Organization is often quite overwhelming. You’ve got lots of stuff, and aren’t quite sure what to do with it all, or even where to start. But never fear – I’ve got just 5 simple steps to show you how to organize ANYTHING you want!
I’ve got you covered.
I know that organizing things in your home, office, garage, laundry room, yard, car, or anywhere else you find yourself can be a daunting task.
We have things we “need” but don’t have a home for. We have things with homes that need to GO, but are still around for some reason. There’s junk, trash, outdated items, and much more…
But no matter how hard you look, you can never seem to find that one thing you actually NEED right now.
It’s buried in other junk – disorganized junk!
So I’m here to help you clear the clutter, and organize it. Whatever it is.
Why? Because there are SO MANY benefits of being organized, and I want you to experience them all!
If you’re into FREE Printables – check out my Free Printable Checklist of the 5 steps to Organize Anything over in the FREE Resource Library!!
5 Steps to Organize Anything (Seriously, Anything)
Step 1: Evaluate & Create a Plan of Attack
If you’re reading this post, you obviously have something to organize, and you recognize that you need to take action! GREAT!!
The trick is now to evaluate your situation and create a plan of attack.
Not just any plan of attack, but a DO-ABLE plan of attack. Doable today.
(think SMART Goals.. just for organization!)
“Organize the house” isn’t one.
“Organize my shoes” is!
So whatever the thing is that you’re organizing today – give it a good hard look, and decide the scope of what you’ll be doing.
If it’s a lot of stuff, you may want to consider how you’ll get it all out.
Is it precariously stacked? Wobbling like the Tower of Pisa, and threatening to fall like giant, scary Jumangi blocks?
If so, you’ll need to figure out how to get everything down without breaking it, or drowning in a sea of Legos, shoes, or whatever the thing is you’re organizing today.
Once you’ve got your plan of attack:
- What I’m Organizing
- How to Get It Out
You’re ready to move on to Step 2 of How to Organize Anything!
Step 2: Empty It Out
This step is pretty easy (in theory) – basically just get ALL of the things you’re organizing out.
All of them.
Not some of them.
Not most of them.
Get literally everything out that belongs to the whatever you’re organizing. Even if it’s “already in the right place” or in a different room.
It’s very important to see and touch every single item that’s getting organized today!
Once you’ve got it all laid out (preferably in a place where you can SEE it all), you’re ready to move on to Step 3 of How to Organize Anything!
Step 3: Sort Everything
Now it’s time to sort your stuff!
Sort and group similar items together.
For instance, if you’re organizing shoes, you’ll want to to sort these into groups like: athletic shoes, casual shoes, sandals, dress shoes, etc.
For books, maybe sort into: textbooks, fiction, non-fiction. Then maybe go even further: mystery, thriller, adventure, romance, etc.
Whatever items you’re working with – come up with a simple way to sort them and group like objects. Just don’t spend toooo long on this step. It shouldn’t be rocket science.
This is just meant to allow you to better understand what you’re working with, and where some overlaps or gaps in your collection may lay.
Once you’ve gotten your things out and sorted them all, it’s time for the BIG, SCARY Step 4 of How to Organize Anything; The Great Purge!
*dun dun dunnnnnnn!!!!*
Step 4: The Great Purge
This is probably the most important step you’ll need to take when organizing anything.
It also may be the most difficult step, unfortunately.
Not difficult because it requires a great deal of brainpower or physical strength (it doesn’t), but emotional strength and lack of guilt
So, it’s time to purge. What does that mean exactly?
It does NOT mean “throw everything away.” I’m not here to make you a minimalist or anything.. I just want to make sure you ONLY have the things you NEED, WANT, and USE regularly.
So then by definition, this means that the purge will rid you of all things you do NOT need, want, or use regularly.
Let’s dive in (This is the step with the most.. well, steps..)
Keep, Trash, Sell, or Donate?
Now that you’ve sorted everything out, it’s time to decide what you will keep, and what you will get rid of.
In the beginning, you can start with just 3 piles of stuff: KEEP, NOT SURE YET, GET RID OF.
