Top Spaces to Organize in Your Home

Hi there! Phew, we had quite a snowstorm in CT yesterday with at least two feet of snow from what I can tell. How did you fare? With all of the time indoors, I have continued the decluttering and organizing and have more places to share with you along with a few tips and ideas. This is the second part of a two part series about top spaces to organize in your home. If you missed the first post, you can find it here.

Digital decluttering: email and files

Your digital space can be easily over run (I am looking at you 3,000+ emails in my unread inbox!). I find that being able to read the email without opening it is my downfall. So, I can see the “Thanks” reply so I don’t bother to open it. As I become busy, the emails just pile up.

I have taken a “look at it once” approach. When reviewing emails, right away I determine if I need to either delete it or put it in a folder. I like to organize folders by year or client/person. For example, I usually can remember an email by who sent it to me and the general time frame so this strategy works well for me. I recommend organizing by however you think. An easy way to deal with Gmail organizing when you want to delete emails is to do a search and then it allows you to delete anything in that search.

For files on your desktop, I like to do the same. I usually set up a year folder and then subfolders within such as:

Girls Activities

Clients (and then subfolders with each client’s name)

Financial (and then subfolders such as tax preparation)

You get the picture. This way, my desktop is clean and orderly which is a mood boost when I am getting started in the morning. Here is a screenshot.

How to organize your digital files
Organized inbox by calendar year

We also organize pictures the same way – by year and then month. This has worked so well as I can recall generally when a vacation or event happened so when I want to create a photo book or look back on a memory I know exactly where to look.

Also, do not forget to create back ups of any digital files. I like Microsoft One Drive for a cloud version. There are also free versions of Dropbox and other cloud storage that work well too. Nothing worse than having your computer malfunction and losing all of your work and other files!

Organizing your car

The car can be a magnet for clutter. If you have young children it may accumulate toys, empty wrappers from snacks and sippy cups. Older kids tend to leave sports equipment, books, water bottles and wrappers too. I seem to have an issue with reusable shopping bags multiplying!

The first step is to remove everything from the car. Give it a good vacuum and wipe down and then put back in what is really needed.

  1. Papers. Insurance cards, registration and if you belong to a Triple A, make a copy of that card and put in the glove box of every car so it is easily handy.
  2. Emergency water/snacks. I always keep water bottles in the car. I am not a fan of plastic bottles but this is the one place that I do keep bottles handy. Occasionally my girls will forget a water bottle for sports practice or as they head to school so keeping a stash is key.
  3. Shovel and ice scraper. If you live in a climate where there is snow and ice this is a must.
  4. Blanket. I always keep a blanket. This has been handy for kids becoming cold or even our pets.
  5. Trash bags. A store of trash bags makes it easy to keep the wrappers and other unwanted items at bay. When I get gas, I use the time to empty the trash if needed.
  6. Money. Have you ever found yourself wishing you had a spare $20 for ice cream or a cool drink? Or maybe the sports team is collecting money for the coach’s gift? I find a spare $20 in the glove box has been so handy.

Children’s art

  1. Children’s Art. As I mentioned, I did look into Artkive. I realized I can do the same with my own iPhone for much less money. To keep it manageable, I am taking a few pictures a day. I will allow myself to keep one small folder of originals. So far, it has been so much fun to review the girls’ art. With one recently off to college, it is bittersweet and seems like yesterday that she was at her little table painting with her glitter paints and making all kinds of projects! Eventually I will take the photos and make a collage on Shutterfly with the favorites. At any rate, I will have all of them stored digitally which is so nice!

So, I will leave you with one last thought. Organizing is like an exercise program. You do not just do it once and that is it. We move through various stages of life and that movement requires us to re-examine our possessions.

Start a new job working from home? Well the old job’s clothes may not be right anymore and it may be time to donate many of those formal clothes. You child is now in kindergarten? Toys that were once useful may not be in this new phase. You get the picture. Similar to an exercise program, it is wise to start out slowly. Tackle one area at a time. You have the year to do it.

Happy organizing!

Organizing Challenge!

Hi there, so 2021 is well under way and like most of you, I have organizing on my mind. I thought I would share a few tips and plans as well as my list of spaces to organize in your home in the new year.

