Author Archives: Allison Flinn

Top Travel Organizing Tips

Top Travel Organizing Tips

Travel is on the rise this summer – whether you’re driving to the beach or flying somewhere far away, it’s time to dust off your packing skills and have some fun!

This month we are sharing some tips to get organized for a trip. A little organization on the front end means more relaxation when you reach your destination 🙂

Pack Smarter

It may seem obvious but taking the time to think through the activities you’ll be doing on your trip and what you really need can eliminate over packing and lighten your load. Actually lay out what you will tentatively plan to wear each day and see where you can re-use items in multiple outfits. Often what we panic pack “just in case” never gets worn and just takes up precious space.

Make a List

There’s nothing worse than getting to your destination and realizing you forgot something *so obvious*. It’s especially easy to miss things when you are packing for multiple people (looking at you moms of young kids). Make a master packing list and include it all – toothpaste, socks, you name it. Only cross off an item when it is packed 😉

Consolidate Destination Information

If you have multiple confirmation emails, reservations, check-in information, etc. for your trip – consolidate them into one folder (either electronic or physical). It’s so much easier to quickly search one location and know all of the information you need will be there! Added bonus, when your trip is over (sad!), you’ll have all of the information organized should you need to reference it in the future to re-book a hotel, activity, or restaurant.

Spring Cleaning

Spring Cleaning


Happy Spring! Like many people, we have been reflecting back on this time last year – the final few in-person jobs we worked on before the shut down, conversations with clients about what we thought would happen (boy were we all wrong!), and how we quickly had to pivot to offer support for our clients despite not being able to enter their homes. One of the ways we did that was through a series called Tiny Tasks – quick, manageable to-dos that when combined would make a real impact on organization. So with spring cleaning and fresh starts top of mind, we thought it would be helpful to revisit some of our favorite Tiny Tasks one year later. Maybe you completed them along with us last year, or were too stressed to even think about it at the time – try some now, everyone can benefit from completing a few!

Bathroom & Linen Closet Tiny Tasks

  • Toss expired medicine and then make a list of what needs to be replaced. Then organize medicine by type – for example: children’s, adult, first aid, topical, etc.
  • Review your towels. Keep only the ones that are in good shape. Others can be cut up to use as rags or donated to your local animal shelter.

Kitchen & Pantry Tiny Tasks

  • Review your kitchen cooking utensils and gadgets. Have you accumulated more spatulas than even a gourmet chef could ever use? Streamline to only the favorites that you always reach for, and toss the rest.
  • Check your spices, vitamins, and pantry items – toss anything expired or no longer useful to you. For example, do you have bags of coffee beans but switched to a Nespresso years ago? Think about what you may be holding onto unnecessarily. Look all the way in the back!

Kids’ Spaces

  • Do a walkthrough of your playroom and toss anything that is broken or clearly missing pieces. Dump out bins and make sure items have all the parts they need to be played with properly.
  • Have you been stockpiling kids artwork for…years? Now is the time to go through and decide what you want to keep, photograph, or toss. Yes – we give you permission to toss kids artwork! Not all of it needs to be kept, we promise!

Clothing & Closets

  • Edit what you have! You are most likely holding onto some clothes for sentimental reasons, or just haven’t taken the time to go through your items with a careful eye in a while. If there are items you haven’t worn in a long time, don’t make you feel good when you put them on, or simply don’t fit – donate them, or toss if they aren’t in good condition. Go through each category of your clothes and ask yourself – Do I love this? Does it fit? Do I feel good when I put it on? If the answer is no, you know what to do 🙂
  • Toss old hangers that aren’t worthy of your fabulous clothes! We love using non-slip velvet hangers. Matching hangers instantly change the look of your closet and give it a really polished feel.
A Lot To Unpack

A Lot To Unpack

We’ve had a busy start to 2021 – working with several new clients, some repeat clients (always a favorite), and in particular doing a lot of unpacking and organizing as part of client moves! Many people are often surprised that we offer this service so we thought it would be fun to highlight the offering in this month’s newsletter. 

Our moving services can start at multiple points in the moving process. Some clients ask that we help them do a pre-edit and organize before they move to ensure they are only bringing what they really want and need. Others hire us to completely pack them, using our organization expertise in the process so that the process is very streamlined. 

