How to Be More Organized (25 Tips + Expert Insights)

Life can be overwhelming at times, with endless to-do lists, overflowing closets, and a constant sense of being behind. But what if there’s a way to break free from all these and find greater calm and clarity? And it all starts with getting organized.

We all deserve to live without the weight of too much stuff. I’ve been there, and I want to help you find your way to a lighter, brighter space. In this article, we’ll cut through the clutter and get straight to the heart of simple organizing.

Create Habits of Organization

Habits are the foundation of lasting change. When it comes to staying organized, developing good habits is the key. But how do you create habits that stick? According to James Clear, author of “Atomic Habits,” it’s all about starting small and being consistent.

One simple habit you can start with is the “one in, one out” rule. For every new item you bring into your home, commit to getting rid of one thing you no longer need or use. This habit helps prevent clutter from accumulating over time and keeps your space more manageable.

Remember, creating habits takes time and practice. Be patient with yourself. With consistency and commitment, your organizational habits will be integrated into your life gradually, becoming more and more natural to you.

"Having an organized home is a huge stress reliever and time saver. Creating habits of an organization at home will also trickle into other areas of your life. This will give you a more organized point of view in your workplace, daily schedule, etc."

— Marty Basher | Home Organization Expert, Modular Closets

Identify Your Values

Understanding your values will help you align your environment and schedule with what truly matters to you. To identify your values, start by asking yourself questions like:

  • What activities or experiences bring me the most joy and fulfillment?
  • What qualities do I admire most in others and strive to embody myself?
  • What are the non-negotiables in my life—the things I’m not willing to compromise on?

By doing this, every organizational decision you make supports a broader purpose, making it easier to stay motivated and committed to maintaining order. Plus, it’s deeply satisfying to live in harmony with your values.

Focus on Your Desired Life

Focusing on the lifestyle you aspire to can significantly influence how you organize your time and space. Envisioning your ideal daily life helps you create practical steps toward making it a reality. Here’s what focusing on your desired life might involve:

  • Allocating spaces for different activities. Designate a reading corner that’s always ready for you to hop in and enjoy a book.
  • Setting up routines that enhance efficiency. For example, a place near the door for your essentials—wallet, keys, and sunglasses.
  • Ensuring that your physical environment supports your goals. Like having an organized and inspiring workspace for your creative projects.

Whether it’s creating a clutter-free home conducive to relaxation or an efficient workspace that enhances productivity, keeping your desired lifestyle in focus ensures that your organizational efforts are purposeful and satisfying.

Set Realistic Goals and Deadlines

When it comes to getting organized, it’s easy to get carried away and try to tackle everything at once. But overloading your to-do list can lead to frustration and a sense of defeat when you can’t accomplish everything.

Start by breaking down your organizational goals into smaller, manageable tasks. For example, instead of trying to declutter your entire house in one weekend, focus on one room or even one drawer at a time and set a deadline for each task.

If you miss a deadline, don’t beat yourself up. Life happens, and that’s okay. You can always adjust your plan and keep moving forward. Celebrate each milestone along the way, no matter how small.

"We often feel overwhelmed, stressed out, and disorganized because we have so much to do, and we have so much to do because we are trying to do it all. The reality is that you cannot do it all, you cannot have it all, but you can pick and prioritize goals and aspects of your life."

Julia Egan, Ph.D. | Founder, Balancing Bravely

Start With Self-Organization

Ever heard the saying, “You can’t pour from an empty cup”? Well, the same goes for organizing. Before you can effectively organize your space and your life, you need to start with yourself.

  • Take a look at your daily habits and routines. Are there areas where you can be more efficient or mindful?
  • Consider your time management skills. Are you prioritizing tasks effectively, or do you find yourself getting sidetracked by less important things?
  • Don’t forget about your mental and emotional well-being. Make time for self-care activities that help you feel grounded and focused.

By starting with self-organization, you’ll be better equipped to tackle the other areas of your life that need attention—helping you gain control over your activities and decisions.

"If you want your family to be organized, you need to set an example of organization. Making your bed every day. This habit seems simple, but it sets you up for success. When your bed is neat and tidy it makes it more difficult to throw clothes on the floor."

