9 Must-Know Secrets to Get Organized Once and For All

storage and mirror next to front door
Photo: Jody Garlock

Organizing your home is a major undertaking that can be tricky to keep up with. It's an ongoing process that requires focus, creativity, and a defined plan. These nine organizing secrets will help you get your home organized (and keep it that way).

01 of 09

Identify Your Top Organizing Priorities

Living room with rug, fireplace, and coffee table
David A Land

Before you start, determine the spots that need organizing the most. Try standing in the center of a room and taking in a 360-degree view. Zero in on the areas where clutter draws your eye and plan to tackle those first. It's easy to make a sweeping "I need to get organized" statement, but identifying what really needs to be done is more proactive.

02 of 09

Make a List of Organizing Goals

Corner desk with artwork and wall organizer
Werner Straube

Turn your organizing task list into a set of written goals. "The act of writing gets the goal into your subconscious," professional organizer Laura Leist says. "Plus, it's nice to be able to go back during and after the project to see how you're progressing." Check off items on the list as you progress through the space.

03 of 09

Set a Date to Get Organized

desk storage

To reinforce the goal, Leist suggests assigning a specific due date to each step and an end date for the project. For even more motivation, schedule an important event or party at your house as a deadline for completing the organization project. If you don't have an upcoming event, Leist recommends you still put a date on your calendar and set up a few key milestones along the way. "You must have something specific out there to work toward," she says.

04 of 09

Break Down Organizing Tasks

closet organization storage clothing and accessories
Dera Burreson

Quick fixes work in a pinch, but a bigger organization strategy takes time to implement. To make a big project easier to manage, break it down into mini-projects you can do in 15-60 minutes and keep the list specific. "Having to move around or make lots of different types of decisions will wear you out quickly," professional organizer Kathy Jenkins says. She recommends focusing on one small project and consciously reminding yourself with something like, "All I need to do for the next 15 minutes is sort clothing by type."

05 of 09

Declutter by Editing

modern art on office wall

Before you go to the trouble of figuring out where to store stuff, decide if you really need it. Declutter rooms in a series of smaller chunks, such as focusing on one desk drawer instead of organizing the entire office. To ensure you make time for organizing, schedule a decluttering session with yourself. "Write it down like an appointment," professional organizer Donna Smallin Kuper says.

06 of 09

Use Smart Storage Strategies

Bedroom with box shelves on wall
Greg Scheidemann

Once you've decluttered, store your remaining stuff using a strategy like the SIMPLE method developed by professional organizer Kathy Jenkins. "The SIMPLE method is all about acting rather than overthinking," Jenkins says. Making dozens of decisions haphazardly about what to keep, where to keep it, and how to label it will wear you out quickly. The SIMPLE method structures the process. The acronym goes like this:

S: Sort like with like.

I: Identify what to keep.

M: Make a home for it.

P: Put it into containers.

L: Label it.

E: Establish a routine.

07 of 09

Organize Items into Containers

Containers are essential for organization and storage, but they're not all created equal. Baskets, boxes, and bins are best suited for certain tasks. Watch this video to find out which container is right for each job.

08 of 09

Make Organizing a Habit

storage and mirror next to front door
Jody Garlock

Tackling major reorganization and decluttering is a big accomplishment, and you should feel good about it. Maintain the momentum by making it a habit. "Your routine should be whatever you need to remind you of what you're suppose to do," Jenkins says. Successful routines are simple ones, such as having a house rule to put things away after use, or tackling the mail every evening when you come home.

09 of 09

Celebrate Your Organizing Skills

triangle storage area in wall
John Merkl

After you reach your organizing goal, take a picture. Share it on social media if you'd like, or simply keep it handy for when you need a reminder of how great organization looks and feels. Refer to the image as necessary for inspiration to get reorganized.

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