My Top Organizing Tips

I have been paid to organize several apartments and homes. It’s something I enjoy doing and have never really thought of it as a job, so getting paid has just been icing on the cake.

I’m constantly trying to reorganize or come up with new ways to keep my stuff from becoming clutter. I think this comes from having lived in such small spaces in NYC for so long.

The new year is always a good time for many to reorganize (or organize) a space or spaces in their homes so I decided to put together a list of my favorite organizing tips.

1. Keep the clutter under control. Only keep things in your home that you really love or need.

2. Pare down (and often). Go through your house, room-by-room from time-to-time (I try to do this quarterly) and make a box for donations and things you can get rid of, then actually get rid of them.

3. Have a place for everything. If it doesn’t have a place that it consistently gets put away in, either make one for that item or get rid of it.

Toy Organization

4. All of these rules go for your kid’s stuff too. Just because they’re kids and they have a lot of stuff, doesn’t mean it can’t be organized. Invest in toy bins, shelving, etc. to keep their clutter in check just like you do yours. No, it may not stay that way all the time, but you’ll have peace of mind that there is a place for everything to go.

5. Store things away and switch things up with the seasons. This goes for toys, seasonal decor items, throw pillows and blankets, even¬†tchotchkes. This will keep your home in order, but it’s also fun to “shop” your own attic or basement to switch out older items with “newer” items you haven’t used or seen in a while.

6. When in doubt, get rid of it. If you have to think about it too much, that means you aren’t attached to it and you don’t use it enough.

7. One junk drawer leads to another, which leads to another. Don’t start with one if you can help it.

8. Get creative. Don’t want to spend a lot of money on bins, shelves, etc.? Use molding as bookshelves. They’re both decorative and useful. Cover moving or shipping boxes with fabric or decorative paper to make them look nicer. And check out IKEA, they have great, inexpensive solutions for storing everything. Some of my favorite items come from here. Here is a bigger list of all of my must-have organization products.

9. Set realistic expectations and you’re more likely to stick to them. Your home does not need to be clean and organized ALL the time. Give yourself a break during busy times, but make sure you set aside some time every week to go through the house or at least a couple of rooms and tidy up.

Darcy Miller's Office

10. Use decorative, uniform boxes. If you do have clutter that you can’t seem to find a place for but you really need those items, store them in uniform boxes. Buy extras when you first purchase them so you don’t run out. I love how my friend Darcy created this wall of boxes and magazine holders in her office at home.

Kevin Sharkey's Office

11. Organize books on shelves by color. This is a trick that Kevin Sharkey taught me when I worked with him. His office is beautiful decorated and a big feature in it is his large bookcase that is color-coordinated.

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