In my last blog post, I gave some examples of the science of organizing. I explained that what we do is not magic, it’s science. This time, I thought it would be fun to look at some of the magical ideas I have encountered over the years about organizing and professional organizers. I call these ideas organizing fairy dust.Read more →
When speaking of people, “the right sort” tends to have a very nasty usage, but when speaking of excess stuff, “the right sort” is the best way to get some really good organizing started.
Typically, when one resolves to organize a cluttered basement or home office, there is a tendency to throw out not enough of what needs to go, too much of what shouldn’t go, and put the keepers into systems that won’t last. All of this can be solved by good sorting practices.Read more →
One question I get all the time is “Should I get organized before I move or after?” I say definitely get organized before you move, because good organization travels well. Save Money Good organizing begins with good purging. There’s no better time to purge than before a move. The more you get rid of, the more you will save on moving costs and storage costs. There’s a lot of low value stuff we tend to hang on to because it may come in useful, while we are settled, but when it’s time to move, that stuff can take up a lot of truck space. Now is a great time to let go. Toss of donate, if at all possible. Reassessment Answers Placement. As you are packing up your stuff, now is a great opportunity to rethink exactly WHY you are keeping what you keep. When you answer the question of WHY you keep something, you also answer the question of WHERE it should go. It’s important to note that you may be keeping the same item for different reasons. Take, […]Read more →
Is it possible to get organized without purging first? Not really. In a healthy household, old stuff must circulate out as easily as new stuff circulates in. Circulation prevents accumulation. When it’s as natural as breathing, it’s easy to stay organized. “Purge” means not only toss, but donate, sell, gift, or simply reassign. Nonetheless, many of my clients just don’t like the word. “Purge” carries connotations of political executions and vomiting. So here are some alternatives my clients have come up with. I once worked with a doctor who initially told me that he wasn’t ready to work with me until he had done some “gutting” first. Much more pleasant than purging. I guess this wouldn’t have bothered me so much if this was a butcher or even a surgeon, but this was a pediatrician. Another client, a psychiatrist, spoke of “debriding” his papers. Debridement is the removal of damaged tissue or foreign objects from a wound. Charming. One alternative I do like is “pruning.” I like the analogy of removing dead leaves to strengthen the healthy ones. People always […]Read more →
Toys can be one of the hardest things to organize and I think this comes down to three things: 1. We are hung up by convention 2. We expect the same from kids as we do from ourselves and 3. We keep toys too long. What follows are three toy organizing systems I don’t like, followed by three systems I do like. Don’t Like: The Toy Box A traditional toy box looks charming on the stage of “The Nutcracker,” but is not helpful in the 21st Century home. First, it’s a concealer and doesn’t invite use. Second, it’s too small for large toys and too large for toy pieces. Finally, it doesn’t take advantage of vertical space and in the event it can actually close, items that get stacked on top of it prevent access. Do Like: Dedicated Zones and Shelves I don’t think you can force kids to organize, but if you’ve got any chance to make it happen, your odds are increased by making it fun. For example, if your son loves big cars and trucks, section off […]Read more →
When In Doubt, DON’T Throw It Out I realize this title sounds like organizing heresy, but it’s really all about learning effective organizing habits. When purging clutter with my clients, I tell them that I would prefer that they NOT throw out an item they’re not sure about, than have them waste time and focus with fear and regret. It’s important to let go, but it’s more important to keep the momentum going so the project of the day comes to a satisfying conclusion. I know you’ve heard the catchy rule of thumb many times: “When in doubt, throw it out.” That’s easy to remember and it’s certainly captures the right spirit of purging, but I also think it can be quite damaging. Many is the time I have seen a client swing from one extreme to another. They get the urge to purge and they suddenly go from keeping everything to tossing everything. I have to keep them from traveling down the path to regret. I don’t want the client to regret their decisions and I don’t want them […]Read more →