LIVE: 9 Organizing Mistakes You Don’t Want To Make

Saturday, December 16, 2017


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Kristin MacRae

Kristin MacRae of Organizing in RI says she constantly sees people making organizing mistakes that costs them time and money. 

“Remember that getting organized is a lifestyle change,” MacRae says, “It’s not about clearing spaces once a month, wasting time and energy. It takes motivation, dedication and persistence to start the process and keep it going.”

Here are nine organizing mistakes you don’t want to make:

1. Not planning for your project. 

 Not planning will set you up for failure. MacRae says to write out your priorities, use a calendar, and set aside three hours in a day to work on a project.  

2. Placing things in a temporary spot.  

MacRae says if you have something in your hand, decide where it should “live” then develop a routine to put it back every time you use it. 

3. Not letting people know about your systems.  

Have a family meeting and walk everyone through the new systems. 

4. Thinking a product will fix the problem. 

Think about how you want to function, organize your space and measure before you buy any storage products.   

5. Having your friends help you.  

 Your organizing systems have to be designed around how you and your family function, not how friends function.  

6. Bouncing around. 

To get maximum gain, MacRae says to focus on the room you are in and limit your distractions. 

7. Re-purposing. 

MacRae says re-purposed items are great, but they have to work in your system, otherwise, the organization system will fail. 

8. Perfectionism.

When it comes to decluttering, sorting and organizing, MacRae says perfectionism has to take a back seat.  

9. Too much furniture.


Related Slideshow: 10 Areas You Find Most Challenging to Get Organized

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Paper in any form

This was the most challenging space! 91% of people surveyed stated paper was their biggest headache. Just because we are in this digital age, people think paper is going to disappear. As long as we have mail, and paper at work, kid’s school papers, etc., paper is going to be around for a very long time. We need to develop systems to organize and maintain our paper clutter.

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 To stay on top of an organized closet, you should be emptying your closet twice a year. Switch your closets in the spring and fall. This will force you to take inventory of the contents of the closet. You’ll never know what’s hiding in the back corners of your closet unless you take everything out.

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When was the last time you emptied your entire food closet down to bare shelves? I asked this question at my last presentation and not one person could remember. Some said the last time their food pantry was empty was when they first moved in and others stated it had been years. Have garbage bags on hand. In every kitchen I organize, we throw out at least three garbage bags of expired food.

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This is the black hole of the house. If an item doesn’t have a home, it usually gets thrown in the basement on a shelf. You’ll walk into the basement one day and wonder how did it get so bad? The first thing you need to do in the basement is declutter, then categorize items and then decide how you want to function going forward. Measure your space and choose shelving units that will fit what you need to hold. Block off 3 hours and don’t leave the basement during that time. Staying in the room will keep you focused.

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The garage is an area similar to the basement. The garage tends to be a drop spot for outdoor items and usually there isn’t any organization.  Most tend to regret not organizing the garage when they find they can’t park their cars in the garage in the winter months when it’s snowing. Put this project on your to-do list this fall.

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Office at work

Most will say they don’t have time to tackle this area, but think about the time you are wasting by not being organized. The office can be challenging for some because you have paper, closet space, desk space and bookshelves. Most get overwhelmed and stressed just thinking about tackling this space. They think it’s easier to function this way than to actually tackle the project.

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Kid’s rooms

If your kids are over the age of 6, incorporate them in this process. If you don’t have the skill set to help them get organized, call in a professional to work one-on-one with them. If your kids are craving structure, it’s time for them to get organized.

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Another one of those black holes like the basement. You rarely venture into the attic and you continue to toss items in there that don’t have a home. The garage, basement and attic are really challenging areas because you don’t spend much time in them. Think about how you want to function in these spaces. Streamline and maximize this space. This room should have a purpose.

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Linen closets

When items are just thrown into this closet without being contained, chaos will ensue. Empty the entire closet, categorize, itemize and then measure the space. Purchase containers to match the space and what you have to hold. It’s all about maximizing space in this closet and being able to put your hand on something without moving five other items out of the way.

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This is a tough project even for people who are organized. Memorabilia items and photos are a challenge because as you go through them, you tend to reminisce. Save this for the last project on your list of areas to organize. Once you begin, just focus on tossing and keeping and then reminisce when the decluttering process is completed.


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