02/16/2016 09:54 EST | Updated 02/16/2017 05:12 EST

The Most Important Organizing Step (That Almost Everyone Forgets)

Elena Elisseeva via Getty Images
Canada, Ontario, Toronto, View of organized wardrobe

I'm sure you've seen lists all over your feeds claiming to get you organized in just a few simple steps. Hey, I've written the process I go through to organize a space as well (shameless link to my past blog here!). Let's face it, lists read well. People like them and if you throw in some pretty images they're super-pinnable. But lately I've begun noticing the missing link in all of those posts (mine included), the last step that is so important but doesn't always make the cut. "Put it back!"

I can often be heard saying that there is no magic wand to wave when it comes to organizing. It's not a well-kept secret that some of us have neglected to share. Like anything else, it requires work. No matter how fabulous an organization system you have set up, it isn't going to maintain itself. That super cute new closet system you just installed isn't going to look quite so pretty a week in if you keep leaving your clothes all over the floor.


This "put it back" step is something that everyone struggles with. I've had tell myself to take a deep breath in front of clients after I've seen all the hard work they've done crumble. I'm guilty of it too; sometimes I'm just too tired, too busy or, let's face it, too lazy to put something back. We all have our moments but they need to be just that. Moments. Our default reaction after we have taken something out and used it can't be to just leave it. All of those little things we leave throughout the day or week can add up to overwhelm fast. Obviously this is all easier said than done but here are a few tips to help you crush this step.

Make It Pretty

I'm going to use the same concept as "if you look good, you feel good" for this one. If you have built a beautiful system to keep you organized, both in looks and function you'll be more likely to maintain it. So go ahead and line those drawers that no one but you sees with beautiful paper. Splurge on getting new hangers so they are all the same. Make pretty little labels for all of your things even if you don't need them. The better it looks the more likely you will be to keep it that way.

Follow The One Minute Rule

I've quoted her before, but it works. Gretchen Rubin urges us that if we have a task that takes less than one minute to just push ourselves to do it. In our fast paced life of list-making and prioritizing this rule takes away the self doubt. If you stop to think about it you'll be dead in the water, you'll spend your time thinking about the other things you could or should do with that minute. So put the dish away, replace the toilet paper, hang the dress back up, file that paper. It's a great way to keep up without feeling like you put too much effort or time in.

Make It A Habit

There are tons of ways to make something a habit or routine. Just Google it (when you're done reading this of course) and find the way that works for you. Sometimes we need to just do something every day to make it happen. If you get into the habit of dealing with your mail as you get it instead leaving it in a pile near the door pretty soon you won't have to think about it, it will become second nature.

Just Do It

Sometimes you just need to force yourself to do something. It isn't fun. There are no neat little tricks. You just have to do it. There are tasks that aren't enjoyable and just plain suck but they still need to get done. So take a breath and pull up your big-girl panties (or boy panties, I guess I'm kind of gender stereotyping who is most likely to read this) and just get it done..

Good luck and happy organizing!


Tips From Professional Organizers