I recently responded to a request from a Good Housekeeping magazine journalist, who through HARO (Help A Reporter Out) had requested tips on how to be on autopilot with organizing. See my response below.
Autopilot can only be accomplished when these things are present
- Consistency and the 3 P’s: Purge, Pick-up, Put away. Being organized is not an event; it is a way of living.
- Do not have more than you need and use. I see game rooms overflowing with kids’ toys and books, living rooms containing massive collections of DVDs, and closets stuffed to overflowing with shoes, purses, jewelry, makeup, baseball caps, jackets, and garages filled to the brim with boxes and tools. If putting things back where they go is not easy – or if there is not enough room to put them away – they become excess. Excess stuff simply becomes clutter.
- Stop buying because “it was on sale.” If you do not need it, do not buy it – and certainly do not buy three of them because they were cheap!
“Install a key holder near the door in which you enter your home.”
10-tips to help you get organized
- Install a key holder near the door in which you enter your home. Place your keys there every time you come home. Consistency creates habits.
- Hang hooks or install a hall-tree/bench near the door. Kids’ backpacks, coats, purses, shoes can be placed there upon entry into the home. The area will have to be purged from time-to-time; that is what I call “organizing maintenance.”
- Dresser drawers need to be purged of old, outgrown clothes regularly. This is the number one reason I find that most people do not put clothes away without a lot of dread, and it is the same reason people dread filing…there is no room! Make room!
- Never bring junk mail into the house. Place a recycle bin or garbage can outside the door, if feasible, and drop the “trash” in there. I remind my clients by saying, “We do not bring trash into the house; we take trash out.”
- Paper is a huge problem with most of my clients. There are no magic potions here but here are some tips:
- Remove outer envelope and flyer inserts; toss or recycle
- Open up paper to full size
- Place in colorful folders labeled “To Do,” “To File,” “To Read,” “To Others” file folder that can be conveniently placed in a vertical sorter and accessed easily.
- Before going to bed, tidy up family areas. Even young children can help by taking toys back to their rooms, picking up games, books, etc.
- Clean up any dirty dishes in the sink.
- Review your calendar for the next day so your brain subconsciously knows what you have scheduled for tomorrow. This will help you rest better.
- Be protective of flat surfaces. This is where clutter accumulates the quickest and then spreads, like a nasty virus. Using the folders I suggested helps with paper, placing decorative items can helps, too, but the most important factor is cleared space is regular maintenance.
- Understand that organization is a teachable skill, get help. Insist that you are involved in the “process of elimination.” Having organizing done for you without your involvement and input is a short-term fix and the clutter will return. Work with a Professional Organizer who will help you create systems that flow with the way you function in your home and in your family. There is no one-size-fits-all-magic-fix solution.
“Having organizing done for you is a short-term fix; the clutter will return.”
If you are ready to get yourself organized once and for all. If you are ready to go through the “process of elimination, and if you are ready to work with a Professional Organizer who will actually TEACH you organizational skills, then you need to click on the image below right now.