We are on the second week, but some are small (intentionally) so if you double up one week then at the end of the year you will have tackled at least one a week and have an organized home! This will be a two part blog post and you can find the second post here.

A note on organizing large spaces

For larger spaces, I recommend breaking into multiple areas and feel free to go as micro as you wish. One organized shelf is better than none. I use my 5 steps to organize anything for every space. As I mention in that post, a large space can be daunting to empty out all the contents as some pro organizers recommend. I find tackling one shelf or area that you can comfortably organize in a day or weekend is better. Making a bigger mess trying to organize is not the goal!

Disposing of unwanted items

Also, there are multiple ways of decluttering and disposing of your unwanted items. Here is a short summary of what I have found helpful. I plan to add more detail in a coming post.

  1. Discard. The first and easiest is trash. Keep a trash container close to you when tackling a space. Packaging, broken items and other unwanted stuff goes right into the bag.
  2. Donate. I have a wonderful thrift shop in my town where I donate items and then the thrift shop sells them in a lovely shop. All proceeds go to charity. For anything of value that I simply do not want I tend to donate here. Goodwill is also a good option. I find they take everything. Of course friends and family may want your items. But they may not! Be careful about giving old items without asking.
  3. Sell. Selling for me is a good option for items such as sports equipment or children’s toys and furniture. We have a local Facebook group that connects to Facebook marketplace. I would recommend you proceed carefully. I tend to stick to my town and it is easy enough to check out a person’s profile to make sure they actually live locally. For clothing, I have found that teen clothing does very well at Plato’s Closet and there is minimal work involved. Thred Up is another online thrift shop. As you receive little for clothing, I prefer to donate most clothes.

I also give myself a set time to remove the items from my home. I used to struggle with this – I was great at identifying what to get rid of but not so good at actually taking it out! A week is a reasonable time frame in my case.

Also, I recently added a donate box in my laundry room. I try to either identify 5 items a day to either donate or discard. When the box is full I give myself a week to remove it and either donate or sell. So far, it has worked very well. My children also add to it as they outgrow clothing.

Top spaces to organize in your home

With the above in mind, here are my top places to declutter and organize in your home this year.


  1. Desk files. This one could be broken into as many weeks as you need. A few categories I am tackling include old credit card statements, (I keep a year on a rolling basis and organize by month so when the new year’s month is here I throw out the year before), car repair files and medical. Once I get through that I will go through files from former jobs. There is debate on whether to keep these items at all? I prefer to at least have the last year on hand for most categories.
  2. Desk drawer. I have two desk drawers that tend to collect items and plan to go through all the odds and ends, pens (do they work?) and office supplies. I love rewarding myself after decluttering and organizing and have my eye on some coordinated blush pink pens and this acrylic, monogrammed pen holder to display them on my desk. Another organizing tip: if it is pretty you will likely want to keep it that way!


  1. Pantry. This can be a big job. I tend to do a review and clean out every November before the holidays start. On a monthly basis, I take a look at staples to see what is short on supply and buy new items as needed.
  2. Junk drawers. I have three junk drawers. They are actually no longer used for “junk.” One holds cooking related items such as recipes I prefer to have on paper (if they tend to be long, I would rather look at print), chip clips and fridge liners and drying mats for the dishes. The other one has our note pads used for shopping lists, pens, scissors, and a space for take out coupons. The last one stores electronics. These general groupings make it easy for me to go through quickly and remove any items that no longer work or seem out of place.
  3. Tupperware/Storage. This is a big one too. I finally donated any pyrex without lids. We also instituted a system where the lid goes on the container when storing out of the dishwasher. I had a rack for lids but that system did not work at all! Have you found that to be the case?


  1. Attic. So this one is almost complete for me and it took me three days. I need to add some labels so that the rest of the family knows where to put luggage, extra storage containers etc. I also finally donated my girls’ stuffed animal collection (four bags!) and will confess I just could not do it the first time I faced that the girls were no longer playing with stuffed animals. So I stored them and this time I was more than happy to donate to a place that wanted them. Sometimes you may need a little time mamas…do not be hard on yourself if you do.


