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  • Writer's pictureShannon McKinney

General Organizing Tips




So you’re ready to tackle your kitchen, your pantry, closet, playroom, or entire home: yay, you!!! Let me share a few things that may help you avoid some common pitfalls that can happen when decluttering and organizing a space on your own. Some of these mistakes, um, lessons, I learned the hard way before I was a professional organizer myself!


Plan, Purge, Sort, then Contain! Let’s get into it!


Plan! Choose a day when you’ll have plenty of time with limited distractions. It sounds simple enough but the organizing process, along with decision making, takes focus. If you’re planning on working in several areas, start small so that you have a “win” which can help build momentum to keep moving forward. Have some clear (or white) bags or boxes for donate, black bags for toss items and a separate container for items to consign or sell. This will help with confusion as to which items go where when the bags are getting full.


Purge! This goes against conventional organizing practices but if you’re going it alone, I think it can alleviate some stress. While we normally take all items out of your space and then purge, it can be overwhelming when your entire area if filled with stuff! If you can purge a little before you get started, it might seem more doable. For example, if you’re working in your (or your kid’s) closet, can you immediately spot items you know you will sell or donate? Immediately deal with these items and purge/toss and move the bags and/or boxes out of the way. Next up…


Sort! Now it’s time to take all items out and get to work on sorting like with like. Try to have a clear landing area: a bed, counters, or a table and add like items with each other in appropriate zones. For a pantry, it might be spices, cans, pastas, breakfast items, snacks, and so on. You might lay clothing items on your bed, keeping similar items together. Regardless of the area in which you’re working, keep like items together! At this point, you may have more items to purge/donate/toss. Use the system you set up for yourself before you began and keep.on.going!


Contain! You have all of the goodies you’re planning on keeping, now is the time to put them in their “home”. I have articles in this section on a closet refresh, pantry, and home office so I won’t get into the nitty gritty. For your pantry, keep items used most frequently mid-level and think about how you and your family use the space. For your closet, keep current season items in a more prominent area and off-season items tucked away elsewhere. As I mentioned, this is just a general rule of thumb, I have more detailed information in other articles. Final thought: I firmly believe that if a space is functional, aesthetically pleasing, and labeled the greater chance the space will stay organized.


As always, I’m here if you have any questions! I’m rooting for your success!

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