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How To Be Organized: 10 Steps To Organizing Anything

02/02/2012 09:10 am ET | Updated Oct 11, 2012

The following ten steps can be applied to any organizing task, large or small:

  1. Focus on the bigger picture. Why do you want to get organized and what do you stand to gain? In light of these goals, evaluate the quality and quantity of the things occupying your physical space. Once you've identified your big-picture intention for getting organized, write it down. Remember it. Begin to live inside it.

  • Visualize your desired result. Imagine your dream space. For inspiration tear out some inspiration pages from magazines, or whatever speaks to you. Having an image in mind, along with your big-picture intention, will help clarify what to keep and what to get rid of.
  • Choose an area of focus. Break down the job of getting organized into smaller, more manageable tasks, and focus on one small area at a time. Make each room a separate project, and subdivide further within each room. Start with a desk drawer, a bookshelf, a closet, the top of a dresser, etc.
  • Clear the space. Nothing says possibility like a blank canvas. Remove everything from the area you are organizing.
  • Sort into four piles. Use boxes or bags to sort everything into the following self-explanatory categories: Keep, Toss, Donate, and Fix.
  • Revisit the Keep pile. Ask yourself if you love and use what you are keeping and whether it reflects your big-picture intention.
  • Give everything a home. Decide where each item will live, keeping like things together.
  • Choose containers. Buy containers only after you know what you'll be storing and where. Measure the space where the container will go before you head to the store.
  • Maintain. Put things back in their designated place after you use them.
  • Tune and tweak as needed. As life changes, organizing also needs to change. Be willing to revamp your systems in order to keep up with your changing life.
  • Flickr photo by alison headley

    For more cleaning tips, check out What's A Disorganized Person To Do?