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The How-To Lounge: Getting Organized

Even if you’re more clean than messy, it’s still easy to end up with more than a few disorganized piles of stuff lying around the house, office, car, or even in the depths of your purse. Most of us function better in an organized environment, so if you have some clutter getting you down, see my tips and


  • Determine where your serious problem areas are. The closet is a big one for most people, as are desk drawers and any other nooks or crannies where it might be easy to stuff things out of sight.
  • Don’t try to get everything done in one sitting. It’ll seem much more manageable if you do it over time, so choose one spot, and start sorting until it’s completely organized before moving on to another area.
  • Don’t be afraid to throw away (or recycle) things — you really don’t need to keep everything. My ongoing rule is that if I haven’t used it in the last year, then it must not be a necessity. Salvation Army or Goodwill stations are great alternatives for clothing and other items that you don’t want to take to the dump, but can’t sell.
  • Once you’ve sorted the keepers from everything else, it's time to come up with an organization solution. Buy extra bins to store winter clothes instead of the floor of your closet or move loose papers off of counter-tops by getting file folders for holding your bill stubs and other important documents.
  • I’ve always found that maintaining a semblance of organization is far more difficult than going through and organizing things every once and a while so try to de-clutter your life as much as possible on a daily basis. Throw away the silly knick knacks you’ll never use. And if you see a pile growing, go through it before it gets to that overwhelming point. You'll thank yourself later!


Join The Conversation
looseseal looseseal 9 years
"own what you have, don't let it OWN YOU" That's a great way to put it, I'm trying to work towards that. I'm something of a packrat, and it's especially a pain in the ass because I move a lot! I've been trying to be good and not buy anything new to add to my junkpile. Alas, sometimes the temptation is too great. So now I set a rule for myself that if I buy something new, I have to throw old stuff out to make room for it. That way I don't just keep accumulating more and more stuff! Whenever I have time, I try to throw a little more away... good advice, to tackle it a little at a time.
hottpink hottpink 9 years
Thanks for these tips, I need them so bad! I am the worst about clutter and skigurl is right....I started to tackle my huge mess of a closet only to go to bed with piles of stuff majorly stressed me out!
QlubbAndy QlubbAndy 9 years
I think it's all about the system. If your system is to wait till the very end and clean stuff up once every springtime, then that is a system, however it is fraught with inefficiency and waste -- the front end piece of it runs wild and it leaves you a big mess on the back end to content with. Start from the the earliest part -- like when you are making a decision to purchase something. Are you really going to use it 2 months from now? Do you really need it? Isn't life operating fine without it now? Try to fight that impulse urge to buy (but do indulge yourself once in a while) and you'll have less clutter. I know it's less fun and doesn't provide you with that immediate gratification, but it is a shame to constantly buy stuff that you don't need. It's a waste of time, energy, money and it's bad for the environment. Also think about upp'ing the frequency by which you remove clutter. Perhaps at the end of the day, you clean up one room. Or perhaps you have a bunch of labeled bins set up so that you can quickly and easily dump things to keep things more clean. Leaving it all the to massive cleanup days is totally valid but it makes for a clean house only during those few satisfying days after a big cleanup. Anyway, hope these tips help. Andy
Frenched Frenched 9 years
I'm sooo AGAINST clutter ever since I started living with the most cluttered person ever: my husband. He simply REFUSES to throw away ANYTHING away and it's been like that for the past 5 years since I moved with him and finally he's starting to improve a little bit. I just don't understand that mentality of wanting to keep EVERYTHING. My motto is: own what you have, don't let it OWN YOU :O
indieglam indieglam 9 years
I'm trying to do this in my new apartment but I have such a difficult time throwing things away because there's always this lingering feeling of "well, what if I need it at some point in the distant somewhat near future?" I do, however, second skigurl's advice!
myladybloom myladybloom 9 years
Thanks for the advice! I really need stuff like this.
skigurl skigurl 9 years
and don't bite off more than you can chew: if you plan on cleaning out your closet, don't start throwing stuff all over your room and think you'll be able to tackle it and completely rid yourself of clutter before bedtime. chances are, there will be stuff everywhere and you will run out of time, making you more stressed and less organized than before. work in small, manageable chunks!
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