— Katy Winter | Founder, Katy’s Organized Home, LLC

Declutter Regularly

Regular decluttering prevents buildup that can overwhelm you and detract from your space’s functionality. I mean, who hasn’t felt refreshed after a good clean-out? Here are some tips to start small in regular decluttering into your routine:

  • Every week, tackle a different area—your desk, a drawer, or that chair everyone uses to pile clothes.
  • Each month, find at least five items you can donate or recycle.
  • Use the changing seasons as a cue to sift through your closet for items you haven’t worn in a year.

This process should not feel like a chore. If you approach it with the mindset, as we discussed earlier, of seeing it as an opportunity to refresh your environment, it becomes a much more enjoyable activity.

"Decluttering on a regular basis specifically help you feel and be more organized. We don’t always realize how significant our clutter is until it fully takes over our life."

— Marty Basher | Home Organization Expert, Modular Closets

Designate a Place for Everything

Having a designated spot for every item in your home or workspace is a game-changer. This simple rule reduces the time spent searching for things and helps keep your space tidy with minimal effort. Here’s how you get there:

  • Begin by assigning a place for the most frequently used items. This could be as simple as a hook for your keys or a specific shelf for your work documents.
  • Be Consistent. Once you’ve established a place for an item, always return it to its spot after use. Consistency is key to maintaining order and making this habit stick.

When everything has its place, tidying up becomes easier. You’ll save time and avoid the stress of searching through disorganized drawers and piles.

"When everything is cluttered and never has a place that it belongs, it can be a struggle to find anything. Choose the best place for all your things to be, and make it a habit to put it back there after each time you use it."

— Marty Basher | Home Organization Expert, Modular Closets

Keep Essentials in One Place

Essentials are the items you use every day, like your wallet, phone, keys, and glasses. By keeping them all in one designated spot, you’ll always know where to find them when you need them.

Pro tip: Make it a habit to put your essentials in their designated spot as soon as you walk in the door. That way, you’ll never have to wonder where you left them last.

This can be a tray on your nightstand, a bowl by the front door, or a specific pocket in your bag. Keeping your essentials in one place saves you time and stress and helps you start your day on the right foot.

Question the Necessity of Items

Here’s the thing: the more stuff you have, the harder it is to stay organized. That’s why it’s important to question the necessity of items before bringing them into your space.

When you’re out shopping and tempted to make an impulse purchase, ask yourself: Do I really need this item? Will it serve a specific purpose in my life? Do I have something similar already?

By taking a moment to reflect on these questions, you can avoid cluttering your space with unnecessary items and save money in the process. And when it comes to the things you already own, don’t be afraid to let go of items that no longer serve you.

"Be realistic and honest with yourself regarding the likelihood that you’ll use the item in the future. If you’ve owned it for a year and have yet to use it, chances are you’ll never use it."

— Marty Basher | Home Organization Expert, Modular Closets

Utilize Vertical Storage Space

When it comes to staying organized, many people focus on horizontal surfaces like floors, countertops, and desks. But by using vertical storage space, you can free up valuable floor space and create a more organized and efficient living environment.

Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Use over-the-door organizers for things like shoes, jewelry, or cleaning supplies.
  • Install floating shelves to display and store items like books, plants, and decorative objects.
  • Hang hooks or pegboards to keep frequently used items like coats, bags, or tools within easy reach.

Plus, vertical storage solutions can add visual interest and personality to your space. So, don’t be afraid to get creative and experiment with different options until you find what works best for you.

"If you have a really tall shelf, using a low bin wastes tons of free space that could be utilized. For clothing in dressers, try the file folding method to maximize the space, a google search can show you the correct way to fold if you're unsure."

— Jenna Haefelin | Owner & Home Organizer, Spiff Organizing

Use a Planner or Calendar

Whether you prefer a physical planner or a digital app, having a centralized place to keep track of your schedule and to-do list is a game-changer when it comes to staying organized.

When using a planner or calendar, be sure to:

  • Set reminders for upcoming events or tasks.
  • Break down larger projects into smaller, manageable steps and assign deadlines to each one.
  • Record all important dates, deadlines, and appointments as soon as you become aware of them.
  • Review your schedule regularly to stay on top of your commitments and avoid overbooking yourself.

Consistently using a planner or calendar helps you manage your time effectively, prioritize your activities better, and ensure that you have enough time for both your responsibilities and relaxation.

