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Sort. Store. Salvage.

Organize your life (or at least one space)


As spring approaches, many of us begin to contemplate the obligatory spring cleaning process and how we plan to make sense of our domains and the belongings we surround ourselves with. This process can feel incredibly daunting, and often we lack the motivation and wherewithal to effectively organize our lives and living spaces. One local woman has turned her hobby and love of organizing, simplifying, and thrifting into a side endeavor in which she assists others in creating attractive and multifunctional spaces to better meet their needs.

Kaitlin Ripple, twenty-nine, is a full-time social worker, wife, and mother. Friends and family have been calling upon her expertise for years to help organize spaces in their homes, sort through mountains of items, and complete DIY projects. These experiences became the inspiration one year ago for the creation of Sort.Store.Salvage, a collaborative service for those looking to organize their lives.

Ripple assesses the spaces to be organized and discusses with clients their goals for the space. Of major concern is what method a client will stick with, maintaining the new order. She says that her social work training and experience have greatly informed her ability to work with clients. Project completion becomes much more than simply tidying a space. Projects are broken down into smaller chunks and goals are set for each work session. Clients are assigned “homework” after each work session to prepare for subsequent aspects of the project.

Ripple says that this process is about “creating the space together,” which helps clients feel ownership over the changes and work that has been done. Ripple goes through each item in the space with the client and asks questions like, “Do you really need this? What value does this hold for you? Can we use this item in a different way?” Some items are discarded, while others are donated or repurposed as part of the project. Ripple frequently donates old linens, towels, carpets, and clothing from projects to local animal shelters. In an effort to simplify, she looks to salvage items the client already has in order to not only save money but also to cut down on the client obtaining additional “stuff.” 

Ripple is a self-proclaimed “thrifter” and is always looking for great deals on materials she can use and repurpose for her organization projects. She recently reinvented a closet in her home into a craft station and future homework nook for her daughter. After emptying the closet and sorting through her belongings, Ripple painted the space and installed shelving and a countertop. She then organized her crafting materials into totes and jars. The totes were purchased in bulk at a deep discount, and the jars were sourced at a flea market. The space was also outfitted with reclaimed wood to create a space to hang crafting tools and repurposed picture frames to decorate the space. She installed an electric outlet and a lamp. The only new materials she purchased for this specific project were the wood for one of the overhead shelves and the countertop. This project took about seven hours from start to finish. 

Ripple currently commits to about two client projects per month but hopes to increase this in the future if her schedule allows. She is a member of the National Association of Professional Organizers and has revamped a variety of spaces, including offices, basements, garages, playrooms, and closets. She can be reached by email at [email protected] or via her Facebook page: Sort.Store.Salvage.  


Katelyn Lee is a mental health counselor and freelance writer from Rochester.

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