Organizing Basics

I enjoying blogging, but trying to find the time is almost as hard as trying to come up with new organizing tips! I thought today I’d start at the beginning and talk about the basics.

I have been listening to this audio book called “Getting Things Done” and the author described organizing in such a simple way, I just had to share it. Organizing is simply getting rid of the “stuff”.  Now by “stuff”, he did not mean your belongings, just how you store these things.  If you have a box filled with papers and photo’s and candles and clothing…it becomes simply a box of “stuff”.  If your kitchen counter is full of papers and food and dishes, it can only be described as “stuff”.  By giving each of these items a proper home in which all of these like things belong, it is no longer stuff, but identified belongings.

I suppose he explains it much better then I can, but I hope you get the basic idea. By using this analogy, I realized that there are clear steps in organization and by skipping these steps, you are setting yourself up for failure.

So, step one is sorting the “stuff”. This is the most important step because it is truly getting “organized”, even though your home may look worse after you begin this process! Basically you need to collect all like things together from all over your home. All your papers together in one area, all photo’s, craft supplies, tools, books…you get the idea. Everything together in a pile, or in a designated spot in your home. Now that pile in the corner is no longer “stuff” but a pile of “paperwork” and another pile for “craft supplies” etc. This is called “Macro-Organizing” and it is essential to having an organized home. It may look even more unorganized at first, put if each pile is home to only a specific category, your piles are indeed very “organized”.

Step two is purging and placing. Look at this pile of items and decide what you don’t need. Get rid of duplicates, outdated items and things you no longer love or use. Now you know exactly how much you have and you can find it a home. If you need to buy a shelf or storage box, you now know exactly what size you need. Put these items in this home and make sure everyone in your household knows where that spot is.  If you have gone all over your home collecting photo’s, you can now see how many photo boxes you should buy. Photo boxes can stack two high and four across on an average book shelf, so you now can figure out what size shelf you need. Do not sort the photo’s or try to put them away in a certain order…your skipping a huge step, get your entire home put away first.

Step three is Micro-Organizing. Now that all your craft supplies are in one area, you can spend time organizing them by scissors, glue sticks, paints etc. Or you can spend time organizing your photo’s by chronological order or whatever you prefer. So many people waste time with this step first before they have actually organized their home, and that is the biggest organizing mistake. This process takes a very long time and is sometimes difficult to maintain. Before any Micro-Organizing can begin, you first need to Marco-Organize your entire home and be sure that it is working efficiently.

If there are many areas in your home you need to Macro-Organize, but you don’t want to tear your whole home apart to do it, don’t fret…it can be done in baby steps. Pick one small area in your home and look at what items you want to “live” there. Don’t try to organize what is there right now, most likely not everything that is in that spot belongs there. Once you have decided what that area will be “home” to, remove everything else and search your entire home for other “like” items that should go in that area. Now, put them away! Not even space? Find something bigger you can use in that area for storage, or consider finding another spot all together.

Hope these tips were helpful!