Getting Organized

By Emily Rupe

My life as a groomer is controlled insanity. Trying to service clients, balance family, and get time for myself often leaves me pulling chunks of hair out and mumbling in a corner. To add insult to injury, the more hectic life gets, the more keeping organized and tidy takes a backseat. Suddenly, I look around, and the aftermath of the grooming hurricane has enveloped my work space. I’m cluttered with freebies, must-haves, and “I’ll find a use for that.” The time has come to bite the bullet and get organized!

Although staring down a mountain of accumulated crap can be daunting, it’s best to tackle small areas or amounts at a time. Inevitably a decision will have to be made as to what items stay and what items are kicked to the curb. Try assembling three large boxes: one for “keep,” one for “goodbye,” and another for “not sure.” On the “not sure” box, write a date (usually three to six months ahead) and seal it. If you haven’t had the need to open it and use any of its contents by the date on the box, consider it another “goodbye” box.

Once you’ve established what stays, it’s time to put it back in an organized manner. Wait to purchase bins and pre-fashioned organizers until you’ve completed the purge and know exactly what needs to find a home. If you jump the gun and go crazy with container shopping prior to completion, there’s a greater chance you’ll waste funds on extra or non-ideal materials. Fight the urge!

It’s important to map out your new tidy space mentally and consider a few questions. Are you right or left handed? Individuals tend to use their more dominate hand, so if you set up your tool storage on your dominate side, it will be easier to access and save time. What items do I use most often? Items that are daily requirements should be stored in “prime real estate” for quick access. Those getting less action go into places such as bottom drawers.

After the purge and planning comes the fun part: thinking of creative and functional ways to store and organize. Especially in small salons or mobile units, it’s important to utilize as much space as possible and keep things streamlined. Think up rather than out if need be. Magnetic tool strips found at any home improvement store can be installed to hold combs, shears, hemostats, rakes, or stripping knives.

Shower caddies can be great wall organizers, too. Not only are they meant to handle all the moisture of a bathing room, but they come in a variety of shapes and sizes. I love the corner or smaller variety by my station to hold colognes and sprays. I have easy access and don’t run the risk of them turning over and leaking into a drawer. Of course shower caddies are fabulous over the tub, as well, to hold mixing bottles or dental products. Make sure to hang your caddy with hooks rather than screws so that when it’s time to clean them, all you have to do is remove them and wash them out in your tub.

Wall-mounted hand soap dispensers are fabulous for facial products. Installed right next to a tub, it’s convenient and reduces waste since each pump is just the perfect small amount. If you have a small bathroom-style cabinet (with or without a sink on top), try installing a tension rod inside to hang all the cleaners that are in spray bottles. You can still slide bins underneath them for additional storage.

Part of keeping things streamlined and simple is using products that can have multiple uses. These can be grooming or cleaning products. One of my favorites is white vinegar! You can use it as a final rinse on dogs for a squeaky clean finish or as a whitener/brightener, but that’s only the beginning. To clean glass or mirrors, mix it with water and wipe it clean with crumpled newspaper. When heated and added to equal parts dish soap, it will break down soap scum and rust stains. It can be run through bathing systems to cleanse or poured down drains to eliminate odors. Added to laundry, it’s a booster and softener. This one product reduces the need for a variety of cleaners, is safe for the dogs, and saves more room for other items.

Another example is using a shampoo that has multiple purposes. Most citrus-based shampoos work great not only for killing fleas but as a degreaser and deodorizer, as well. By finding a product that does all three, I reduce my three gallons of shampoo to one. By having only one product open and using it more quickly, I am also reducing my chance of it going rancid from sitting on a shelf for months on end.

Let the décor or theme of your salon provide inspiration. If you have an industrial look, use tool boxes as stations and magnetic tool strips (mentioned earlier). If you’re a little more country, hang mason jars on the walls to hold combs and tools. Go to a thrift store and find an old dresser and turn it into a station. Get creative and have fun. With websites like Pinterest, there is no excuse for decorating block.

Once you’ve tackled the clutter, you’ll realize the great difference it can make. Your work space will be healthier with less dust and stockpiles to dodge, giving a more professional appearance. This not only makes an impact on clients but can inspire your groomers to refocus. Time will be saved from no longer having to sift through excess tools/items and having a more efficient space that works for you. With the extra time and reduced waste, all that’s left is the additional income and sanity your hard work has earned. “

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