10 Organizing Secrets – Easy Organizing Ideas

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Easy Organizing Ideas

 Have you ever wondered why organizing seems so easy for some people but not for others? Try these easy organizing ideas and learn that the secrets of the organized are easier than you thought!

 
10 Organizing Secrets - Easy Organizing Ideas

 

Organizing idea #1: Never stop picking up.

  • Try picking up during TV commercials or while you are waiting for something to boil on the stove. You will be amazed how much you can get done in five minutes.
  • Have the entire family spend five minutes picking up the family room or living room before they go to bed. Set a timer for young kids so they don’t get overwhelmed.

    If your family members go to bed at different times then have each member pick up his or her items before bed time. Once this becomes a habit, you will be amazed how much easier organizing becomes.

 

Organizing idea #2: Stop making messes.

  • Keep a trash can in every room. No one likes carrying one small piece of trash from the family room to the kitchen so it usually ends up on the floor. Keep small trash cans everywhere. In our office we have two trash cans, one next to the desk for throwing away regular office trash and one next to the shipping table for throwing away envelope tabs, extra invoices and other shipping trash. If you need two trash cans in a room put them in there. Make it easy to keep things clean.
  • Throw that sticky food wrapper straight into the trash. Don’t lay it on the counter to make another mess that needs to be wiped up later.
  • Don’t lay that dirty spoon on the counter. Rinse it and put it in the sink or dishwasher.
  • As you’re undressing, don’t throw your dirty clothes on the floor or on the furniture. While they are still in your hand, put them in the hamper or if they’re still clean, hang them up.
  • Keep the hamper close to where you undress at night. If it is convenient, you will be more likely to use it and it’ll be easier to stay organized.
  • Before you leave the bathroom, hang your wet towel on the rod. Don’t drop it on the floor or leave it in a pile.

Organizing idea #3: Think ahead and organize for the future.

Organizing idea #4: Never, Never Procrastinate.

  • Keep straightening and organizing things all the time. For example, when you put away groceries and you see that the cans of soup have fallen over, take two seconds to restack them.
  • When you put linens or clothes in their drawers, make sure everything in those drawers is neatly stacked.
  • Pick up as you go. Each time you walk through a room, pick up something.
  • Stop thinking about it! Just do it.

Organizing idea #5: Don’t give up. Practice makes perfect.

  • Train family members to rinse their own dishes and stack them in the sink (or better yet to put them directly into the dishwasher). It may take a while to develop this habit. For kids, you may want to do something like charge each member a dime for every dish not rinsed or make them responsible for doing all the dishes for a week.
  • Remember Thomas Edison? What if he had given up after his first 5, 10, or 100 light bulbs? Where would we be now if he had thrown up his hands and quit at his first failures? The same is true with getting and staying organized. Keep practicing and you will create a productive new habit.

Organizing idea #6: Attitude, Attitude, Attitude.

  • Stop dreading getting organized and taking care of your home and start taking pride and pleasure in it. Think of an organized home as a special gift of peace and pleasure that you are giving your family. A disorganized one causes turmoil and frustration. Besides — You probably spend more time worrying about it than it would take to clean it.

 

Organizing idea #7: Use rooms for their intended purposes.

  • Don’t let kids get undressed in the family room – that’s why they have bedrooms.
  • Eat food at the kitchen table or bar, not in bed. This alone can save a huge number of messes.
  • Fold laundry in the laundry room immediately after taking it out of the dryer and put it away immediately.

Organizing idea #8: Be a wise steward of your time.

  • If you see something that needs to be clean, clean it as soon as possible.
  • If something doesn’t need to be cleaned, don’t waste your time. If there is no dust, don’t just dust because you dust every Saturday.
  • Don’t overbook yourself volunteering at schools, churches or charities. Learn to say “no”. Notice that I didn’t say don’t do these things at all, just control how much you do so they don’t take over your life.
  • Don’t overbook your children with their activities, either.
  • Get rid of fruitless activities. Many of us spend way too much time talking on the phone, watching TV, shopping unnecessarily or killing time on the computer. These are all time robbers when you devote a lot of time to them.

Organizing idea #9: Keep on top of things.

