My Best Organizing Advice Ever – 10 Ways to Create An Organizing Mindset

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Today, I bring you my best organizing advice ever.

Most people think of me as being really super organized.

But I can tell you that I am far from it.

There is always more to do and redo.

It’s a never ending treadmill.

The key to being organized is having reliable systems in place so you can put things where they belong and get on with your day.

But, even with the best systems, you tend to collect a lot of stuff that you need to find time to sort through.

And that is when the overwhelm sets in.

So, my best organizing advice has nothing to do with organizing at all.

It’s really all about creating an organizing mindset so you can approach the task with the right attitude.

I think you will get more done that way.

1. Go Easy on Yourself

Clutter has a funny way of creeping in on you.

You might be chugging along quite nicely and suddenly the holidays hit, or you go on vacation, the kids come home from college, or life just happens.

Suddenly, you can’t find things, the laundry piles up, and your paperwork is all over the place.

It’s not unusual and it’s not you.

Instead of berating yourself for being so disorganized, be kind and focus on the solution instead of the problem.

Often, a messy house is the result of just being too busy.

2. You Can’t Do It All At Once

When several areas of your life are out of control, it is very overwhelming.

It is easy to get lost.

Where do you start? What do you do first?

Sometimes you have to look at the trees and not the forest. Because organizing a forest is crazy – but dealing with just one tree is totally doable.

3. Prioritize Based on Impact

This item is actually my very best organizing advice, so give it special attention.

They say that the squeaky wheel gets the grease so you have to determine what “squeaky” actually means.

Usually, something money or health related takes top priority.

If you are not paying your bills on time because of disorganization, you have to fix it so you don’t lose money to late fees and bad credit.

Likewise, if your health is suffering because of a disorganized situation, then this is the area that you should tackle first.

It’s Not As Logical As It Seems

This might seem like common sense, but organizing according to priorities is hard.


It’s because what you have to do first or what you should do first – well, this thing – it is not always the easiest thing to do.

Paperwork is tedious.

No one really wants to do it.

It is far easier to put on some music and clear out the messy closet in the guest bedroom.

But then your bills won’t get paid, and you will still have that stress.

4. Stay Focused

If you’ve ever started out cleaning the junk drawer in the kitchen, headed to the upstairs closet to put something away, and found yourself sorting linens you know what I mean.

Start one project and stick to that project.

Force yourself to get the junk drawer done and save your linens for another day.

5. Be Aware of Your Time

Sometimes we don’t finish an organizing project because we don’t allow ourselves enough time to do it.

This is on my list of best organizing advice because it is important to understand your limits.

If you have an hour to devote to a decluttering project – pick something that you can either reasonably finish in that time frame, or that you can do in phases.

Set a timer for 50 minutes, and give yourself 10 minutes to finish up or put things away and prepare for phase 2.

Related Post: Time Management and Productivity for People Who Can’t Get Organized

6. Be Aware of Your Capacity

If you have no time constraints, it might be tempting to allow yourself a whole day to organize.

But halfway through, you might get bored or distracted.

Be realistic with how much organizing you can handle all at once and plan accordingly.

7. Brace Yourself for Emotions

Organizing a junk drawer is a different experience than organizing old photos, kids artwork, or  your parent’s attic.

When you tackle a project that has strings attached you might experience emotions – both good and bad.

Getting back to the previous 2 points, allow yourself time to feel and decide what to do with those memories.

8. Train Your Family

Your family can be your greatest source of joy and also, frustration.

Those people that live in your house, the ones that you love, oh so much – well, you might think that they are out to get you.

After spending hours organizing, all it takes is one person to use something and put it back in the wrong place to set you over the edge.

This is a tricky one, you can try using labels but often it comes down to hosting a little tour of the redesigned space, constant repetition, and maybe a two by four to hit them over the head with ๐Ÿ˜‰ – just kidding.

9. Don’t Compare Yourself to Others

The comparison monster is just a saboteur no matter what area of life you are dealing with.

Organizing is no different.

I was just reading an article about someone’s morning routine that involved workouts, healthy breakfasts, happy children, and a tidy home.

Honestly, it felt like I was in the Twilight Zone.

As I sit here and type this in my pajamas at 11:00 am.

My schedule works for me right now, and I am ok with that.

A completely orchestrated morning sounds amazing, but at this point, for me that would actually add a lot of stress.

The best organizing advice is to fix the things that aren’t working for you – the things that are having a negative impact on your life.

Leave the stuff that works alone. And don’t go comparing yourself to others.

10. It Doesn’t Have to Be Perfect

I will leave you with this last point.

Whatever you do, it doesn’t have to be perfect.

The notebook you use for your to-do lists can be full of cute printables or it can be a cast off from one of your kids.

Your pantry can have all matching containers or a neat row of snack bags with chip clips instead.

Whatever methods you choose to get yourself organized should be easy enough for you to use daily.

They don’t have to look pretty but they do have to be functional.