"Keep a single system for capturing, organizing, prioritizing and documenting tasks. Having all your to-dos in a single place allows you to know that you are not forgetting something."

Alexis Haselberger | Time Management and Productivity Coach

Prioritize Tasks

Organizing your tasks by priority is important for efficient time management. To do this effectively, you need a clear understanding of what needs immediate attention and what can wait. Here’s how you can approach this prioritization:

One popular method for prioritizing tasks is the Eisenhower Matrix. This matrix helps you categorize tasks into four quadrants based on their urgency and importance:

  • Urgent and important: Do these tasks immediately.
  • Important but not urgent: Schedule these tasks for later.
  • Urgent but not important: Delegate these tasks if possible.
  • Neither urgent nor important: Eliminate these tasks from your to-do list.

Using a tool like the Eisenhower Matrix, you can quickly identify which tasks deserve your attention and which can wait or be removed altogether. Helping you stay organized and not overwhelmed by ensuring you don’t forget and prioritize critical tasks.

"Make lists. Before you start your day, write down tasks that need to be done. Prioritize them as urgent and important, important, and things that can wait."

Susan Petang | Certified Mindful Lifestyle & Stress Management Coach

Break Down Large Projects

Breaking down large projects into smaller, more manageable components is a tried and true method that prevents overwhelm and promotes progress. For large projects, the ‘divide and conquer’ strategy works wonders.

By sectioning a big project into bite-sized tasks, you make it easier to start and avoid getting overwhelmed by the bigger picture. Plus, as you complete each task, you’ll feel a sense of progress and accomplishment that can keep you motivated and on track.

"One of the biggest issues with organizing is that it can quickly become an overwhelming task. We remove everything and pile it up in the center of the room, look at this giant pile of "stuff" and then think to ourselves, 'What in the world was I thinking?!?'

Instead, focus on one small space at a time. I tell people to start in one corner and work with one drawer or cabinet at a time."

— Tonya Dalton | CEO & Founder, inkWELL Press Productivity Co.

Tackle the Hardest Tasks First

Tackling the hardest tasks first might sound daunting, but by tackling the hardest tasks first, you free up mental space for the rest of your day, knowing the worst is behind you.

Getting the most difficult task out of the way early gives you a sense of accomplishment and makes other tasks seem easier in comparison. As I mentioned earlier, with prioritizing tasks, integrating this strategy can transform your approach to daily organization.

Apply the “2-Minute Rule”

The “2-Minute Rule” is one of my personal favorite productivity hacks for staying organized. If a task can be done in two minutes or less, do it immediately. This rule helps in preventing small tasks from piling up.

Why is this rule so powerful? It helps you stay on top of those small, nagging tasks that can quickly accumulate and clutter your mind. By taking care of them immediately, you free up mental space and prevent them from becoming a bigger headache down the line.

"If it’s going to take less than 2 minutes, just do it now... Following the 2 minute rule allows you to keep your list and system in check."

Alexis Haselberger | Time Management and Productivity Coach

Batch Similar Tasks Together

Batching similar tasks together is an efficient way to structure your work and minimize the time spent switching between tasks, which can disrupt your focus and productivity. By grouping like tasks, you create a flow that can lead to increased efficiency.

Consider these examples:

Task CategoryExamplesBatching Time
EmailResponding to messages, deleting junk mail10-11 AM
WritingDrafting articles, editing, proofreading1-3 PM
Phone CallsReturning calls, scheduling appointments3-4 PM
ErrandsGrocery shopping, post office, dry cleaningTuesdays

By batching similar tasks together, you can minimize distractions, improve your focus, and work more efficiently. Plus, it can help you stay organized by ensuring that you’re making progress.

Avoid Multitasking

While multitasking might seem like an effective way to get more done, it often leads to decreased productivity and increased errors. Focusing on one task at a time ensures that you’re giving it your full attention, leading to higher quality work and better organization.

Here’s why you should avoid multitasking:

  • Concentrating on a single task reduces errors and speeds up completion.
  • When you switch between tasks, it takes your brain time to refocus, leading to time lost.

Instead of juggling multiple tasks, I recommend using the batching technique described above to manage different activities efficiently. Not only will this help you stay more organized, but it will also enhance the quality of your work.

