Do you want the secret of how to get organized?
Would you believe it all boils down to just 5 steps?
No matter how huge or overwhelming the state of disorder or chaos you are facing, take a deep breath, break the project down into chunks (one room – or a corner of a room, even) and follow these steps to wrangle the mess, establish order and regain control of that space – and your life! I came up with a mnemonic (from the Greek “mindful” – seemed appropriate), based on the letters of my last name PRINCE to help my clients remember the steps to getting organized. This acronym is inspired by the very sage Julie Morgenstern, whose SPACE approach has set the standard for organizing.
P is for Plan
Every organizing project must begin with a plan. What’s the vision you have for your space? How do you want the space to be used? If it’s a living/work area, outline the activities that go on here, assign homes to your belongings that will live here and figure out how your life (and your family’s) will revolve around that.
If it’s a closet, garage or storage space, what will be stored here, how will you store it and how often do you need to access it?
R is for Remove & Review
Next, gather or pull everything out – and I mean everything! You can’t get a good idea of what is in a space (or tucked into the deep realms of a closet or cabinet) until everything comes out. Sort into categories as you go. It will get pretty messy at this point, but I promise it will get better.
I is for Identify
Here’s the “be good to yourself” part: identify all the items that “spark joy” as the cute Marie Kondo suggests. Keep only what you love, use and really need. The rest can go. Don’t focus on what you are letting go of: that’s the past. Only focus on what you are keeping: this is your future and the vision you have — not only for the space, but for you, too.
N is for Neaten
Now it’s time to neaten the space and remove all the items that are being donated, given to family/friends, moved to another room, recycled or tossed, so you are left with just the items you are keeping in that space. You can breathe now!
C is for Confine & Contain
This is the fun part — and my favorite step! Now you know what needs to live here, or what is going to be stored here. Figure out how best to confine the contents to that space and put in containers. Important: don’t buy any containers until you reach this final step – and you may already have plenty of containers (baskets, bins, shoeboxes, etc.) around the house that will work perfectly.
E is for Evaluate…Eternally!
I know I said there were only 5 steps to getting organized, but there is one more concept: a mindset that you must embrace everyday. Once a space is organized, the state of staying organized is a constant reflection of “does this system work for me?” or “do I need this?” Asking yourself these questions and making these kinds of decisions every day will help you stay true to your vision, keep your space organized and give you the time to enjoy doing the things you love.
Well said Cary. A simply stated approach that is easy to do for almost any one.
Thanks so much, Nadine!
Very good tips Cary and what a great acronym you came up with! Wonder what I could do with LEOPOLD! not too much! ha ha!
Thanks, Autumn! Let me see…Love Everything Organized…it’s a start!