Related Post: Which Planner Layout is Right for You?

What is Your Best Organizing Advice?

Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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  1. Hi Neena – I have not read all the comments but remember I retires in’91 and went from Juno platinum to gmail about 20 years ago. Fom various msgs that I have sent u with all my categories, so I am partially organized,probably better than most. ha,ha. I have read all your course material and have some ideas on where to work. I have a newsletter to publish for over 200 people, am wood carving a bird, have a 1000 jig saw puzzle being solved, gardening chores and a wife who needs my attention & shopping in this Pandemic. The prime activity when retired is to keep busy. There is always TV and now the hockey games have restarted; yes I played hockey in high school (hard to remember that far back, 75 years) Some things I may need help with, like how to delete no longer needed categories. Was not sure of your definition of your tabs vs my categories. English can be a very difficult language with several meanings for the same word depending on usage. I go back so far that I used to teach DOS, before windows Keep in touch.

    1. Hi Tom,
      I remember DOS – it doesn’t seem that long ago. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Sounds like you have a lot going on and are keeping it well organized. The tabs in Gmail are different than the categories. A while back Gmail had introduced tabs and automatically added them to everyone’s inbox. They tried to separate promotional emails from regular email using their algorithms. But I found that to be tedious because it created places to check for email. If you don’t see tabs in your Gmail interface then you probably don’t have to even thing about this.

      Thanks for your comments!

  2. Thank you so much for these wonderful tips and advice! I have ADHD and I’m a stay at home mom. I really needed this and I believe it’s what will help me to finally prioritize not just organizing my house, but also my life! I’ve been stuck mentally and overwhelmed with trying to prioritize. All I see is what needs to be done in my life and no steps or direction or a plan on how to fix the mess in my life. Thank you again!

    1. Hi Jessi,

      Thank you so much for your kind words!

      I was a stay at home mom for many years and I know that chaos comes with the territory – it is hard to stay organized with little ones around.

      But looking back, I think that if I had been able to focus on the important things (meaning things that make a big impact – whether it is spending time with your kids and doing something that they enjoy or taking time out for yourself or just tackling the big chores like paying bills or getting dinner on the table) and actually scheduling out time for getting those done – things could have been a little easier.

      Break it down into small steps, keep your expectations realistic, and most of all enjoy this time that you have with your family!

      Best of luck!

  3. Hi Neena,
    I think the point you made about IMPACT and priorities is very good. I have started recently trying to make sure I start each day doing a high-priority high-impact task and following it through until its done. Of course, its very hard with kids and trying to balance everything. thinking about the impact point though I think its a very good guidelines.
    Great blog by the way! xx

  4. You know, it wasn’t until the kids left home that things got sorted how I like them! I’ve also found I accumulate a lot less clutter as well. Knowing your capacity is always key. Even if my to-do list has 25 things on it, I try to narrow my goals to the three most important chores in a day, for example, and tackle them first. It’s amazing how often things I thought were important turn out not to have been needed to be done at all!

    1. Hi Katie,
      There is something to be said about having less people in the house. When my kids are at college it is much easier to keep the house organized – and I also have more time to do the extra organizing projects I have been putting off.
      Lately I have also been trying to squeeze less into my day as well. I feel that I miss out on too much of life when there is too much to do.

  5. We all need to give ourselves permission to just forget perfect!! Give ourselves a generous dose of grace!! We will get much more done with less mental & physical energy. My life is not like picture perfect Pinterest and I am quite OK with that!! Thanks for sharing this great list on P.O.B.C.

  6. Neena,

    What great sound advice. I like the idea of tackling priorities based on impact. Right now health is a challenge for us and to make it easy, we have to organize our pantry and fridge. We want to promote healthy foods and easy access to these foods for my twins.

    For me, though, I do get highly distracted because I have twins! They often want to help mommy organized, but it ends up me cleaning up the “mess” they organized for me ๐Ÿ™‚ In the end, I’m home with my twins and they are happy, healthy and thriving ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks

    1. Hi Elna,
      I know you must have a busy household with twins – my kids weren’t multiples but they were all so close in age.

      Staying organized is definitely a challenge. Although, judging from as much as I see you accomplish online – I think you have a pretty good handle on things. ๐Ÿ˜‰

      Healthy eating is always a challenge – it just takes longer to prepare fresh foods and make them appealing to young kids. Take time to enjoy the “disorganization” and yes, choose your priorities based on impact.

      Thanks so much for stopping in and taking the time to comment.

  7. Be realistic about your time is a good one! Often people start pulling stuff out with the idea that they can do their whole room in a couple of hours. I once estimated 12 hours for a client’s office. She thought I had overestimated, but it turns out it was almost 12 hours on the dot. To do it right can take a bit of time, but that just means you need to plan for it.

  8. I like the concept of prioritizing based on impact. So often we base our priorities (organizing or otherwise) on what seems the most urgent, or the hardest, or the easiest – your way sounds much more practical!

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