Take Advantage of Task Management Apps

In today’s digital age, there’s an app for just about everything—including staying organized. Task management apps like Todoist, Trello, and Asana can be a game-changer when it comes to keeping track of your to-do list, deadlines, and projects.

So, what makes these apps so useful? They allow you to create and organize tasks by project or category. Set reminders and due dates. Plus, they offer features like habit tracking, goal setting, and productivity reports to help you stay on top of your progress.

Of course, with so many options available, the key is to find one that fits your work style and preferences. Some people prefer a simple one, while others want more advanced features. Don’t be afraid to try out a few different apps until you find the one that clicks.

"You want to be able to know that if you are not getting to something it is because it's been properly prioritized below other things you are getting done. And having it all in one place allows you to actually properly prioritize because you have all the data."

Alexis Haselberger | Time Management and Productivity Coach

Digitize Documents

Digitizing your documents means converting your physical papers into digital files that can be stored on your computer, in the cloud, or on an external hard drive. This can include everything from bills and receipts to contracts and medical records.

By digitizing your documents, you can:

  • Save physical space and reduce clutter.
  • Access your files from anywhere at any time.
  • Easily search for and retrieve specific documents.
  • Protect your important papers from damage or loss.

Before you know it, you’ll move from piles to files—digitized ones. And the best part? Digital documents don’t create dust.

Set Time Limits for Decisions

While it’s important to give big decisions the time and attention they deserve, spending too much time on small, low-stakes choices can drain your time and energy. Here are a few tips:

  • Use a Timer: For smaller decisions, setting a timer can press you to make a choice quickly and stick to it.
  • Be Realistic: Understand the importance of the decision to allocate an appropriate amount of time. Not every decision deserves hours of deliberation.
  • Reflect on Past Decisions: Recognize that not every choice has to be perfect. Learning from past decisions can help you become quicker and more confident.

Of course, this strategy won’t work for every decision—some choices, like whether to accept a job offer or buy a house, require more time and consideration. But for smaller, everyday decisions, setting a time limit can be useful.

Use Labels and Color-Coding

Organizing with labels and color-coding not only makes finding items faster but also simplifies the maintenance of your organizational systems. It’s a method I often recommend because of its simplicity and effectiveness. Here’s a quick guide:

  • Sort Items by Category: Use different colors for different categories (e.g., blue for financial documents, red for medical records).
  • Label Clearly: Make sure every box, folder, and storage bin is labeled. This will save you from opening and digging through them when looking for something.

Color coding creates a visual method of organization that is easy to follow and aesthetically pleasing, enhancing the overall order of your space. And really, there’s quite a satisfaction in knowing exactly where everything is supposed to be.

"Whether it's the toy room, or a storage closet holding batteries and tools, Labeling is key. We think we will remember where everything is, but that is not always the case."

— Katy Winter | Founder, Katy’s Organized Home, LLC

Establish Consistent Routines

Consistency is the key when it comes to organization. Establishing and sticking to routines creates a predictable environment that reduces the need for decision-making about when and how tasks are completed.

Adhering to these routines minimizes the chaos of daily living and anchors your days with stability and predictability. As I mentioned earlier, when breaking down tasks, having structured routines helps manage daily responsibilities.

"Devote time. Put in the effort to make a change by making yourself and your goals to become organized a priority. Hold yourself accountable for a certain amount of time each day or week to declutter, even if it's only 15 minutes a day. Create a standing appointment with yourself, at the same time every day."

Caterina Duggan, Organization and Productivity Specialist

Prepare for the Next Day

Preparing for the next day each evening is a strategy that increases morning efficiency. Setting aside a few minutes each night to organize yourself for the following day ensures a smoother, less hurried start.

You can select and set out your clothes for the next day. You can also prepare your workbag, purse, or briefcase with all the necessary items or jot down your top priorities for the next day.

Taking care of these small tasks the night before will free up mental space and energy for the day ahead. Plus, you’ll be less likely to forget important items or rush out the door in a panic.

Celebrate Small Victories

Recognizing and celebrating small victories is important to maintaining your motivation and commitment to staying organized. Here’s how celebrating small wins can support your organizational goals:

  • Immediate Rewards: Treat yourself to a coffee break or a short walk after completing a challenging task.
  • Share Achievements: Share your organizing wins with friends or family to receive support and affirmation.

