If all clutter is “postponed decisions” (and it is), then it is probably safe to say the decisions in the attic are the MOSTponed.Read more →
It’s not uncommon for clients to ask us to work our organizing magic in several rooms in their home—in one day. Our magic doesn’t come from jumping from one stepping-stone to the next, across the house. It comes from building steps and climbing up to the next level.Read more →
To understand what it takes to stay organized, it might be helpful to change the spelling of the word itself. The word “go” needs to be at the heart “organized.” To be truly organized, you need to be or-GO-nized.
I know the definition of organizing, but I haven’t found a satisfying word origin. 1375-1425, late Middle English from the Medieval Latin organizare- to contrive, arrange— is not doing it for me.Read more →
I have a simple little theory that explains why it is so hard to stay organized. While I have never tested it scientifically, I have observed it throughout my life and in almost every home I have organized. I call it the One, Two, Four-get it! theory.
It begins with two other organizing beliefs of mine. First, I believe that a clear work surface is your number one organizing tool. Second, I believe that limitations breed freedom. For example, if you limit theRead more →
Establishing and maintaining dedicated zones are essential to staying organized. Here are the top 10 dedicated zones every home should have. 1. Out-the-door zone. Leaving the house can be a stressful moment. “Did I remember everything I need?” Keep a small table or shelf near the door JUST for the items you need to make a point of remembering: cell phone, keys, sunglasses, library books, etc. If you clutter this area up with other items, the vital ones become easier to ignore. 2. Clear work surface. A clear work surface is your number one organizing tool because it allows for processing, which is vital for fluid circulation. There should be at least one dedicated clear work surface in every room. 3. Donate zone. Face it. You haven’t removed the last of your donations. There will be more, so give them a holding area. A shelf in the garage (near the exit vehicle) is ideal. 4. Task collector. Tasks you must make a point of acting on, need to be collected in just one place for them to feel manageable. 5. […]Read more →
How Dedicated Zones Work “Dedicated Zone” is an expression professional organizers (like me) throw around a lot, but what exactly does it mean and how does it work? A dedicated zone is an area, as small as a drawer or as large as a room, that one reserves exclusively for one category. The dedicated zone should be determined at the END of a purging process. Unless you are clear on the quantity of a category you want to keep, in relation to the other categories you want to keep, it doesn’t make sense to choose the size of a dedicated zone. Your choice will probably too big or too small. Let’s take crafts for example. Unless you look at all your craft materials all at once and make some choices about what should stay and what should go, it’s hard to know how much space to dedicate to them. Perhaps you’ve started a home-based business and you need more space for an office and have less time for doing crafts. After evaluating the balance, you may determine that you can […]Read more →
Once you have purged the stuff in your home down to a manageable quantity, there is no more important practice to stay organized than to establish DEDICATED ZONES. These are areas in your home (or office) that are dedicated to one purpose and nothing else. The stricter you are, the easier it will be to stay organized. Perhaps the most vital dedicated zone of all is the exit zone. I realize the word “strict” has the negative connotations of a schoolmarm with tightly pulled back hair and a ruler at the ready to whack you across the knuckles when you step out of line, but “strict” can be your friend. I firmly believe in the paradox that limitations breed freedom. Take the example of the exit zone. Near your front door you may have a small table, shelf, or counter, like the one pictured. This is prime real estate, not to be squandered. Tchotchkes, clothing, and incoming mail can all go elsewhere, but there is no better place to collect items that you want to make a point of remembering […]Read more →
Being organized means different things to different people, but I have discovered five essential levels of being organized. These levels are helpful to recognize because they explain why getting organized can be so time consuming and they explain why jumping from level zero to level 5 is pure fantasy. Level 1- cleared space My first stage in getting folks organized is to get a handle on the quantity of stuff they are keeping. To do this, we first need to clear a generous amount of space to work. Once we have reassigned the contents, we leave a clear floor and clear surfaces. Our clients very often tell me “Wow, it feels great to be organized!” Indeed, the openness doe feel great, but this is only the first step to being organized. Without the next three levels, there is nothing to keep the clutter from returning. Level 2- dedicated zones Once you are clear on the quantity and category of stuff you are keeping, it is easier to establish realistic zones to keep them in. Maybe you have collected a surprisingly […]Read more →