First Steps to Getting Organized!

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Amy VolkWas your goal for 2013 to get organized? With the first month of the New Year behind us,  it’s easy to feel frustrated and throw in the towel if you haven’t made any progress in your organizing goal.  

Fear not.  Doing any organizing project, whether it’s a spice rack or a whole room, there are some basic elements that need to happen before you actually start the organizing. 

Below are three basic tenets of organizing any space.  Do these first, before ever diving in to reduce the clutter!  Consider these your three most crucial steps-they will. When looking at any given area of your home or office there are some basic assessment questions that are important to ask: 

1.  What is in this room?   Sounds silly doesn’t it?  But, it’s important to really identify the contents of a room and make a list.  Almost like an inventory.  Physically write down what you think is in the room and what you know is in the room.  We have seen many spaces where no one can see the bottom of the piles, but guess at it and get a clear picture of the volume of stuff in the area.  

2.  What do I want this room to be?  Just because you have a dining room by design doesn’t mean that it has to stay a dining room.  We have had several clients turn their dining rooms into music rooms, offices, and toy rooms.  Decide what works for your family and your needs, but get clear on what the function of the room will be when you are done.  And no room should have more than two functions.  More than two will lead to more clutter down the road.

3.  Make a plan.  This is where rubber meets the road.  How will you get this project done?  Do you need help?  Who can help you?  How much time do you think you will need?  What resources will you need?  Call a handyman, a painter, a junk removal service, Salvation Army pickup?  Be realistic about your ability to make objective decisions about your stuff. You may need either a Professional Organizer or a gut-honest friend to help you out. 

As a word of caution: Paperwork takes twice as long as you think it will, so double the amount of time you estimated it will take. Be ruthless with paper-it’s the biggest monster lurking out there!  Invest in a great shredder and burn it up clearing the paperwork clutter. 

Amy started Simplified Living, LLC eight years ago when she wanted to stay home with her kids but still make money.  It has grown to include not only home organizing, but corporate organizing and productivity training.  Amy regularly speaks to large groups, has a TV segment on the Hampton Roads Show called Organize Your Life, and blogs about how to Live Better on her website,


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