Do you organize the right way?

organize right wayWhen faced with a pile of papers, or a closet full of clothes, do you struggle with how to organize them? Do you sometimes procrastinate because you are afraid of doing it wrong?

In this context I am using “organize” synonymously with “categorize”. The process of creating more space in your life also includes purging the things you no longer use, need, or value.

Let me give you some examples. I will suggest a few ways to organize and let you guess the right way.

Insurance Papers: File by Home, Auto, and Health? Or, by Farmers, AAA, and Blue Cross? Or, lump together under “Insurance”, as suggested in How to Create Your Own Simple Filing System?

Clothing: Hang together by function (i.e. dresses, tops, and bottoms)? By color? By style? How about by outfit, or casual versus dressy?

Photos: Sort by date? By subject? By event? The standard digital photo renaming format is Year-Month-Day-Who-What-Where, but you may not need, or want, to use that level of detail.

Professional organizers sometimes lead an exercise in which individuals or small groups organize an identical selection of items such as LEGO bricks. Some organize them by piece type, some by color, and some by size.

Have you guessed the answer yet?

Q: What is the right way to organize?

A: There is no right way! The only way that matters is the way that works for you. In all cases it depends on your goals, how much stuff and space you have, and how your brain works. That’s why in Six Organizing Systems Everyone Needs I don’t tell you how to do it. I ask a series of questions designed to help you figure out how you want to do it. That’s because you won’t keep the system up if it doesn’t make sense to you!

If there IS a wrong way, it would be the way that is so complicated that you don’t use it. The more categories you have, the harder it will become, not easier, to find what you are looking for. It depends, of course, on what it is, and how much you have of it. Sometimes you do need more categories.

The right way for you might not be the way I do it, either. How organized am I? I’m organized enough, and not one bit more. My job, as a professional organizer, is to help you create the right organizing system for YOU!

Do you worry about doing it wrong?

Have you found the right way for you? Do you need help?

Please share your thoughts in the comments below!

Copyright 2017 by Hazel Thornton, Organized For Life.
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  1. Seana Turner on April 24, 2017 at 8:59 am

    Great point, Hazel! I say the right way is what works for you. So agree that there are many possible approaches. Some may care a lot about how things look and want matching containers, while others care solely about function. I find there are times when we set up a system and then need to make some adjustments in future visits. This post frees you from thinking that there is only one “right” way… love that!

  2. Sabrina Quairoli on April 24, 2017 at 9:16 am

    I totally agree, Hazel. I find that the “wrong way” of organizing is making a process so difficult that you just can’t keep up with it. My goal is always to make it easy and simple to remember. Day to day life can be complicating already. Organized spaces should be simple. =)

  3. Hilda Rodgers on April 24, 2017 at 4:59 pm

    Great post Hazel! It would be quite interesting to see a variety of people organize the same items in different ways. I totally agree that it needs to be whatever works for the individual. Or the family in many cases.

  4. Sarah Soboleski on April 24, 2017 at 7:08 pm

    Your post title was such a good hook for me! As POs we really do customize and personalize organizing processes for each client. It’s not a one size approach that’s for sure!

  5. Liana George on May 3, 2017 at 3:25 pm

    So very true Hazel! As I tell my clients all the time, organizing isn’t one-size-fits-all!! You have to find what works best for you in terms of getting organized or else it won’t work. Great post 🙂

  6. Janet Barclay on May 9, 2017 at 9:09 am

    I’ve never done the Lego-sorting exercise, but I’ve done other activities to see how different personalities complete certain tasks, and it’s always very interesting. I’d love to see that one in action!

  7. Hazel Thornton on May 9, 2017 at 9:25 am

    Hi everyone, I appreciate your comments!

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