The Leavenworth Times - Leavenworth, KS
  • Q5: For everything a perfect place

  • Sheri Steed is a professional organizer and interior decorator in Lansing, who owns and operates Step-by-Step Declutter.
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  • Sheri Steed is a professional organizer and interior decorator in Lansing, who owns and operates Step-by-Step Declutter.
    Getting organized and reducing mess is an easy way to limit stress, Steed said. She also offers plenty of easy and economical decorating tips to liven the appearance of a home.
    Steed tells us more about her business and how she got started in this Q5 installment.
    1. Sheri, what motivated you to become a professional organizer and interior decorator?
    "I have always been a decorator/organizer at heart, even as a child. I just love organizing and arranging things. In terms of pursuing it as a career, though, I think it was all the moves with the military.
    "One day it just hit me, 'I’m good at this, and I have a lot of experience. Why not make something of those skills?'"
    2. You advise people on a multitude of organizing and decorating undertakings, such as preparing for a move, organizing for a garage sale and planning for the holidays. What are a few important and perhaps overlooked steps that help streamline and facilitate each of these activities?
    "I think the first and most important step in any organizational undertaking is to have a plan.
    “Planning and organizing are really synonymous.
    “Whether you’re preparing for a move, organizing for a garage sale, or just organizing a particular space in your home, it’s important to think things through before you begin.
    "A lot of people are intimidated by organizing because they don’t know where to start.
    “Planning allows you to see the big picture and break the task down into manageable chunks."
    3. For new home owners, what is your best advice concerning decorating stylishly on a tight budget?
    "It is definitely possible to create a stylish look on a budget. When it comes to transforming a space, paint is the least expensive way to achieve the greatest impact.
    “Think about the type of mood you wish to create and use that as your inspiration when choosing colors.
    "Another way to save on style is to transform hand-me-downs or garage sale furniture into one-of-a-kind treasures by refinishing them yourself.
    “The Internet makes it easy to tackle do-it-yourself projects with confidence.
    “Furniture can also be embellished by switching out the knobs, adding brass corner braces or covering door panels in a cool textured wallpaper.
    "A sense of style can also be established by incorporating luxurious looking accessories such as plush throws, decorative pillows, or a mirrored tray.
    “Combining textures adds warmth and depth to a space.
    Page 2 of 2 - “Wicker baskets, metal bins, plush fabrics, sleek glass vases, wooden accents, and houseplants are all affordable ways to introduce texture into your design.
    “Perhaps the simplest thing you can do, though, is learn to display what you have in aesthetically pleasing ways.
    “Rooms don’t have to be expensive to be impactful.
    “They just need to be arranged well."
    4. What is the key to the most effective organization of household goods? And, as a professional organizer, is there an area where you are still striving to be less organizationally challenged?
    "The key to effective organization of any kind is developing a system or method for maintaining order once it’s established.
    “Pretty much anyone can tidy up, but that’s not the same as organizing.
    “When you’re organized, you not only have a place for everything, you also have a practical plan for returning things to their proper place once they’ve been used. The best systems are simple and intuitive.
    "Clutter is constant, so to a certain extent every one of us is battling it all the time, including me.
    “That’s where systems come into play. They help you to not only get organized, but stay organized.
    “If I had to pick one area, organizationally speaking, that I struggle with personally, I’d say it’s time management.
    “I know the principles, but I’m not always successful at applying them."
    5. Do you have a Website for people who need help de-cluttering, decorating or organizing? And, what's the best part of living clutter free?
    "I do have a website. It’s called step-by-step-declutter.com. On the Website, you’ll find lots of information, advice and encouragement on a variety of organizational topics, and I am continually adding to it as time permits. I also have a Facebook page with additional tips and resources.
    “The address is https://www.facebook.com/stepbystepdeclutter.
    "The best part of living a clutter-free life is the peace of mind that comes from walking into an orderly space, from knowing where to find things, and from being free of the excess that so easily piles up and weighs us down.
    “I don’t think people realize how much stress and tension clutter creates.
    “When you reduce the clutter, your stress level is often reduced as well.
    “Plus, there is a wonderful sense of accomplishment that comes from organizing.
    “It can be highly motivating."
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