Category Archives: Organizing

Simple Organizing Tips



Although it would be great to have Mary Poppins around to help out, these simple tips can go a long way toward getting and staying organized!

  • Use an inbox for incoming papers. If necessary, use one that divides into bills, coupons, records, etc. Each day, all the mail and other papers requiring attention should go there until you are able to go through them.
  • For papers you need to keep, use a file bin with alphabetized tabbed dividers that identify the various categories of papers you have (medical, financial, etc.). I’ve found it easier to use only left-sided tabs so that adding new file categories is simple.
  • Each time you come home, check your car to see that you bring in any trash, papers and other items that need to come inside. That way, your car is always ready for the next trip!
  • Designate specific places for items, especially those you need everyday. This will drastically cut down on time spent looking for these things. Where will you put your keys when you get home? Where will items that you need to take with you when you leave the house go? A place for everything and everything in its place!
  • Keep things where you use them as much as possible. You’re more likely to accomplish your tasks and to put items away when the process is as convenient as possible.

A New Venture!

It’s no secret that I absolutely LOVE organizing and helping people get organized. I can’t say where that enjoyment came from exactly. And I’m not sure why I seem to have a knack for it. Organizing is one of the things I never tire of doing and will happily work day and night on. What probably sounds like torture to many sounds like pure joy to me!

For some time, I’ve toyed with the idea of starting an organizing business. I taught a couple community classes about how to get organized, but never took the next step of making it a business. Well, I’ve finally decided to just do it! With lots of excitement – and a little trepidation! – I’m steadily working on getting all the pieces together.

My company is called Organized Is Bliss. The tag line is “Smart Tools for Simple Living.” What am I going to offer? Traditional organizing services require multiple sessions because they work on each area of the home with the client. This is outside the budget of many, so my goal is to provide a more cost-effective and valuable alternative.

I want to provide clients with the tools and vision they need to achieve success without paying an organizer to be there for every step. I want to help my clients change the way they think about their belongings and work through any mental roadblocks – often the most crucial hurdle to overcome. The steps for organizing can be applied to any space, so I want to teach them the process by working on one small area from start to finish. And I want to leave them with an action plan for the rest of their home so they can keep going!

I will offer this in a one-time session. Of course, I’ll happily do more sessions with clients if they want! But with this model, I can offer a unique type of organizing service that is attractive to more people.

My website can be found at so please check it out! I’d love to hear any feedback or suggestions!

Kitchen Pantry 2.0

My sister and I have had the goal to fully organize each room of her house for quite a while. This past week, we made great progress throughout the entire house. The kitchen pantry is an area that easily becomes cluttered, so this was the very first spot we tackled. This is what it looked like before:

pantry before

To start, we took EVERYTHING out of the pantry and put like things together – baking ingredients together, spices together, dishes together. This step often feels the most annoying, but it’s a crucial step. Putting like things together allows you to more easily see what should be eliminated and how much storage space you really need for things.

Then, one by one, we went through each pile of stuff, deciding what to throw away, what to sell/donate, what to store elsewhere, and what to keep in the pantry. Once we knew what would actually be kept in the pantry, it was easier to figure out the best spot to store each item and where we wanted to use shelves, baskets and so forth.

Here’s what the pantry looked like when we finished:

pantry after

At first glance, it may not look that different, but every shelf is much less crowded. We threw away about two trash bags full of stuff, and boxed up quite a few things for the spring garage sale. And we now have designated spots for each type of item – a place for everything and everything in its place!

Two areas that were always getting unruly were coffee/tea and our extra glass jars. We put all the coffee and tea we wanted to keep in a bin – without a lid! – now it’s neatly contained. And we put all the glass jars in a bin. Any jars that won’t fit in the bin have to be stored in the garage so the pantry doesn’t become over-run by them again. 🙂

By getting things organized, we were also able to make room for a new appliance, a water filtering system.

Now, I walk to the pantry and smile because I know right where to find what I need. Being organized really makes life so much more enjoyable!