  1. Basement. I tackled the basement over holiday break. It took me three days and like the attic it was a refresher. Post holiday it always tends to accumulate as we decide which Christmas decorations are going up and which stay stored. This time I went shelf by shelf. I labeled areas for each appliance and if something did not fit, donated it. I also tackled some gifts that we simply do not use and gave those to our local thrift shop.
  2. Holiday decorations. This one I tackled a few years ago but every year I do a review. This year I identified items for donation. My girls loved colored lights when they were little. We now have white lights. The thrift shop will be getting some very nice colored lights next year:) I put the box on top with a note to myself, so next season I will remember to bring it over.


  1. Closets. This one is an ongoing project. I plan to break it into 1) shoes 2) clothes (work and casual) 3) miscellaneous. So far, I have tackled my and Mr. SB dress shoes. I donated shoes we were not wearing. My rule is that if shoes do not fit into the existing racks, then I need to find a few to donate.
  2. Under the beds. Do you store items under the bed? I find this space to be a terrible place to store anything because I forget about it! One solution, is to either not store anything or use clear storage containers. I also will leave myself a note in a prominent place that reminds me that I stored my summer shorts or whatever under the bed!

Living room

  1. Bookshelves. I have two book shelves in our living area and books all over the house. We are book worms. I want to tackle the books as well as display them and other objects from our travels in a beautiful way. I look forward to sharing that project.
  2. Coat closet. We have two coat closets. I bought two new coats at the J. Crew holiday sale (and they are on sale now!). One in pink (The Lady Coat) and one in green (I love them both!). That means I need to donate two of my existing coats. I do try the one in one out for clothing as much as possible. Once you hit your max on storage, that is the only way to maintain an organized, decluttered space. I have also plan to identify any shoes that no one wears any longer and store the summer shoes in the attic.


  1. Gardening supplies. I have this on the calendar for Spring. We store gardening items in our garage. Every year I seem to accumulate a few more pots so I try to donate some as well.
  2. Tools/Workbench. This may be more my husband’s area but I did buy a pegboard set of attachments on Amazon which will help organize the rolls of tape, wire and other odds and ends.
  3. Cars. Yes, I include cars. In each car, I store snow removal items (during winter), sunscreen (during summer), water bottles, a warm blanket, a bright yellow, reflective vest and some protein bars in case of an emergency. I also have $20 in the glove box where I also keep the insurance and registration. Other items I store include masks (#Covid19), reusable shopping bags and hand sanitizer. That said, there always seems to be other items that are not needed. A regular review of items is warranted every few months.

Check back in for the remaining spaces to organize in your home in the new year. It may just inspire your own decluttering and organizing journey for 2021.

Why Your Past Matters When Organizing

Hi there! A new year is prime time to talk decluttering and organization. Like many of you, I like to start the new year with a clean and organized home and will be writing more about that and how to help you in coming posts. Before I get into tactics though, I want to start with some retrospection. Your past matters when organizing. Why? Because just like in relationships, marriage, parenting and finances and more, much of your behavior may be rooted in the past. In fact, psychology plays a large role in why decluttering can be so hard. So let’s take a moment to think this one angle through.

What was your home like growing up?

Did you grow up in a spotless, perfectly organized home? Every item had a “home” put in its designated place at all times? Or was it the opposite? Maybe it was tough to find the kitchen table because of all of the papers piled on top? Or the dining room was not a dining room but a storage unit? Did your parents save everything or throw it all out?

How the Depression and the War influenced family organization

In my case, my dad grew up in the Great Depression. My mom was also born at the tail-end of the Depression and was growing up during World War II. People had far less stuff, whatever was purchased was bought very carefully and nothing was discarded without thought. Characteristic of that era, my parents tended to save items and were reluctant to throw them away. It turns out my French husband had the same dynamic. His parents grew up shortly after WWII when there were real shortages of necessities in France.

Growing up

How did this impact our homes? Both of our families had lovely homes for which we are grateful. My mom kept a spotless, beautiful home, and the clutter was mostly confined to the hidden areas. That said, over the years, these items tended to accumulate so I became used to seeing a space (especially a closet or “junk drawer”) full of items. In other words, no one wanted to throw anything out! Sure we would get new decor (but the old decor was stored for someday). I am not criticizing my family for these ways – it went along with the times. Also, even when I was a kid, we did not have the explosion of cheap items created abroad. We tended to buy more carefully and keep what we bought.

