Squalor Survivors logo


Tasks to prepare for organizing

  1. Get boxes or storage containers
  2. Label boxes
  3. Clear space for interim and final destinations
  4. Clear space for sorting
  5. Schedule time for working
Being organized has less to do with the way an environment looks than how effectively it functions. If a person can find what they need when they need it, feels unencumbered in achieving his or her goals, and is happy in his or her space, then that person is well organized. Julie Morgenstern, Organizing From the Inside Out

Group like items together

Use categories that fit with how you associate items. But beware of creating systems that are too complex to maintain. A simple rule of thumb: Make it easier to put something away than it is to take it out. This is because when you want to use something, your motivation to put effort into accessing the item is high. Once you've finished with it, however, your motivation to put effort into storing it is much lower.

Let's say your photography stuff. It all goes in the same spot so you can easily know where it is. All of your office supplies go in the same spot. Some people, when they start doing this, they find they have something like seven staplers that were all spread around. Sandra Felton

Keep often used items handy

The easier it is, the more likely it is to work. An example of that being, if you have your keys right beside the door when you come in, that sort of thing. If it's too hard, you're not going to do it. Sandra Felton

Take the time to properly replace items

An extra few seconds putting an item where it belongs, makes it easier to find next time.

More tips

  • Think see-through and stackable. Be able to see what's inside without taking off lids. Square containers make more efficient use of space than round containers.
  • Use tinted plastic see-through envelopes for storing papers and documents. They have Velcro flaps to keep contents from spilling out.

Further reading:

Organizing From the Inside Out Julie Morgenstern Henry Holt & Company, Incorporated, September 1998