Organizing & Storage Guide

Organization Basics

A four-step guide for organizing any room, plus 13 strategies to prevent procrastination.

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3. Set Up Storage Systems

Now that you're left with only the items you intend to keep, it's essential to set up "homes" or "zones" to maintain organization. "If you are forever misplacing your car keys, create a home for them," says organizing expert Pam Socolow. "Hang hooks near the door, or put an attractive box in a convenient place - whatever works for you. Try to establish a routine of always placing the keys in the designated spot."

Use well-labeled containers to create a storage system, and let your family know where things are located. If space is at a premium, add shelves inside closets to make use of the vertical wall space, says Liz Witts. If you have small children, attach hooks at lower heights so they can hang up their jackets and bags. Adjustable shelving, such as a closet system, is ideal because it can be moved to accommodate various storage needs. Use plastic shoeboxes - or again, even extra plastic ware normally used for food storage - to create kits for things such as sewing items, shoe repair and extension cords.

4. Stay Focused

Procrastination can have a snowball effect - the little things you put off each day can pile up to the point where you're at a loss as to how you'll ever whittle down your perpetually growing to-do list. To help you avoid the inevitable moment when your organizing efforts begin to slide, take note of these 13 strategies from organizing expert Monica Ricci:

Mental Strategies

  1. Vividly imagine the way you'll feel inside after the task or project is complete.
  2. Focus on your desired result, not your fear or inaction.
  3. Imagine yourself completing the task or project easily, quickly and with no setbacks.
  4. Tune into your procrastination language in your head and derail it with positive thoughts of "I want to," "I can," and "I enjoy" instead.
  5. Let go of perfectionism. Many things aren't worth doing perfectly, so just start and do your best.


Physical Strategies

  1. Get an accountability buddy to keep you on task along the way.
  2. Work out the steps to the project on paper in advance to clarify your thoughts and eliminate all the emotional whirlwind around why you don't want to begin the task or project.
  3. Master the art of starting. Over and over again.
  4. Do the hard parts first. Or...
  5. Do the easy parts first. Whichever motivates you more is the one you should choose.
  6. Keep a progress log so you don't lose sight of how much you've accomplished.
  7. Break your project into small, manageable chunks and create interim deadlines for yourself along the way.
  8. Build in rewards for yourself as you finish each step or as you complete the project.

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