Recently we turned to one of New York’s professional organizers, founder of The Organizing Zone and president of the National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO) New York, Stephanie Shalofsky, for some expert advice on how to get organized. Shalofsky helps New Yorkers and business owners manage their space, time, and even their inboxes, so they can be more productive. With years of experience organizing lives, and being a New York City resident to boot, she knows a thing or two about maximizing storage space and keeping tidy NYC apartments. Here are her tips on how to get started with organizing your home.
The time has come. After months of reflection, you are committed to organizing your home before the warm weather settles in. You are ready to make the tough decisions, have a supply of trash bags and Sharpies on hand, and you even recruited assistance from a close friend. With your preparations completed you can blast full steam ahead. Until you realize that you aren’t sure where to start the organizing your home. And you are getting more overwhelmed by the minute as you look at your cluttered kitchen counter, overflowing clothes closet, and piles of books filling the corners of your living room. Below are my fool-proof tips for eliminating confusion and getting started.
4 Ways to Organize a Home with Ease
Tip 1. Set a specific goal. Having a specific objective before you start is essential as it will keep you focused. Your objective could be to reorganize your kitchen or tackle your clothes closet. Once your target is identified, decide how the space should look after it has been organized. Be as realistic as possible and consider function of the space, who will be using it and the activities that will take place within.
Tip 2. Create a plan. Once you have defined your objective, it is easier to create your plan of attack. The key to success is to divide the project of organizing your home into a series of small, achievable tasks. Schedule time in your calendar as frequently as possible to tackle each one. It is best to limit the amount of time devoted on any given day so that you can see your progress with becoming overwhelmed and discouraged.
Tip 3. Be systematic. Pick a starting point for each task and be methodical as you work your way through the space. For example, first sort through clothing and bags hanging on the outside of the closet door before moving on to what is hanging on the inside of the door. Resist the temptation to jump around from the shoes to the sweaters on the shelves to jackets falling off their hangers. If you bounce around between sections, you risk not showing any marked improvement at the end of the hour or two devoted to getting it organized.
Tip 4. Select the best storage location. After a round or two of sorting and purging, you will have a much better sense of what you have. This is the time to identify the best locations for each item, and you can be creative in choosing the appropriate storage containers or baskets. For those items that need to be kept but are used seasonally or less frequently, put them away in easy-to-access storage units. Instead of crowding your newly organized home, offsite storage services like those provided by Box Butler can be the ideal solution.
Upon completion, be sure to share your success with friends and family! Enjoy your newly reorganized closet or kitchen and remember that the work isn’t completely done. The key to long-term success is ongoing maintenance. Take five minutes every day to hang up that day’s outfit or to sort through the mail on the kitchen counter. This will be time well spent as it is far easier to find those five minutes daily than to have to set aside 30 minutes to tackle a pile of clothes, papers, or mail that has collected.
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By Stephanie Shalofsky | Last updated: July 7, 2016.
Find Stephanie on Twitter @Organizingzone and be sure to visit The Organizing Zone for more great tips!