And finally, our most popular offering, is at the *new home* where we completely unpack and organize our clients in their new space. In doing this we are immediately setting them up for success by creating the best systems from the start, and eliminating a significant amount of stress along the way! We can either unpack our client’s full house, or just certain areas. Popular spaces tend to be the kitchen, bathrooms, and master closet. As part of this offering we also source the necessary organizing products before move-in day so that when we arrive we are fully ready to go. 

Whether you have a move on the horizon or know someone who does, can you think of a better housewarming treat (for yourself or a friend) than an unpacked and organized house? Spring tends to be a very busy season for us so don’t hesitate to reach out if you know you’d like to get on our calendar now for a move coming up.

Below are before and after photos from some unpacking projects we have completed.





Starting the New Year Off Right with New Systems and Habits

Starting the New Year Off Right with New Systems and Habits


Wow. What is there to say about 2020 that hasn’t already been said? With that in mind – let’s look ahead to 2021…a new year and an opportunity for a fresh start. No, the world won’t be back to normal come January 1. But let’s not wait for that magical day to implement some positive changes to our routines!

Here are a few ideas to try that can to add calm and order to your day. Try one, or try them all – it’s a whole new world in 2021!

  • Nightly Sweep: Before you go to bed each night take a few minutes to do a sweep of your main living areas. Put dirty dishes in the dishwasher, pillows back on the couch, and miscellaneous items back in their proper home. Spending these few minutes at night ensures you will wake up to a tidy and calm space, ready to start the day.
  • Laundry Schedule: Try implementing a laundry schedule. Assign each person in your family, or category of laundry (darks, lights, etc.) a specific day of the week. This breaks the laundry down into manageable chunks and never leaves you with an overwhelming mountain of *everything* to do. Tip – on each laundry’s assigned day, complete it from start to finish…that means putting it away too!
  • Hanger Trick: At the start of the year, turn all of the hangers in your closet facing one way. As you wear an item, turn it the opposite way. After six months, take note of which items have yet to be worn. Unless they are for a special occasion, it’s a safe bet they aren’t your favorites and should be considered for the donation pile. Make space for items you truly love and get excited to wear.
  • Stock Up: Identify the items that you and your family use regularly and (space permitting) buy enough to create a small amount of backstock so you aren’t always scrambling and/or rebuying. Some items to consider include laundry detergent, hand soap, favorite shelf stable food items, etc. Whatever is ALWAYS on your list to buy, go ahead and buy a few at a time to give yourself some breathing room.
Getting Organized for an Unusual Holiday Season

Getting Organized for an Unusual Holiday Season

We realize it’s almost cliche at this point to say, “the holidays will look different this year”, but well – they will 🙂 Families who you may usually see in person may be over Zoom instead, large holiday parties will likely be skipped, and after many challenging months you are bound to be entering this season a bit worn down. We’d like to offer a few tips to help keep spirits bright and organized.

Make A List and Check it Twice – Sooner rather than later make a master list of everyone that you plan to give a gift to this year (big or small) – presents for immediate family or homemade items such as baked goods for neighbors. It may feel stressful to start this list, but taking it out of your mind and onto paper will help you from forgetting someone and give you a starting point if you haven’t started shopping.

Mail Delays – Once you have your list, identify anyone who you need to mail something to and prioritize getting this done first. There is always increased mail volume around the holidays and this year there is bound to be even more. Plan ahead and leave yourself plenty of time to ship whatever needs shipping. This thinking applies to holiday cards as well if you plan to send those.

Store Pick-Ups – To avoid making several trips to many different stores plan ahead. Take stock of your wrapping supplies and make a list of what you need to stock up on. Do the same with your baking ingredients – since most of these items are shelf stable, you can stock up early and avoid crowds. This may be the year to risk “over-buying” if it’s something you’ll be able to use in the future one way or the other.

Overall, the name of the game for achieving a low-stress and SAFE holiday season this year is to plan ahead and act early. We hope implementing a few of these tips will set you up for success.

Get Organized!

Get Organized!


Based on the emails and calls we are getting, we know that many of you are feeling inspired to edit and organize after binge watching the show on Netflix – Get Organized with The Home Edit. This is the perfect time to go on a bit of an organizing spree. The season of STUFF is fast approaching – candy, hostess gifts, presents, etc. With that in mind, we wanted to share some thoughts on editing items in your house. This will help you create space for new items instead of just adding to what may already be weighing you down.