  • If you do small cleaning and organizing tasks every day, you’d be surprised how much you can accomplish. In ten minute increments, you can do each of the following: wash the dishes, vacuum, file a pile of papers or clean your purse. It shouldn’t take more than ten minutes for each child to pick up and organize his room before bed and to lay out his clothes for the morning.
  • Don’t let the laundry, dishes, toys and paperwork get out of control.

Organizing idea #10: Don’t be afraid to let go.

         Don’t become so emotionally attached to your stuff you can let it go when it is no longer useful and not needed any more. 

         The less mounds and piles of things and stuff you have the less time you need to spend organizing it, finding a place or it and taking care of it.

 

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Comments

  1. Alicia Webster says

    “Besides — You probably spend more time worrying about it than it would take to clean it.”
    This is my problem. I build things up in my mind so much that I get exhausted just thinking about what needs to get done. But when I actually knuckle-down and do it however, it really isn’t that bad. And I feel sooooo much better when it’s over!

    • says

      Yes, the thing that helped me with this was I actually timed myself doing chores. When I realized it took me 1 minute to make the bed, 5 minutes to load the disherwasher etc. then I didn’t dread it anymore! Tawra

    • Carol Fryer says

      I agree with Tawra….I get so exhausted looking at the clutter and realizing I dont have a spot for it….then I get discouraged and cant even get started. Do you have anything on creating designated spots for things? Thank you in advance.

      • says

        One thing to start out with is instead of thinking how do I create or find a spot for an item think instead if I don’t have a spot for an item do I “really” need it, can I get rid of it or get rid of something else and put it in that items place.
        In other words get rid of as much as you can before you even start looking at places to try to put the stuff.We tend to start backwards. We look at things and think I have no place to put this and give up instead of getting rid of as much as I can (unneeded items, trash etc.) then try to figure out if I have a place for what is left. People do the same thing with putting stuff in baskets and containers. They first of all go buy cool totes and containers to put things in when what they need to do first is to sort, toss and toss some more. Then figure out how many boxes or containers you will need.

        If you don’t have room you have to face the fact you will have to get rid of things. I once heard a woman speak who was going on the mission field and she said she was told she had to fit all of the cooking and kitchen things she needed into one small trunk. That included pans and dishes. She didn’t think she could do it but she managed and really didn’t need the things she had left behind. We need to start doing that with our homes. What can do double duty so we only need 1 item instead of 2.

        Now I know you probably didn’t want to hear that part but once you have that done here are a couple of ideas of to help start thinking out of the box.
        ~ I have never had a linen closet so I have had only 2-3 sets of sheets per bed and those I would neatly stack on a shelf in the closet of the bedroom they were used. 2 sets of sheets don’t take up that much space.

        ~I had some video tapes (I know that dates me but it could be DVDs or anything)that I kept by my TV. I had a sewing basket with a lid and set it on the floor by the TV. It covered the cords to the TV and I put the videos inside of it so you couldn’t see them. Much neater looking.

        ~ I take the blankets off of my bed in the summer. With no place to put them I folded them in half and laid them between my mattress and box springs. They are right there ready to go next winter when I need them.

        ~ I have no vanity in my bathroom but just a sink that is open and hangs on the wall. I use a wire shelf like they make for using in a kitchen to give you extra space in your cabinets and I set it under my wall mounted sink with extra toilet paper neatly stacked on it.

        ~ In the kids room or any place allow one certain section – of a shelf, a container, floor area, cabinet space- for certain things. If that place is full then you need to get rid of something when you add something new. For example I have a small place for plastic cups or containers in my kitchen. I don’t save any more then what will fit in that one spot.

        ~ Use things for a different purpose than what it was intended for. For example I have an old piano roll cabinet with narrow shelves. 2 in. deep boxes fit on the shelves perfect so I fill one box with crayons, another with coloring books, card games, scratch paper etc. It is a beautiful piece of antique furniture that no one would suspect I kept all the kids craft things in it instead of piano rolls.

        ~ I have no place for extra bed pillows so I make slip covers for them and they are stored on my couch as decorator pillows until I need them.

        Hope that gives you a couple of ideas to start thinking out of the box.

