Tuesday, November 4, 2014

My Top Five Organizing Tips

One of my favorite things to do is to purge and organize. If I had to choose a different career, I'd be a professional organizer. Since this month's Choose Your Own Adventure Goal Challenge theme is Organize, I thought I'd take this opportunity to share my top five organizing tips with you. This post was initially written as a guest post for Helene in Between.

Let's do it.

1. Do not get involved with piles. Deal with it the first time it's in your hand. There should be a place for everything and everything should be in its place. This message about piles that appeared in the June 2014 issue of Real Simple says it best:
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2. Make sure every item you own has one of these connections: it must be useful, beautiful, or beloved. If the answer isn't yes to all or at the least one of these questions, it's time to get rid of it.
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3. It's easier if you organize by zone. If you say I'm going to organize my bedroom this weekend, you might avoid it because that sounds like a big job that could be long and grueling. But if you say I'm going to organize the top shelf of my closet this weekend, I bet you'll do it. And you might even be inspired to tackle a drawer or two after. Set yourself up with 10 minute projects and see what you can get done in 10 minutes. 

4. Use a laundry basket during your cleaning and organizing. Put whatever doesn't belong in that room in the basket to be transferred to other rooms instead of running back & forth while you're in the middle of cleaning. You can tote your cleaning supplies in there too.
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5. It's never over. Purging and organizing is circular because life is circular. Life happens around us. Something you organized four months ago could probably use an update. New stuff has likely come in, old stuff has gone out, and how you use the space probably needs to be reevaluated. You don't organize something once and then never have to do it again. It requires upkeep.

I could talk organizing all day, but those are my top five tips. Do you have any to share?

One more tip for you...get out and rock the vote today.

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30 comments:

  1. I have a problem with a pile in the kitchen regarding mail. I don't know why I can't seem to just take care of everything the instant it comes in. By the time I get to the pile, I usually throw 90% of it out. Why didn't I just do that when it came in? Duh! Love this list, these are some really great tips. I do everything in zones, cleaning, organizing, cutting grass, purging. It is much easier to tackle.

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  2. My problem is usually post-it notes. I am forever writing things down to remember or lists. Always lists on lists!

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  3. I love this! That piles blurb is genius...pinned it already on my own pinterest pile. ;-)
    And I love your three questions. And I would add, do I need it or do I want it? Perhaps this would help when shopping and accumulating more "stuff."

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  4. Love this list! It's definitely never over, it's an ongoing process but it always feels great when you're done :)

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  5. hells yes to everything here, esp tackling one area at a time so instead of 'bedroom', try closet.
    when i organized my kitchen, i did it by areas meaning, i'd do one side of the kitchen first, then took a break and did the next side a day or so after because i knew if i tried to do it all at once, i'd run out of gas and say fuck it!

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  6. My house is a big unorganized mess for the first time in forever. Time to get moving! Thanks for the tips!

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  7. well you know I think this is a stellar post. I've used many of these tips for my own home!! you are the organizing queen.

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  8. I am a half-fast organizer. Mail gets trashed immediately. No mail piles. I am reluctant to clean out and organize as I think I find little surprises and treasures in my drawers, closets, etc. And have enough room in my big closet and drawers that I do not have to switch seasons or get rid of my favorite too-tight jeans. I should get rid of them as I am in love with the spandex in jeans these days that enable me to breath, fit better, and leave no marks on my skin.
    I do love plastic bags and put everything similar in a bag while packing. Not that I travel a lot. Only for soccer games for the past 20 plus years.
    As far as my kitchen goes, I know where stuff is, it is conducive to my cooking and baking, and that's what counts.
    Amen Holler on the VOTING. Just do it! Asking the universe to put the right people in charge, end greed, give us peace, all the good stuff. Love, your MOMMA

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  9. I love the laundry basket tip! I try to make sure everything has a "place." It's easier for me to keep things tidy that way!

