Jill Pollack
Jill Pollack: Organization Expert

Featured On:

  • CBS
Jill Pollack became an organizational expert after over ten years as a TV producer. She worked at CBS News, The Sally Jessy Raphael Show, Extra, and ended her illustrious career with the primetime reality show of The Wedding of Trista and Ryan (The Bachelorette). Knowing her talent for persuasion and getting things done, she decided to utilize her highly honed organizational skills to truly help people live their best life by getting rid of clutter in closets, garages, offices, kitchens, guest rooms, and beyond.

Jill Pollack considers herself a personal trainer for the home and office. Her clients are people who want to get rid of all the stuff that is literally and physically blocking their lives, their closets, garages, guest rooms, hallways, kitchens, and offices. Her philosophy is "to own your stuff, don't let your stuff own you." She is caring, nonjudgmental and only desires to help improve the client's environment. No area is too daunting for her to handle and she has helped create systems for even the most scattered souls. She has successfully sorted the most daunting celebrity wardrobes and created order for the busiest talent manager's offices. Some of her celebrity clients include Marcia Cross, Felicity Huffman, Jennifer Tilly, and Brittany Murphy.

For more information, visit her website.
  • Best Decorative Storage Boxes
    Some people (men?) would argue that it is not the size of the box, it’s what is in the box that counts. That may be true in some cases (especially when you are talking about Valentine’s day or anniversary gifts, of course), but when discussing decorative storage boxes, the size and the outside of the box are the most important features.

    Another very important quality of the storage container is the shape. A hatbox should not be very long a thin, unless of course it contains a one-of-a-kind millinery creation by Philip Treacy (then that’s a whole other article), nor should a guitar case be a square. So when deciding on storage boxes, you should consider what it is you want to store, and where you want to store it. The where is not only what room you will be storing it in, but where in the room. Will it be on a shelf in the room for all to see? Will it be in a closet? Do you want the box to have a cover or to be open and accessible? Tough questions to ask, but Socrates said “the unexamined life is not worth living,” so, even if you are not an ancient Greek Philosopher, you can still ask yourself these deep questions and come up with the meaning of life, or at least how to clean up the family room.

    The one thing you can be sure of in the decorative storage box market is that there are a lot of options out there and they come in all shapes, sizes, and materials. And unlike many other organizational products, you can buy a few extra and know that you’ll always find a use for them in the future. Practical shopping? That’s a win win situation.
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  • Best Shoe Racks
    You don’t have to be Imelda Marcos to have shoe storage issues. I mean the shoe is the Platonic ideal of fashion perfection! Easy and fun to try on in the store, and you don’t have to be on a diet to look good in a great pair of shoes. This is why we tend to acquire many pairs. Herein lies the shoe storage conundrum: how to keep your shoes organized and not piled in a little mountain in the back corner of the closet. How can you know what footwear options you have if you can’t see them? Unless you are Ms. or Mr. Lucky and have shelves built in to your closet like some kind of shoe library (we hate you), the shoe rack is the best storage option for keeping your footwear organized and making your shoes "toe the line". Ahem.

    Of course, there are as many different shoe rack options as there are kinds of shoes. Flats, sandals, loafers, mules, pumps, stilettos, ballet slippers, boots, sneakers and more, are all shoe style incarnations that must be accommodated by whatever shoe rack you choose. You also must, of course, take in to account the space available in your closet or dressing area when purchasing a shoe rack. You should be honest about how you want to store your shoes. If the idea of putting your Jimmy Choos out in the open on a shoe rack makes you faint, make sure to select the right type of storage. Also, be sure to know the height measurement of all your heels. Some shoe racks, cubbies or storage units can’t accommodate very high heels, so shop accordingly. And most importantly, you should have an idea (if you can count them all!) of how many pairs of shoes you are looking to store.

    Of course as an Organizational Expert, I would urge you to purge before figuring out how many shoes you have and want to keep… isn’t it time to get rid of the black Doc Martens from the '80s and the white chunky heeled sandals? Those will never look good no matter what… seriously. Donate them or bring them to a second hand store and see if you can sell them, you never know. And while you are at it, any shoe that is too small, too big, that hurts when you wear it, that needs more repair then it is worth, get rid of as well. That way all the shoes that you store in your closet are ones you actually wear. Crazy idea, but it works.