      • says

        Something I forgot to mention in the article. Just because you have a designated spot for things and have your clutter organized in cute containers doesn’t mean you are organized. Lots of hoarders have their “stuff” nice and organized but that doesn’t mean they aren’t hoarders. Be careful. If you can’t let “things” go you may have a problem more then just not being organized.

      • Barb~ says

        Me too, Jill! It seems like things tend to loom larger and harder in our minds than they ever are when we just start doing it!!

        I LOVE to put on some of my favorite music when I’m doing things around the house I don’t like to do. When I put the music on LOUD and sing at the top of my LUNGS, it ends up being fun for me-so far “American Idol” has not come knocking at my door wanting me…ummmm ;0)

        • says

          They haven’t come to my door yet either plus when I start to sing to my grandkids they put their hands over their ears and say “No Nan” Hummmm. Makes a person wonder especially because I had voice, choir and piano in college. A person could get a complex :) On the other hand Tawra and my 2 granddaughters have the most beautiful voices (I always tease her about her cooking so I have to brag about her a little) :) I guess they don’t get their voices from me.

  2. Dana says

    You guys are so right! I have caught myself sitting on the couch grouchy looking at a pile of clutter. Now having Fibromyalgia/Chronic Fatigue does make it more of a chore for me to get up and clean it up on sick days but even with those impairments, it still only takes moments to deal with and does wonders for the ‘attitude”. God bless.

  3. Jeanne says

    we were getting ready to move when i had to have surgery to remove most of my cervical bones, so my husband had just, literally stuffed everything into boxes with no sorting of anything! that’s been 4 years ago, and i’m STILL going through stuff. now, i have so many bone problems (DDD, DJD, severe bursitus (both hips), & fibro), so a friend of mine told me to try the “one box or bag at a time”. it does help, but NOT if i’m having what i call a “bad bone day”! i try do do what i can, and if it gets done, great, if not, it will either stay there, or someone else has to help! my husband is my angel when it comes to that, most of the time!

    • Linda says

      Jeanne, When I had my heart attack almost 5 mos. ago I remember I was told, don’t run the sweeper, don’t lift anything heavier than your tooth brush, etc. Well I have a husband but I don’t like to put it all onto him as he does a lot of the extras as it is. I thought, hmmm I don’t bowl anymore and that money could be used to hire a person to help me clean. She comes twice a month and wow, she gets a lot done in 2 hrs. I found her by word of mouth and she is extremely trust worthy, and the house smells good and clean and also makes me feel more like moving around myself and doing the things I am allowed to do. I am now able to do more, but Jeanne, give yourself a break and get a girl to clean for you. It feels so good to not have to sit and wish you could do more. It’s not forever sometimes, but just the time you need to get yourself feeling better and also better about being in a nice clean house.

      • says

        I totally agree with you Linda. I have never been able to understand when people pay money for all kinds of things that they really don’t need like having a pizza delivered, for the family to go to a movie, even what most pay in buying coffee, drinks etc. they could use the same amount to have some one come in a clean for them when they are unable too. I know people who will spend $5000 to go on vacation but are to sick to take care of their house. Why not use that vacation money to make every day easier then spending it all on one week of fun. We feel like it is a sin or something to hire someone to clean our houses for us and we especially should not feel that if we are sick or have little children.
        Years ago women thought nothing of having a young girl or woman to come in and help out when they had young children or were sick. Even the poorest of people would try to hire some help. Some where along the line we got this puritan type idea we shouldn’t have help in the home. We have become liberated but certainly not in that area and I don’t mean having your husband or kids to cover for you by doing more of your share either. They have their own jobs, school and household task that they have to do to without being expected to cover yours for long term.
        Once again you are so right Linda.

  4. Navy Wife in MS says

    I am a 66 year old woman who has been trying to be a perfectionist for years. I am always trying to make my home “more better”. I will read anything and everything about organizing my home and “stuff”. I learned the first thing about organizing is to get rid of all the “stuff”. I am doing better, but I find my major problem is the people who live in my home. Most of them are “professsional pile-it’s.” They pile stuff here, there and everywhere there is a flat surface (a landing place.) I will continue to purge, clean, move and make “more better” Thank you for any new ideas you can possibly give me!

