Lauren Combs made Bloomfield Hills her home in 2011, after her and her husband (native of Bloomfield Hills!) lived in Chicago, and the South Bay of Los Angeles for 9 years before that. Lauren is a professional organizer, and owner of Neat Method Detroit, a professional organizing company! She is a mom to three adorable kiddos, and is fully embedded in the Birmingham and Bloomfield Hills community. Read on to learn all about Lauren!
How many children do you have and what are their ages?
My husband, Andy, and I have three kids at home; our son Drake is 6.5, our daughter Perry is 5, and our “baby” Clay is 3. We also have a fur baby, our rescue pup from California, Josie, who is 10 (and also weighs 10 lbs).
How long have you lived in Birmingham/Bloomfield Hills? What made you decide to live here?
We have lived here since Summer of 2011, and had lived in Chicago and the South Bay of Los Angeles for 9 years prior. We loved our life at the beach, but had dreams of children and wanted to be much closer to family. I am from Cincinnati, OH and my husband is from Bloomfield Hills, and we settled on his hometown. We love this community and raising our children here, and are lucky to have so many friends that are like family. But we miss the beach and still look at real estate back in CA on the regular, just in case. 😉
What’s your favorite family activity around town? In the Summer we love the Birmingham Farmers Market on Sunday’s. They have really stepped up their game with food truck vendors that our kids enjoy just as much as we do. Our kids love dancing to the local musicians and helping me pick out the perfect farm flower bouquet. We frequent the Franklin Cider Mill A LOT between Labor Day and Thanksgiving, so the donuts are a staple for our kids along with those delicious cider slushees. We enjoying meeting friends there and taking that perfect Fall photo. Skiing is a family affair which we enjoy Up North but also locally. The kids are in Blizzards ski school this year where we ski both Mt Holly and Pine Knob every Saturday. They take after me, but mostly their Dad, in their love of the sport.
What are your favorite places in town? Hands down, Commonwealth. I even trick the kids into going there when I have one on one time with them. They love the food and they call it my office. I have been known to go there 3 times a day. The kids love Griffin Claw because they can run around outside and play in the rocks in the Summer. If we are sticking around town and not going to Detroit, our go-to date spot, is definitely Luxe Bar. For shopping, I have a slight obsession with jeans, and buy all my denim from Caruso Caruso. Stem & Stone is a cool store that I shop at for my home, and I love gifting their small plants in local artisan pots.
What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
I’m an artist. I’ve been drawing and painting most of my life. I love creating art in my organized environment and have always been able to paint when things are less chaotic. These days, I paint very seldom, due to the nature of having kids and living a very busy and distracted life. I have just a few commissioned drawings and paintings a year, but look forward to freeing up more time in the future to dedicate to creating art.
Let’s talk about your business! What is Neat Method?
Neat Method is a National professional organizing company with locations throughout the US and Canada. We plan and implement an organized system for any space in a home, from garages to closets and pantries, and every area in between. Our team of training organizers works to customize each space, finding a home for every item. We have a method to our madness, working towards function, efficiency and organization that is sustainable for our clients to maintain.
Being organized means being able to find what you need when you need it!
Some benefits to being organized are:
1. ) Getting organized can help you manage stress.
2. ) You can locate important information or items on a moment’s notice.
3. ) Our minds no longer need to focus on the physical or mental clutter.
4. ) Important things don’t fall through the cracks.
5. ) You respond more effectively, are more productive and more creative.
The process for us as professionals is step by step, and I’m happy to share it! The following applies to any and all areas you are looking to get organized:
Step 1: Remove Everything
Step 2: Categorize
Step 3: Edit:: Separate by Keep, Donate, Toss
Step 4: Find Items a Home
Step 5: Purchase & Implement the proper Materials (bins, dividers, labels, etc)
What tips do you have to make mom life easier?
First up, here are some general and daily items we as moms can follow:
1. ) Prioritize your objectives: Make to-do lists. Organize you day whether it’s errands or picking up the house, and keep it realistic. Do not give yourself a 20 item to-do list daily: choose your priorities and make sure each day these items are attainable and then you will feel more accomplished.
2. ) Schedule 30 mins per day to go through “stuff”—whether it’s your car, your mail, your closet or anywhere in between. Start to incorporate the steps above to achieve organization in that small area, even if it takes 30 mins x’s a few days.
