Tag Archives: organizing

Musings: Staying Organized

Today’s topic is: “Top three tips for staying organized.” 

Some of you may know that in my past life (from 2006 – 2012), I ran my own professional organizing business, Organized Offices, in Boston. I worked with dozens of clients in their offices, homes, and home offices. Together, we established systems to maximize their efficiency and productivity, while minimizing the amount of time they needed to spend organizing. In 2012, I moved to Minnesota, started a family, and launched DeCook Organizing to help local families stay organized. Although my focus has changed from working professional to families, many of the same techniques and processes still apply.


Here are my top three organizing tips that can be applied to just about any situation.

1. Involve Everyone
If you have a spouse, roommate, or children, the best way to stay organized is to make sure everyone in your household participates. Children as young as 15 months can help put their toys or books back into a box. By starting early, you can make it part of their routine to put everything away before transitioning to the next activity. For adults, work together on the next two tips to create an organizing system that works for everyone.

2. Minimize Possessions
If your home is plagued with clutter, there are usually two reasons: too much stuff or not enough space.

If you have too much stuff, consider the positive impact of keeping only those things that you really love. Fewer things to organize means more time to enjoy the items you have. This doesn’t mean you have to part with your sentimental memorabilia. Just be sure to contain it. For everything you don’t love, get rid of it (donate, sell, recycle, or trash).

If the issue is not enough space, and moving isn’t a feasible option, consider creating a rotation schedule. One of my former clients was an avid art collector who lived in a very small apartment. Twice a year, he removed all of the art from his walls and hung the other half of his collection. (Just be sure to properly protect your items so they won’t be damaged during storage.) This seasonal method also works well for large wardrobes with small closets.

3. Assign a Home (and Label, if needed)
If you have assigned a place where everything belongs, then you will know where to put it back. Tidying up will be quick and efficient. Use labels to help others learn your organizing system so they can help maintain it.

Have a junk drawer for all the miscellaneous objects that don’t seem to belong anywhere in particular? Don’t worry, we all have those. But in fact, all those little bits of string, binder clips, batteries, tape measures, and bendy straws do have a home, in the junk drawer. Just be sure to periodically clear out the unusable items.


Do you have a favorite organizing tip or technique? Please leave me a comment.

~ Phoebe DeCook

(P.S. If you missed my introduction to these daily “Musings”, you can read from the beginning here.)

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