Then ask yourself the questions below to determine the next steps.
How to Be Okay with Getting Rid of Your Things
Getting rid of things can be tough. Really tough.
I know this all too well.
I’m the victim of hoarder DNA… it’s in my blood. My parents recently moved to a new house.. and it was ridiculous. I cannot BELIEVE how much junk they’ve acquired over the years.
My brother, aunt, uncles, grandparents? Forget about it! It’s crazy.
Just like them, I spent years building up an arsenal of crap I neither wanted or needed…. and finally took the painful plunge to purge my possessions.
So I know tooooo well how tough it can be.
You’ll tend to think things like:
“I spent my hard-earned money on this.” “so-and-so gave me this thing” “I might use it one day.” “It will fit again one day” and so on…
All of that guilt, confusion, and often delusion (sorry ’bout it) can really hinder your organization, and especially your purge.
So to help you make solid decisions you can live with, use these questions to determine what stays and what goes.
Just try to keep in mind, your great-Aunt-Sally wouldn’t want you to be bogged down by useless junk for the rest of your life, just because she gave you junk once when you were 12. You’ll make more money. You’ll have new things if and when you need them.
It will be okay.
Things are not life.
Questions to Ask Yourself When Purging Items During Organization
- Have I used this in the last 30 days? 3 Months? 6 months? Year?
- Is it intact, or damaged?
- How many of these do I have?
- Does it still fit / fit your needs / work for you?
- Do you love it?
- Are you keeping it ONLY out of guilt?
- Is it still in style?
- Is it easy to replace?
- If you saw it in the store today, would you pay money for it?
- Do you have an ACTUAL use for it in the next 30 days? 3 months? 6 months? year?
- What’s the worst thing that would happen if I got rid of it?
What to Do With Items You Purge
Once you make the (hopefully not too painful) decisions about what to get rid of – Congratulations, by the way!! – it’s time to actually GET RID of those items.
But what do you do with the junk you get rid of when you purge your possessions and organize your stuff?
The way I see it, you’ve got 4 options:
- Sell it
- Donate it
- Recycle it
- Trash it
Sell Your Stuff
If your things are intact, functional, and nice – feel free to sell them! It would be great to make a few bucks back on something you bought or were given long ago!
However, don’t use “I’m trying to sell it!” as an excuse to keep it around longer. Put it in the garage, in your car, or somewhere very out of the way until it gets gone.
In fact, put an expiration date on it. If you can’t sell by then, change its fate to one of the other 3 choices.
Donate Your Stuff
The next best option is donation!
If you have decent, usable things (no one wants your old underwear, broken kitchen gadget, or holey shoes), find a local donation center, charity, church, or other organization that you believe in or want to help, and give, give, give!
One of my favorite places to give is DFCS – they constantly have kids in need that are between homes and have insufficient clothes, shoes, school supplies, bedding materials, books, toys, and more.
But as always, you do you.
Recycle Your Stuff
If you can’t donate it – can you recycle it?
Try to help save our beautiful Earth if you can!
Check out a list of things that can be recycled HERE – some of them may surprise you!
Throw Away Your Stuff
If none of those options work for you, a solid last-ditch solution is to just plain trash it.
If it can’t do anyone else good, make you any money, or be recycled – just get rid of it.
I’ve written an entire post on how to purge your closet over here. If you’re working with clothes, shoes, accessories, or closets in any way, I’d suggest taking a bit deeper dive over there!
Step 5: Organize
Now is the fun part!
We get to organize anything you want!!
There are bazillions of ways to organize things – so pick your favorite, based on the items you have, the space available, and how you want to divide and conquer your things.
The main idea of organizing anything is to simply give it a home.
Every. Single. Thing. Needs a permanent home.
Organizing Tools & Organization Systems
Sometimes, before you can assign a home, though, you’ll need to make more appropriate sized homes for things.
You may need to purchase shelves, drawers, boxes, dividers, trays, or some other type of organization system to give you smaller, more usable spaces for the items at hand.
