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Organization Tips - How To Get Started

Updated on April 9, 2010

It doesn't have to be perfect.

There is a great deal of truth to the old adage, if something is worth doing, it is worth doing well. But that doesn't mean it has to be done well immediately or quickly.

One of the best organization tips is not to take on too much pressure at once. In spite of the wise old adage, if you were bleeding, you would press whatever is handy on the wound to control the bleeding until you got to the hospital where someone would apply the best bandage they can. You wouldn't say, well I'm not going to use a makeshift bandage, because if it's worth doing it's worth doing right. So I won't make a quick bandage since it won't be a perfect bandage.

Sound ridiculous? It is! Assume you are on the road to doing it well. Don't be afraid to put a band-aid on something temporarily until you have the time or materials to improve upon it.

Bin Buying

Another great tip is to have the right supplies. That doesn't mean you have to go out and spend a bunch of money all at once on a gazillion organizational things. It also doesn't mean you have to use the best of the best to be efficient.

The next time you're running out of Shoprite, look around and see if there's a Dollar Store nearby. $10 here and there, and you can put together a pretty great collection of little bins, totes, baskets, folders, and wall pockets to organize all your things.

Where to begin?

Not an organized person? That's OK. We'll start slow.

Start with the linen closet. Or even just one or two shelves of the linen closet. Sheets, blankets, pillowcases, towels. Some nice laundry baskets that can slide easily in and out of shelves are nice. Or if you can just fold them up neatly and keep them that way, that's fine too. It is amazing how much those little shelf dividers will help you do that.

My point is, pick something to organize that is contained. Don't start with the entire garage, or your entire office. Start with the condiments in your fridge. A few plastic dollar store bins and 4 minutes should be plenty. Start with the remote controls. 1 or 2 baskets you're re-using from Christmas gifts and 3 minutes should do the trick.

Once you see how easy it is to find a clean towel you'll be inspired when you're ready to organize something else.

Next go to the shelf of the linen closet where you keep soap, nail polish, & Pepto. Start using some of those little bins you've been picking up at Kmart. One for soaps, one for beauty products. One for travel sized things you take on over nighters. One for your medicines. One big one for the many hair products you collect.

I find usually you can't assess exactly how many and what sizes of organization tools you'll need for a project until you're in the middle of it. Be patient and do what you can with what you have, and the next time your'e at the Dollar Tree you can grab bigger bins, bins with lids, bins with handles... whatever it is you need.

No one knows how to organize your stuff but you.

General tips are great, like clear bins for higher shelves so you can see what you have stored where. Ideas from Clean Sweep are priceless, like color coding, and roll away storage. But only you know what you need for real organization. Only you know what you have, what you use frequently, and what you should actually purge.

I wear make up every day, so I have a cute bin with lots of little shelves and pockets to organize all my make up. If you are an Ivory Soap all natural girl, you don't need a little organizer like I do for cosmetics. If you have a hobby or craft like jewelry making, soap making, photography, or scrapbooking, you'll need certain bins with certain compartments to organize all the compotents. Only you know what to try.

And don't think you're going to get it right the first time. You may pick some bins that turn out to be too small. Or you may outgrow your system. You may start out thinking you need to seperate beads for jewelry by color, but it turns out it's better to do it by size. Keep updating and switching out bin systems until you find the one that works best.

When to do it?

If you aren't the kind of person that can find and make time for projects like these, then schedule it. Maybe at 11pm you like to watch a Seinfeld rerun. You usually go to sleep around midnight. Perfect: from the end of Seinfeld until bedtime, organize something. A handful of photos, a folder of recipes, your shoes. Or maybe the kids get on the schoolbus at 8:30. How about as soon as they do, you spend just 15 minutes on organizing, before you run to Curves or leave for the office. If you get into the habit, it will become second nature. The pots and pans cabinet. The junk drawer. The box of your old concert t-shirts. Remember you don't have to do the whole room at once. You can do one cabinet or one shelf at a time.


There's a good chance that part of why things have become chaotic, is because there are too many things. Tupperware tops without bottoms. Single socks. Books you hated and will never read again. Clothes that don't fit. Teabags that have gone stale. Torn sheets. Stained towels.

Did you get 3 crock pots for your wedding shower? Get rid of 1 or 2. Did you get married 10 years ago and have never used even one of them? Get rid of all three. Did you get your dog a new bowl and never threw away the old one? Go ahead and let it go.

Purging and organizing goes hand in hand. If your stuff is decent have a yard sale, or give it away, or find a second hand shop. If your stuff isn't so great, just chuck it.

Don't go back to mess

As you're chipping away at your messes, ask yourself how things got that way. Make mental notes about how to prevent those things from happening again. Was it a little laziness? An unwillingness to purge? Is it that you rush too much to take the few seconds needed to keep things neat? Once you identify the problems it will be easy to correct those little behaviors. Once you find the spatula or scotch tape in the very first spot you look, you will want everything to be that easy. It will become easier and quicker.

Organization is not only time saving. It is also money saving. How many times have you re- bought wrapping paper or tin foil because you couldn't find the first one you bought.

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All text is original content by Veronica.

All photos are used with permission.

All videos are used courtesy of Youtube.


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  • Kris Heeter profile image

    Kris Heeter 6 years ago from Indiana

    Great tips! I have to keep reminding myself that it's ok to "purge". While not always successful, I'm trying to get rid of something every time I bring something new into the house or receive a gift so that there's no net gain. Doesn't always work but I'm getting better at it:)

  • profile image

    10 years ago

    Some things I am very organized about and some things I am not. I wonder why that is! This motivates me to really organize some of the places I have neglected, like my kitchen.

  • Goodwitch profile image

    Goodwitch 10 years ago

    Wow! I'm inspired! Maybe I'll actually file all of my bills and receipts that I through in a plastic bag, under my desk, that has split apart and is bieng kicked around my family room! And I even have the storage bin sitting in the basement for it!