Top Tips for Spring Organizing
by Perri Kersh, Neat Freak Professional Organizing
Spring is in the air, and with warmer temps we often get the urge to purge. Here are some simple, common sense ways to organize your space so you can get busy enjoying the things that matter most.
- Decide WHY. Before you dive into an organizational project, determine why organization is important to you. Set some goals, write them down, and share them with those around you. Spending time exploring how organization is going to improve your life increases the chances that you’ll actually do it…and have lasting results. Will organization save you time? Reduce stress? Save money? Allow you to have that dinner party you’ve been dreaming of hosting? If the answer to these questions is YES, then you’ve just given yourself some powerful motivation.
- Once you’ve decided why, you need to determine WHERE to start. I often suggest that you start with the place that has the greatest impact on your every day life. That could be the place where you spend the most time, or it could be the place that causes you the most stress. If your family can’t sit down at the kitchen table and enjoy a meal together because the table is covered with unread mail, you might start there. If an attic filled with unused treasures that you can’t see or find is causing you daily stress, start there!
- Gather your TOOLS so you can stay focused on the task at hand. An organizer’s tool kit may include garbage bags for trash and donations, index cards or sticky notes for categorizing items and labeling what stays and what goes, permanent markers, a note pad for follow-up action items, a tape measure, and plastic totes for storage or moving items. I always recommend that you organize first, then purchase the storage tools you need that truly work in your space and improve functionality.
- Utilize organizational SYSTEMS that work for you! An organizational system is only worthwhile if it makes sense to you, is clear to others who will have access to it, and is maintainable on a regular basis. Are you an out of sight out of mind person? Then consider using clear or open containers so you can see what you’re storing. If you need color to help you categorize, build that into your system. If you’re a piler, not a filer, go with it…but recognize that your piles need a rhyme and reason to truly function.
- Look for HIDDEN STORAGE. Oftentimes the most un-utilized space is vertical wall space. Use organizational tools that take advantage of your wall space such as wall mounted paper sorters, shelving and containers. A great way to take advantage of hidden storage space in your attic is a brand new product called the AtticMaxx™ Shelving System. This system uses the empty, often wasted attic space between attic trusses to store annually accessed items such as holiday décor or off-season clothing. Visit www.AtticMaxx.com for more information.
- Create organizational RULES to live by. If you don’t need it, don’t use it, or don’t love it, let it go. Live by a one-in, one-out policy—letting something old go before something new can come in. Set a deadline for periodicals—if they’re not read in a certain period of time, they go straight to the recycling bin. If you haven’t worn a clothing item in a year, donate it to someone who will enjoy it. These rules make organizational maintenance a snap and cut down on “should it stay or should it go?” decision making that can stall organization.
- Crossing the organization finish line is a great accomplishment…celebrate it! But to maintain change, our work is never done. Once you get organized, you’ve got to keep it up. Daily, weekly, annually—continue to work with your systems and remind yourself why you want to be organized. Step back and recognize how you’ve made room in your life for the things that matter most. And really…that’s what it’s all about!
About Perri Kersh
Organizing expert Perri Kersh began her career as a professional organizer and time management consultant in 1992. But, truth be told, she’s been organizing most of her life. Through various careers in counseling, marketing and consulting, she finally settled in to her passion and started Neat Freak in 2005.
As an organizing consultant, Perri works with families, individuals, small business owners and students to help them declutter their space and their lives so they can function at their very best. She is a frequent contributor to local and national publications, and is regularly asked to speak at professional and group events. She also appeared as a regular expert on the Fine Living Networks show, “Time Makeover.”
Perri is a past board member of the National Association of Professional Organizers, North Carolina Chapter, and a member of NAPO. She holds a BA in Psychology and a MAEd in Counselor Education from Wake Forest University. When she’s not busy organizing for others, she frequently shovels up after her husband and two young children.
Learn more about Neat Freak Professional Organizing at www.neat-freak.com and follow Perri on Twitter.com/@theneatfreak.