For many people getting and staying organized seems next to impossible, and sometimes completely overwhelming. A cluttered home or workspace causes unnecessary stress with wasted time looking for lost items, late fees due to misplaced and forgotten bills, and what about all those piles in the garage just nagging to be dealt with.

Here is the good news - Anyone can learn organizing skills, and those basic skills will apply to any area or space that needs organizing.

I have a simple seven-step process that I apply to almost any space that I am organizing.

1. Decide on your priorities - What is most important to you?

2. Visualize your ideal version of the space you want to organize. Keep that dream of the end results in your mind - not the job of getting there! This is also the time to consider what systems you might need to put in place to easily keep the space in order.

3. Empty - Whether it is a junk drawer, your closet, the garage, desk drawers - no matter what the space is, you need to start by emptying it so you can start with a clean slate. In some large projects you may have to work in sections, so you would empty only the section that you are working on for that day.

4. Sorting Stage 1 - Group like things together. This allows you to see what you have and makes the decisions about what to keep and what to get rid of easier.

5. Sorting Stage 2 - Now that you can see exactly what you have, create sub categories such as, Keep in this space, Keep somewhere else, Toss / Shred / Recycle, and Donate / Sell.

6. Return ONLY those items that belong in that particular space, keeping like things together. Now that you have the volume of stuff pared down, you can decide on what, if any storage accessories and/or containers you may need.

7. Dispose of the other piles right away. Find appropriate "homes" for the items that you want to keep, that belong somewhere else. If you have a large project that you are doing in sections, you may want to wait until the end to make the donations. Keep them all together in the garage, or somewhere out of the way, and have all of it picked up at the end of the project. Get the toss pile out to the garbage before it turns into another pile of clutter!

These steps tend to overlap each other a bit and, naturally, each job is a little different, but this basic process will help to clarify and simplify where to start, then what to do next.

Author's Bio: 

Sandra J. Carroll, is the owner, creator and chief organizer for Creative Changes, a professional organizing company. In addition to many years of business experience, Sandra found that living and cruising on a 30-foot sailboat for 4 years gave her unique training in space efficiency and organization.

Creative Changes specializes in simple solutions to clutter, space challenges, time management and ineffective storage. Sandra’s “Organize Your House to Sell” system is an effective and economical option to home staging.

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