how to: organize

I'll be the first one to admit being a total organization freak.  Seriously.  You have no idea how excited I was when I recently bought some under-bed storage bins from IKEA.  They basically made me as happy as I was on my wedding day.  I. Am. A. Loser.

Hubby went away for a weekend a little while ago and left me home all alone; what did I do?  I organized our office/guest room.  It was one of the best weekends of my life. 

all the clothes from my dresser - in a large pile
While thinking about my love and appreciation for organizing, I came to the realization that not everybody shares my love for this wonderful thing.  I know, it really shook my world too.  How could somebody not love organizing?!?  I think that people don't like it, or find it annoying, because it can be very overwhelming.  I get it.  There's a lot of stuff.  Where do you even begin?  Let me break it down for you!


The best way to start is to clear out everything from what you're trying to organize.  Want to organize your dresser?  Start by taking out all the clothes and dumping them on the floor.  Want to organize your bookcase?  Start by taking out all the books/other crap that you've accumulated and put it on the floor. 

TIP: when taking everything out of your dresser/bookcase/etc. move the stuff so it's not sitting directly in front of it - move it away a little bit - you'll want easy access to the dresser/bookcase/etc. when you get to the later steps.  You don't want to have to be walking over your pile all the time.


By far, my favourite step!  Now that you've got everything laid out in front of you, go through all the stuff that you no longer use, want, or need.  This step is critical in organizing.   You don't want to be wasting precious space in your dresser for clothes that you never wear, do you?  No.  Didn't think so.  Be honest with yourself.  If you haven't used/worn an item in a long while, chances are you won't miss it if you get rid of it.

Take this step to the next level by designating different spaces (bags/boxes/areas) for things to "sell", "donate", "recycle", and "trash".  We're all friends of the environment, so let's do our part by keeping as much of our un-wanted items out of the landfill as we can.  Plus, you could even put some extra cash in your pocket by selling things that are still in good condition. BONUS!


Once you've identified the stuff that you're keeping, then next step is to sort you "keep" pile into groups. If you're organizing you're dresser, this part is super easy, however, if you're organizing a bookshelf or something else, it can be a little confusing at first. Here's what I normally do: I start by grouping everything together in larger groups (craft supplies, school stuff, paperwork, etc.), then, if those groups tend to be very large, I break those groups down. Example: if my my craft supplies group is overly large, I'll break it down into sub-groups like ribbons, glue sticks, scissors, paper, etc., that way it makes things more manageable, and easy to find later on. In the end, separate everything into groups that make sense TO YOU, you're the one who's going to be using this, after all.

TIP: It always helps to have a "miscellaneous" group. You'll always end up with a few things that don't seem to belong anywhere - just throw all those things into their own group!

groups - folded on the bed

Now comes the fun part - putting everything back into its new home. Use bins and boxes to keep everything neat and tidy (try IKEA or the Container Store for some great organization tools), and try different things in different places. Have fun with it!


Seriously. Good on you for a job well done. Now go have a cookie, you deserve it!


Lindsay said...

Love this post! I also seriously love organizing and the great feeling after it's done!

Whats Hanging... said...

I wouldn't say I love organizing or hate it. It's just one of those things that has to be done and I enjoy doing it every few months or so when I can no longer hide stuff in its usual spots. I am looking forward to having a bigger place one of these days so I can try to organize cause where we are living right now has zero space to even try organize properly. When we move in February, I will definitely be putting your steps to use, especially the purging one!

Amanda said...

@ Lindsay - I think our love of organization is why we work in the jobs that we do. This job is organizatoin heaven!

@ Whats Hanging - I totally hear you on the more space thing. I find there's never enough storage space in condos, unfortunately.