Organizing a Bathroom

My friend recently asked for help organizing her bathroom. And because organizing is one of my most favorite things to do (weird, right?), I happily agreed!

This is what her bathroom looked like before:

erin b4 1erin b4 2

First, we took everything out of her bathroom and put like things together. Then we threw away anything she didn’t want and put things that wouldn’t be stored in her bathroom in the right place.

Next, we looked at what she had and discussed how best to organize things according to her needs. We made a plan for where things would go, and then it was time to shop!

Our budget goal was $50. We went to several stores and found some options, but they cost too much. We decided to go into Ross, a discount store. Jackpot! We found some baskets and twine that she liked, a caddy for hair tools, plus a few other things.

Then we went to one of my all-time favorite stores, Target! We bought a three-drawer organizer, a tray with compartments and some hooks for the baskets. In total everything cost about $52.

We put all her stuff in her new baskets and drawers and then stepped back to admire our work. Here’s her bathroom now:

erin after 3erin after 1erin after 4erin after 2


Organizing something can seem like a daunting task. But if you break it down into steps, such as the ones outlined in my post “How to Organize Anything”, it can be a fun and easy process!


Ever feel like this as you try to get everything done you want to in a day?


We so often wish there were more hours in a day and that we could get more accomplished. And since there will never be more actual time in a day, we have to devise ways to fit more into each day. Multi-tasking is a great way to do this. All it takes is some creative thinking.

One way to help gather ideas for multi-tasking is to make a list of everything you need and want to get done. If you have larger goals on which you’re working, break those down into smaller tasks that will move you toward accomplishing that goal. Include the things you never seem to have time for but always hope to get to at some point. You can start with just daily tasks and goals or include weekly, monthly and so forth.

to do

Now, take some time to see if there is anything that could be combined. I’ll give you some examples. One of the things that is important to me is exercise, and one of the ways I exercise is by walking regularly. This provides a great opportunity for multi-tasking. Sometimes I’ll make phone calls that need to be made or use the time to think through a problem. It’s also important to me that I invest in my relationships. So, when I want to make plans with a friend, I’ll often suggest going on a walk together. I will also use the time to enjoy the outdoors and enjoy time with God, two more things that are important to me.

With my job, I spend a decent amount of time alone in the car driving between my shifts. This gives me a great opportunity to work on another goal, which is listening to sermons and teachings to help me gain a strong foundation and grow as a Christian.

Here are some other potential ways to multi-task:

— Clean as you go while you cook
– Invite a friend to try a new hobby with you
– Exercise with your kids – go on walks, run around the yard, bike, play games
– Keep a book handy for times when you have to wait (appointments, etc.)
– Pay bills, check email, make a meal plan for the week while watching a movie
– Utilize shopping centers where you can do many of your errands – buy groceries, fill up gas, wash your car, get a gift for your friend’s birthday and pick up the dry-cleaning

Please share any creative ways you’ve combined tasks to get more done. Here’s to getting the most out of our days!

Life Without Lids

It makes sense that using bins and baskets will really help with staying organized. But if you use lids, they could be getting in the way. In my closet, I have several clear plastic bins to keep my stuff organized. I have small ones for small things and big ones for, you guessed it, big things. And I have baskets throughout my room for various things. And none of them have lids on them! It seems like such a small thing. Who doesn’t have time to take a lid off a bin before putting something in it, right? But I have found that if I can’t just toss something into one of my bins, that thing doesn’t find its way back to its home as quickly.

Now, for certain areas of the house and certain items, lids are necessary for sure. But if there are bins you’re going to be in and out of a lot, it’s so helpful if they don’t have lids on them. Under my bathroom sink, I use several bins, all without lids, and it’s so easy when cleaning up to just toss stuff in their assigned bins.

Feeling really adventurous? Consider removing doors from closets. It’s so much easier to stay organized when we remove as many steps as possible, and having to constantly slide or open closet doors can make it less likely we’ll put stuff away properly. And more likely we’ll just use the doors to hide the mess – not what we’re after :).

