A recently remodeled kitchen inspired by Eichler-style design gets help from a professional organizer to maximize the space.
Amanda Clark is the “queen of bless this mess.” As a professional home organizer and the owner of Ever So Organized in Orange County, California, her job description entails making calm out of chaos for her clients. And, she doesn’t simply organize; she teaches her clients how to implement organizational systems so they can maintain and enjoy their homes long after she’s left.
“Organization is a learnable skill,” she says.
Recently, she was hired by her neighbors, Chris and Jeanine, who had just remodeled their kitchen and also have a deep passion for Mid Century Modern aesthetics. Amanda was the perfect person to hire.
“Not only did I grow up in an Eichler in Orange County, but I now own one of my own,” she says. “I relish the challenge of organizing an MCM home.”
Chris and Jeanine, who are California transplants via the Pacific Northwest, are true MCM aficionados.
“Since moving to SoCal, we’ve owned and remodeled four homes—all in the MCM style. Two of them have been Eichler homes, and two are traditional ranch homes,” Jeanine says. “We love being students of MCM style!”
Their kitchen is remodeled to be modern, functional and reflect a definite nod to Eichler-style homes. They restored the lighting and windows and brought back the wood paneling, which had been removed and covered with terrible “orange peel” and paint.
Amanda was enlisted to help the couple find the best way to use the kitchen.
First Step: Decluttering
“The space was great, but it needed to be optimized,” says the professional organizer.
First, she made sure the homeowners didn’t have superfluous items that would just “hang around” and take up room.
“Decluttering is always the first step,” she says. “For instance, most clients somehow collect multiple spatulas. They don’t usually need all of them. In addition, invest in kitchen tools that are well-made and will last.”
Second Step: Organizing
When it came to organizing the kitchen, Amanda used dividers to separate items and risers to enable the couple to see cans in the back of the cupboards. She also brought in baskets to hold granola bars and snacks. Spring-loaded dividers adjust to the size of the drawers, while clear containers allow food to be easily seen and decanted.
“Packaging looks messy and uses up a lot of space,” Amanda points out. “All you need to do is cut out the expiration date and tape it to the back of the container.”
Levels, minimal packaging, clear containers and drawers divided to artfully contain items worked together to transform the couple’s kitchen—but behind the scenes. By keeping the space efficient and organized, the kitchen’s glamorous MCM design now takes center stage.
Top Tips for Organizational Items
Organizational pieces such as bins and drawer dividers make a world of difference in creating order in your home and preventing clutter.
Here are Amanda’s top tips for selecting these items:
- The Simple Life. “Simple, sturdy and versatile” are what Amanda looks for in her containers and organizational accessories. “In particular, I especially like using sustainable bamboo products,” she says.
- Matchy-Matchy. If you aren’t willing to invest in matching containers, or you find yourself with a bunch of different ones, use matching labels to tie the look together.
- Hold Your Horses. Categorize, declutter and create zones before you buy the containers. Most people want to buy containers first. “I get it,” Amanda says. “Shopping for containers makes you feel as if you’re already organized. Nevertheless, the problem is that people don’t know where to use the bins and baskets and are left with even more clutter.”
- Way of Life. When creating zones and reviewing what you need containers for, consider how you live life and what activities you engage in every day. You might not need that tea organizer if you realize you rarely drink tea and that you don’t really need an entire container for it.
Show of hands: Who else wants a professional organizer to transform their home? If you’re ready to update your kitchen, check out “8 MCM Kitchens to Inspire a Refresh,” “The Most Colorful Kitchens on Instagram” and “Retro Registry: 30 Kitchen + Dining Essentials.”