Updated: Feb 3
When helping clients with their home organizing projects, I repeatedly hear the same three things:
"I don't know where to start."
"I don't have time."
"I bought some bins and tried to get things organized, but it never worked how I envisioned."
Organizing can be challenging. And thanks to Instagram and Pinterest, we now have distorted perspectives and grandiose ideas for what organizing should be. In reality, very few people can maintain the color-coded lego system, the alphabetized pantry, and the pristine playroom.
My philosophy is that sometimes it's the small and simple organizing efforts that have a considerable impact. So when you're ready for a transformation and make an organizational impact, follow these eight simple suggestions.
Start with something easy
Don't let your grandiose ideas get the best of you. It might sound too simple but start with your junk drawer, a bookshelf, a dresser drawer, your glove compartment in your car, or a bathroom cupboard.
Write down what you want to organize
Writing down your organizing plan will help you clarify your goals, priorities, and intentions. This process allows your brain to focus on the task at hand and simplify your thinking. Here is an example of how I went about organizing my kid's art supply cabinet.
Set a timer
Putting a time limit on tasks helps you stay on task — you won't get sucked into taking on too big of a project or lose focus. For example, if you're organizing the junk drawer in your kitchen, give yourself 1 hour to complete the task.
Take everything out
Don't try to organize the chaos that is already there. Instead, remove everything and start with a blank slate. Once everything is out, it also gives you a chance to wipe down shelves and clean the areas that get neglected.
I'll write an in-depth blog post about decluttering soon, but I'll emphasize now that it's the most challenging and the most necessary step in the organizing process. The suggestion I want to convey is that you don't need to worry about perfection. Start decluttering by eliminating the obvious — what's broken, expired, no longer fits, or what no longer serves a purpose.
Give things a home
Another of my core organizing philosophies is that everything has its proper place. Meaning, give items a home base: toys, office supplies, games, kitchen gadgets, pantry items, first aid supplies, etc. So when your house is a wreck, clean-up becomes a breeze because everyone will know where things go.
Don't worry, you don't have to turn into a minimalist. You can still have your stuff and things. As you begin your organizing endeavors, start being mindful of the items you collect and store. Do you need seven rolls of tape and three staplers? Chances are you overbought items because you didn't know what you had or you had "misplaced" items.
Buy organizing products last
Yes, this contradicts the previous point of minimizing what you have, but the fact is that you won't know what you'll need to until after you see what you have and where the home base will be. Sometimes we are so eager to start the organizing process we end up purchasing the wrong things, which end up not working and more stuff keeps accumulating. When you save the buying for last, it helps you pinpoint the size, shape, placement, and usage, and often you realize you can repurpose and use items you may already have.
What are your organizing tips? I would love to hear how you go about tackling an organizing task without feeling overwhelmed or defeated.