Shopping·9 min read

A Lesson in Spring Cleaning With a Professional Home Organizer

spring cleaning 101
Design: theSkimm | Images: Amazon, The Container Store
April 10, 2024

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Even if you don’t believe in the ritual of cleaning your house every spring, you must admit that a good purge every once in a while is deeply satisfying. And when I’m ready to tackle any kind of home organizational project, I enlist the help of Jamie Rosmarin Samet, a New York City- and Miami-based professional home organizer and stylist…who also happens to be my cousin. Yes, I know how lucky I am to have a home organizer on speed dial. Jamie works with her sister (slash my other cousin) Ari Rosmarin, a personal stylist, and together they’re the duo behind the comprehensive styling and organizing service SHOP-ARI.

I asked Jamie to share some tips to demystify the process of spring-cleaning your home, plus the products she most often has on hand for her clients.

Jamie's pro tips:

  • The concept of spring cleaning can be super overwhelming, so my first tip is to have fun with it. Blast a fun playlist, make an iced latte, and open the windows if the weather allows for it. 

  • First purge, then organize.

  • Go room by room. Ask yourself which room needs the biggest clean-out and where you spend most of your time. Prioritize that space and work your way down the list. 

  • Be realistic with yourself. When going through your items, think critically about what you really need. Like a pair of jeans that haven’t fit you in years, or an immersion blender you got as a gift a decade ago that you haven’t taken out of the packaging — use it or lose it. When in doubt, throw it out. 

  • For items like clothes, shoes, and kitchen tools, divide into piles: Keep, Donate, Sell, and Trash.

What you need:

velvet hangers

Slim velvet hangers…

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: Velvet hangers are just better than clunky plastic hangers. They take up less of your precious hanging space, and the velvet material ensures that slippery garments like silk tops and button-down shirts you leave open will stay put. For Jamie, these are nonnegotiable. ($16.99+, Amazon)

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clear shelf dividers

Clear shelf dividers for your closet…

One of the easiest ways to tidy up your closet is with these acrylic shelf dividers — you can just slide them onto the shelves in your closet to keep stacks of clothes neat. "Perfect for dividing sweaters, jeans, sweats, and more," Jamie says. "Bonus points if you divide by color." ($15.98, Amazon)

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collapsible fabric storage bins

Nice-looking fabric storage bins…

Jamie organized my closet using storage bins like these to contain my T-shirt collection, which is frankly ludicrous even after purging. It’s made a huge difference in how much I actually wear my tees since they’re now visible, accessible, and generally less intimidating to sort through. We also used them for my jeans, light sweaters, and sweatshirts. Jamie likes these because they’re “collapsible and hold a nice shape,” even after stuffing them to capacity. ($25.99+, Amazon)

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t-shirt folding board

A tool for perfectly folded T-shirts…

Jamie uses the “filing cabinet” method for T-shirts. Fold your shirt normally, then fold it in half again and stack it inside the bin like a file. Use this contraption if you’re serious about achieving that perfectly crisp, flat fold. (If you ever worked in retail, you probably don’t need this.) ($16.99+, Amazon)

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the container store elfa drawer solution
The Container Store

An extra set of drawers, anywhere you need them...

This is a compact, freestanding set of drawers comprising three drawers in two sizes (the top is narrow). Jamie recommends it to most of her clients because it has endless potential uses — my mom uses hers in the office as a filing cabinet, and the airy mesh drawers are well-suited for a bathroom or laundry room. Jamie had the genius idea to put one in my closet underneath my hanging rack for my bags. I end up stacking random items on top, like scarves and chunky sweatshirts in the winter, and folded-up skirts and bathing suits in the summer. ($184.99, The Container Store)

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clear handbag storage organizer

A place for your handbag collection…

This is another of Jamie’s go-to bag storage solutions for both her clients and her own closet. It’s a set of three sturdy acrylic cubes you can stack in any way you want, with a door that swings open for easy access. Especially nice for displaying your favorite purses, and for safely storing the investment bags that deserve to not be smushed inside a random drawer. ($32.59+, Amazon)

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adjustable drawer dividers

Adjustable dividers to tidy your socks and underwear drawer…

These can be customized to fit almost any size drawer, and the ends are padded so they won’t scuff up the inside of your drawers or slip around once placed. They’ll automatically create more usable space. They're especially useful for creating order out of the chaos of your socks and underwear drawer. ($17.99+, Amazon)

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amazon basics under bed storage bags

Under-bed storage for your out-of-season clothes...

Jamie recommends these enormous-but-flat zippered bags for storing out-of-season clothes, especially items that take up a lot of closet space like jackets, sweaters, and thick scarves, and sliding them underneath your bed to keep them out of sight. It’s honestly shocking how much these bags can hold, especially if you sit on them while zipping them up to get all the air out (a pro tip from Jamie). She also used these to pack up my sentimental clothes that I don’t wear often but still couldn’t bear to part with during the purge. ($15.88, Amazon)

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adjustable gold shoe rack

A shoe rack you won't hate seeing in your foyer every day...

A shoe rack speaks for itself, but Jamie likes this one because it just looks chicer than usual thanks to the Art Deco-ish gold finish and rounded edges. It’s also expandable, adjustable, and doesn’t require any hardware to assemble. ($27.97+, Amazon)

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clear plastic storage bins

Clear plastic storage bins for all your odds and ends...

There’s almost nothing these simple plastic bins can’t do. Jamie says they’re ideal for backstock, snacks, and cleaning supplies, for use in your pantry, cabinets, or fridge. I have a few of these in my hall closet to hold all the makeup and skincare I don’t use daily. They also house all of the most absolutely random things I own, like hair extensions, cables, and sunglasses cases…all of which, by the way, Jamie really wants me to throw away. ($24.99+, Amazon)

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clear plastic drawer bins

A set of drawer bins in every size...

Jamie says, “These bins are best for organizing bathroom drawers. The set comes with tons of different sizes so you can customize to fit your drawers. Perfect for holding makeup, hair ties and clips, cotton buds, cotton balls, and more.” Whichever bins you don’t use in the bathroom, you can put in your desk, night stand, kitchen drawers, or pantry. ($15.99+, Amazon

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pantry organizers

Organizers for your pantry staples...

Another nice option for pantry organization, these clear bins have removable dividers, so you can customize the type of storage you’re looking for. Jamie says they’re great for snacks (especially things like protein bars and individual snack bags), spice jars, or pill bottles. ($23.99+, Amazon)

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