Extra Organizing Tips: Charlotte Steill

Key to organizing a space is defining its purpose

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Professional organizer and Mission: Organization guest Charlotte Steill offers web-exclusive tips.


  • Before you begin organizing a space you need to define its purpose. Ask yourself the following questions: How do I want this room to be used? What items need to be stored in the room to support those activities? What storage do I currently have available to house the items needed?

  • Define each storage space in a room. If you are prone to the "shove-and-close method" of putting things away, it is important to remove any storage that does not have a specific purpose. That storage will only turn into a clutter catchall.

  • Don't add storage to house things that are not important to you and your family. It is just as easy to become overwhelmed by containers with miscellaneous stuff in them as it is with the stuff itself.

  • If you are backlogged with old photographs, do a quick sort by year or subject matter and then store them in archival shoebox containers. Pitch any bad photos as you go. Line up labeled photo boxes on your table and have your family start sorting. You might be surprised at how much fun it can be.

  • Choose a space in your home where you will store photos and then purchase extra albums and or boxes that fit in that space to accommodate future photos. By purchasing more storage than what you currently need you will ensure that your storage containers will fit together nicely and there will be room for those newly developed photos. No more piles!

  • Have an index card printed when you have your photos developed. Use two-sided tape to attach it to the front of the picture envelope or photo CD case, and then write the date and subject on it and file chronologically. This will save time when you are looking for the photos you need.

  • Use magnetic boards and strips to keep craft tools easily accessible and off of your work surface.

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