    • miamia says

      Dear Navy Wife in MS, can I recommend that you give the people in your household each a “pile-it” box or container? Or have some at their frequent “pile-it” places. It would be better that they put their piles away, but if they must have a pile, having something pretty to keep the clutter in would be helpful. Then you can also ask them to go through their piles in the containers every so often. I don’t know what kind of piles they have, but perhaps boxes or containers (like Totes, baskets, tupperwares) may help. Target or the dollar store carry them inexpensively–I just got 3 small ones for a dollar each from Target’s dollar bins for our mail (one for a depot by our door, one for my husband’s to-do and one for me). Also, are they creating piles because the stuff that’s in them do not have a permanent (or good) home?

  5. Elle says

    SSSoooo happy to have come across this uplifting info…no secrets to it, just plain “Do it.” That use to be my favorite saying before I got married. I’d do what i had to do right now and not wait…but my husband and i are reallllll procrastinators…it’s evil…I pray each day to take one thing…like the one bag/box and take care of the dirty clothes, clutter, unfinished projects…I need all the prompting and mind encouragement i can get…thank you everyone.

  6. Tina says

    Keep checking us on Facebook. I am going to post 1 thing to do each day!

    I looked and can’t find any to do daily’s… where would they be pls ?

    • says

      I’ve been putting things on each day to do but i have a sinus infection this week and so I feel off the wagon. I will try and start again tomorrow. Sorry!

  7. Sandra says

    I have so many medical problems including fibro and arthritis besides a bunch of others. I’ve put off “getting rid” of “stuff” (told others how to,lol) but haven’t gotten really into the game. However, now I am encouraged, and have gotten started on a “yard sale” pile, which I plan on having as soon as the weather permits. Thanks for all the tips, and keep on sendin’ em!

    • says

      It is so hard Sandra when you don’t feel good to not only trying to get things done but even more to get motivated to do anything. I don’t know if this will help you more but what I started doing is what I call 5 Minutes to Organize That is when I am sick and really don’t feel like doing anything I would make myself get up during a 5 min. commercial break and clean something like the bathroom sink – not doing more then 5 minutes worth then make myself go lay back down until the next 5 minutes. I got an amazing amount done that way. I did it this way because I found when once I got up I would maybe feel better and like doing more but then I would over do and get worse so this way I paced myself to prevent that.

      Also when you are really really feeling bad and can’t move then read one or two things on organizing and cleaning (which we have a bunch of on this site that might help) to get you motivated in between bouts of awful sickness. Don’t read too much at once though because you could start getting overwhelmed.
      Keep plugging along. It sounds like you are on the right road.

      • Rita says

        When I come home from the grocery store I open everything that needs opening. The mustard with that annoying tab top, I open the paper towel package, kleenex–anything that makes my life easier when I need to use the product. This saves so much time and frustration.

  8. dt says

    All great advice and easily done irregardless of age or health status. Is this from your book on organizing? Once again the advice “just do it” comes to mind:)

    • says

      This comes from one of the many posts we have on our website about getting organized. You will find the theme of “just do it” and how to get motivated to just do it throughout most of our articles.

  9. Susan says

    HI Jill

    Just now getting to my email,so as always I ‘m a little late reading your good posts! I totally agree that doing a little each day will help you out in the long run! I have learned over the years to do a little each day and on the days I can’t I have a saying “Lord you blessed me with another day so I won’t complain if things don’t go my way. You know whats best for me and I will not question thee” { Even Bella my service dog has off days} Have a blessed one!

    • says

      We do need to remember that. Even God I think is more patient and understanding of us on our off days then we are with ourselves and others. Gland you reminded me it is ok to have an off day. It was one of those days for me when so many unscheduled things started piling up and I have been trying to keep myself from pushing the panic button all day. : )

  10. Marcia says

    I like your maxim of “just do it”. It’s so simple and yet how many times we just don’t listen to ourselves. I have always struggled with self image because people have implied that I am lazy. You know when I just make up my mind to do the thing I am dreading to do my self image (and my mental outlook) is so much better! I don’t have to live with the thoughts “I’m wasting my time, I am so lazy, I just can’t get my act together.” When I do the things I should be doing even if the world thinks I’m lazy I know better. If I don’t do the things that need doing all I am doing to confirming what the world has tried to tell me. Who needs that?!