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  10. I really enjoyed this the first time, and it's a good reminder to hear it again! We're in the middle of party clean up and I think we're tiptoeing around it because it's a grand scale mess! But each individual thing is not so bad. If I just take on one small thing each day, it'll be back to normal by the end of the week.

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  11. That first one is a good one. I'm really bad about piling (ask Stephanie!)

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  12. I love that you would be a professional organizer if you could - I imagine it would be cathartic to bring organization into other people's homes!! I know a few i'd like to organize lol!!

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  13. Amen! And yes ^^^ Betsy is terrible about piling! Truly, it's never done. Constant process. Good thing I like it so much.

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  14. #5 - It's never over.

    BUT WHYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY?!?!?!??!?!?!?!

    Joey is a pile-r - keeping his things in check kills me.

    Just keep organizing - Just keep cleaning - cleaning cleaning....

    ACHK. Why am I not a princess?

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  15. Maybe you SHOULD be a professional organizer! Could be a good gig!

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  16. Great tips! I like to ask myself if I've used something in the past two months, if not, I most likely don't need it!

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  17. 1. Your haiku is on point- I love it!
    2. The only thing I don't agree with completely is the piles. Though usually I only have two piles, one of bills to be addressed come payday, and clothes (like jeans) that don't need to be washed after one wear.

    Great tips!!

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  18. Today I can vote.
    It's my right and my duty.
    I am truly blessed.

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  19. Awesome tips Stephanie! I agree - piles accumulate because you can't make a decision at that point in time. This happens most frequently with mail; I have yet to get a scanner to save certain documents I feel should be saved or set up a day to shred things that require shredding. What's resulted is a corner of hell in my bedroom where mail goes to die. Thankfully, it's the only corner like that in my home but it's a shameful one nonetheless - winter is approaching and I'll get it done then since I hibernate. :) Have a great one love! -Iva

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  20. I like the one about doing something with everything that comes across your hands - I always open the mail the same day and recycle, shred, or file. Tackling a zone is also a good way to chew off big projects! Once I saw on TV people taking "before" and "after" pictures of their spaces so they can reward themselves and also remind themselves to keep it neat. Gosh, I'd really like to organize our garage, the grave of all large (and not necessarily useful) stuff.

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  21. the last one is so true... actually all of them are, so smart! i am hoping to get a lot done this weekend, but i'm going to start small.. and the laundry basket is so smart because i end up getting distracted taking things back and forth!

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  22. I hate clutter and definitely like organization. I just purged 5 large trash bags to goodwill. Next project is to clean through garage and get rid of more crap.

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  23. I'm the worst about piles, since downsizing our lives not everything has a home. That changes this winter, I just can't take it.

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  24. My husband moves piles from one location to another. Of all the things... the piles get me the most. I HATE THE PILES. Real Simple says it best indeed.

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  25. I own ONE laundry basket. I got it like 8 years ago and I think that's because my mom was like, "Stop carrying your laundry around in heaps". She might have even bought it. Anyway, in 5 years of marriage, we still only have one basket. A couple more might make life easier.

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  26. I'm totally with you on not making piles. I'm definitely guilty of it often though. It really does make a HUGE difference just making that little change during the week,when you go to do "normal" cleaning on the weekends.

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  27. Great tips! I like to think Im organized and then I see piles of stuff everywhere. Just today I cleaned out my office and the amount of crap and stupid shit that was in cabinets and drawers was just insane!!

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  28. The laundry basket trick is a good one. I am packing this weekend and totally dreading it but excited for unpacking and getting organized in the new place.

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  29. I've been on a bit of an organizing jag lately since I'm having to find places to put all the stuff that I'm taking out of boxes as I unpack. I love that I've finally gotten to the point where I don't have to go out and buy many storage bins, etc., I just keep reusing the ones I already have in different ways. Our winter hat/glove storage bins weren't working because they were too small, so moved them under my bathroom counter and stole some toy bins for our winter stuff. Much better!

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