To some it may come easy, but to others keeping one’s home neat and clutter-free seems like a nearly impossible task. In my experience, the two times you will see my apartment in pristine condition would be right after I move in and just before I move out.
Luckily, even for the most hopeless cases (such as myself), Jane Stoller is here to help. In her book, Organizing for Your Lifestyle: Adaptable Inspirations from Socks to Suitcases, she provides readers with easy step-by-step guides that, if followed, make a substantial difference for your surroundings in the long run.
“I always say that organizing is for lazy people! We want to spend the least amount of effort finding things or re-folding items — so my advice is to not make your space magazine-perfect, as that is not sustainable. Make your space fit your routines and you will be more keen to keep it organized,” Stoller explains.
According to New York’s Weill Cornell, we start becoming either organized or disorganized around the age of six. For Stoller, it was especially apparent that she had the organization bug when she started receiving a steady stream of requests to help her fellow school-aged friends clean and arrange their toys. It sounds pretty rare for a child to be so passionate about organizing, but she attributes her hobby-turned-career to her Swiss roots.
“Switzerland is a country that’s uber-organized and efficient, perhaps stemming from its small size, which makes order essential,” Stoller describes. “The Swiss tend to have smaller houses and living quarters than North Americans; they also tend to invest in quality over quantity, and often prefer a more minimalist lifestyle.”
One of the most common mistakes Stoller sees in organizing is the overwhelm of simply starting. So, in order to overcome that fear, let’s follow some of the organizing guru’s favorite sorting tips:
1 | Start with your closets —
Once you tackle something as daunting as your closets everything else will seem (almost) simple.
2 | Come up with a game plan —
Evaluate what you have before you start organizing and set up a specific timeframe to work. Allotting just 10 minutes at the end of the day will add up and will make it so it doesn’t feel like such a chore.
3 | Create designated bins —
Label them “Donate,” “Sell,” and “Repurpose” to encourage yourself and family members to continue decluttering.
4 | Organize by frequency of use —
80% of the items you use the most should be the most easily accessible.
5 | Sort through your toiletries —
Organizing your bathroom every few months is extremely important as many of our skincare products have short shelf-lives.
6 | Don’t forget about digital organization —
Computer files need the same organization strategy as paper files. And, for an added bonus, your computer will work better without all that added digital clutter!
7 | Make it fun —
Invite friends over for a closet decluttering party or treat yourself for sticking to your organization schedule. Do whatever it takes to inject some fun into organizing!
For more information on transforming your organizing mindset and increasing productivity, Stoller will be hosting a personalized training series live on her website starting January 16th, which aims to provide clients the relief that comes with decluttering one’s mindset and habits.
Sonia Gumuchian is a filmmaker based in Los Angeles. With a film degree from the USC School of Cinematic Arts and experience working at various TV networks and studios, Sonia has used her training in creative development to produce a number of her own projects. Her scripts have been recognized in international competitions, while her most recent short film, Home Entertainment, is currently on the film festival circuit.