3. ) Remove clutter from your countertop. So many Neat clients across the country describe being overwhelmed by the visual clutter and piles on countertops and surfaces. Stay on top of it; find things a home and put things away. When they have a home, you will still be able to find it, it doesn’t need to be out and giving you that clutter stress.
4. ) Categorize and keep things close to where they will be used. Once you go through the steps above, as you are finding those items and categorizes a permanent home, consider where it will be used and make it accessible.
5. ) Have a home for everything, and make the effort to maintain it.
Here are a few tips for kid spaces:
1) Use broad categories for your bins and baskets—be realistic with kids and how they will play with their things; ie. don’t categorize out the trucks from the cars or even the toy planes, use a broad category for your bin like ‘vehicles’ or ‘transportation’. This will make it easier to maintain for you and for them when they are putting things away.
2) Label everything! You might know where things are, but grandparents, sitters, and others may need those labels to help you maintain the categorizes, know where to find everything and put it back, too.
3) Location is key! If you want kids to get themselves dressed in the morning, put those items where they can reach them. Same with a pantry, if you want them to grab their own snacks then make it accessible to them (ie. basket of healthy snacks goes down low, candy basket goes up high) And the mudroom…you can use bins for each kids’ shoes and each kids’ hats & gloves and put them at an arms reach.
Closet Help! Some tips for your own personal closet (that also applies to all closets):
1. ) Use Matching slimline hangers. We often implement the black velvet slimline for our client’s closets. But if you prefer another color of velvet or even a different material all together of a similar slim hanger, the point is to have matching hangers for consistency and overall aesthetic, and so that you maximize space and efficiency.
2. ) ROY G BIV everything. This is organizing by the colors of the rainbow. Within each and every category, if you organize by color, you will easily find what you are looking for and also know where to put it back in the spectrum.
3. ) Face items toward you. When you hang your clothing, once they are color-coded within each category, face each item the same way which should be towards the direction you are looking at your items. Sometimes that is facing everything towards the door to the closet, and if it’s a large walk-in closet, sometimes items will face towards the middle where you would be standing while in there shopping your wardrobe.
4. ) File folding in drawers. This is folding items and filing them up and down and not laying folded items on top of one another. If you have them filed, and then color coded, you will see each item and be able to pick what you want. If they are stacked, you will typically just wear the same shirts on the very top of the stack.
5. ) Consider what you access most. No matter how big or small your closets might be, there is always the spots of ‘prime real estate’. If you wear a suit or business casual every day to work, it makes the most sense to have those categories front and center so it’s more efficient to get dressed in the morning. If you wear yoga pants daily or wear them to work like myself, put those items in that prime accessible spot.
If someone wants to hire your team, how does the process work? And how can they contact you?
Typically, potential clients contact me and we discuss their organizational needs and the spaces that need some help. We then set up a consultation, where I meet them at their home to review the project. We go over what is and is not working in the area(s), and I assess how they live and work and use their space. We discuss materials, like if the client has a particular style in mind with baskets, or wants plastic or glass for canisters in the pantry, or if they prefer we use our design eye and do what we think is best for the function and look of each space. Also, we discuss if there are belongings worth donating, that our team will take those items to the proper nonprofit organizations that need them and will use them. After our initial meeting and visit, I come up with an estimate of hours it will take for our team to get the job completed. If the client wants to move forward, we schedule the day(s) that work for everyone, and we get to work transforming their space and giving them the clutter free, calm and composed life they were searching for. Our clients will then have a new appreciation for the importance of living Neat!
You can contact Lauren via email at [email protected] or by calling or texting her at 313-910-6343.
And, you can always visit her on Instagram for inspiration while tackling one of your own spaces!
@neatmethod and @detroitneat and her personal page @lmcgcombs
How has this community been instrumental in getting you to where you are now?
This community has been critical in the growth of my business. Referrals from my amazing clients are my number one source of new business. Also, I have met so many other entrepreneurs, like yourself and some of the other meet-a-moms you have featured, that are all so supportive of each other. These small business owners like to lift you up and help you out…just like my client base. I enjoy networking with people and learning from them, and what I can do to support their efforts.
Thank you Lauren for sharing your expertise with us! Follow Lauren and her company on Instagram @Detroitneat, and contact her if you are interested in organizing your home!