The Top Ten Things I’ve Learned About Getting Organized

I used to resist organizing. I’d put it off until my drawers were overflowing and my closets bulged. But at some point, often at the worst possible moment, I’d be forced to handle the clutter that had built up beyond recognition.

I’ve turned a corner in this regard. I actually enjoy organizing and re-organizing now! And having a few days “off work” seemed like a great opportunity to re-organize some areas of my home that had been neglected of late.

So, the pantry got an overhaul last weekend and so did a strangely shaped cabinet in my kitchen. Now both are more usable, more pleasing to look at, I know what I have and I’ve gotten rid of the stuff I was keeping but no longer needed. It’s amazing how much space can be taken up by things that we rarely use, but that we still think we need to keep around. For me, a huge part of organizing is letting go of the things I think I need, but don’t actually use.

Whew! I’m so glad I tackled that pantry (thanks to my wonderful husband for the inspiration). What a nice feeling to start the New Year with! Next up, my office! Ha! That’s a joke, I’ve been working on organizing my office for at least a year. And, yes it’s far better than it has been in the past. Maybe I should add an organized office to my 2013 vision!

Do you enjoy organizing? Or do you experience it as a constant battle? Do you dread doing it with the kids around? Or is it fun to include them in the process?

I used to do all my re-organizing when my daughter was asleep because I was afraid she would take things from various piles, carry them around the house, or just need my attention while I was in the midst of my project. I still tend to do more organizing when she’s otherwise occupied, but now I’m no longer afraid of what will happen if she’s around while I’m moving things around.

I figure it’s probably good for her to see behind the curtain a little bit and start to understand that there are things that need consistent revisiting in order to keep our home tidy and accessible.

At almost two and a half, Julia is now responsible for putting her clean breakable dishes into her kitchen drawer after they come out of the dishwasher. She does this task with gusto each and every time I ask, but it’s only possible because we’ve kept her drawer well organized and it’s not overstuffed with items that are rarely used.

Here’s what I’ve learned about staying on top of organization lately.

1)   It’s never ending.

2)   I need empty bins, baskets and buckets to dump things into at the beginning of any reorganization attempt.

3)   I need bins, baskets, and buckets to hold ongoing in-process items like “giveaway” “to be filed” and “to be fixed.”

4)   I MUST have systems for dealing with things like junk mail, personal items, things that are broken and need fixing etc.

5)   It’s never ending.

6)   A place for everything and everything in its place is a fantasy right now (albeit one of my favorites), but I will achieve it. I WILL ACHIEVE IT.

7)   Keeping things from coming INTO my house is probably even more important than having a system for dealing with things once they’re here.

8)   Asking my daughter, husband, mom, and whoever else is willing to HELP me is crucial. I don’t have to do it all myself.

9)   It’s my job to set the expectations and to let my family members know when it’s time to straighten up (without throwing a fit by huffing around the house complaining about what a pit it is).

10)   It’s never ending, so I might as well enjoy the process.

I recently read “Getting Things Done” by David Allen and I realized that there are all sorts of ways that I’ve been undermining my own efforts to organize. Now I’ve got a clear plan and I’m chipping away at my bad habits bit by bit.

Do you know what’s keeping you from having the tidy and organized home you dream about? Or are things just fine as they are? I would love to hear about your own journey of staying organized at home. Please share a story or comment below!

And have a fabulous day, Shelly



I can't believe it, my husband just told me that I'm a party pooper because I'm stress out because of all the organization for the next 2 days, the last 2 days before going back to work! 

For organization at work, I'm a pro, because I guess it's just integrated in my work tasks in order to be focused and work properly.


At home, it's different, I think like you said, I keep so much things I used rarely because I might need it one day ( and often when I got rid of something I needed without a month I got rid of it...)   Also, we too often accept stuffs from other people.  And it's a ongoing process.  I just read this article, it's in french, but the video is in english,


in the article she mentionned to  " refuse, reduce, reuse, recycle, rot " .  I think in our case, we forget "refuse and reduce" and put to much on reuse, repare (fix) , recycle and rot.


As for organisation with kids, sometimes it works, but most of the time I need to focus to do the tasks.

So for the next year, we are going to focus on refuse and reduce and thinking twice before buying new things. My motivation : in order to travel abroad next year, we'll rent the house.  ( So, we'll need the strick minimum to bring with us, and we'll need to empty the house!  ) 

AwakeShelly moderator

 @julievalie I love this! Thanks sharing. Isn't it funny how we can be super organized at work but struggle with it at home. I had the same thing going on until I started working from home. Now my office is the messiest room in the house ;) I hope you're enjoying your day! Warm hugs, Shelly