Here are a few approaches you can take to pare down and create space:

Fresh Eyes – Walk around your home with fresh eyes. Maybe even pretend you are a friend or relative coming to stay for a visit for the first time. Look for items that have been stashed in a corner or the back of a closet, or piles of paper that have accumulated in main zones of the home. Are there items that have simply become invisible to you because they’ve been tossed there for so long? Chances are they can go!

Holding Zone – When dealing with kids’ items like toys, or clothing that you are on the fence about getting rid of, create a holding zone. Put all items you are unsure about in a box out of sight. If after a few weeks no one asks about those items, donate or toss them.

Be Realistic – As you consider items, be realistic about your life and what you really need. If you no longer work in a professional office, perhaps you can pare down your business attire extensively. If your kids are older but you still have a large sippy cup collection, you can quickly make space by tossing them. We often don’t take the time to evolve our stuff as our phases of life move on. Now is the time to start!

Past Due – If you have items that are broken, damaged, or otherwise “expired” use this as the time to get rid of them. We all have good intentions to repair things but rarely actually do. We give you permission to give yourself a pass and get rid of those items that have stayed past their welcome.

When we work with our clients we never force them to get rid of anything they don’t want to. But we will facilitate the decision points to help them choose what stays, becomes a donation, or hits the trash bin. If you’d like to get you home edited and organized before the holidays hit – give us a call!

Organizing Claire Guentz

Organizing Claire Guentz

We recently had the pleasure of helping a local Raleigh blogger and influencer organize her closet and pantry following a move. Claire Guentz and her husband were moving into a new home with some fabulous features including a gorgeous closet and a walk-in pantry. They wanted to make the most of these new spaces in their beautiful new home. Our team spent a day with Claire and completely organized her closet, pantry and kitchen.

With Claire’s closet we focused on some foundational steps in our organizing process. We started with a clean slate by removing everything from the closet. Then, we organized everything by type first – then color. We then placed items back in the closet using matching slimline hangers, a total game changer in creating that cohesive organized closet look. We also helped Claire fold and organize her extensive collection of athleisure (she is actually launching her own line soon!)

For Claire’s pantry we selected a mix of products from mDesign to fit her aesthetic preferences. After removing everything, we strategized the best layout and worked our magic to create a pantry that’s both highly functional, and beautiful. An important tip we shared with Claire is the importance of removing everything from its packaging.  Not only does it create a more streamlined look, it makes it easier to grab what you need and go. For more pantry tips, be sure to check out Claire’s post.


We often get asked – what’s it really like working with a professional organizer? Well, Claire did a great job of explaining that in her blog post about working with us. So check it out for a detailed explanation of the process plus some more beautiful after shots!  




15 Minute Refresh

15 Minute Refresh

We’ve made it to September! Usually a month of busy back to school activities, sports seasons starting, and general Fall fun. This year, not so much. I think it’s safe to say we are all collectively quite tired, worn down, and ready for some semblance of normalcy. Who knows when that will come, but as always we like to keep in mind that we are in control of our homes and how they make us feel.

Fully realizing your reserves might be low for a massive organizational overhaul (just call us for that!), we wanted to suggest a quick 15 minute home refresh exercise that you can do when you are feeling overwhelmed by your space and just need to do something about it!

Set a timer for 15 minutes and try one of the following tasks for an instant organizational improvement and mood boost:

-Do flat surfaces tend to attract piles in your house? Choose a pile and take action. Identify what is trash, items to act on, and items to be relocated.

-If there are items stored in piles on your stairs (hopelessly waiting for someone to take them to their rightful home), take them where they need to go. We promise, it won’t take long.

-Take a quick glance through your makeup bag. Did you know makeup expires? If you can’t remember the last time you used something, it’s probably time to let it go. Check out this list for helpful makeup expiration guidelines.

-If you have a junk drawer (we all have something like this), take some time to get rid of well, junk that’s accumulated in there! A junk drawer can turn into a joy drawer with some regular maintenance. Keep it filled with things you need easy access to.

-That’s it! Voila, instant refresh. The key is just setting aside a set amount of time and doing something 🙂 You may get in the habit of doing this a few times a week, or every Sunday night, and we promise it will have a positive impact!

