1. Tell me a little about Vanchic!
Vanchic started as a closet organization company. My interns and I would go around decluttering, re-styling, systemizing and organizing apartments, condos and estates. I focus on organizing each room of the home in a fashion-forward manner. This means we got rid of cheap storage, crappy furniture and silly organizing tools in order to re-style the home to be simpler. Americans tend to over-shop and fill a room with knick-nacks, duplicates and junk. I push clients to throw away, fix up, sell or donate items in the home that are useless or neglected. I also sort through the junk that overcrowds busy central areas like mud rooms, closets, kitchen counters, bookshelves and desks. I also force clients to prioritize and write down a list of their home projects they've been neglecting... like hanging pictures, fixing broken items, spring cleanings the attic, etc. In the past year I realized my Unique Storage ideas and fashion friendly tips were one of a kind. I was going against standard organizing methods. I wasnt telling clients to use ugly baskets, plastic bins or laminated labels on every drawer. I feel like my advice is better than other organizers because I do not expect people to change overnight and wake up OCD. Organizers will often deciliter a home and return again 2 months later to find it is even messier than before. You cannot systemize a naturally messy person to all-the-sudden transform into a color coordinated loving neat freak. It's not about changing peoples home functions and systems, it's about correcting their bad habits. I decided to inspire people on a larger scale by making professional Youtube videos. I am now a guru that gives tips on luxury, decor, style and organizationwww.youtube.com/VanchicOrganization
2. I have a huge shopping problem and not nearly enough space to compensate. What are some ways that myself and other Fashionably Lo readers can maximize our small closets?
The first thing to do: Empower yourself. Realize that your self worth and responsibility to your bank account is more valuable than that pair of jeans you want to purchase. Grow your wallet by staying out of stores! Go to fashion swap parties and share clothes with trustworthy friends. Or you can shop and think like an Italian. When I visited Italy all the women were ridiculously chic and put-together. Their culture is about having everything artistan constructed, high quality, handmade or durable. Instead of having twenty-five dinky H&M necklaces, Italian women have two or three upscale valuable necklaces that they'll keep forever. They invest in one or two expensive things rather than buying a dozen cheap ones.
Second thing to do: Don’t be lazy. Get off your cute booty and sort through your clothes. Think of it like editing! Purge your closet of all the clothes that don’t fit you or are aged and worn. If you find that you're still cramped for space after purging, try to incorporate other areas in your room for closet goodies. My shoe collection did not fit inside my closet so I bought a large baroque glass armoire. It had tons of shelving space inside therefore I turned it into a fancy shoe rack! It's a beautiful home furnishing piece and it contains my wonderful fashions. I also realized my closet was too stuffed for my accessories. I found a great 1890's sheet music cabinet ($10 at a tag sale!) that I now use to store wallets, belts & clutches. I added a cute lamp then pushed the cabinet next to my bed and it doubles as my night stand! I was honest with myself; I had to think of outside-the-closet solutions because I knew my tiny closet area wasn't going to cut it.
The third way to feel proud of your closet space: Maximize every inch. Think tall. Don’t have anything on the floor. Lining up shoes or handbags on the floor adds bulk and width to the space making the closet look filled, jumbled and stubby. Get creative: Ceiling toy hammicks for large purses, tiered hangers for slacks, try nailing a mini curio cabinet to the wall, invest in a great trunk...think outside the box. I once had a client with a scary closet space the size of my pinky finger. We ended up taking off the closet door and installing a rod with a swanky hanging curtain. It made her closet appear lighter, taller and easier to access. Stay away from ugly organizational gimmick items like over the door hangers, under the bed space savers and plastic bins...all that cheap storage will make your home look like a tacky college dorm.
The last way to optimize a small closet: Put 'like with like' and 'type with type'. All jeans in one section, all socks in one drawer, every dress in one hanging togetherness area. Categorizing and uniformity makes it easier to get dressed in the morning and see everything you own.
