To watch iJustine’s (a.k.a. Justine Ezarik) YouTube page is to think she’s got it all figured out – after all, she’s turned her love of tech from a nerdy hobby into a massive empire, with more than 5 million subscribers on her YouTube channel. But that window into her life wasn’t showing the whole picture: Her kitchen and closet were, shall we say, a little haphazardly “organized.” And Ezarik knew it was time to bring in an expert to make it as functional as the iPhone she loves. Enter professional organizer Jen Robin (a.k.a. Life in Jeneral), who evaluated the two biggest problem areas and, with her team, tackled them just as she has many celeb clients (including Kristen Bell and Erin Andrews) in the past. And to involve Ezarik in the process, they did what she does best – film the whole thing – so they could share the results with People.
Ezarik kicks off the video of her kitchen maker by confessing “my life is always in shambles and there’s stuff everywhere … nothing where it belongs and nothing makes sense.” Robin tells her not to be so hard on herself – but admits, “We did help a little bit.” So how exactly did that look? We sent her our most pressing questions.
What were the most unique challenges about making over Justine’s space?
The most unique challenge about Justine’s home was that all of her equipment for blogging and work filming, etc. is so specific and technical. We were able to sort everything but really needed her input on how to properly label each cord, cable and wire so that she would be able to find what she needed easily, and she was more than happy to work with us and become a part of the process. We love interacting with our clients in that manner and making their lives more efficient.
The cords really interested me – I think so many people have cord graveyards. How do you make sense of what to keep/toss? Any cardinal rules?
Cords can be a doozy and take time to go through but once they are all sorted and labeled, you will have so much peace of mind that you will without a doubt agree that it was worth the time spent! Cords should be separated and organized by type (keep all chargers together, USBs together, HDMIs together, etc.) but in this case it was smart and more functional in Justine’s space to organize by device, so everything she needs for each specific camera and/or gadget can be found in its specified location. We spent the time to find out which cord went with which device, and discerning whether or she actually uses each. We then discarded the ones that were not useful and stored her relevant cords with their respective devices in individual pouches.
Obviously she has to have a ton of everything since she films, but do you advise like a “max” of any item to keep things organized/clutter down?
We try not to put a max on anything, as each person and their needs/lifestyles are completely different. So we strive to implement tailored systems that work specifically for each individual client. A good rule of thumb is that if you haven’t used something in 6 months to a year, you will not miss it if it is gone. When Justine was able to see her entire inventory, she really thought about what and how she used her equipment, and it was easy to figure out what she needed and what we could discard.
What if someone has more, say, glassware than cupboard space? She has lots of lovely open space afterwards but if someone is a newlywed in a small apartment, how should they try to organize everything they have with the space constraints they’ve got?
We encourage our clients to keep a modest amount of glassware in their cupboards, and store the excess in another area of the home. When you have limited cabinet space, just remember that you only need to keep the number of dishes that you use on a regular basis accessible, the rest can go up high or stored in an out of the way place in the home: closet, basement, high in the pantry, etc. (Below: rotating spin trays give you easier access to spices and other ingredients in an organized way.)
Did you have to convince her to toss/recycle/give in on anything? Was she part of the process or did she just move out and let you take over?
Justine was a dream to work with! She did let us take over, and made herself available as needed, a brief portion of each day, to decipher what she used regularly and what we were able to recycle or donate. She was very practical about what she needed and was very willing to discard the items that no longer serve her. (Below: See her baking station, totally transformed.)
(Below: Robin used special trays to help avoid that junk-drawer jumble.)
What was her favorite reveal?
Her favorite reveal was her “office” turned into Master Closet. We created an entire closet with built-ins that previously stored all of her AV and filming equipment, mics, cords and various gadgets and gizmos. We took into account her current inventory, and designed a custom closet tailored to her needs and lifestyle. We left plenty of room to for hanging clothes in each section of her closet, and designed the drawers with her specific needs in mind … she has lots of watches and sunglasses. She was blown away by the transition of the space! (See the reveal below.)
Justine was floored by the closet reveal (“My undies are folded!”) which included bins with her Tieks collection folded and color-organized, and uniform hangers to prevent that feeling of chaos. But all of that organization didn’t come overnight, Robin confesses: “It took a full seven days with a team of five to organize all of her spaces! We organized over 10 full spaces, garage included! She purged every category in every room and, as involved as she was, we still only needed her present for about an hour each day for purging and questions.”