Back to School + Giveaway

Back to School + Giveaway



There is nothing typical about back to school this year. For most of us this usually very exciting time is now filled with stress and unknowns. Here in North Carolina the majority of our school districts are starting the year virtually. With that in mind, we thought it would be helpful to share a few tips to get organized for virtual learning. There are so many things out of our control these days, but we always like to remember that we can do our best to prepare and be organized!

1.  Create a functional learning space – This is probably the single most important step to get ready for virtual learning. Identify a comfortable space in your home that is conducive to focus and won’t disrupt the flow of the rest of the household. Younger students may need to be stationed in a kitchen area for easy assistance, but older students will do best in a more private setting like a desk in an office or bonus room. Take a look around your house with fresh eyes and think about where best you can set your student up for success. Wherever you decide, make sure it is comfortable and has space for the necessary “classroom” items – laptop, notebook, etc.

2.  Supply stock up – While specific supply lists may come, there are some basics that make sense to stock up on regardless. These include white printer paper (and printer ink cartridges), ruled notebooks, fresh crayons and markers (depending on age), scissors, glue sticks and ruler.

3.  Clutter clearing = mind clearing – There is no doubt that virtual school can add to the stress of day to day life at home. If your chosen learning area is messy and cluttered, it won’t help matters. Take an hour and do a decluttering exercise in your learning space (and other areas of the home if you’re feeling ambitious!) Find homes for things that have piled up, donate things you no longer need, and generally try to create a clean slate for the start of the school year. We strongly adhere to the belief that a calm environment strongly correlates to a calm mind, and I think we could all use that these days.

4.  Busy activities for younger ones – If you have a young virtual learning that you will be assisting, and younger ones otherwise at home, come up with a few quick grab activities or toys to entertain them when you might need to step in to help. Scan the $1 section at Target and stock up on a few exciting surprises to bring out when you find yourself *literally* being pulled in two different directions. Likewise these secret prizes could be used to reward your virtual learner and keep them motivated when things get tricky 🙂


To help you create the perfect virtual learning space, we are giving away a $100 gift card to The Container Store. Visit our Instagram page @reclaimprofessionalorganizing and click on our virtual learning organization giveaway post to see how to enter. The deadline is Sunday, August 16th at 8 pm (EDT). Good luck!

Reclaim Celebrates 10 Years-Looking Back and Celebrating the Future

Reclaim Celebrates 10 Years-Looking Back and Celebrating the Future

This month marks 10 years that Reclaim Professional Organizing has been in business. While it is certainly an interesting time in the world to be celebrating this milestone, I am so proud of the work we have done along the way and wanted to mark the occasion with all of you – our clients and supporters. We truly couldn’t have done this without you! Here’s a little background on how Reclaim came to be who we are today.

In 2009 I was living in Los Angeles and looking to change careers. A friend (who knew my organized tendencies) suggested in passing that I should become a professional organizer. I had never heard of the term, but it sounded intriguing despite the fact that I had never even considered the idea of owning a business. I started researching the idea and stumbled upon NAPO (National Association of Productivity & Organizing Professionals). I immediately signed up for their next meeting and began immersing myself in all things organizing (books, websites, etc). I began practicing with friends, loved the work, and got great results. So I took the leap and started my first business. In March 2009 Allison Perkins Organizational Design was founded in L.A. While still working my day job in public relations, I began booking jobs in the evenings and on weekends.

Fast forward a year later when my now husband and I moved to Raleigh. This was the perfect opportunity to attempt organizing as a full-time job. I saved up as much money as possible, knowing that starting a business in a city where I didn’t know anyone would take some time to grow and be profitable.

In July 2010 Reclaim Professional Organizing, LLC was founded. The first two years had their highs and lows, but I stuck with it because I LOVED what I was doing and saw firsthand how the work was changing people’s lives. Along the way I became a Certified Professional Organizer (CPO), which requires documentation of 1,500 hours of paid work experience as a professional organizer, an exam, and regular recertification. I am one of only three CPO’s in the Triangle area.

Now, ten years later, Reclaim has grown to a team of six. We have helped organize hundreds of homes and have truly found our niche. We specialize in team based whole house organizing, as well as offer moving and relocation services.

A big thank you to you, our supporters, and cheers to the next ten years and all of the organizing fun we’ll have along the way!