3. What are some of your budget friendly tips for organizing our closets/storage space?
Flea markets, antique or vintage stores, consignment shops, outlet malls, thrift stores, craigslist and tag sales are amazing. In high school, I only shopped at the mall and department stores. I now kick myself thinking about all the money I wasted paying full price! Don’t get me wrong, I still love a good Louis Vuitton bag from time to time, but I consider that a treat! For all furnishing, organization and decor needs...you won’t find me at Macys!
4. What stores would you recommend for someone who is looking for affordable storage/closet organization items (i.e. shoe boxes, hangers, shelves, and other organizational tools)?
Always try flea markets, antique/vintage stores, consignment shops, outlet malls, thrift stores, craigslist and tag sales...Don’t think of organizational tools as purchases you can only find at The Container Store. When you've exhausted all thrifty options, here are some decent places:
-Bed Bath & Beyond
More Expensive Options
-Crate & Barrel
-Home Decorators Collection
-High Fashion Home
If you’re wondering why I left out certain companies (Ikea, The Container Store, KMart, Target, Walmart etc...) it is because their products are...not so great. I try my hardest NOT to shop for organizational or home items at any chain stores because I am a fan of getting vintage pieces, antiques or custom made furniture. I love the bargain hunt and haggling game because unique furniture pieces have stories and histories attached to them. These items then become unique to my home, define my space in a trendy way and reflect me. I can upcycle them, re paint, add new knobs, turn an armoire into my shoe rack...it's exciting! I like making my furniture personal to me. If all my furniture came from a catalog that 10000 other girls also own: boring!!
5. What kind of services do you offer? What are your price points? How can people get in contact with you?
I am now a professional youtube guru. I only physically organize homes about twice a month since Youtubing takes up all my time! My organizing rate depends on square footage of the home.
Would it take you more than an hour to tidy up your belongings? How many times a week do you misplace or lose things? Are you shopping and spending close-to or more money in a month than what you make? Is there more than one room in your house that has stacks of papers? Are you holding onto family heirlooms or gifts out of guilt and fear to purge it? Do you have mismatched or lost socks every time you do laundry? If you feel you are unorganized, my youtube channel can get your life on track. My goal is to inspire you to make your living space simplified and glamorous so you can efficiently get out the door quicker in the morning and feel good about your valuables.
www.youtube.com/VanchicOrganization Please Subscribe :)
Some General Tips Since You Asked For Them:
1. People often don’t purge because we have a fear of losing material value. We engrain it in our heads that since someone spent money on that ugly gift they bought for me, it would be a crime to throw it out, since it's like tossing cash. Well, it is actually costing you more money and prime real-estate space by keeping that unused item. It's doing you a disservice because you’re holding onto crap due to your own guilt or shame. Think of purging like upcycling and upgrading...you're just making the home more hip and current. It's positive purging!
2. Do not have more than 6 appliances, home or beauty products on all counter spaces.
3. Everything has a home and a belonging. If I pick up my hairbrush from this certain spot, I need to put it back there when I'm done using it.
4. Take a video of everything you own. It's so important to have for insurance in case something awful happens to your house.
5. Don’t let these materials come into your home: wicker (it sheds, bends and breaks easily), plastic, mesh, wire and particle board...Basically everything they sell at The Container Store...icky!! Try classier and durable materials like glass, porcelain, pottery, canvas, wood, iron, marble, leather, crystal...
6. Keep the paper trail down to a minimum. Go paperless with bills, ipad/nook for magazine and newspaper subscriptions and cancel unnecessary newsletters to reduce junk mail.
7. Don’t nag your messy child or cluttery husband. Nagging leads to you being a bitch and they'll just rebel with stubbornness and never clean their room. What you CAN do is be ANAL! Be meticulously orderly because your cleanly actions will motivate and be a role model for them to follow in your footsteps.
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**Photos provided by Kim of Vanchic.