As Professional Organizers, we don’t just get clients organized, we also teach them how to stay organized. Here are some empowering home organizing concepts that we teach people every day.
Everything that is on your countertop or desk right now most likely represents decisions that have not been made. Clutter results from putting off these decisions for later. Your ability to get and stay organized is directly related to your ability to make decisions!
Give everything a parking spot.
Quick—can you tell me where your underwear is? I bet you can. Most people have a special drawer for their underwear, and most people know exactly where their toothbrush is, because those things have a specific home. Virtually everything in your home can have its own parking spot so you can find things quickly and easily. Whenever possible, use a label maker to label the parking spot—just like reserved executive parking spaces!
A few minutes of planning and preparation can save hours of time and loads of frustration. Think ahead, anticipate… What will you need? What issues may come up? What do you already know now that you could proactively do something about before it becomes a problem?
Assume laziness is the norm.
It’s just human nature – we want to do things with the least amount of effort possible. Assume that people are going to be lazy when you create an organizing system, and work with habits that your family has instead of trying to change them. Make things easy to see and choose. It’s all about having visibility to your items! You want your system to be Visible, Easy, and Obvious. (“VEO” is Spanish for “I see.”) Use labeling whenever possible to make it very easy to find things and put them back. Avoid lids, doors, extra steps, and anything else that makes it take longer or require more effort.
Put things right where you need them.
We professionals call this concept storing things at the “point-of-use.” Put the laundry soap next to the washing machine, and put the pot holders right next to the stove or oven.
Have duplicates when it makes sense.
Since you are storing things at the point-of-use, sometimes you have several points-of-use and it makes sense to purchase duplicate tools. For example, you need some scissors in your home office, and you also need some in the kitchen.
Batch up your tasks.
Sometimes it’s easier to do one type of thing multiple times– that is why the assembly line was invented for greater efficiency in production. Think ahead about anything that you can do in batches like this, such as phone calls, filing, or correspondence.
Lorie Marrero is a Professional Organizer and creator of The Clutter Diet, an innovative, affordable online program for home organization. Lorie’s site helps members lose “Clutter-Pounds” from their home by providing online access to her team of organizers. Lorie writes something useful, funny, interesting, and/or insanely practical every few days or so in the Clutter Diet Blog. She lives in Austin, TX, where her company has provided hands-on organizing services to clients since 2000.