Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Organizing myth: Organize once and never do it again

Organizing Myth #002: If you take the time to get your space and your life organized, that's it. You're set. You'll stay organized forever.

Organizing Reality: Doing a massive organizing push to get your home, your office and your life in order is satisfying; you get to see dramatic results pretty quickly and it feels really good. However, it's not like a vaccine you get once to be clutter-proof forever. It's not even like a flu vaccine you get once a year. Getting organized is the imperative first step, but staying organized is like taking allergy meds--they work best if you take them every day. Staying organized is simple--it just requires maintenance. Even if you hire a professional organizer to help you start your life down an organized path, it will be up to you to do the work it takes to keep your space and schedule organized. The good news is that once you have the organizational systems in place that work for you, it's much easier to do the little work it takes to stay organized than it is to let your life slide back into old patterns and have to deal with the clutter all over again.

There is no clutter vaccine.

Quick tips for maintaining an organized life:

  • Return things to their homes immediately after you are done using them.
  • Open and organize your mail every day.
  • Leave the kitchen counters clean and dishes done every night before you go to bed.
  • Keep a running to do list in your favorite format and set each day's list the night before.
  • Stay in the moment and do things as they come up, if they can be done quickly. Otherwise, add them to your to do list so you don't forget them for later.
Creative Commons photo posted to Flickr by alvi2047

Lelah Baker-Rabe is a Los Angeles-based professional organizer. To discuss your organizing needs, call her at 818.269.6671 or email

1 comment:

  1. Here's another one that works well: before you leave a room, take a quick look around to see if something needs to be returned to the room or floor you're going to, and if so, take it with you. Never leave a room empty-handed! :)