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Finding Peace of Mind


Published: 04/29/2013

by Hellen Buttigieg

Alexander Graham Bell said, “Before anything else, preparation is the key to success.” Preparation is definitely
the key to organizing success, yet many people skip over it. Here are five important preparation steps for getting organized.


Step One • Book the date: We all have good intentions when the thought of getting organized first occurs to us,

but unless we make a commitment by scheduling a time to work on it, our busy lives will
prevent us from finding just the right time to do it. So pull out your calendar and block off a couple of hours to get started. Honour this time as you would any other appointment.


Step Two • Pick the place: Although some people only have a room or two to organize, many want to organize their entire
home. So they’ll wonder, “Where do I start?” Here are two options:

a) Start organizing the place that feels the least daunting (this is best for pack-rats who are sentimental and have a
strong emotional attachment to their things), or

b) Start organizing the place that will give you the biggest payoff. It’s less important where you start and more
crucial that you just get started. If organizing an entire room feels too overwhelming, start with a closet, a dresser

or even just a drawer.


Step Three • Gather the supplies: You may have many of these on hand, but gather them ahead of time so you can

jump right in and start decluttering when your organizing date arrives. You’ll need: large
trash bags, markers, sticky notes or labels, and empty bins or boxes.


Step Four • Set the stage: Set the mood (put on some of your favourite music, light some scented candles, or use
anything that helps keep you motivated). Keep up the energy (have some grab-and-go snacks and water nearby).


Finally, label your boxes or bins in advance, using markers and sticky notes or labels: 1 keep, 2 toss (or recycle),
3 give away, 4 move elsewhere.


Step Five • Declutter your space: Empty the drawer, dresser or closet you are working on; now there’s no turning back.

Hold up each item and decide which box the item should go into. If you have trouble deciding, here are some questions to ask yourself:

•          Do I have a specific use for it?

•          Do I (still) like it?

•          Does it (still) reflect my taste and fit my lifestyle?

If your answer is ‘no’ to any of these questions, it’s time to let it go.

Now that the prep work is done, it’s time to put things where they belong so you can find them easily. It’s less important
which bins, baskets and shelving you use, and more crucial that you set up
systems that work.


If you want your organizing systems to be effective over the long term, they need to fit your natural way of doing things.
Pay attention to your habits and preferences, and store things near their point of use.


Follow these steps and you’ll be well on your way to enjoying the freedom and peace of mind that comes from getting –
and staying – organized.  


Hellen Buttigieg is a Certified Professional Organizer, life coach, TV personality, author and speaker. Visit


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