How to Organize Anything
By Jennifer Snyder
One of my favorite things is to be and work in an organized space. It is peaceful, quiet, and can inspire amazing amounts of creativity. Clutter makes noise and can be a real distraction to not only your physical effectiveness but your mental effectiveness as well.
Each of us see being "organized" differently and are in different stages along the path to what we uniquely consider Neat as a Pin. That being said, regardless of your goal in organizing or how far along you are to reaching that goal, there are some very basic strategies that are the foundation of organizing. It doesn't matter if you are a Hoarder or the spouse of a gentleman that wants his half of the room to resemble is bachelor pad. Still not convinced, try it!
Ready, set, here we go!
Place like with like and this is not the time to get technical. I'm talking clothes with clothes and paper with paper (regardless of what is printed on it). You will get your OCD fix later. This is also the time to forego neatness. You actually have to make a bigger mess to get the original mess in order. Trust me. You can do this by making piles or using plastic containers. I only recommend purchasing plastic containers for this event if you are 100% certain you will be able to use them later. Please do not buy them for your sort with the intention of returning them. Not cool.
Process and Purge
Once you are sorted, it is time to give careful consideration to whether or not the sorted items still belong in your space. Get rid of anything that is broken, defective, stained beyond your cleaning capacity or chewed up by the puppy. Go ahead, toss it. It will be ok. Donate any items that are in good shape but that you haven't used in a while. Be realistic here. If it has more dust than the coffee table, you aren't using it. The exception is that if it has true sentimental value, in which case it should go to long-term storage. Otherwise, toodles!
Assign a home
Assign a home…this might be the most difficult step for most people. Once you have processed and purged, you can see what is left. Think about who will be using the items (small children? guests?), where they will be used (laundry room? garage?), and how often they will be used (daily, weekly, yearly). Assign homes to items one at a time trying to keep the big picture in mind. If you assign a home to, say candles, and you have too many for the space it may be necessary to return to the Process & Purge step again specifically for candles.
This is a very important and precarious step that should only be used if absolutely necessary and never-ever done prior to the other steps. This is where you purchase baskets, bins, shelves, buckets, etc. to store your items in. Take caution here…if you have a cabinet for your candles, put only the votives and/or plates in a basket. Trying to put everything in every cupboard in a basket will waste a lot of space. Determine what is more important, baskets or volume? Also, buy only what you need. Excess organizing tools are clutter too.
Once everything has a home, thinks must return to those homes. Think of it as invisible magnets trying to suck the items back to where they belong. This is the number one most important step of the entire process as lack of maintenance will simply result in more of what you just cleaned up. If it takes less than 60-seconds to put something away, don't delay and do right away!
As simple as these steps seem, I would caution you against trying to tackle your entire home all at once. Doing so will result in frustration and disappointment. Getting organized is about feeling good and rejuvenated. One small area can make you feel fantastic. Give it a try!
Have a Neat day!
Jennifer Snyder, CPOÒ
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