Do you ever wish you could ask your favorite bloggers and professional organizers what their best advice would be to help you get organized? I did to! So I figured that I probably wasn’t the only one and I wanted to share it with all of you! I am blown away with the awesome responses that I got and their advice is pure gold. These are some of the best tips I’ve heard in a long time. So read through them all and pick out your favorites that you can apply to your life to help you get organized! Without further ado, here are the best tips from professional organizers and bloggers.
One more thing: if you want to check out these awesome blogs, click on their photo and it’ll take you right to their page!
Shop Last. It’s so tempting to kick off your organizing project by running to your favorite organizing store for cute baskets, labels, dividers and more. But that should be your last step. Why? There’s no point in buying organizing items if you don’t yet know what you’re storing, how much there is to store, and where it will go. Do the work of sorting and purging first, then figure out where items fit and function best. Your final step should be to shop your house or stores for the BEST storage solution for that collection and the spot it goes in.
Declutter, declutter, declutter! It’s fun to buy the pretty bins and make them look cute, but if we’re just throwing a bunch of stuff we don’t use into pretty bins to hide it, we are not organizing; we’re just rearranging our clutter. But if we sort our items by category, donate or sell anything we don’t love or use often, and then figure out storage and containment, we’ll have a lot less clutter and be a lot more likely to keep up with our system in the long run.
My best organizing tip is to turn on your favorite music and get started. Far too often we (me included), put off organizing things because we feel overwhelmed. Whether it’s one drawer or a whole garage, we let a mess intimidate us into living with it far too long. I’ve never regretted organizing something and always regret that I haven’t done it sooner. So turn on some music and tackle one part of a space at a time- remove everything, sell or donate as much as you can, and then organize the remainder into labeled containers or a sub-divided drawer. You’ve got this!
Declutter before you even think about organising a space. If you just start organising then you’ll undoubtedly organise things you could actually let go of, and THAT wastes your time, energy, and money in the long run. After all, you don’t want to have to store and maintain things that you don’t actually use, and you don’t want to have to rummage through lots of stuff to find what you need each time you need it, do you? If you declutter first, you’ll see what you really need to organise more clearly. You’ll create storage that fits properly, and solutions that mean that space works for you. So, declutter first, and save yourself lots of extra work!
Create a system for managing household papers + find ways to reduce the volume of paper coming into your home.
Paper clutter creates a lot of stress since it represents piles of unmade decisions and incomplete tasks that require your time and attention. To tackle the paper monster, you need to first reduce the paper that’s coming into your home. There are several steps you can take to achieve this goal, including:
choosing paperless alternatives
curbing your tendency to hit the print button on the computer
taking advantage of “Unsubscribe Tools” (e.g., Paper Karma app)
canceling catalog/magazine subscriptions.
Once you’ve taken steps to reduce paper clutter, experiment with some basic paper management tools to nail down an organizing system that works for you. Your system might include:
tickler file for action papers
binders for reference papers or specific projects
a scanner for transforming paper documents into digital documents.
My top tip for organizing is to use repurposed items rather than purchasing organizing products. Shop your home and items you’re about to recycle before you head out to the store. I personally use many repurposed items in my home and with my clients. The benefits of using repurposed items are: It’s best to use repurposed boxes and bins to give a new organizing system a trial run before you invest in permanent organizing bins and baskets.
It’s a budget-friendly option.
It’s an earth-friendly option.
It inspires your creativity as you look at items with new eyes and find creative ways to make those items beautiful.
It makes it possible to change your organizing bins and containers as often as you’d like since you haven’t invested much.
When it comes to organizing your home, create a support system around you. This can be online, your spouse, or your best friends. Share ideas with each other and encourage each other when you feel overwhelmed. Plus, it’s so much more fun to clean out your closets and organize your pantry when you do it with your friends and family!
My number one tip is to consider the purpose of every item that you bring into your space. What’s the reason for each item? Is it something you need or want? Do you know where it will live? If you can’t give clear reasons for owning something it will soon become clutter.
