If you have read many of my 5 Minute Organizing posts, you'll have noticed a theme. I tend to include the same 5 steps each time. That's because this formula works - it works for professional organizers, and it can work for you, too. I'd so love to come to all your homes to help you get organized, but since I can't, I'll share my tips on how you can organize like a professional:
Step 1: Gather
For whatever category of stuff you want to organize (like clothing, shoes, pet supplies, or paperwork) you have to get a full picture of what you have first. So choose your category, and then go through your home gathering up everything that fits in that category. Put it all in a big, open space - like a dining room table, or even the living room floor.
Step 2: Throw out anything gross
This is a no-brainer. Toss out expired medications, moldy cheese, moth-eaten sweaters, and gummy rubber bands. Clear the decks so that you can focus on what you really have.
Step 3: Get real
This is the tough part. Take a look at each and every item, and get real about whether or not you use, need, or love it. Think about what each item contributes to your life - the life you have right now, not the life you had 10 years ago, or the life you dream of having 10 years from now. Why clutter up your space - and your life - with things that are not contributing to your quality of life? If you use, need, or love something, keep it. If you don't, let it go.
Step 4: Organize
This is the fun part! Now you have just those items you need, use, or love - it's time to find them homes. Spend some time thinking about how you use these items in your real life. For example, a medication you take every day right after brushing your teeth might go in the medicine cabinet next to your toothpaste. But the heating pad you only use once every six months after overdoing it on a hike could go under the sink - still available, but not in your sight on a daily basis.
Step 5: Celebrate!
This is also a fun part - it's time to congratulate yourself on a job well done! Getting your home organized can decrease stress, increase productivity, and increase your quality of life. That's the best part of my job - helping people to achieve these benefits every day.