Whether you need to gain control of your
papers or your clothes closet, the rewards of getting it organized will be
plentiful. By being organized youíll decrease your stress and increase your
productivity, ultimately leading to more control of your time, space, and
activities. Below you will find a step by step guide to help you get your home
Step 1: Select an Area to Organize
Select an area that causes you the greatest
frustration or an area that is used most often. Common areas to begin with are
kitchens, desk areas or papers, and clothes closets.
Step 2: Plan the Time to Organize
Set aside an "appointment" with
yourself each day or week. Avoid telephone calls and interruptions during this
time. Donít cancel your appointment! Regard your appointment as a visit with a
therapist and an interior decorator. The combination of the two will make you
feel better and your home look nicer.
Step 3: Divide the Project Into Achievable
You will feel overwhelmed and stressed if you
fail to meet your expectations. Therefore it is necessary to break down your
project into achievable segments. If you are tackling your clothes closet, donít
pull everything out and expect to organize it in one session. Instead, designate
one segment or "appointment" for purging two shelves. Another
appointment may be for purging your tops. Stop ten to fifteen minutes before
your appointment ending time. At this time clean up and put your project back
into functional order.
Step 4: Clutter
A good first appointment or first few
appointments on any project is getting rid of things you no longer need or use.
The most difficult part of organizing space is deciding what to keep and what to
get rid of. Begin by labeling 3 boxes or bags: Put Away, Give Away, and Throw
Away. There is an optional 4th box, but only if absolutely
necessary: Another Day.
Below are steps to help you forge through the
- Have you used the item in the past year?
If no, go to question #2.
If yes, place it in Put Away.
- Does the item have true sentimental value
If no, go question #3.
If yes, place it in Put Away.
- If you havenít used something in a year
and it has no sentimental value, place it in Give Away or Throw
If you absolutely canít bear to place it
in either box, then put it in Another Day. Either when you are done
with your clutter removal segment or 6 months from now, pull out the box
again to sort through it. This time it will be much easier to get rid of
- Remember to stop ten to fifteen minutes
before your appointment ends to put away the items in your Put Away
box and throw away items in your Throw Away box. Donít forget
about giving away your Give Away box.
Be cautious about saving too many things.
These items require storage and maintenance. Now once you have removed the
clutter, you will then see what you have left to organize.
Step 5: Key to Staying Organized Ė
The key to staying organized is having a
designated place for everything. You must have a place for everything from socks
with missing mates to bills that need to be paid.
Organizers: When possible, use organizing
products. Ideal organizing products are ones that are specifically designed
for the job. They will maximize your space and fit the articles appropriately.
Space: If you are lacking space, look for
wasted space. Take an imaginary x-ray to find unused space. Most often wasted
space is vertical Ė above or below items. Maximize this space by rearranging
items or the shelves and by using organizing tools. Example: Double your
closet space by hanging double rods, one upper and one lower.
Unfortunately we tend to lay most items down,
i.e., papers, garage items, etc. Try storing items vertically -- off the floor
or base (countertops, desks). Could you imagine if New York City was all
one-story buildings? Maximize your medicine cabinet shelves by standing tubes
upright in a container instead of laying them down.
Placement: Put items in an order that will
allow for a quick and easy retrieval. Consider putting items in alphabetical
order, color order, or grouping by category. Clothes in a closet can first be
grouped by category (pants, tops, dresses), and then by color order, white to
black. Alphabetizing your spice rack allows for quick retrieval of spices.
Could you imagine trying to find a spice in the grocery store if the spices
were not in alphabetical order? Strive for simplicity so anyone in your
household can put something away and find it again.
Containers: Choose clear containers to store
items that will be stored behind closed doors. A clear container allows you to
easily see what is inside. Putting cereal in a clear container will alert you
when the cereal is running low. If items are going to be stored where they are
in view, choose a decorative container instead of a clear one. When organizing
products are not available or appropriate, be creative. Use a painted bowl on
a high shelf to store and conceal receipts. Put wicker baskets and decorative
boxes to use.
In large storage areas such as basements and
attics, choose boxes or containers that will help you identify what is in them.
Store Christmas items in boxes with Christmas designs or in ones that will
easily alert you to what is inside.
Step 6: Staying
Now that you have devoted time to organize,
youíll want to maintain the organization. Staying organized may take some
practice at first. Remember to continuously get rid of items you no longer need
and be vigilant with putting items in their place. No matter how clean your home
is, it will not look clean if there is clutter.
A good phrase to remember for staying
organized is "do it now." It takes less time to do something now, then
it will take to go back and do it at a later time. When the temptation arises
not to do something now, think of the stress of being disorganized versus the
pleasure of being organized. A good habit takes 21 consecutive days to form, so
stick to it.