Personal organizers are great, but every profession has secrets that they hide from their clients. So what’s the secret to a more organized home and life? Find out with this list of the 13 secrets personal organizers don’t want you to know!
Set Some Ground Rules
If you want your home organizing and cleaning to go quickly and smoothly, you have to set some ground rules. For example, before organizing that closet decide what will go and what will stay (get rid of clothes that are stained / torn, get rid of clothes between sized A and B, throw out periodicals that are more than 1 year old). Setting this rules will make your decisions easier and will help you get that space organized quickly and efficiently.
The 5 Piles of Success
When you’re organizing, sorting items into these 5 piles can help you get the job done smoothly:
- The Move Pile
- The Donate Pile
- The Give Away Pile
- The Throw Away Pile
- The “Marinate” Pile
Your “Marinate Pile” should consist of items you aren’t sure of discarding. Once the pile is complete, put it in a box and date it 6 months – 1 year later. If you don’t open the box before or by that date…you don’t need the items inside!
It’s generally not a great idea to use lids, or laundry baskets, bins and other containers. Instead of encouraging you to get organized, these containers just make it harder for you to put things away. Try using smaller, open air containers like clear sweater boxes to really up your organizing game.
The Rule of 5’s
No matter how small you think that pile of papers is, it will always take you 5x longer than you think to sort through them. So always keep only what you absolutely need!
Remove Don’t Create
It’s easy to get caught up in the need to produce more storage, but that’s not the secret to successful organizing. Instead, your goal should always be to remove clutter, rather than creating more storage. You can add to your organizing “to buy” list, but you should only do so after you’ve removed your clutter and know exactly what organizing items you need. That’s just common sense!
Organizing papers is rough and time consuming. It’s important to remember that 80% of the papers we receive, we don’t need to keep. So thin down on those papers and thin down on your cleaning time at the same time!
To Sell or Not to Sell
People talk about selling unwanted items on eBay all the time, but is it really necessary? Unless you think you’re going to pick up eBay selling as a part time hobby, don’t bother with chucking up that pile of junk on the overburdened website. Instead, just throw it away or give it to someone you know could use it.
Holding Onto the Past
We all have that one ridiculous item that just doesn’t fit (literally or figuratively) into or organizing and home game plan. Instead of holding onto items that you just don’t have a space for, take a picture and then let it go to someone who has the space for grandma’s chandelier or Aunt Betty’s old blue recliner. Remember, it’s the memories you cherish…not the item itself.
Beware Flat Surfaces
It’s no surprise that these surfaces quickly become ground zero for clutter. Instead of leaving them free to gather chaos, try decorating them with nice accent pieces. This will discourage the clutter and help you keep the space free and clean.
On the Go
If you’re trying to organize stuff that needs to be on the move, store it in your car. For instance, keep receipts in a clear plastic container in your car so they are always with you and accessible. Errand baskets are a great way to hold items that need to be returned. And crates are a great way to keep kids’ toys and emergency supplies organized and accessible.
It’s All About the Calendar
If you really want to be a successful organizer, then you have to start by putting everything on the calendar. Not only is this just a great way to remember things, it’s a great way to prioritize the things in your life that are important. Keep everything on the calendar, including exercise, kids’ appointments and cleaning schedules. If it doesn’t fit in the calendar, it does’t fit in your life.
You probably spend a lot of wasted time going through paperwork. To avoid going through documents more than once, mark certain papers with a red dot. If you suddenly find that the papers have multiple red dots…you need a new paperwork organizing system!
Organizing and cleaning isn’t always fun, but it’s necessary for a happy life. If you want a simpler life, then try doing tasks that only take a few minutes right away. For instance, open mail and dispose of it (accordingly) right away. As soon as you’re finished cooking dinner, take a few minutes to clean up those dishes (or at the least put them in to soak). When you get things done right away, you don’t have to do them later. And, most importantly, you don’t have to find the encouragement to do them later!
And there you have it! The 13 best secrets that personal organizers don’t want you to know. Have more great ideas for home organizing? Let me know in the comments below or join the discussion over at Facebook and Twitter!
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