    Now with a good purge and the right shoe rack, you will have no more excuses for being late to the ball, Cinderella, because you will know where all your shoes are and be able to grab the glass slippers at the last minute when Prince Charming calls.
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  • Best Hangers
    Joan Crawford may have been on to something when she railed, “No more wire hangers!” Now you might think it’s crazy to be so passionate about hangers, but as an Organizational Expert, I can’t think of many things more important than a well-organized closet, and the key to the perfect closet, is the perfect hanger! You should love your hangers as much as you love your clothes. Imagine throwing the doors open to your perfect Carrie Bradshaw “Sex and the City” closet to get dressed in the morning. OK, maybe you are not Mr. Big, or married to him, but you can have your own closet paradise by getting rid of the stuff that doesn’t fit and you never wear, and buying the right hangers to store the rest of it.

    You may think that hangers are ho hum simple and there is not much to them. Au contraire! There is the material, the shape, the style, the function, the color and so much more to consider. I could wax poetic all day long about the curve of the neck, the sturdiness of the shoulders, the heft of the body, but you might decide that I should hang out with Ms. Crawford in the crazy farm.

    There are three major factors to consider when buying hangers. The obvious and most important is what are you hanging? Another factor is the style of your closet. And thirdly, what closet will you be hanging it in. Hangers generally come in wood, metal, plastic, satin, and the newest material, velvet. You can even choose from a variety of colors. The biggest key to buying hangers is to pick a style that you like and stick to it. Having uniform hangers in your closet is the secret ingredient to keeping it organized. That way all your clothes hang at the same level which makes it easier to see your inventory and also makes it more accessible to reach in and grab what you want. Sometimes, though, you need a specialty hanger for a specific item or usage and here are the standouts in the hanger field.
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  • Best Desktop Organizers
    Are you always looking for something you just know you left somewhere on your desk? Does your workspace look more like a pile of papers and random stuff than a clear, clean place where things happen? Are you finding it difficult to get things done? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may be suffering from "organiziety,” the anxiety you feel when you are unorganized. In order to cure yourself, you must take charge of your life and your stuff, and the first place to do that is at your desk. The desk is the command center of your life. It's the hub where most of your information comes in and goes out. If your command center is cluttered, you can't run the operations that are your life. The top of your desk is some of the most valuable real estate in your office. How you arrange your work tools here can make the difference in how productive you are.

    Luckily there are ways to get your desk/ workspace functioning smoothly. First you must go through everything on your desk (annoying) and give each item a home. It may be a file in a file drawer, it may be a bill that needs to be paid and sent out, it may be garbage (if it's paper, put it in the recycle bin). The major task is figuring out where to put all the other stuff. No desktop is really big enough to contain all the bits and bobs that we need at our fingertips to get work done. They need to be put away in an organized fashion. And you can't keep your mind clear to think when all that stuff is cluttering your visual space as well. So where do you keep your stamps? Where does the stationery go? And what about the incoming bills, where to put them so they don't go unpaid?

    Here to save the day… dumptity dum… the desktop organizer. These organizational systems come in a wide range of sizes and configurations, so the first thing you need to do when considering a desktop organizer is to ask yourself some basic questions: How much storage do you need? How much surface space do you have to utilize? And, of course, you should determine the aesthetic of your workspace so you pick a piece that will look good, because with your new streamlined and productive space, you will be looking at it a lot.
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  • Best Office Armoires
    The office armoire is one of the greatest organizational tools known to man! What other room in your house would fit into a closet? You certainly can't sleep in a closet, or cook or eat in one (although if you are scarfing down the last piece of cake, that's is a great place to hide). So if you don't have the luxury of an extra room to use for an office, you don't have to live like a nomad with nowhere to run your life. The office armoire is a fantastic tool that can give you all the space and storage you need to run any operation like a general. The essential components of a home office are a desk, shelving, and file drawers, many pieces out there have all you need.

    I know it sounds too good to be true, but I recently had to put this theory into practice myself when I had a baby and had to convert our second bedroom from the office to a nursery. I was highly skeptical and nervous about this undertaking, but since I had no other option, I knew the office armoire was my only solution (I just had to get rid of the fish tank to make room). I am happy to report that I write this column from my office armoire, and run my organizing business and the comings and goings of my family from here as well. It can be done, and in fact I am doing it better in the smaller space than I did in the whole room, seriously. Hard to believe, but it's the same concept as packing a smaller suitcase. You really don't need a lot of the stuff that you think you do, and when you streamline down to the necessities, you don't waste a lot of time rummaging around for the right item, and you don't distract yourself with all those shoes you brought for "in case." Just don't forget your passport.

    But I digress. Of course, there are many things you have to consider when shopping for an office armoire. The size of the piece is the first issue. You may not have another whole room to dedicate to an office, but you need to make sure you have the wall space for the armoire as some of them can be pretty wide. You also need to figure out what style of furniture works for the room in which it will live. It's also important to take inventory for what exactly you will be fitting into this space. What kind of supplies to you have or need to keep at hand? How much desk space do you need? Is there enough space for the printer, computer, monitor, and speakers? Once you figure that stuff out, there are some really great options out there.
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  • Best Shredders
    Shred it, Baby!

    Getting and staying organized is as important and flossing every day. A ridiculous analogy you may think, but you know what happens when you don't floss… tartar builds up. If you don't get rid of that stuff your teeth and gums will decay. Same thing goes with all the unwanted stuff in your life, especially papers. If you don't "floss" the unnecessary files and mail and general paper out of your life on a regular basis, your personal records will decay.

    Junk mail is one of the chief contributors to the pile up of unwanted papers. The average person gets only 1.5 personal letters each week, compared to 10.8 pieces of junk mail. That amount of mail can be overwhelming and certainly cause a lot of unwanted clutter in your home. The first step towards ridding yourself of this mail detritus is to join a service that can get rid of it for you without any hassle on your part. I suggest joining a junk mail stopping service such as www.greendimes.com. For a small fee they stop all your unwanted junk mail, including catalogs, and they even plant trees with your membership. Now why didn't I think of that? Stopping your junk mail is not only healthy for you, it's vital for the environment. Did you know that 100 million trees are ground up each year for unsolicited mail? Junk mail wastes 28 billion gallons of water for paper processing each year to generate 4.5 million tons of junk mail! Another service you can use to get your name removed from unwanted credit cards and insurance offers is OptOutPrescreen.com or call 1(888)5-OPT-OUT.

    For the rest of the mail you want to get rid of, as well as personal papers, financial records, even old love letters, avail yourself of one of the best organizational tools known to man, the shredder. It's your organizational dental floss. Why not just throw the stuff out you say? Because it's essential to destroy the information on personal papers to avoid the rampant practice of identity theft that plagues thousands of Americans each year. Believe me, you don't want to be a victim of identity theft, it can cost you a lot of money and years of aggravation.

    Now some of you, like Gertrude Stein, may think a shredder is a shredder is a shredder. Now you see it, now it's in a thousand little pieces. Right? Wrong. There are many different qualities and features to a shredder, not to mention the look of the thing, and you should see what features are important to you besides the safe disposal of your personal information.
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  • Best Wall Organizers
    The Final Frontier:

    Do you always lose your keys? Forget important appointments? Do you get to the grocery store and forget what you needed to buy? Staying organized and in control of your life is not an easy job. No need to fret, luckily there are some great organizational products out there to help you run your life smoothly and effortlessly. They can even add a touch of style to your home as well! When you have used up every countertop, drawer and cabinet and still can't keep track of your life and the schedules of your family members, it is time to explore the final frontier of space… the wall, a perfect place for organization. Most of us can't afford a personal assistant, but the wall organizers are an incredibly effective (and way less expensive!) alternative. You need to ask yourself a few questions before committing to a wall organizer; they come in many sizes, shapes, styles, and functions.

    What do you need the wall organizer for? Do you need a place to hang your keys and put your mail? Are you always running out of the house with your phone uncharged or do you forget your phone completely? Do you need a calendar space to stay on top of your appointments? Are you always losing receipts for things to return or tickets to the big game? Do you need a central area to leave messages for your family?

    Where does it make sense to hang it? Is there a perfect spot in the kitchen? Mudroom? Office? Entryway? Generally, you should hang it as close to the door you go in and out of as possible or the office are where you manage the house where you keep track of shopping lists, schedule reminders, etc.

    How much space do you have to hang it? Wall organizers come in a huge variation of sizes, so measure your space and get the piece that will fit nicely into your home. Remember, you are not organized just because you bought an organizing tool. You have to USE it to be and stay organized.

    Does it work with the aesthetics of your home? Wall organizers are first and foremost a way to keep your life running well, but they come in many different styles, so pick one also that goes with your personality and décor.
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