Beyond Hacks: Common Sense Home Organizing

“Organizing”. Does the word make you shudder? It doesn’t need to.

Here’s a short list of organizing projects, some DIY suggestions for dealing with them, and ideas about how an organizing pro could help. We’re betting you recognize yourself in here somewhere.

  1. Chronic Clutter. Whether you’ve just moved and can’t seem to get all your stuff put away, or have lived in your house for 25 years and never done a really good purge, clutter causes low-grade, daily stress (high-grade if it rises to the hoarder level). Conquer the Clutter owner/operator and professional organizer Maria Spetalnik suggests taking baby steps now, before your small piles rise to crisis level. She blogged about it for us here last year. Professional organizers like Maria specialize in clutter, chronic disorganization, and hoarding and can walk alongside you at every step, kindly and without judgment, if you need help.
  1. Paper, Paper, Paper. You’d think, in the digital age, we wouldn’t still have paper piles, right? Nope. Mail still arrives, kids still bring things home from school, and we still jot notes on scraps when in a hurry. The “one touch rule” helps with the mail – – bring it in, touch each piece once, then put it in the trash, a bill paying folder, file, or other. But how do you know what papers to keep? We turned to an expert for this, too, and you can read her comments here.
  1. Photos. Most of us have loads of photos on our computers. But what do you do with those envelopes of precious pics from years ago? Start by admitting that you’ll never get them all into a beautifully designed scrapbook. Then, put on some music, pour a glass of wine, and pull those snapshots into the middle of the floor. Sort and discard duplicates, put them in roughly chronological order, and simply place them in craft store albums where you can find and enjoy them for years to come. If that’s too much, separate out some category – – like the kids’ school pictures – – and album-paste only those. It’s fun to look back over the years and see page by page how they’ve grown.
  1. Messy Drawers and Cabinets. Maria’s advice works well here too. Take them one at a time, maybe spread out over days or weeks. No need to be overwhelmed trying to do it all at once. Enlist family members to help (only fair; certainly, one of them is responsible for messing up that towel closet.) Professional organizers can help get you started if you just can’t seem to get off the dime, and will even do the work with or for you.

Finally, for some inspiration for the hack-hungry, check out our “Organizing Ideas” Pinterest board.

Wise homeowners have a place for everything, with everything in its place. Now, go forth and live efficiently!

Image courtesy of khongkitwiriyachan at


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