The type, size, and scope of your organization system depends entirely on the things you’re organizing and the space you’re working with.
Whatever you use, make it fit your stuff and your space, and then find your items a permanent home.
Group Like Items Together
It’s usually helpful to group like items together. This will help you find them more quickly in the future.
Plus, it just looks neater.. amirite!?
Organize Your Items in a Logical Order
Sometimes, when organizing things like clothes, you’ll want to also organize things in a logical order. Underwear, Clothes, Shoes, Outerwear.. since that’s the order in which you’ll use them.
These are all judgements you’ll need to make on your own!
I have total faith in you!
You’re basically a pro organizer now! YOU CAN ORGANIZE ANYTHING!!!!
*Bonus* Step 6: Maintain
In order to actually keep an organized space or group of things, you’ll have to maintain all of that hard work you’ve just done! (sorry ’bout it)
Otherwise, you’ll fall back into the traps of disorganization, messy spaces, and general chaos! YIKES!
Instead, make it your goal to maintain this newly organized space as long as possible!
Hopefully you can use some of the maintenance tips below to keep your stuff and space organized forever!!… or at least until your clothes go out of style and you need to revamp your wardrobe (Lego collection, books, snacks, tools.. whatever)
Organization & Storage Tips
Truthfully, this entire site is dedicated to organization tips… sooo um, you’ve got a few resources at hand here 😉
BUT, I’ll give you a couple of quick, bullet point tips to help keep your stuff organized, safe, and handy when you need it!
- Label your things!! With a label maker, “table of contents” for boxes, COLOR CODING, masking tape and a sharpie.. whatever. Just label it. It SUCKS to have to dig through “organized” boxes to find something.
- Use unconventional storage space. Stack (stable) things all the way up to the ceiling! Use the ceiling itself if you can attach hooks, shelves, or whatever else (think garage). Put shelves on the inside of closet and pantry doors. Make 2 levels of hanging racks in your closet instead of 1. Do what you’ve gotta do!
- Use limiting containers. A box or basket can only hold so many teddy bears before it’s full. The floor or a table, however, are nearly limitless. A container with a lid can only hold so many Legos. You get the idea. Limit yourself with the organization containers you use.
- Use all the space you have! (That you’re not living in). Store things under the bed. On top of the way-back shelves in your closet. The attic. The weird cabinets above the fridge that no one can reach. Use your space! (You’re certainly paying rent or a mortgage for it!)
As I mentioned already – all of this is well and good for NOW… but how long will it last?
Follow these simple tips to keep up your newly organized space forever!
- Create a daily routine that includes putting all objects back into their assigned homes.
- Use existing habits to stay organized. (Always take your shoes off at the door? Maybe organize your shoes in the coat closet or on a rack nearby)
- Create boundaries for yourself and your things. “I will only keep 3 magazines on the coffee table at a time” is an example. Make a decision NOW, while your things are freshly organized, and stick to it! If necessary, write it down!
- Only replace, don’t add. If you need to get a new ____ (whatever object fits into the category you’re organizing – shoes, mascara, toy, book, highlighter, whatever), then get a new one AND GET RID OF AN OLD ONE. Always replace. Never add to the collection. That’s how we got in this mess!
You can organize anything now – what will you tackle first??
Now that you know how to organize anything – anytime, anywhere – what will you decide to organize first?
Will you tackle your workspace? Since creating a clean, clear, organized workspace gives you the ability to work in a clean, clear, organized MENTAL workspace?
How about your bedroom? Or closet? Those are some of the harder places to tackle, simply because of organization step #4: The Great Purge. But, I can tell you from experience – it’s totally worth it!
Maybe you’ll start small and just organize ONE drawer in your kitchen or desk.
That’s fine too.
Just make small strides each day to organize another little pocket of your life.
Before you know it, you’ll be a lean, mean, organization machine!!
Your friends will be calling you twice as often, because they know you’ll help them organize their homes too!
That’s a win-win if you ask me!
So, leave a comment below and let me know WHAT YOU’LL ORGANIZE NEXT! I love to hear from you!
and remember, make good life choices!