Organizing for the Disinclined

Okay, everyone knows those people … the born organizers. You know the ones, they have a place for everything and a mental file card system reminding them where everything is. These are the people that live by “a place for everything, and everything in its place.”

You, conversely, are lucky to get out of the house with your keys and handbag or wallet. You often leave behind the lunch you painstakingly made the night before, and you root through the dirty laundry looking for the blouse to go with the suit you need to wear TODAY for a presentation you’re about to give. Oh, and the notes for the presentation … you’re writing them on the train on your way into work.

You open your favorite magazine only to find one more article extolling the virtues of organization and you resolve to start right away.But where do you start when you’re so naturally disinclined to organize?

Start small

Trying to implement everything you read in that latest article or blog post by the perfect mommy, choose just one area. Work on your new habit a little each time you think about it until it becomes a habit.

While many people tout the belief that habits form in about 21 days, the truth is that creating automaticity (what psychologists call habit formation) may take much longer than that to develop. A 2009 study by Phillippa Lally, et al., at the University College London, participants averaged 66 days to establish a new healthy habit such as changing their diet or exercising.

As entrenched as your current bent toward messiness and disorderliness is, making the switch to organization won’t come overnight. Nor should you expect it to come naturally.

Pick one

Consider starting with just one of these items. Add it into your life in as seamless a way as possible so that it becomes “organic.”

  • Place a wastebasket in each room, near the doorway. If the receptacle is not handy or visible, using it won’t be automatic. Set another trashcan near where you sort mail. Notice, this is not a new place to sort mail that has a trash can, it is moving a trashcan to where you already sort mail, but it on the sofa, the kitchen table or just inside the back door.
  • Add hooks to the back of each door. Dropped sweaters, jackets, scarves, and backpacks quickly clutter a space. A liberal quantity of hooks encourages hanging up at least some of these.
  • Use plastic tubs. Chances are if you’re organizationally challenged, your family members are as well. Place a basket or container for each person in the mudroom or on the way up the steps. In goes shoes, toys, books, and anything else that one might leave behind in another room. At the end of each day, each person only has one thing to grab on their way to bed.

Organization habits are especially important when your home is on the market and needs to quickly become “show ready” at a moment’s notice. Your real estate professional may have other ideas to help you quickly “stage” your home, so ask.

Here’s What You Need To Know Before Hiring A Professional Organizer

After moving one of two things can happen when it comes to being organized. The first is that you have no idea where to even begin. The second? You realize you have way too much stuff and nowhere to put it.

This is where hiring a professional organizer comes in. Like absolute magicians, they can all of your stuff, factor in your lifestyle and create a system that keeps your organized and tidy.

When working with a professional organizer there are some things you should know beforehand.

The first being that, while their skills at creating systems to keep your home and clutter managed ca feel magical… they aren’t magicians. What I mean by this is that, once they finish the project it’s on you to maintain all their hard work and your investment.

And while a great organizer will design a system that works best for you that doesn’t mean it will just naturally happen. You need to be prepared, and willing, to make changes in your daily behaviors and habits.

Be prepared to get really vulnerable. Aka they are going to need to see your cluttery mess in all its glory so that they can design the best system to handle it. They need an accurate portrayal of what your daily struggle truly looks like. You will also need to be honest about your day to day behaviors, even if it’s embarrassing and a little painful to admit out loud.

Here’s the thing if you tidy up beforehand or aren’t completely your organizer won’t be able to create a system that truly works for you. It will be for the person who is just a little bit tidier and doesn’t have those embarrassing behaviors. And this person just doesn’t exist in your day to day reality!

Take their organizational style into account. Some organizers are working in the trenches with you side by side. And others go at it solo and bring you in after to show off their hard work and educate you on what steps need to be taken to maintain it.

Have a budget and list of prioritized “zones” to tackle beforehand. Know how much of your organizer’s time you’re able to invest in. This will help you to formulate a plan of action and decide which rooms have the loudest cry for help.

Again, perhaps the most important piece is that you be committed to maintaining your new orderliness. Even when it gets hard and you slip up. This is going to take time and practice. So be patient with yourself and recognize that it’s all a work in progress. There will be backslides and that’s okay, it’s a part of the process. What’s important is that you take note of what happened, adjust your plan of action and keep moving forward.