How does that impact my organization journey?

Fast forward to now

If you have been following my blog, you know I started an organization journey (Project O) a few years ago. I had some of the typical obstacles that kept me from throwing anything out:

  1. “I might need it someday”
  2. “My children (or sub in nieces/nephews/their children may need it someday.”
  3. Sentimental
  4. It was a gift
  5. “It cost a lot/or it is worth a lot.”

I promise to write more on these challenges. That said, the biggest obstacle for me has been overcoming the past and what has been engrained as “normal.”

What is “normal” varies for each person

Your past matters when organizing because it sets up your “normal.” Here are a few habits/behaviors that may be setting you up for failure as you try to declutter and organize.

  1. Your family saved everything for someday. You may need that rope (yes, I come from a family of avid sailors…we had plenty of ropes around the house/garage!), tennis racket, window treatment, fill-in-the-blank. This is a big one. In my house, we often had lovely new curtains or a rug…but the old ones were not discarded but stored. I can not remember when an item that had been replaced was used again…
  2. Your family and friends shopped a great deal. Shopping was big in the eighties and nineties. Many of us grew up going to the mall just for fun. Shopping was entertainment and bargain hunting was a practical sport in my family. Frankly I still enjoy a trip to my favorite boutique or discounter. That said, shopping and especially impulse buys can really add to your stuff and make your home unmanageable. Retailers are masters at luring you in with sales and then making it very hard not to buy. Social media and the Internet, with hyper targeting, has made it even more likely you will buy on impulse. Buyer beware.
  3. Your house was a mess/super organized/cluttered. I have a friend who grew up in a very cluttered home. Her mom never saw a garage sale she did not love and came home with dozens of “finds.” My friend today has the opposite approach. Her husband calls her the “terminator” as she throws everything out. It can work both ways. She could have also become immune to clutter and that would become her normal for now. Neither is inherently bad but if clutter is something you want to avoid then be aware of how your home growing up may impact what you are comfortable with now.

Where am I today (and how do I deal with it?)

So dealing with my past has helped me really understand the obstacles that face me when decluttering and organizing. Here are few:

As I noted, my mom kept a very clean and lovely home. I actually am also very particular about cleanliness which I no doubt inherited. Enjoy cleaning…but decluttering is another story.

I have tendencies to keep items too long (I am looking at you Restoration Hardware window treatments…) with the idea I may need them someday, they were costly, it was a gift etc.. Questions I ask:

Am I keeping this because of my past? What part of my past? Frugal, depression era parents (usually a good thing especially when it comes to finances but not so much when decluttering).

Do I feel guilty because perhaps my modern day values do not align with the values of my family growing up (but are OK today as we are not in a depression, items are readily available etc.)

Is a closet that is stuffed to the gills a result of too much stuff or the fact that I am used to seeing closets looking that way? While Pinterest and Instagram may present unreasonable or unrealistic organization, both platforms woke me up to what is possible. As I have decluttered and organized I have discovered how calm and freeing it can be to have fewer items.

Have you examined your past and how it may impact your decluttering and organizing journey?

The 5 Best Home Organization Blogs

Hi there. So, yesterday I shared my organization journey. It would not have been complete without the inspiration I received from other bloggers (who continue to inspire me today). How did I find them? One day I think I googled “top organization websites” or something like that and fell into the world of organization blog! These ladies are funny, have great tips and influence my own organization journey. I am happy to share with you the 5 best organization blogs.

A Slob Comes Clean (the best of the top 5 organization blogs if you are starting out)

If you are just starting out, Dana at a Slob Comes Clean is a great place to start. She shares her brutally honest struggle to put some order in her life. She does not sugar coat it either – from the dishes piling up to having to buy garage sale clothes (because the rest of the clothes were dirty), she shares it all along with how she found peace in decluttering.

