The Why, What, When and How to Organize

The what, why, when, and how to organize Guide will take you through the steps to organize your home, office and your life. These principles can be applied to anything in your home or office:

  • Rooms in your home like the kitchen, bathroom and closet;
  • Items or collections in your home like papers, shoes and accessories;
  • Daily routines and time management; and,
  • Organizing clutter.

The What, Why, When and How to Organize:

  • 01 of 08

    Why Organize

    Cubby Organizer in Natural Stain from Pottery Barn
    Cubby Organizer in Natural Stain from Pottery Barn. Photo / Pottery Barn

    If you're here, you probably already decided that getting organized in a worthy goal. I agree and here's why:

    1. It will save you money. No more buying duplicate items because you're not sure what you have on hand, and no more letting things go to waste because again, you know what you've got on hand.
    2. It saves you time because you're not hunting for what you need when you need it.
    3. And finally, my favorite reason, it gives you a sense of control in your home and life. Once you have...MORE systems in place, you can relax and focus on creating and doing rather than wading through messes, wondering, and stressing.
  • 02 of 08
    Vinea Magazine File
    Vinea Magazine File from Franklin Covey. Vinea Magazine File from Franklin Covey

    Before you begin organizing, you've got to have a list of what spaces and places need to be organized. What to Organize A-Z is a handy checklist of everything in your home and office that should be organized, and a note about when to organize everything. I love to use checklists because they make large projects easier to keep track of, and it's very hard to skip a step when you have a neatly ordered list to follow. Of course, my favorite part is checking things off.

    Here are some other...MORE helpful home organization checklists:

  • 03 of 08
    Daily System in White from Pottery Barn
    Daily System in White from Pottery Barn. Photo / Pottery Barn

    Never organize what you can donate, toss, recycle, consign, sell or shred. Here are guides on how to get rid of everything you no longer need or want in your home or office.

  • 04 of 08
    Cubby Organizer in Natural Stain from Pottery Barn
    Cubby Organizer in Natural Stain from Pottery Barn. Photo / Pottery Barn

    You can decide to organize on a schedule or by event. Most people think about organizing when they have guests visiting or right before a home inspection. Another popular time is in the spring, for spring cleaning or in January for a fresh start. When you make the decision to organize your home, these resources will help you organize efficiently.

    I like to organize on a schedule, so following the daily, weekly and...MORE monthly routine is highly preferable to me.

    Continue to 5 of 8 below.
  • 05 of 08

    How to Organize

    Basic How To guides cover the principles and strategies behind organization, productivity and storage. While most people what to jump right into tackling a room (basement, bedroom) or an item (accessories, kitchen appliances), I think it's really helpful to learn the basics before you begin, so included are step-by-step instructions for organizing anything in your home and workspaces.

  • 06 of 08

    Ways to Organize

    Darby Entryway Bench from Pottery Barn
    Darby Entryway Bench from Pottery Barn. Photo / Pottery Barn

    You can do this is several different ways, but I’ve found choosing one of the following works best:

    • Start with one room or item and focus on that, when it’s complete, move onto the next.
    • Begin organizing a little bit at a time, by following a routine.

    Either of these will work, and I’ve provided resources to help you organize both ways. A third option is to do a little bit of both—organize one room a week or month, while also doing incorporating the monthly or weekly organizing routine into your...MORE daily routine. This is probably the most powerful way to organize.

  • 07 of 08

    Help Me Organize

    Photo Boxes from Stacks and Stacks
    Set of 5 Metro Shoebox-Size Boxes - Acid Free Plastic from Stacks and Stacks. Set of 5 Metro Shoebox-Size Boxes - Acid Free Plasticfrom Stacks and Stacks

    Helping people organize is the main goal of this site, and I recognize that a big part of achieving organization is as much having the right frame of mind as it is the physical effort to declutter, and maintain. These two articles about the principles and strategies to adopt to organize should help you stay motivated to organize.

  • 08 of 08

    How I Organize

    Classic Single Sink Console from Pottery Barn
    Classic Single Sink Console from Pottery Barn. Photo / Pottery Barn

    Not only do you need internal motivation, it's great to get some outside inspiration to organize as well. How I Organize is a series of interviews with experts and fellow readers about how they get and stay organized -- or how they learned to let go or trying to organize everything perfectly. Get inspired, and find some like-minded company: