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Make This the Year You Get Organized, Once and For All

January 19, 2010

By Hellen Buttigieg

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Imagine walking into your home and being surrounded only by the treasures you love and the things you use. The clutter that suffocated and shamed you is gone. Getting organized is consistently one of the top three resolutions people make. Yet many individuals continue to struggle with disorganization in their homes. Beginning the de-cluttering process is usually the hardest part. Putting it off makes the task seem all the more daunting. If you are ready to finally conquer the clutter, start by letting go of unrealistic expectations which can sabotage your success. The thought of organizing your whole house over a day or even a weekend can be overwhelming, so don’t try to do it all at once. Start small by choosing one or two of the strategies below. Use them consistently and modify them as you go along to best fit your needs. You’ll finally get unstuck and move towards achieving your new year’s resolution to get and stay organized.

1. Get motivated from the inside out. Determine your most powerful reason for getting organized and how it will benefit your life. When goals are tied to our most important values, we don’t need willpower to achieve them because we are inspired from within.

2. Get a planner/calendar that feels right for you. Calendars, planners and agendas help you keep track of your commitments – an important part of being organized. There are several factors to consider when choosing your scheduling system, for instance, your needs and taste. However, one important consideration often overlooked is your learning style. The way you naturally learn will greatly affect which scheduling method will be most effective for you. If you choose one that is a poor fit, you probably won’t use it consistently over the long-term. Rather than trying to change yourself to adapt to your calendar system, it’s best to select the one that fits your natural style.

3. Block off regular times in your calendar to work on clearing clutter just one space at a time. Even just 15 minutes a day will make an impact over the long-term. Adding an element of fun makes organizing less of a chore: Set a timer and challenge yourself to sort through your junk drawer or ¼ of the clothes in your closet before the alarm goes off. Success with one space will inspire you to move on to the next.

4. If you like to keep things out where you can see them, don’t fight that preference, work with it instead. Use shelving and other open storage systems instead of dresser drawers to store clothing. Place accessories and small items like socks and undergarments in baskets on low shelves so you can easily see what’s inside.

5. Resist bringing papers into your home unless you have a specific plan for how you’ll use them. Ask yourself where you will store them once you get home; it may make you think twice about taking them. Whenever possible, keep only the necessary information instead of the entire piece. Rather than keep the whole magazine, tear out just the articles you want. For information that can easily be acquired online, keep the source (the website address or the name and issue of the magazine) instead of all the paperwork; if you need it, it will probably be faster and easier to look it up online rather than try to find it in boxes in the basement.

If you want to stay organized over the long-term, resist giving up entirely on a system you put in place. Usually all it needs is some tweaking to fit you better. You’ll find more ideas on organizing methods that suit you best in Organizing Outside the Box: Conquer Clutter Using Your Natural Learning Style, by Hellen Buttigieg and Sari Brandes. It does take time and effort to get organized but you’ll agree that it’s well worth the investment when, instead of feeling stress when you walk through the front door of your home, you look forward to the peace and tranquility that envelops you.

Hellen Buttigieg - Home organization for Oakville, Mississauga Homes and Condos Hellen Buttigieg, CPO®, is a Certified Professional Organizer®, life coach, TV Host and owner of We Organize U. She is a professional speaker and the author of the book Organizing Outside The Box. For tips on organizing your home, your office and your life, visit and sign up for Hellen’s free newsletter. To contact Hellen or for information on hiring a We Organize U organizing specialist, call 905-829-2219 or e-mail

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