Does getting and staying organized seem like an impossible dream? Would you like to be organized, but just can’t figure out where to start or how to remain motivated? Do you wish you could have a professional organizer come do it all for you? Well, I’d be happy to (and you can contact me to do just that as a virtual organizer via video chat, phone or email), but if you’re motivated to get organized on your own, these 10 organizing tips from a professional organizer will get you started and well on your way to your organized home and future.
Organizing isn’t a mystical, magical event. When you know how to do it, organizing is a process. When you work your way through the organizing process, following these organizing tips, and you can attain an organized home and life.
Organizing broadly consists of:
10 Organizing Tips
Define What Isn’t Working for You – Before you can decide where to start decluttering and organizing, you must determine what is your challenge – what isn’t working for you. Narrow down what isn’t working to an issue you can address.
- “I can’t take any more.” – While the emotion is understandable, there’s nothing there that can be addressed and corrected.
- “I can’t find what I need in my closet.” – The issue is clear – create a closet where you can easily find and access each item.
Knowing what isn’t working for you, directs your focus and energy to address that issue and resolve it.
Decide What Will Work Best for You – There are no one-size-fits all decluttering or organizing solutions. The right solution is what will work for you, your unique space, unique patterns and unique desires. Decide what you want to do and have in your space. What will work for you, may not be a magazine spread.
Organize Treasures Not Junk – If you’ve heard of Marie Kondo, then you’re probably familiar with concept of keeping only items that “spark joy.” While I’m not much of an items-spark-joy-for-me kinda girl, the concept is extremely useful. Don’t spend your time, energy and resources organizing and storing anything that isn’t either useful to you or that you love. You are worth more than a life full of bleh junk. And there’s no reason to waste your time organizing bleh junk.
When you declutter, look for the items that you really want to keep and keep only those items. Really want to keep items can be useful items that you may not love (a can opener) or items that you love and may not be useful (the painting your mom made for you). Let the other items find other homes or be disposed of in the trash when appropriate.
Keep this I’m worth more than bleh junk idea in mind as you declutter. You may even find you want to write it down and stop often to remind yourself.
Sort Like Items with Like – Take everything out of the closet, cupboard, drawer, box, room, whatever area you are working on, As you take items out, sort them into categories:
- Like items with like items
- All the pens together
- All the highlighters together
- All the paperclips together
- All the sticky notes together
This allows you to look at each category and decide how many of that item you really need. Seeing the total number of similar items makes it easier to decide what to keep and what to let go.
- When you see that you have 9 purple tee-shirts, you realize that you probably don’t need nine of the same color of tee-shirt (no matter how much you love that color).
- When you empty your cupboards out and find that you have three flour sifters, you realize you had no idea that you had three and you really only need to keep one.
- When you empty your junk drawer and find 29 half-used pens, you pick out the ones that still work and you like to use and let the others go.
- When you sort your craft supplies and find that you have 20 rubber stamp sets and you haven’t stamped in years, you decide to donate them all.
- When you go through your children’s art supplies and find 11 partially used coloring books and you only have one child that is still interested in coloring, you decide to recycle half of the coloring books.
Create a Home that Makes Sense for Every Category – Don’t just put items back where they were before. Take the time to think about how you use the items and the space and put them away in a location that makes sense for your family and your home.
- Rather than storing everyday shoes in your closet, store them by your back door.
- Rather than keeping vitamins and daily meds in your medicine cabinet, keep them in the kitchen next to your drinking glasses.
- Rather than placing seldom used items in your main cabinet space, move them out-of-the-way to the top shelves and place more commonly used items in the main area.
Live with and Try Out Your New Organizing System – Before you buy any new organizing products, live with your new organizing system. Live real life with real family members to see how the new system works for you and your family. What makes sense to you or what seems easy to put away may not seem that way to your family. You don’t want your new organizing system to cause new organizing problems.
Make Adaptations – After living with the new organizing system for three to four weeks, make adaptations based on what is working and what isn’t.
Make It Beautiful – Once you have an organizing system that is consistently working for your family, go buy lovely organizing products if you’d like.
- I’m a big believer in using repurposed organizing ideas to save money and the landfill.
- You can often find lovely organizing bins, baskets and other tools at thrift stores and yard sales.
- If you do plan on going shopping for organizing products, make sure you measure each space well and search for organizing products to maximize (and fit into) that space.
Commit to On-going Organizing – Organizing is not a one-and-done proposition. Life changes, the items you own change, and so your organizing system will have to change. Develop the mindset that you will reevaluate and adjust your organization systems on a regular basis.
So what are we waiting for?! Let’s jump in and put these organizing tips from a professional organizer to work. And if you’d prefer, you can always contact me for in-person or virtual organizing assistance. I’d love to hear from you.
Find all my best organizing tips, hacks, printables and favorite products in the table below. You can scroll though the table and look for ideas or search for specific ideas with the magnifying glass in the upper right-hand corner (on desktop). Click on the topic and then click through the specific article.
I’m a mom of 3, a veteran and military spouse. I’ve moved into 20+ homes all around the world. My passion is helping busy people make the space and time for what’s really important to them.