9 Things Pro Organizers Wish You’d Stop Doing Immediately

As a professional organizer, I see the same patterns over and over again, and when I hear someone say they’ve stopped doing one of the things listed below, it’s music to my ears. 

We all start from different places, and we’re all trying to lead a more organized lifestyle. But please, stop doing these things. 🙂 

Stop Taking Free Things

Water bottles. Pens. Tote bags. Notepads. Whether you’re at a work conference or the Farmer’s Market, someone is going to be handing out free stuff with their logo plastered all over it. Do yourself (and your home and your car) a favor, and say, “No thank you” to these items. I know some of you think Oooh! Can’t have too many totes! I’m here to tell you that yes, actually, you can. I promise you, you’ll be just fine if you say no. 🙂 

Quit Calling Yourself a Hoarder

Studies show that hoarding affects 6% of our population. The likelihood of you being an actual hoarder, someone who suffers from a very serious disorder, is minimal. In my experience, clients who refer to themselves as hoarders, are embarrassed by their space and see it as worse than it truly is. Instead of calling yourself a hoarder, remind yourself that you’re human. Own that you aren’t as organized as you want to be and start taking small steps to take control of the clutter. 

Stop Trying to Hack Your Way to Being Organized

Hacking your way through life may give you some quick wins, but rarely will it lead to lasting change. Sure, you can head to the dollar store and implement some organizational hacks in your home, but I promise you, it won’t be the lasting solution that you’re looking for. Instead, invest the time and energy it takes to change your habits and lead a more organized lifestyle. 

Stop Leaving Bulk Items in Their Original Packaging

Keeping your items in bulk packaging is problematic for two reasons: it adds visual clutter and you can’t see how much you have. When you get home from the store, immediately unpack items from their cardboard or plastic containers (6-packs of applesauce, boxes of GoSqueezes, bulk chip boxes, etc.). Use baskets to organize your items and take all of that trash and recycling out in one big swoop. 

Quit Comparing Yourself to Others

It can be easy to fall into the comparison game trap with Pinterest, Instagram, and t.v. shows like The Home Edit. Everyone’s organization journey looks different––we all start at different places and big wins will vary from person to person. THIS IS A GOOD THING! It would be SO incredibly boring if everyone had the same aesthetic. Focus on functionality first and what you specifically want to accomplish. Then figure out what your unique organizing aesthetic is. I sure hope it’s different from mine. 

Stop Saving Dozens of Extra Plastic Bags

Keep a handful for those “just-in-case” reasons I know you have and get rid of the rest. You know you’ll be getting more in the next couple of weeks (it’s an ongoing cycle), so do yourself a favor and cut the excess. Invest in a plastic bag organizer to keep these unruly bags contained.

Stop Saying You Don’t Have Time

We all wish we had more than 24 hours in a day to accomplish all we want to accomplish but unfortunately we don’t. You are ultimately in control of your time, and you have pockets to start chipping away at decluttering and organizing. 15-minute windows here and there add up over time. Look at your calendar for the week and time block increments to tackle those organizing projects you’ve been pushing off.

Stop Buying Gadgets That Serve One-Purpose

Kitchen gadgets like the avocado tool, tomato savers, banana slicers, strawberry pitters, etc. serve ONE very specific purpose, when another, more versatile tool would work like a food storage container or a knife. These gadgets are usually oddly shaped and difficult to store. When you see them near checkout counters, pass them up. 

Stop Trying to Change Everything All at Once

When people hit their clutter threshold and declare now is the time they’re going to get organized, they typically come up with a long list of projects. The to-do list soon becomes a reminder list of what hasn’t been done yet and people start to feel like failures. Instead, focus on one thing at a time. Break your project into tasks and use those tasks to create specific, achievable goals. If you want to “organize the pantry,” there are anywhere from 10-20 steps to get that done. The secret to success is to start small. 

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An organized space reduces distractions and allows you to stay focused on what you want to be focused on. With my system, you can find exactly what you need quickly and with confidence.

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