  11. joyce says

    I am 76 yrs.old.Have severe c o p d.I have to do something about 5 min.then rest 10.I enjoy reading all you pages,I do try to do some.But cant breath if I am working more than 5 min.

  12. Sarah says

    I had a mentor in college who once said: “Get it done. Do it once. Do it right.” Ever since hearing that for the first time I have tried to live out that principle. I really liked the point you made about leaving something be if it doesn’t need to be done. I like to think “Oh, every xday of the week I will do this that or the other.” But thinking along the lines of just doing what needs to be done helps me to overcome the paralizing over-thinking. Just discovered your site and am eating it up!! Thanks.

    • says

      So glad to have you on board Sarah. Holler if you have any questions and we will try to answer them for you if we can or we have some super clever readers too who might have the answer. Have fun browsing the site.

  13. Stephanie Hollis says

    My husband lost his job about 3 months ago. We are struggling terribly because all of our bills are based on 2 incomes. I am in the process of simplifying my life so that I am not a slave to my bills. I got rid of my smartphone and just buying stuff that I need. I have 2 car payments and I need to get rid of one of them. How do I go about doing that without getting it repossessed? I have only had my car for 2 years so I still have 4 years on the loan. Please help!!

    • says

      Without knowing all the little details of your finances it is so hard to tell you what to do. In a case like this you may not be able to keep the car. From what you have said if you have totally cut back on everything then the only other option is, if you are really set on keeping it, to for one of you to find a minimum wage job and use all the money from it for the car payment otherwise you will have to call it a lose.
      You may have to sell it, eat the lose and learn from your mistake. We get questions like this all the time. That is why I have been trying to convince people for years not to buy a new car, buy used and pay cash. The other thing is even if you have 2 incomes, never have your bills more then what you can pay with one income. As hard as that may seem it isn’t as bad as you think for example if you do that you can take the second income and pay cash for that the flowers for you yard, movie night, golf, going out to eat or save for 1-2 months and buy a car all the time using income #1 for basic bills. Then if one income is lost all you have to do for a bit is cut back on your regular “needless” spending.

      Don’t panic too much you may have to lose a few things and learn a couple of lessons but you sound like you are on the right track and when this is over and your husband gets another job you will know how to carefully use that money, setting up some good habits for the future.

  14. says

    I love the idea of preventing messes. I think this comes easier for us lazy people, avoiding work is a natural for us. : – ) A mat at the door to wipe feet will save dirt in the house, bibs on babies mean less washing, and training kids not to walk around with their food, or drag outdoor stuff indoors will save time and energy.
    I want to forward this one to several friends.

    • says

      I had to chuckle at your comment Vicki. My husband use to always say “Give a lazy man a job and he will find an easier and faster way to do it.”

  15. Gina says

    Is the tenth tip the actual Organizing SECRET? Because I am only seeing nine. jw :-)
    BUT I should also point out that the nine that are there are extremely helpful and I’m proud that I found all of them here so I can print them off for my family and they can see that there is legitimate reasoning for all my “nagging”!! Thank you

  16. Cassie says

    Just one little tip I’d like to share: avoid online shopping if possible. This is something I’ve been realizing lately. I LOVE online shopping, especially Amazon. Even just for basic stuff, the stuff I could just pick up at the store. But let me tell you, those cardboard boxes add up FAST. It’s horrible, especially since our trash pick up is only 30 gallon cans and we have to drive and sort our recycling. Btw, this is coming from a lazy person who wants to prevent work

    • Narelle says

      Hi Cassie,

      Just a couple of suggestions for those troublesome boxes. I work in the Child Care Industry here in Australia, and I have found that there are an amazing amount of things that children’s imaginations like to think up as uses for boxes. With this in mind, you could phone a Child Care Centre/Kindergarten/school and see if they would like a donation.

      Other than that, depending on the size of the boxes, you could consider putting a notice up on your local community notice board offering the boxes for free to those who are moving house. Think of it as a public service. 😉

  17. says

    I am 70 years old and still I suffer. I procrastinate. I make piles. I order from Amazon too often and I’ve found I don’t get out enough! I agonize over giving things away (not quite to the hoarding extent).

