- Start with successes. One look inside a drawer that's working reveals the key elements:
- It's lined with something pretty (wrapping paper, shelf paper, shelf liner). This is by no means an organizational necessity, but it creates a foundation that motivates me to keep things neat.
- I can see everything without having to dig through the drawer OR it contains neatly stacked items.
- Everything in the drawer belongs there and is something I use.
- Take small steps. When it comes to closets, tackling just one area or setting a timer can help keep me from becoming overwhelmed. As for drawers, clearing one drawer at a time meets the small-steps requirement.
- Yes, it has a home! If a drawer or space is in good shape, it contains only things that belong there. If this isn't the case, I need to go through the drawer or area item by item. Stuff that goes back goes in one pile and everything else gets put into piles depending on where it needs to go instead (toss, donate, repair, etc.). Once the drawer is empty, it's time to make it look pretty and decide whether or not it needs to be subdivided before everything goes back in. In the case of closets, once an area has been cleared, I need to decide whether or not it needs to be subdivided before everything goes back, and, if so, which containers I need to use.
- Let it go! Once I've created my piles, this is easy. Pick each pile up and toss it or box it up.
- Easy upkeep. Once I'm finished, the area I worked on should meet the criteria in the first step (Start with Successes). This means I've chosen containers and locations that make it as easy to put things where they belong as it is to simply drop them somewhere else. Mission accomplished? Next drawer!
About the Author
Transplanted Jersey girl Lisa Lawmaster Hess is the author of a blog compilation, three novels, and three non-fiction books, including the award-winning Know Thyself: The Imperfectionist’s Guide to Sorting Your Stuff. A retired elementary school counselor, Lisa is an adjunct professor of psychology at York College of Pennsylvania. She blogs at The Porch Swing Chronicles, Organizing by STYLE, and here at Catholicmom.com. Read all articles by Lisa Hess.