Do you want to know a secret? Some of our clients are actually very organized people! It’s not uncommon for us to walk into a house for a consult and see systems. So why did they call us? Usually, despite their efforts, the systems just aren’t working and they are trying to figure out why.
Even with the best intentions, it’s easy to fall into a few traps that ultimately leave things just as cluttered as before. Keep reading as we dive into some of the common issues we run into with our clients. For each issue, I’ll share some practical solutions to ensure that the systems you build last for years to come.
Mistake #1: Ignoring the Purge Process
One of the most significant mistakes in organizing is thinking that simply purchasing organization products will solve the problem, while neglecting the process of decluttering. No matter how good your systems, if you continue to accumulate items without regularly assessing what you truly need and use, your space will soon be overflowing with stuff.
Solution: Embrace the KonMari method or a similar approach. Take inventory of your belongings and ask yourself whether each item sparks joy or serves a practical purpose. Do you actually use it? Be ruthless in letting go of items that no longer serve you (even if they were expensive, even if they were a gift). Fill up those donation and recycling bins and let that stuff go!
Mistake #2: Not Having a Dedicated Space for Items
Where do you keep your batteries? Maybe there are some in the garage? The junk drawer? Your desk? Will you find a few random ones in a drawer in the living room? Having multiple homes for the same item is a really quick way to accumulate more than you need and not use what you have.
Solution: Designate a spot for everything. This doesn’t mean you need elaborate storage solutions; a simple box or a shelf can work wonders in keeping items contained. Just be sure to add labels so it’s clear to everyone in the household where something goes.
Mistake #3: Buying Storage Supplies Prematurely
Without a doubt, storage bins and containers have a place in home organization. But they can cause more problems than you had to begin with if you head to the store before doing a couple of things.
Solution: First, declutter. You can’t buy containers if you don’t know how much stuff you will ultimately need to put in them. You’ll avoid wasting money on containers that don’t serve a purpose.
Second, measure. Nothing is worse than bins that hang over the edge of a shelf or are so crammed into an opening that you can’t use them. Try to take up as much of the space as you can to maximize storage, while still leaving a little wiggle room for functionality.
Finally, try to stay consistent in the type of bin you are buying throughout a space. By planning ahead, you can make sure to buy enough of a bin to store what you have with maybe one or two extra for growing room. Before you buy, ask yourself, “Can I get more of these bins if I need them?” If you’re shopping at a place like TJMaxx or Homegoods, the answer is probably no. This is why you’ll often find us shopping at The Container Store. Their stock has remained consistent over the years.
Mistake #4: Procrastinating Regular Maintenance
Organizing isn’t a one-time task; it’s an ongoing process. Neglecting regular maintenance can quickly reverse your hard work and bring back chaos. As Christi on my team says, “You must be intentional about what goes in and what can come out.”
Solution: Schedule regular organizing sessions. Set aside time each week to tidy up and put things back in their designated places. (You could add this to your Weekly Reset.) Consistency is key to preventing clutter from piling up. If you don’t have the time to maintain your space yourself, we do offer maintenance plans and membership plans which are great for these regular refreshes!
Mistake #5: Not Customizing Your Approach
Following someone else’s organizing method to the letter might not work for your unique habits and preferences. Organization is almost always a balance of form and function. While Pinterest-perfect spaces obviously look great, they may simply be too complicated to maintain.
Take file folding as an example. It is by far our favorite way to organize a lot of items (towels, handbags, t-shirts, leggings, platters, etc.) because it allows you a much better view at what you have. Things are easier to access when they aren’t stacked on top of each other and, frankly, it looks really good. But are we going to file fold a pre-schooler’s room? Probably not. Instead, we’d use whole-drawer or bin systems that they can start to maintain themselves. This way, more people can help (hello, practicality!) and there is less on your plate, meaning the system is more likely to last.
Solution: Tailor your organizing approach to your lifestyle. Consider your habits, preferences, and the way you naturally use and access items. Your organization system should support your needs, not dictate them. This is often where we come in. As professional organizers, my team is well-versed in observing the operations of a family and suggesting a custom system that will work long-term and be easier to maintain. Get on our schedule this fall to see how we can take your biggest issues and translate them into the perfect organization system.
Avoiding these common organizing mistakes can set you on the path to a more streamlined, efficient, and peaceful living or working space. Remember, organizing is a journey, not a destination. By consistently practicing mindful decluttering, maintaining simple and personalized systems, and staying proactive, you’ll be able to enjoy the benefits of an organized life without feeling overwhelmed.
And we’re here for you if you need help! Follow us on Instagram to stay inspired and get more tips like these, or book a consult if you are ready to tackle an organization project in your home.
Each of my career choices-wedding coordinator, event planner, and teacher — gave me the creative freedom to organize everyone and everything. I have always thrived on to-do lists, planners, and systems! Now, I lead a team of organizers to help me on my mission. Read more…