Is getting organized on your list of New Year’s Resolutions? Do you dream of a neat and organized home? You’re not alone. Many people strive for an organized home. We know that having an organized home will free up the time and energy you need to do the things you want to do in 2020. So, start this year off right by sticking to that resolution and getting your home organized.

Organizing your home may seem daunting, but it’s doesn’t have to be. I’ve created a simple, no-fail, 5-step process to help you organize any area of your home. When it comes to organizing, it can be hard to know where to start and easy to get overwhelmed. But with the 5-steps to guide you, you’ll always know what to do next. This will help you feel in control of your organizing projects and goals as you go through the process of organizing your home. It’s time to take control of your home and your stuff!

Speaking of stuff…STUFF is the easy-to-remember acronym for my 5-step process to organize anything! Here are the 5-steps in summary:

    • Sort – Sort your stuff into like categories
    • Toss – Decide what to do with each item: Keep, Sell, Donate, Toss
    • Unify – Assign the keepers to their new homes by zone
    • Fill – Find and fill containers for each group of items or activity
    • Follow-Up – Commit to a regular maintenance schedule

So remember: Sort, Toss, Unify, Fill and Follow Up – STUFF! These are the steps that will get you from where you are to where you want to be.

Now let’s get into more detail…

Step 1: Sort

Here is where you want to give it some thought. As you sort, think about how you use each  item and where you will most easily find it again. It’s all about what makes sense to you. Keep it simple by choosing broad categories such as: office supplies, toys, clothing or sporting goods. Avoid miscellaneous categories. Putting items into miscellaneous categories only allows you to postpone decisions. Being decisive is an important part of this process.

Step 2: Toss

Start with the obvious. The simplest way to begin is to do a sweep of your house and collect items that are obvious trash. Take a recycling bin and garbage bag and collect things such as expired coupons, holiday catalogs, magazines, and old newspapers. This is an easy task that will give you an immediate sense of accomplishment. Once you’ve found some motivation, move to the next level and start collecting items to donate or sell. Take action and put donation items in your car with a plan to drop them off at a local charity ASAP or schedule a pick up, so they don’t sit around your house, continuing to clutter your space.

Tip: Find a reason to let it go. If you’re feeling guilty about getting rid of things, then do something good with them. Make some money by selling your items online or through consignment. Or, donate them to your favorite charity and take a tax deduction.

Step 3: Unify

Clutter usually accumulates because items have no home. So, make a home for everything. You know the saying: “A place for everything and everything in its place”. Create zones within rooms that make sense to you. Start with broad categories and narrow it down where needed. Look at where clutter collects and set up ways to organize it. Place a bowl or basket where mail and keys tend to fall. Put up hooks where you always throw your jacket, or place a shoe rack where you come in the door.

Step 4: Fill

Now that you’ve sorted items into categories, it should be easy to find the right size containers for everything. Choose containers that are large enough for the items they are storing, but that also fit the space where they are being stored. Put everything away into the proper containers and label things if you want to be able to easily identify them. Clear containers are always useful to be able to see what’s inside.

Step 5: Follow-Up

Once you have systems in place, take just a few minutes each day to maintain them and you’ll never have to worry about clutter piling up again. Follow these organizing rules to keep your clutter in check:
1. Clean up as you go.
2. File, Don’t Pile.
3. The One in, One Out rule…or the One in, Two out rule if you’re trying to reduce the amount of stuff you have.

Let’s face it, life is busy, and organizing projects can often lag behind other seemingly more pressing priorities. Be sure to schedule time for your organizing projects, just like any other appointment or priority, so that you can reach your goals and feel the benefits of a more organized home.

Wishing you a happy and organized 2020!

By Sarah Buckwalter, Certified Professional Organizer®

Sarah Buckwalter is a Certified Professional Organizer® with over 20 years of experience in home, move and office organization. She is the founder of Organizing Boston. Organizing Boston is the largest professional organizing firm in New England and has been awarded Best of Boston Home™, Best Professional Organizer.

Nationally recognized as an organizing industry expert, Sarah shares her expertise through speaking, writing and on television. She is a regular guest blogger for nationwide companies and has appeared several times on the hit series, “Hoarding: Buried Alive” on TLC.

Sarah also runs Organizing U. Organizing U is an online training platform focused on business development, to help Professional Organizers and small business owners achieve their dreams of success.