How To Organize What’s Most Important

The best way to organize what’s MOST important is to start by organizing what’s LESS important. If that seems like it makes no sense, bear with me.

Getting Organized: Save Dessert for Last

The number one mistake people make, when trying to get organized, is to run out and buy containers, before they know exactly what they are containing. It’s certainly tempting. I mean look at that sampling of gorgeous containers picture to the right. They’re like candy. Like any dessert, they should be saved for last.

Why the Garage is the Best Place to Start Organizing

It is very common for me to meet with a potential client who can’t decide if she wants to begin with organizing the cluttered bedroom, the cluttered kitchen, or the cluttered home office. For me, it’s always a clear choice: the garage.


Why I Hate Clutter

I hate clutter because it feels like death. (Can’t accuse me of burying the lead.)

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not talking about your purposeful collections, piles of laundry, or ongoing project, sprawled across you table. I’m talking about that excess stuff, with no plan for movement.


Organizing a Path Beyond Creativity

Much has been written recently about a study done by Kathleen Vohs, at the University of Minnesota, that finds a messy work environment promotes creative thinking. Here’s my two cents.
I’m a fan of evidence through science, but I am skeptical of these results. Furthermore, I would argue that creativity is rarely the biggest challenge.


The Very Worst Organizing Advice

I have written about the worst ways to get organized before, but today I want to focus on just one. If you are helping a friend or family member get organized, the worst piece of advice you can give them is: “when in doubt, throw it out.”

Good Organizing Is Not About Hiding

Does the bag, in this photo to the right, look familiar? I see so many bags like these in client’s homes that I have a name for them. I call them make-it-go-away bags. Mail and other junk tends to pile up on the dining table or on the kitchen counter and when company is coming over, this stuff is hastily swept into a bag, which is hidden in a closet, a cabinet, or a more remote room. While there is an impetus to create these make-it-go-away bags, there is no impetus to process them. The problem is, of course, these bags have a way of accumulating and important things can go missing.


Can Getting Organized, Bring You A Vacation Every Day?

Are you attached to your stuff? I hear this from clients all the time. It’s provided as an explanation for why there is too much stuff in their homes. There’s nothing wrong with being attached to something. Attachments bring us comfort. However, it is important to be aware of what we are attached to. If we are attached to too much, we get weighed down, and we can’t go anywhere.


Back To School Organizing, Z to A

Over the weekend I made the mistake of going into Staples for some boxes I needed. As I should have anticipated, the store was overrun with back-to-school shoppers. As I waited in a very long line, I couldn’t help but notice how similar the stacks of new spiral notebooks I saw awaiting purchase resembled the stacks of used spiral notebooks I see in my clients’ basements and attics.


Is Your Organizing Funnel Upside-Down?

When you want to get organized, do you run out and buy organizing supplies? If so, odds are good, your organizing process is like an upside down funnel.
The best way to get organized, is to work from general to specific, in stages, as if you were filtering all your excess stuff through an imaginary funnel. When you’ve bought your organizing supplies first, however, it’s a bit like a doctor giving you a prescription without a diagnosis. You’re going from specific to general, down an upside-down funnel.


5 Places to Learn the Lesson of Less

Overwhelmed with too much stuff to do? Get rid of some stuff you own! Why? It comes down to this very simple rule:
The more stuff you have, the more stuff you have to do. Here are five examples:


Don’t Bring a Trash Bag to a Clutter Fight

In the movie, The Untouchables, there is a scene where an assassin comes to kill the Sean Connery character, who (after a derogatory remark) notes that he has brought “a knife to a gun fight.” He then shoots the assassin. I am reminded of this scene, every time a client tells me “You wouldn’t believe how much I have already thrown out.” In the war on clutter, the trash bag is not the right weapon.