How to Bring More Zen to Your Home Office & Beyond, According to an L.A. Organizing Pro

Life in Jeneral founder Jen Robin shares her top tips for keeping a mess-free space.

As many of us are lucky enough to be confined in a warm and comfortable home (hey, it's the least we can do, right?), we're finding ways to find solace in our dwellings — by cleaning every nook, cranny, and corner. And as science proves, dusting away our stress is actually pretty effective at maintaining both our health and a clean abode, especially now that we're clocking into the office from our couch or kitchen table.

Since keeping tidy while working from home is easier said than done (this editor can attest from her seven-plus years as a freelancer), we asked Jen Robin, founder of L.A.-based lifestyle and organizing company Life in Jeneral, to help ourselves get set up for social-distancing WFH success.

"During difficult times, it’s hard to focus," Robin tells UncoverLA. "Our minds tend to wander towards what’s causing the discomfort, so it’s important to have organization in your life because it helps so much to keep anxiety at bay. Instead of adding to the list of things to be stressed about, you know where everything is in your space, you have the freedom to take up space, and it offers you a sense of calm and control in an otherwise chaotic environment."

To support clients (as well as mess-prone, home-bound Angelenos) from afar, the Life in Jeneral team recently decided to offer one-on-one virtual organizing sessions ($150 to $299) via video conference, complete either standard or customized PDF plans and shopping lists. You can also work directly with Robin herself ($500).

Here, Robin shares her top tips for keeping a mess-free home office, her go-to organizational products, how to give back as we clean out the pantry or closet, and more. Keep reading below, and book a service with the Life in Jeneral team by emailing [email protected].

As many people transition to a work-from-home model for the first time, what are some easy ways to organize an efficient home office?

When transitioning to a work-from-home office, have fun with it. The space you choose to occupy for work should bring you joy, so don’t be afraid to fill it with things like plants, candles, and cute notebooks and pens because they’ll be the things to help you stay focused and motivated.

Here at LIJ, we love any and all of Erin Condren's organizational products. I am a big supporter of using the Notes app to organize your day. Your to-do list can be a great co-worker!

When people are at their most stressed, what are some key areas in the home to prioritize when it comes to organization and help maintain a sense of zen?

Key areas to keep organized are the kitchen, the bathroom, and now more than ever, your designated office space. When you go to use things in your home, put them back where they came from to keep from clutter piling up. Add special touches, like a candle to the bathroom or fresh flowers in the kitchen and hone in on what brings you calm.

Most importantly, if a space does get cluttered, give yourself grace. We’re not machines that can go, go, go all the time. Take a breath and start by putting one pile of things away. This is sometimes the only motivation you need!

Since we are all in this together, what are some simple ways that we can give back as we reorganize, whether it’s cleaning out our closet, pantry, or other spaces?

It’s been amazing to see the community and solidarity that this unprecedented time has caused. Don’t underestimate what going out of your way to help someone will do. Whether you’re in a position to donate to a food bank or wrapping up a bag of gently used clothing for your local donation center, these things are in high demand right now and help so much.

When it comes to going through and organizing your home, among the questions like, 'When did I use this last?', or 'Does this bring me joy?' Maybe add a question like, 'Would this serve someone better than me in this time of need?'

Got any other tips to help us keep calm and carry on once we've de-cluttered?

Reach out to those in isolation, check in and tell your family you love them, and take care of yourself. Stay home and know that simply by doing that, you’re making a huge difference. Team LIJ is here for you for all of your organizational needs, but also if you just want someone to talk to. 

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