I make sure to hang onto all the lids for moving and what not, but they stay off the bins until then. Leaving lids off really helps me keep things more organized, which in turn means having less stress and more time. Who doesn’t want that? Go ahead, take off those lids and see if you find staying organized to be easier.

It’s All About Systems

It can be fairly easy to organize a space one time. Where we seem to run into trouble is keeping a space organized on an ongoing basis. This is often because we don’t have a system for maintaining it. Developing a system is key in organizing. So, I thought I’d throw out some ideas for various things. I hope this can help you generate ideas for systems that will work for you!

bin organizer kids toys

Here are some ideas:

– It’s often helpful to have one place to put all our incoming mail initially. Something with dividers can be useful to separate bills, coupons, magazines and so forth. Bills might stay there until paid. Coupons might then go in a folder in a certain spot. Any mail you don’t need to keep – just toss it! 

– You can use hanging file bins with tabbed dividers for papers you need to keep.

– Keeping a running list of things you need to buy is helpful. 

– You might want to create checklists for what you need to accomplish – cleaning/chore checklists, daily tasks, etc.

– Cleaning out the car each time you leave it can be helpful – throwing away any trash, putting items that don’t stay in your car back where they go. 

– Try to keep things where you’ll use them. If you often forget to use stain remover on laundry, keep the stain remover right next to your dirty clothes bin. If you always need a pen when you sit down in the living room, keep some pens there. If you usually have things to throw away when you’re at your desk, put a trash bin there. 

– It helps to categorize things. Movies in alphabetical order, or by genre then alphabetical order. Magazines by name then by date. Clothes by season and/or by color. 

– You can create folders in your email account to keep your inbox smaller and to easily find emails later. 

I hope some of these are helpful. Does anyone have any systems they use that they would like to share?

How to Organize Anything

When facing the daunting task of organizing a space, here is a simple process that can be used in just about any circumstance:

1. Like Things Together

It will be easier to recognize what you don’t need when you see all the similar items together. So, take everything from the space you want to organize and begin to put like things together in piles. You do not get rid of things in this step – just group them together.

2. Purge

Now, you are ready to pare down and eliminate. Start with one group of like items. Determine if each item is something you really need. Would I buy it again? Would I keep this if I were moving? Is it damaged? Have I used it in the past year? It’s often helpful to prepare an area for trash, an area for items to donate and/or sell, and an area for things that don’t belong in that space.

3. Designate a Home

Based on the space with which you are working, you will now assign a spot for particular items. It’s helpful to store things where you use them. The things used most often should be the easiest to access.

4. Shop

Considering where and how you want items to be stored, you can then determine if you need to purchase any organizing products. For example, you may want to buy baskets for storing certain things, movable cupboard shelves, or hooks on which to hang items. You may already have some bins or other things around your house that you can use to help organize a space, so start there! 

5. Maintain

Make a habit of putting things back in their designated spots when done using them, and cleaning will be a quick and easy task. Continue to evaluate. You might think of different ways to organize a space that are more helpful and efficient for you.



A Place for Everything


…and everything in its place.

This is a really simple and helpful concept to use in organizing. If I always put my keys in different spots when I get home, then I have a long list of possible places they could be when I’m trying to find them. But if I assign a particular place for my keys and make a habit of putting them there, they’re much less likely to be missing when I need to head out the door.

This concept is also helpful when I’m cleaning, because it takes me less time to clean an area if I automatically know where items go, and don’t have to think about where to put something.

I’ve started trying to do this with my purse. I’m amazed at how easy it is to have trouble finding something in a relatively small space! That’s why I like purses with a lot of pockets, because I can assign certain things to each one.

And hey, if I was ever in the audience on the game show Let’s Make A Deal, and they offered a prize to the person who could retrieve a certain item from their purse the fastest, I’d greatly increase my chances!