Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The 5 W's of Home Organizing

After several casual discussions about home organization with friends and family over the past few weeks, I've come to the conclusion that most people don't have a clear picture of what they should be doing to organize their homes.  

Since I'm a recovering unorganized person, I thought I'd share some of the Who, What, When, Where, and Why's of organizing and also what organizing is NOT.

Everyone needs some sort of organizing in their life.  From wee babies to great grandma; all people benefit from living in an organized home and function better when they can find what they need.

Organizing means different things to different people.  Some feel organized when they can find their keys and cell phone every morning.  Others are content to pick clean (or even dirty) socks out of the laundry pile.  Still, others need for every detail of their lives to be structured before they are comfortable.

Some folks are struggling just to get through the day, let alone try to organize something.  They wish they had organized their life yesterday or they promise to do it tomorrow.  I have to say, it's best to organize a little every day.  Not only does it make you feel like you've accomplished something, it actually makes a difference (however big or small) in your life. 

I think the problem most people have when organizing is where to put everything.  The simple answer to that is to get rid of as much "stuff" as you can.  It's much easier to organize a small pile than a large pile.  Also, try to keep items with other like items and store it near where you use it. 

This is really the most important question.  The why's of organizing are different to each individual, but there are some basic answers that fit all of us.
     1.  So we can find what we need
     2.  Because it can save us money
     3.  So we can focus on people instead of stuff
     4.  Because it benefits our family
     5.  Because my job requires it

How:  This isn't a "W" but it needs to be added.
If it weren't for this question, I wouldn't have a business. " How to organize?" is probably one of the most frequently googled questions out there.  There really is no one perfect answer.  Each home is different and requires different techniques.

 The most important and hardest step is just. . . start.  Start at your front door or start with your car.  Start with one drawer, one shelf, one corner, or one bag.  Just start.  Sound simple?  Yes it is.  Sound easy?  No.  But, I promise, the more you do it, the better you'll get.  If you focus on the bigness of the job, you'll be overwhelmed.  Just start small and rejoice with each small victory. 

If you need help, ask a friend or family member to help you.  Ask your neighbor to hold you accountable.  You're more likely to do something when you know someone is going to ask you about it.  Hire a professional organizer (I know a good one) to help you with organizing a room, a project, or a whole house.  A good professional organizer should teach you how to organize and work side by side with you to get you to your goal.

Now, what is organizing not?  It's not spending your whole life cleaning and straighting up.  Remember, life is about relationships - not stuff.

 Organizing is not buying containers.  It's true that I love containers, but if they don't have a specific function then they are clutter.  They can actually be part of the problem instead of part of the solution.

Organizing is not the goal.  It is the means to your goal.  You organize coupons so you can save money when you shop.  You organize paperwork so you can pay your bills on time.  You organize your fridge so you don't waste food.  You organize your schedule so you have time for what is most important.

Do you have anything to add?  What is organizing to you?  What is it not?


  1. Organizing makes me happy! I just went through all of the boys' toys and art supplies and got them organized and I love looking at that neat and tidy shelf LOL

    My co-workers roll their eyes at me - we're janitors and they can always find me in our little closet re-arranging everything Hehe.

  2. Oh I really need you to come to my house!!! I could put you to work!


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