    One thing that usually works for me is the 10-Minute Rule. No matter what it is, I start and do it for 10 minutes. “I can do anything for 10 minutes!” I set the timer, start, and find that I keep going after that. If not, at least the task has been started, and there’s another 10 Minutes later, or tomorrow!

  18. says

    Great tips! I wish I could get my husband to remember to hold his laundry in his hand until it hits the hamper…but I know I’m guilty of a few of these myself. Blogging, for instance, keeps me from cleaning my floors all the time. I see them. I know they’re dirty, but I want to work the social media!

  19. Barb says

    I follow the ‘one in two out’ rule when buying – ie for every item (except food and other disposables) I buy, I then find two of the same or a similar item and either toss or donate it. Helps keep the mess down and I have never regretted anything I’ve gotten rid of. I still have more than enough shoes, linen, clothes, kitchenware, stationery… all of these the biggest offenders before in my hoarding habit. My ultimate aim is to get down to having everything I need – and nothing I don’t.

  20. Amy says

    Posts like this are often written with the intention of helping the less organized among us or the poor, unfortunately “messy person.” Many people assume that those with disorganized lives just didn’t have good moms or are lazy. Let’s be honest, individuals who aren’t hanging up their wet towels, or rinsing spoons after they’re dirty, or putting garbage in the trash rather than on the counter are not dumb. It’s not that they just can’t figure out how to make it to the trash. They aren’t lazy. I suspect the author of this article may be very frustrated by a loved one(s) who suffers with bi-polar, depression, or some other common illness. If you know an extremely messy person, they need real help, love, and acceptance – not constant correction on how to keep the house clean. As someone who works at a behavioral and mental health hospital and who also has loved ones with these issues, I am not speaking out of ignorance.
    If you know someone who gets exhausted by thinking about these types of things and has a very hard time keeping up with every day tasks that seem easy for many of us, please rethink your approach. Understand they may have functional and non-functional hours of the day. Be supportive and show them acceptance. Try to be understanding and educate yourself about these VERY common illnesses. They are no different than having diabetes or migraines. There is often a stigma around mental illness and also around lazy, messy lives. These organization tips are great and I use them – but if they are not coming naturally to someone, let’s not make them feel stupid. “Oh! I put the towel on the rack?!”
    Thanks for reading and considering.

    • says

      Once again this is a case where, even though with the best intentions, a post that is written for normal people and normal circumstances is misread. We can’t write a post geared to every different personality and the “not normal” life but write for your average person. If you need info for those types of situations then you need to go to a specialized web site. We are not talking about those type of people. It is kind of like how we use to get people who would buy our cookbook and would come unglued and get upset because our book wasn’t a total vegetarian cookbook. If you want a vegetarian cookbook go some place that sales them but don’t get mad at me because I didn’t write a vegetarian book to your specifications. Common sense seems to be gone and it really scares me how bad it is getting.
      I don’t know why every time anything is said or done any more there has to be someone to find an exception to a rule and then make a big deal out of it how not understanding and caring we are. Every day normal things are so blown out of shape and out of proportion and we think nothing of being unkind and thoughtless about throwing the average, normal person under the bus and hurting them so we can make a point for our own personal cause.

      I kept using the word normal because I will get a comment from someone who has nothing better to do but give a lecture about no one is normal. I have known and even worked with people who have mental illnesses so I have an above average knowledge of those things and know what they go through but this is not who I am talking about and it scares me that someone who says they understand these things doesn’t know that.

      We have a real problem now with making average things that need to be fixed into a disease and patting people on the head and saying that is ok to be irresponsible and lets blame everyone and everything on the messes that normal people make in their lives instead of taking a good look at ourselves. It is called enabling.
      Hey I have feelings too so why is it ok for you to say mean hurtful things to me? Now I say that sarcastically because you see the very things you are accusing me of you are doing to me. I always find it interesting that you will holler at me for what I said and accuse me of hurting and being thoughtless but you are doing the same thing to me. Be careful and stop making or reading a cause out or into everything.

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