Never underestimate the power of a well-placed bin (basket or any type of a catch-all receptacle) – A well-placed bin can help to contain items so that they don’t take over. For example, I encourage clients to keep a basket at the bottom of their stairs (for two-story homes) or in a central location (for one-story homes). This becomes the “catch-all” for things that have migrated downstairs and/or out of place. Once a day, preferably in the evening, make it a habit to put back everything you’ve accumulated in the basket. It won’t take long and it will help to maintain clear, calm spaces before retiring for the night.
My best organizing tip is to know what your desired outcome is. Why do you want to be organized. Once you know that the motivation is built in.
Negative self-talk can hold you back. Instead of thinking, “I’ve always been disorganized,” try a positive message like, “I am getting organized.” Declare a proactive intention for a better outcome.
My very best organizing tip is to really think about how you USE your space. Ask yourself, “What are you doing there, what do you need to accomplish, and what are the priorities?” Once you know this, remove or put away any items that are not related to what you’ve identified as being truly important (this is what people usually mean when they say they are decluttering — they are getting rid of the unrelated stuff that always accumulates in every space and system). Now place the items that should be in the space in logical order by priority and process. So for example, my work area does not look cute — it looks functional. I keep only things I need with me at my desk here. Everything else is superfluous and goes elsewhere. The priority at my desk is my computer, keyboard, and mouse, and that takes precedence over everything else. Next to me is another desk that I use to assemble crafts — I keep only craft tools I use on a regular basis here when I assemble things. This keeps my desk area organized and easy to work in. You can apply this thinking to any space or system you need organized.
My very best organizing tips is to be mindful about your dominant clutter personality type. Once you determine your traits and tendencies, you can put into practice the most appropriate tips and techniques for decluttering and organizing. Here’s a short quiz to help you begin the process:
My very best organizing tip is to declutter before you begin the organization process. Often people tend to think that their problem is a lack of organization. While that may be partly true, for many the problem is actually trying to manage too much stuff. While it’s tempting to start by buying all the cute organizing baskets and bins, it’s best to first sort through what you have and declutter what you can. It’s so much easier to organize and to maintain your organizational system when you have less stuff.
Less is more, only have what you need and make sure everything has a place in your home. My other tip is to label where you want things to go. It not only reminds you of it’s place, but other family members too. An example of this is the pantry is labelled for containers, lunch boxes and take out coffee cups. Everything has it’s own section.
Take it slow, I’m not one for rushing something, I like to have a thought out plan. However, organizing can be mentally straining and for this reason you need to give yourself permission to tackle a project slowly so you have time to work through the emotional side of organizing. But not too slow that you don’t make any progress. It’s about finding that balance that allows you to work at a comfortable pace where you actually see some results from your hard work and still have time to acknowledge the emotional side too.
My best advice is just start. Don’t wait until the stars align, don’t wait until you have a free day or a babysitter, or the perfect bins or anything else. You can tweak it later in a fraction of the time. Just start.
It’s important to be realistic when starting to organize and to be honest with yourself. If you start with the end result in mind, you’ll be able to work backwards to estimate how much stuff you need to get rid of to meet your goals. This isn’t always easy because we struggle emotionally when it comes to our belongings and the mariad of reasons we hold onto things. When you assess the size of the space and the amount of stuff you need to get rid or put somewhere else, it allows you separate yourself from your emotions and approach organizing from a logistical standpoint.
Don’t wait, just get started. Take it in small chunks. Start with one room or even one drawer at a time. It doesn’t have to be done in a day. Get matching containers with labels so you’ll want to use them and keep things organized. As you go through things, think about how you use the space in your everyday life and organize according to that. If everything has a place that’s convenient, you’re more likely to keep it neat and organized.
Don’t forget about the digital clutter in your life! While physical clutter like the clothes you haven’t worn in a year are important to tackle, you also want to organize the digital clutter that takes up valuable time in your day. Examples of digital clutter include digital files or emails you’ll never reference and apps you don’t use. Make sure you delete or file these accordingly.
Do a little bit at the time, don’t wait until the end of the day! Tidy up with the kids at the end of each play activity, don’t let the mess pile up. And get some nice baskets or boxes for all the kids toys, so you can just throw them in there.
