Top Professionals Share What One Organizing Tip/Skill They Cannot Live Without

By Marianne Bischoff and Amanda Gentry

Have you ever found yourself looking around at cluttered, unidentified piles? It’s usually never a question of if, but when this happens. The good news is that you are not alone! Others have been there, struggled through, and now have some great advice to share. We asked some top professionals to share what helps them organized, and we received great answers!

Janine Adams, Certified Professional Organizer & owner, Peace of Mind Organizing, St. Louis, Missouri

“My secret weapon for sanity is Evernote. I use it to capture information about every part of my life, including my organizing business, my genealogy research, my personal life, and my family. It’s my go-to place to find anything and everything that has crossed my path that I think is worthy of saving. After some years of trying, I’ve finally developed the habit of storing everything in Evernote so that I know where to go when I want to find it. I love that I can access Evernote on my computer or phone and so I always have all my information with me. When things get stressful, I don’t have to rely on my memory. Everything is in Evernote. (And, yes, I back it up!)

Monica Friel, President, Chaos To Order

“Here are a few mantras that I like to live by to keep things simple, streamlined and organized:  

  1. Live like you’re moving next month, if you wouldn’t bring it along, it’s time to toss it.
  2. Having too much to pick from makes decision-making harder.
  3. Build put-away habits into your daily routine. Example: clearing off your desk, making your bed, emptying personal items from the car, consistency is the key.”

Others have been there, struggled through, and now have some great advice to share.

Emilio Garcia & Samantha Kristoferson, Co-Founders, KW Professional Organizers

“When things get difficult/stressful, we always remind ourselves why we are doing it. We try to visualize that bright future ahead of us and how we will feel once we are done. We use the same tip with clients, especially when they are in the process of deciding what to let go and what to keep. Having that goal/future in mind, and sensing how they will feel, will help them make smarter and faster decisions.”

Heather Higgs, Realtor, Berkshire Hathaway

“Creating a daily task list, and checking it throughout the day, has helped keep me organized.  Also, I update my calendar with upcoming client deadlines so I’m not caught unaware and have plenty of time to work ahead when I can.”

Julie Cordova, Writer, Writer by Writing

  1. “Know how much space you really have. The unrealistic expectation of usable space heightens our need to clear the clutter. If you don’t know the square footage of the area you are trying to organize, measure it. We need space to live. We need space to move around. Claiming as much space for movement as possible, will simplify the job of organizing space.
  2. Organizing is never done. The activities of the residence in that home will change and so will the needed things for those activities. There’s a great inspirational quote to keep in mind when planning your space for a season: you can have anything you want, but you can’t have everything.
  3. The longer we put off organizing the longer it will take to achieve it. Those who are organized can relax for longer periods of time without any long-term effects. If you aren’t using a calendar system to keep your life organized, it will take time to develop a system that works for you. Once you have mastered it, you will be able to manage it a few minutes a day. Until you’ve mastered it though, using a system will be a chore, just like getting in shape is a hardship, but staying in shape isn’t. Accept mistakes as part of the learning process.”

Richard Minnich, Pastor, Community of Hope ECO

Put the big things in first.  I remember well the story that was circulating about the professor who brought a jar into classrooms and proceeded to fill it with rocks, pebbles and sand.  The students got the message wrong.  You have to remember that the big things, the most important things go into your life first.  Otherwise all the little things will fill up the space and you’ll never net the big ones in.  It is possible to occupy yourself with lots of little tasks.  That might make you look productive, but it won’t make you efficient.  Do the most important things first and you’ll always be effective.  You can fit the little jobs in anywhere.  Prioritize!

Touch it once.  I ran into that at a management seminar and it has served me well.  When you grab something, a piece of mail, a report, whatever, dispose of it immediately!  File it or round file it.  Do it or decide it doesn’t have to be done.  Letting something hang around is a sure way to get buried in junk.  When I heard that, I cleaned off my desk.  I found things that had been sitting there for 5 years!  Do it the first time or decide that it doesn’t have to be done at all and throw it away.

Let God Guide.  One last piece of advice that is specifically for people who are people of faith…Follow the spirit’s leadings.  There have been times that I have done this and remarkable things have happened…miraculous things.  I have been guided to the bedside of a dying person, the home of a person who had just had a serious seizure and the rescue of a person about to commit suicide, all without planning to be there.  When you let God guide you to where you really need to be, it defies logic and enters into the realm of miracle!”


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