Time to Organize

Schedule time on your calendar to organize.  Treat it like an appointment that you can’t reschedule without a large rescheduling fee.  Then pick just one target area to work on, and tackle one flat surface in that area.  For example, if you’re working in the kitchen, start with items on the counter.  If you’re working in your closet, start with items on the floor.  If you’re working in your home-office, start with items on the desk.

Save Time

key holderDo you feel that being organized could save time?  When I ask this question in the classes I teach on organizing, everyone says, “yes”.  They go on to say that one of the major time saving benefits of being organized is being able to find what they want when they need it.  They feel that being organized would mean that they would spend less time hunting for things, less time putting things away, less time stressing over misplaced items.  This is true.  In fact it’s been proven that organized people save themselves time every day.

So, how can you make this happen for you?  You can make it happen by following a two step process.  Step one is to have or create a designated home for things, and step two is to consistently return things to their designated home.  For example, if I have a designated home for my keys (mine are on a hook by my back door), I know where they belong, and can put them in their designated home quickly and easily.  This encourages me to put them away, instead of just tossing them on the counter or burying them in my pocketbook.  Also, if  I consistently return my keys to their designated home, I know where to find them when I need them, and there is less chance of me misplacing them or loosing them.  This 2 step process works with everyday items like groceries, eye glasses, and receipts, as well as one-of-kind items like your passport, camera, and title to your car.

Although being organized can save you time, getting and staying organized requires time.  Unfortunately, it doesn’t just happen all by itself, but if you practice the two step process of creating a designated home for things, and consistently returning things to their designated home, it might feel that way.  What I mean is that once an action becomes habitual, less effort and brain power is required to preform the action.  So, it seems as though it is happening all by itself.  I’d recommend starting with just one items and one action, and see how long it takes for you to save time every day.


©November 2014  Janine Cavanaugh, Certified Professional Organizer®  All rights reserved


Proud member of NAPO

Organizing Process

stepsYou may have heard the phrase that organizing is a process, not a task.  What does that mean exactly?  A process involves more than one step, for example doing the laundry.  A process also involves three distinct phases, planning, doing, and follow-up. A task, on the other hand, is completed in one step, for example unloading the dish washer.  It’s important to note the distinction, because tackling an organizing process as if it were a task, causes frustration, stress, and feelings of being overwhelmed.  Devoting time to each of the three phases of the organizing process (planning, doing, and follow-up) will enable clarity, focus, and direction.

The planning phase of the organizing process is concerned with goals and objectives. What is your organizing goal? What do you want to accomplish? How much time is required? How much help and resources will you need? Is it worth calling in a professional?

The doing phase of the organizing process is the physical work needed to make the goals and objectives happen. It usually involves a process all it’s own, involving 3 (or more) steps:
assigning a home.

The follow-up phase of the organizing process is concerned with the upkeep and maintenance of the order once it’s established. This phase of the process is best accomplished by establishing personal guidelines, habits, and systems.

So, the next time you say to yourself, just get organized. Stop. Think. Devote some time to each of the three phases of the organizing process. It will provide clarity, focus, and direction.

© May 2014  Janine Cavanaugh, CPO®  All rights reserved


Proud member of NAPO

The Reach Ability Factor


book caseIn organizing, just like real estate, it’s all about location, location, location.  Where we permanently and temporarily place our belongings, papers, projects, and information, is important because it helps us find what we want when we need it.  The Reach Ability Factor is a system that helps us decide the best location for things based on how frequently we use them.

We have 4 sections.


Section A:  Items in this section are things we use daily, like our toothbrush, our favorite coffee mug, and underclothes.  Everything in section A is easy to reach, all we have to do is reach out an grab it.
Section B:  Items in this section are things we use weekly but not necessarily daily, like our workout clothes, and specific utensils or dishes.  Everything in section B requires us to move a little, but still within comfortable reach.
Section C:  Items in this section are things we use occasionally, like suitcases,  a food processor, and extra blankets.  Everything in section C requires us to exert more effort to reach, like bending down or using a step stool.
Section D:  Items in this section are things we use once a year, like holiday decorations, or things you can’t part with like our wedding gown.  Everything in section D would be in a remote storage area like the basement, attic, or a cabinet that is more difficult to reach.

The Reach Ability Factor is meant as a guide to help individuals evaluate the best location for their belongings.  What is a perfect spot for one person is not the best spot for another.  Organizing is personal.
Please note that it’s important to concentrate efforts on one’s current lifestyle and reevaluate the placement of items once a year.

©May 2013, Janine Cavanaugh, CPO®  All Rights Reserved


Proud member of NAPO