Getting organized doesn't need to be complicated. As a Professional Organizer I've worked with many types of clients. As a result I've been able to zero in on the steps I use to help me break down and organize virtually any space that comes my way.
I'm lucky, and have a knack for looking at a disorganized space, seeing the final product and knowing what we have to do to get there. But I recognize that not everyone thinks that way. In the same way that accounting is not my forte and complicated computer language makes my brain hurt, finding order in chaos can be a real challenge. Everyone has something that they're good at. Organizing a given space just happens to be mine.
While there is no magic wand to turn your junk drawer into a beautifully organized, Pinterest-worthy space, here are a five steps you can take to make organizing easier.
1. Like with Like: It's always helpful to group your items together to get the full picture of what you're facing. Especially if the things you're trying to organize have found different homes in different parts of your space. Think about how many places you store books or clothes or shoes; there may be multiple closets, shelves and drawers all housing the same type of thing. The only way to truly see what you have is to consolidate them. It also helps with the decision making process. You may have a hard time getting rid of a pair of jeans but once you see all 30 of them in a pile it will make it easier to part with some of them.
2. Declutter: Donate/recycle/throw out all the excess/broken/never-used. We keep things for many reasons. I have heard it all: "it was expensive", "I may need it someday", "it was a gift", "I'll get it fixed eventually", "it will fit after I lose the weight", "I hate it but I can't get rid of it". Ask yourself: Do I really need this? Why not save the space in your life for the things that you really want and really need and really love? Less stuff = less stress, trust me.
3. Put it back: Find the right means of storage. This could be anything from the right type of hanger to a clear bin or a vacuum bag. Try to keep frequently used items more accessible. If it's something you reach for over and over take the lid off, or use other open storage.
Organizing isn't all about the bins, but it does help to have a defined space for a group of similar items.
4. Label it: I know, I know, the whole labeler/Professional Organizer thing is a cliché, but it really does help, especially if you are a visual person or there is more than one person living in the home. You may know where everything goes but the other people in your house probably won't. The only way to maintain an organizational system is to make it easy for everyone. Try a label-maker, chalkboard tag, post-it; whatever works for you! Just make sure you use something that will stick. I love using sticky notes, but I have learned that they don't always stick that well long-term (a sticky note paired with the extra protection of a piece of clear tape tends to get the job done though).
5. Live with it: We all tend to have this grand vision in our head of how a project should look when it's done (again, I blame all those gorgeous Pinterest pictures) but it doesn't always turn out that way. Make sure the system you developed works for you and your lifestyle. If it is not working then don't be afraid to change it!
One of the most common complaints I get from clients is that the clutter overwhelms them and they don't know where to start. If that's the case, try picking out one small aspect of the space you want to tackle. If it's a room you are dealing with start with one drawer or box. There is nothing wrong with dealing with the easy stuff first. It may well jump start the process and give you confidence moving forward.
Do you have an organizing question or dilemma you would like help with? Contact me and I may feature it in a future post.