Learn the exact six-step process I follow before starting any organizing project, from rearranging a drawer to tidying up a two-car garage.
I have been professionally organizing spaces for over eight years, and during that time I have developed my own method and system for decluttering and tidying areas of the home in the most efficient way possible. Whether I’m organizing a single drawer, a bathroom vanity, a kitchen pantry, or an entire garage, I follow the exact same system. Today I’m spilling the beans on my secret method so you can copy it next time you’re starting an organizing project.
Step One: Define Your Goals
Before you start tearing out everything in the room or heading to the store to fill a cart with containers, you first need to define your goals for the space. It’s time to go old school and grab a piece of paper and a pen or marker.
- First, write down what’s not working in your space. Be specific.
- Then write down how you plan on using the space and how it needs to function.
- Finally, note anything you want to incorporate.
By writing these things on paper, you allow yourself to get really clear on what you’ll be using this area for and how it needs to function for you. Once you figure out what you need and what you don’t like, finalize the goals sheet with your “wants.” This priority order helps you stay focused and avoid impulse buys.
Step Two: Declutter
There’s no point in starting an organizing project until you’ve edited down the amount of items that will be going back into the space, so the next step is to declutter. Go through everything in your space and sort into categories as you clear the area. If you come across something you don’t need or want anymore, decide if it should be donated or trashed.
For the items you want to keep, pile them into categories as you remove them from the space you’re working on so it’s easier to sort and refill later. It’s also a good idea to keep a big laundry basket nearby to put items in that don’t belong in the space you’re working in. You can carry the laundry basket around the house to return those items to their homes in one trip.
Step Three: Clean
Now that your space is nice and empty, it’s time to give it a good cleaning session. Vacuum out all the drawers, cabinets, and shelves, along with the floor and baseboards. Wipe down the shelves, walls, and existing containers with a damp microfiber cloth.
It’s a good idea to have an LED light on hand when you’re cleaning, too. There are always dark areas in the back of cabinets and closets that you can’t see, so using a freestanding light allows you to clean every inch of the space without having to hold a flashlight. I like this one because you can adjust where the spotlight hits.
Step Four: Do A Dry Run Placement
You probably already have an idea of what types of containers you want to store your items in and how you want the space to look. Before you go filling containers to the brim, screwing hooks to the wall, and installing shelving, do a dry run to make sure what you’re planning will work.
Get measurements of the entire space, lay out new shelving and wall-mount storage systems to make sure they fit, and arrange empty bins to nail down the right configuration. This dry run allows you to move things around as much as you need to without doing any damage to your space. For wall shelving or furniture placement dry runs, you can use painter’s tape to outline the measurements right onto the wall or floor.
Step Five: Organize By Priority
As you begin to refill your space, keep priority in mind. Place the items you use most often at arm’s reach and eye level. These are the things you’ll be grabbing the most, so they should be the easiest to get to.
The secondary items you use less often will go in the upper, lower, and further back areas. They still need to be accessible, but it’s OK to need a step ladder to get to them. For bins and containers on high and low shelves, I recommend storage pieces that have a built-in handle cutout. This allows you to easily and safely pull them up or down.
Step Six: Evaluate
This is the step so many people forget about, but it’s really the most important of all. We get so caught up in organizing a space that we feel like once it’s done, it has to stay that way forever. But the truth is, our needs change. And sometimes what we think will work just doesn’t.
After about a month, evaluate your newly organized space. Can you get to the things you need easily? Are the containers strong and sturdy? Are things being put away where they belong most of the time? Is there too much or too little storage space? As you answer these questions, take some time to rearrange, readjust, and replace things that need tweaking.
Organizing isn’t a one-and-done project. It’s an ongoing process that will change often. Kids get older, routines evolve, we buy more stuff, careers change, and our health fluctuates. Be open to changing up your organizing systems as needed and you’ll always be less stressed and more comfortable in your home.
Get The Look
Starter Set Of Above Drawers & Baskets (Bundle)
Labels Made With Cricut Joy and Writeable Vinyl
Blue/Tan Rug (left)
Red/Green Rug (right)
LED Freestanding Flashlight