By Susan Shinn
This seems like a good morning to do some spring cleaning.
Let me just open my closet door and get dressed and … OH MY LORD IN HEAVEN, HOW DID MY CLOSET GET TO BE SUCH A WRECK?!?
Debi Lyerly and Carol McNeely are just the gals to help you out.
OK, fine. They’re just the gals to help me out.
Debi and Carol, co-owners of The Painted Polka Dot, do faux finishing ó and a bit of organizing, too.Debi says, “In working with clients, if we see a need, we can offer this service.”When tackling a closet, Debi says, the first thing to do is take everything out.
“You’re either emotionally attached to something, financially attached to something or unsure about something,” she says.
This is where the help of a third party ó an unbiased party ó can come in handy.
Before Debi and Carol started working together, they were friends.
(Don’t worry, they’re still friends).
One day when Debi was visiting, she noticed Carol’s closets needed a little help.
“I was happy, happy to have somebody help me,” Carol says. “Once they get done, it’s easy to keep them neat and clean.”
When you start going through things, make a “yes” pile and a “no” pile. All right, and if you must, a “maybe” pile.
When Debi organizes a closet, she says, she does not have to know the story behind every single piece of clothing.
“Yes” or “no” is all she needs to hear.
Debi and Carol like to organize everything by category: shoes in one place, tops together, pants together, jeans together, dresses together. You can also organize by color if you like.
They’re relentless ó cheerfully relentless, but relentless nonetheless ó when it comes to getting rid of stuff.
“If you haven’t worn something in a year, it’s got to go,” Debi says.
(Whoops! Guess she’d probably make me throw out my jeans from college…)
Again, Debi says people have all sorts of attachments to clothing ó not the least of which is the fact that they paid good money for it.
“It doesn’t matter how much something costs,” Debi says. “If you’re flipping through your closet and keep flipping over it, there’s clutter in your life, and clutter in your brain.
“It will ruffle your feathers all day if you’re living in a pile of clutter.”
Clients find, Debi says, that they can indeed get rid of things without suffering major trauma.
Missy Alcorn found that to be the case.
“It has organized my life,” Missy says of having her closets and drawers organized by the duo. “It makes life simpler. I know where things are. Everything has a place.”
Missy says after 18 years of marriage, two kids and two houses, it was time to “weed out.”
She’s been working with Debi and Carol for two years; they come once a year to help clean out and organize.
“It’s easy to maintain,” Missy says of the pair’s work. “Once it’s done, you’re encouraged and determined to keep it the way it is.”
Debi and Carol use the same method for organizing drawers and bookcases as they do for closets: Put like items together, and get rid of anything that’s outdated.
Debi points out that a round table covered with material is a perfect place to stash items.
The women make use of heavy-duty plastic storage bins for attics, and industrial shelving for storage rooms and garages.
Fortunately, after the first time, the women say, it gets easier.
“People get overwhelmed,” Debi says. “The just don’t know where to start.
“Organization is a constant evolution. You have to move it all the time.”
Carol notes, “It’s not a one time fix.”
Debi says they might work with some clients a couple of times a year on closets and drawers.
“People value their time so much,” Debi says.
But she clarifies, “We’re not cleaners. We’re organizers.”
Contact Debi Lyerly and Carol McNeely at 704-798-1211.
By Susan Shinn