If you feel overwhelmed, start with a small space: a closet, a cupboard, even a drawer. You can set a timer for 15 minutes and challenge yourself to get as much done as possible before time’s up. Completing one small project will provide a sense of accomplishment and motivate you to tackle the next space!
What’s the first thing you see when you come in the door? Make an effort to keep that area clutter free; it will make you feel much better when you get home. For example, our front door opens to stairs leading to our kitchen counter, and I feel SO much better when the counter is clean.
When you see or think of something non-urgent you need to do, send yourself an email with a unique keyword term or tag (such as “YYY”) in the subject line along with the To Do. Be sure to put a space after the YYY (for example, the subject might be “YYY redo cables under desk”). Then once a week, search on the term “YYY” to bring up all of the little (or big) things that need to go on your to do list. This works great if you are easily distracted. If you try to take care of each thing as it comes up, you might forget what you were originally doing. You can also use this method when you email To Dos to family members, so you will remember to follow up when you do your weekly search on the term.
So many great tips out there, but my best one is to put things away, not down. We tend to drop our coat, keys, paperwork, bags, clothes, towels, etc. on the nearest surface (or even the floor!). All this does is create a future project. Instead, stay strong for the extra few seconds it takes to put items where they belong: on the hook, in the dish, in the bin, in the hamper, into a folder, etc. It saves so much time!
My best organizing tip would be to “consider how you remember things.” I believe that organizing is a highly personal and subjective experience, and every person has to find the right intersection for themselves.
For me organizing isn’t just about being neat and clean, it’s about being efficient and not spending loads of time on things we don’t like to do so we can spend the time on the things that we do. My best organizing tip is to arm yourself with a great daily planner and calendar, once you have your schedule under control everything else follows. I schedule everything from reading to walking to work and family and friends, when I will food shop and clean, calls to make and friends to see…making sure every area that is important to me is being taken care of and has a time and date in my planner. So schedule your week in advance and relax knowing everything will be getting done, and remember if you need to reschedule an item “snooze it, don’t lose it” reschedule it right away!
Well, my best organizing tips would be to use baskets to organize an area. They come in so many shapes, sizes, colors, and textures that you not only can organize an area but transform a room/space/drawer using baskets.
Keep only what brings joy to your life or serves a purpose, and let go of the rest. Our clients love our Live Lighter, Live Better process and almost everyone tells us how much lighter they feel after discarding items that no longer serve them.
Christmas is one of those times when people find themselves stressed and a lack of organization can be one of the big causes for that stress. One thing I always recommend to people to avoid this stress is declutter before the holiday season! Often January is our time for decluttering but I say before Christmas is even better. We are about to add more decor and stuff to our homes and if it’s already cluttered we will struggle to keep things tidy and even know where things are.
Chip away at your pile of clutter like an iceberg—a little at a time in doable time increments. Small steps lead to big results. Take breaks and reward yourself for time spent on a task and the results that come from your hard work. Chipping away at the ‘iceberg’ of clutter prevents clutter from creating problems of ‘titanic’ proportions!
Here’s our organization tip: Mark Twain once said, “Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.” What odd advice! But we have found that this concept of “eating your frog” can transform your organization, your goal setting, your productivity – all of it! To put it in less unusual terms, Twain is simply trying to say, “Do the hardest thing first.” If you are organizing your pantry, and there’s a shelf with all sorts of sticky residue from a bottle of honey that tipped over and spilled out (we’ve all been there!) it may be tempting to leave that shelf for last. Nobody wants to mess with sticky honey gloop. But when you do that, you’re setting yourself up to have a less than ideal organizing experience. No matter how much progress you make, you’ll know in the back of your mind that you’re still going to have to deal with that mess eventually. Knock it out first thing and you’ll spare yourself from the dread and anticipation of dealing with it later!
So? What did you think?! Aren’t these the best tips for organizing your life? I thought so too and I hope you use these little nuggets of gold in your own life on your journey to a more peaceful, organized life.