Organize Fast with Sort Category Cards

Your home can be organized on the tightest of schedules, but only if you break projects into small, doable chunks. Kathy Jenkins, certified professional organizer and founder of Come to Order, shares her SIMPLE six-step clutter-busting strategy to get an organized home in just 15 minutes. Download and print these free sort category cards to get started.

Step 1: Sort like with like

Storage Sort Categories

Jenkins applies the SIMPLE method, her acronym for the six essential steps to eliminate clutter. "The SIMPLE method is all about acting rather than overthinking," Jenkins says.

In SIMPLE, the letter "S" stands for the first step, sort. To eliminate barriers, Jenkins often gives clients premade "sort categories" that identify common types of items they'll encounter when working in a pantry, closet, or bathroom, for example. While the categories might seem obvious, Jenkins points out that, "Sorting is the first step on the roller-coaster ride of getting organized. Beginning can be terrifying, slow, and jerky. Having a preestablished starting point minimizes anxiety."

The first step is easy when you use premade sorting cards. Click the link below to get categories for seven popular room projects:

Download the sort category cards.

Step 2: Identify what to keep

"The trick here is to remain positive," Jenkins says. "Focus on deciding what's important to you rather than what to purge."

Step 3: Make a home for it

After you've sorted like with like and identified what to keep, purposefully assign storage spots for items.

Step 4: Put it in containers

Putting stuff in containers is the fourth step in the SIMPLE method, contrary to many people's instincts. "You must go through the first three steps before you buy anything," Jenkins says. "Don't worry about not having the right container right now. Take measurements and do some research. You will find it."

Step 5: Label it

Wrap up your project by labeling where everything belongs, which is especially helpful when sharing a space with a partner or family.

Step 6: Establish a routine

Establish a routine--a note, a calendar reminder, or a checklist--to solidify your changes into habits.

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