You know life would run much smoother if you were more organized.  But getting and staying organized can seem like a challenge.  These six steps may be just what you need to get on the path to an organized life.

Have A Plan – Whatever space you’re going to tackle be it your desktop, kitchen pantry, closet or garage it’s helpful to create a written plan of the process and the outcome.  Items to include in your plan:

  • What is your goal or how will you use the space once it’s organized?
  • What is your time frame?
  • How will you block the time on your schedule?
  • Where will you take things you no longer want or need (e.g. donation, recycle, trash, another room in your home)?
  • How will you maintain your system?

Gather Your Supplies – When I start organizing any space I like to have the following supplies to make the process easier:

  • Boxes for Sorting (File boxes work well for this as they can be easily purchased at any office supply store).
  • Sharpies
  • Label Maker
  • Quart Size Plastic Bags
  • File Folders and Hanging Folders
  • A Box or Bin for the following: Shred, Recycle, Donate, Trash

Sort & Purge – When you first begin to go through a space, there’s often a lot that does not belong there.  Your goal during this phase is to get like items together and get rid of what you don’t use or need.  What this means is; if you are organizing your desk and find a bunch of pens, put them in a drawer or container together.  It does not have to be the final home for all your pens, but at least they will all be together and you’ll know what you have.  If you have more pens then you can use in a lifetime, put them in your donate box and get rid of them.  The one rule with organizing any space is that things get worse before they get better, so be prepared.

Determine Your Container – Once you have like items together you can determine where the items will be stored.  Before giving your items a final home or container, consider the following:

  • Are these items more easily accessible in a drawer or cabinet?
  • Do I need a container with a lid or are they more easily accessible without one?
  • Who needs access to the items?
  • How often do I access the items?
  • Is the container the correct size for the items?

Answering a few of these questions will ensure you are using your space efficiently.

Implement Your Vision– If you followed the aforementioned steps, you’re ready to set-up your space.  Make sure you’ve taken out the trash and recycle and you’ve removed the donation items so they don’t creep back in over time.

  • Place items in the container or home you designate.
  • Label containers as needed.
  • If needed, familiarize others with where things go.

Maintenance  – Once your space is organized you don’t want to go back to where you were.  Know that life is busy and your space will not always look perfectly neat and organized, but you should be able to quickly recover. You’ll only have to spend minutes rather than hours cleaning your space because you know where everything goes.  Make a commitment to maintain your system by scheduling periodic clean ups to continue your success.

Now that you have the steps, what is the first space you’re going to organize?  Share your success at