Celebrating these moments not only reinforces positive behavior but also keeps you driven toward your larger aims. Whether it’s clearing out a single drawer or finally labeling all storage bins, these little things make a big difference!

Embrace the Process

Getting organized can be overwhelming, especially if you’re starting from a place of chaos and clutter. It’s easy to get discouraged or feel like you’ll never make progress. But here’s the thing—organization requires ongoing effort and maintenance.

Embracing the process means being kind to yourself and recognizing that setbacks and slip-ups are a normal part of the journey. If you have a particularly busy week and your home starts to feel cluttered again, don’t beat yourself up about it. Simply acknowledge it and make a plan to get back on track.

As organizing expert Marie Kondo puts it, “Tidying is a special event. Don’t do it every day.” You can create a more organized life by embracing the process and focusing on progress over perfection.

More Insights from the Experts

“Putting things where they naturally accumulate and assigning “zones” will keep clutter to a minimum. Everything has a place when we create homes and there is no confusion where to find things.”

Caterina Duggan, Organization and Productivity Specialist

“Once we’re crystal clear on our priorities, then it becomes easier to evaluate whether an item adds value to our lives or distracts us from living it. If it no longer serves us, it’s time to say “Thank you and goodbye” to that item. One less thing to organize!”

— Monica Pearl Lin | Founder and Professional Organizer, Make Room By Monica

“When it comes to becoming more organized, it’s important to start small and not to try and take on too much at once. I’d suggest a room-by-room approach that commences with the easiest space first. Creating small victories with rooms that are less intimidating builds the foundation and the momentum to tackle more difficult places.”

— Amy R. Bloomer | Founder & Owner, Let Your Space BLOOM, LLC

“Clearing clutter is simply making decisions about what stays and what goes. Everything that stays needs a home and it needs to be placed in that home. Everything that goes is either donated, gifted, recycled or sent out in the garbage… If we don’t love it, it gets released.”

— Andrea Brundage | Author | Professional Organizer & Bringer of Calm, Simple Organized Solutions

“I’ve worked with organizing clients for almost a decade and the key to getting and staying organized is connecting to the why – “why do I want to be organized?” It isn’t about the look or the desire to have a showcase space – it’s a feeling of calm and productivity that comes with being able to find our stuff when we need it.”

— Lisa Dooley | Organizing Coach, Your Organized Life

Frequently Asked Questions

Where should I start if I want to become more organized?

Start small. Choose one area, like a drawer or a corner of a room, and organize it completely before moving on to bigger tasks. This manageable approach prevents feeling overwhelmed and builds momentum, encouraging you to tackle larger projects.

How can I stay organized long-term?

Consistency. Establish regular routines for decluttering, cleaning, and maintaining your organized spaces. Set aside dedicated time each day or week to review your plans, update your to-do lists, and make any necessary adjustments.

How can I get my family members on board with staying organized?

Lead by example and involve your family in the organizing process. Assign age-appropriate tasks and responsibilities, and make sure everyone knows where things belong.

Consider implementing a reward system for maintaining an organized home, and be sure to celebrate your collective successes.

What should I do with the items I decide to remove from my home?

Items in good condition can be sold, donated, or given away. Recycle items that you can, and consider responsible disposal options for the rest. It’s important to remove decluttered items from your home as soon as possible to avoid second-guessing your decisions.

Can an organized home really save me time and reduce stress?

Absolutely. In an organized home, everything has a place, which reduces the time you spend looking for items. Clear spaces can also promote a more relaxing atmosphere, which contributes to lower stress levels and improves your ability to focus.

Final Thoughts

Organizing looks different for everyone. What works for your friend or your favorite vlogger might not work for you—and that’s okay. The key is to experiment, to be open to new ideas, and to find the strategies that fit your unique lifestyle and personality.

Remember, it’s all about starting somewhere, anywhere. Choose a corner, choose a shelf, and just begin. Bit by bit, you’ll clear the clutter and find more space for life’s joys. Here’s to finding the simple path to staying organized.

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Erika Maniquiz is a certified teacher and librarian with a Library and Information Science degree. She cherishes the calm moments reading books as much as the dynamic discussions she has in her classroom. Beyond her career, she is a fan of Kdrama and loves Kpop's lively beats.