on to things you don’t need or use (“You never know, I might need it some day”). We cram things in closets and squeeze stuff in our garages where no one else can see, but the truth is that we know it’s there. It not only clutters our living spaces; it clutters our minds.
People claim that getting rid of “the stuff” has a detoxifying effect, makes them feel lighter and gives them a greater appreciation for the things they do have. You may have noticed the recent trend to “declutter” and live a more simple life gaining popularity in the media.
OK, so getting organized is an easy sell right? But who’s got the time—or skill—to pull it all off with our busy lifestyles? How many of us dream of leaving our disorganized homes in the morning and returning to a perfectly organized, Pinterest-like home in the afternoon? Teresa King Dinneen, a local South Bay mama of two, asked those same questions and turned her inherent OCD tendencies into a thriving business.
Teresa, raised in Northern California, left the shores of Lake Tahoe for the beaches of L.A. in her early 20s. She met her South Bay-born-and-raised husband a few years later and has called it home ever since.
Teresa gained a strong foundation in the fashion arena after working in sales for more than 15 years, collaborating with highly renowned brands such as Quicksilver, JBrand and Toms. The traveling grind of fashion sales—in addition to being the mother of two little ones—eventually overwhelmed her, so she went on the lookout for something that worked better for her and her family.
“I do something deeper than just clean up. I help my clients learn ways to keep it going after I leave in a way that fits for them. My goal is to make it easy and sustainable for the family after I leave.”
It was after the umpteenth time she helped style one of her friends and organized another’s closets that she realized there was a real demand for what she was doing. She decided to go out on her own, and through word of mouth she managed to build a fantastic client base. Soon her company, Lifestyle(d), was officially born.
“I never realized that what I do isn’t normal—that organization doesn’t come naturally to everyone,” she shares.
Lifestyle(d) wasn’t the first time she’d made money through organizing. “I was so into it from an early age that my mom would pay me to organize her drawers,” she remembers. Now one of her earliest talents has evolved into a thriving business.
Just like the rooms she leaves behind, Teresa’s methods are clear, organized and practical. “I create personal systems that work for each of my clients,” she says. “That is the key to maintaining an organized home. I do something deeper than just clean up. I help my clients learn ways to keep it going after I leave in a way that fits for them. I don’t want to just come in and organize everything only to be called back to do it again later. My goal is to make it easy and sustainable for the family after I leave.”
Even the messiest of children can achieve order within the systems she creates. Her most popular request is creating an organized space for playrooms. She’s a fan of making labels so everyone knows where everything goes—simple but highly effective.
There are systems for all areas of the house. One of the most useful systems deals with paper. Even in this digital age, we get inundated with paper daily—from bills to children’s schoolwork. Teresa helps create a proper place and filing system that prevents growing piles and stress.
Like waving a wand, Teresa can tackle any room of the house and make the mess disappear. For closets, kitchens and playrooms, she needs the client to be there for purging purposes. She typically pulls everything out and categorizes the items. She isn’t going to have you hold each piece and ask you if it “sparks joy.” She just wants a simple yes or no.
Once she knows what the client wants to keep, she gets to work organizing the space on her own. On average, Teresa can do a closet in three to four hours. Bigger projects and kitchens may require more time, cleaning and manpower.
If you aren’t local and just need some guidance, Teresa also offers digital consults. All she needs is a photograph of the space and some measurements. She provides a drawing of the area illustrating exactly what to do and creates a shopping list with links to buy exactly what you need.
Like Teresa, I’m a believer that less really is more; decluttering, purging and simplifying has a detoxifying effect and allows us to live our best lives with the things we care about most. Some of us feel like we are facing an unsurmountable task when looking at the current state of our “stuff.” Whether it is tackling a closet, a room or an entire house, the most valuable space Teresa creates is in your mind.