How To Keep Your Closet Tidy

When you’re short on space, it can be difficult to see how you could ever possibly declutter your closet. It is, after all, a convenient hiding space for all of your items that you have no idea where to put! There’s a few tips that can help you to get on the road to decluttering your closet and getting organized.

Make Things Accessible

One reason that clutter builds up is that things are not very accessible. As you’re trying to find something, items fall and become misplaced. By spreading out your organization system a bit within the closet, you’re able to see what you have and exactly where it is. 

Group Like Items Together

In the same light of being able to find things that you need, grouping like items together makes it easier to find what you need. If you know that all of your haircare items are in a certain bin, you’ll be able to reach in the same spot without thinking.   

Find Places You Can “Drop” Things

Closets tend to be that kind of space where we just drop things and forget about them. We always think “I’ll deal with it later.” When later never comes, we end up with quite a cluttered closet. Keep baskets or trays handy in the closet in order to keep things that you may empty out of your pockets or put away at a later time. This way you’ll only have to clean out one basket instead of the entire closet. 

Make Use Of Drawers

Drawers are incredibly useful in a closet space. You can place a dresser in the closet if space permits. If you don’t have room for a dresser, you may want to create your own drawer units. For an alternative option of storing things, try installing shelving units and placing baskets across the shelves, giving the illusion of drawers.   

Encourage Tidiness

Everything that you do to organize your closet should have the goal of keeping tidiness in mind. If the closet is a walk-in, you’ll organize it much differently than if you have a smaller space. No matter the size of the closet, you’ll want to divide the space into zones of sorts. This way, you’ll know where everything goes and how to keep it neat.   

Light The Space

Without adequate lightning in the closet, it’s pretty difficult to find what you’re looking for, no matter how organized you are. If your closet doesn’t have a lot of natural light, you’ll need to install some lighting. Whether you put in overhead bulbs, or install touch- activated portable lights, the brighter the better when it comes to your closet. Be sure that there’s lights in key areas like darker corners where the main light source doesn’t reach. 

How to: Organize a Child’s Toy Room



Playrooms are usually the bane of a parent’s existence. The neverending stream of toys from holidays and celebrations coupled with a child’s lack of natural orderliness do not an organized room make. If you’re determined to end the clean up time struggle and find a solution that works keep reading.

For starters, forget the typical toy box solution.

Toyboxes only force children into creating a mess as they dig through its contents pulling toys out as they go to find the one they are looking for. Instead, opt for bins and/or baskets to corral your children’s toys by category. This way legos have their own container and Barbie has hers.

Want to really keep a tidy playroom?

Put a cap on the amounts of toys your child owns to avoid overwhelm and minimal clean up time. Your child will be better able to manage their toys as well as enjoy them more. Don’t worry you don’t actually have to throw out all of their toys.

A great solution that also adds renewed interest in old toys is to keep most of your child’s belongings in storage. You can then swap out their available selection throughout the year to keep their interest piqued without cluttering up the playroom.

Avoid moving the madness to your attic or basement by also regularly cleaning out existing toys to make room for the influx of the new during the holidays and birthday seasons.

Give your child responsibility.

Teach your child responsibility for their toys by having them clean up their own messes. Create routines throughout the day to help them learn how to clean up before they move on to their next activity. This could mean cleaning up before lunch and bedtime or even before moving on to a different toy.

Make cleanup a breeze for your child.

Keep all storage within reach so your child can not only easily access their toys but also easily clean them up on their own. You can do this by keeping like items with like and storing items in clear containers that are well labeled. If your child isn’t old enough to read, create labels that have simple images that indicate what type of toy belongs inside each container.

Customize your storage solutions to your child. Review what works and what doesn’t often and make changes accordingly. By creating a process that evolves with your child as learn new habits and even grow older you can guarantee a solution that sticks throughout their childhood.

Hopefully, you’ve gained a few ideas on how you can improve your child’s playroom to not only be better organized but also stay better organized. With some patience and modeling good organization behavior, your child will be keeping their playroom neat and tidy without a fight. Happy organizing!