Easy tips such as just “do the dishes every day” (which I have also found to be true) get even the messiest, cluttered home on a path to order and serenity. She is also very funny and self deprecating which is fun as some of the organizing bloggers might take it all just a bit too seriously. She also a podcast. I enjoy listening while I tackle a decluttering or organizing project (or anytime).

iHeart Organizing

iHeart Organizing created a big Aha moment for me. Jen, the blogger, had such beautiful spaces and was so creative in how she labeled and organized. I love the creative DIY aspect of organizing. It is fun (well if you are me) to play around with fonts, patterns and making your containers and labels special. After decluttering and organizing a space I will treat myself to some beautiful labels and possibly containers (but only if I really need them!). She does not seem to be actively blogging anymore but she still has plenty of ever useful posts that will inspire you.

Andrea Dekker

I found Andrea Dekker’s blog awhile ago likely from one of my internet searches on organization. She is all about leading a simpler life and also has great ideas on living frugally (but fully). I really like her attitude that you don’t need fancy containers or tons of money to lead a simpler, organized and very fulfilling life. In fact she often will share organized spaces that may just reuse some cardboard boxes or tin cans that could be found in anyone’s recycling bin She also has great advice on how to be careful about accumulating stuff to begin with and leading a minimalist, simpler life.

Organizing Junkie

I recently discovered Organizing Junkie. She has tons of content around organizing everything (and I mean everything). I found I had to sift through much of the content but found some great tidbits. I like her idea around pouches and am going to try that out for my office where paper tends to become out of hand. She has been blogging for years so I recommend searching on a specific topic to find exactly where you may be challenged.


I recently found the Clutterbug blog and love the quiz that helps identify your organizing style. I think I fit more than one profile (definitely a Ladybug but maybe a Cricket too?). It is thought provoking and makes you review what you like/don’t like and where you may have obstacles to overcome.

I hope you enjoyed the top 5 organization blogs and will check them out. Do you have any blogs you go to for organization advice? Check back in frequently as I continue to share resources and my own tips and tricks for a decluttered, more organized, productive and fulfilled you!

The Sunday’s Bread Organization Journey

If you caught yesterday’s post, you know I took the week off. Did I jet off to Paris, Greece or maybe a resort in Cancun? No, far more exciting I decluttered and organized our home (HA!). Maybe it was not so glamorous, but it sure did feel good!  It was an especially great feeling coming back to a decluttered, organized office. I also became very motivated to share my organization journey as it has been a journey!

I have always tried to maximize life and minimize drudgery (my definition of drudgery includes endless, repetitive housework). Learning and implementing organization strategies has improved my life immensely. It can help you too. Are you sick of not being able to find items? Are clothes, papers (fill in the blank) bursting from drawers. Laundry overflowing? Or maybe 5 comes and you have no idea what dinner will be?  I have been there and I can help.

I plan to share those same strategies that took me from overwhelmed to a much calmer existence (and a home that the entire family enjoys). So onto the journey…you may recognize yourself somewhere here.

Organization growing up

I never had an issue with organization in school or work.  Home, even my childhood home was a different story. My mom good naturedly called me Messy Mimi from time to time.

But at school and work I was the organized one. At my very competitive graduate school I had fellow students who said I was the most organized person there.  I also had a professor tell other students they should emulate my organization strategies. No frantic all nighters for me…work was generally always done well in advance.   

Truthfully when it comes to my work/school I am organized. Partly because school/work has been such a priority for me.  My mind just over compensates for any messiness, clutter or disorganization in my surroundings. That said, it is still easier to be organized in all (or at least most) facets of life.

Young, single and organized

Second, when you are a single person staying organized is just not as hard.  If you move frequently as I did back then, you also just can’t hang on to that much stuff (unless you want to pay to move it!).

And I moved frequently as a single woman in my twenties. I lived in Boston, New York City and then off to business school and some time in California.  When my husband and I married we lived in Montreal, and then moved back to New York City.  What does all that moving do?  It makes you constantly sort through your stuff.   As we lived in rentals we did not invest too much in home décor either.  As a single or newly married woman without kids, I was lulled into thinking that being an organized person with a tidy home was really pretty simple.

Organization post children

Moving into our first home in CT from a small one bedroom in Manhattan changed our lives in more ways than one.  All of a sudden we had space!  Four bedrooms and two thousand square feet seemed like a mansion.  

We also had two babies born two years apart.  An entirely new shopping category was added – baby stuff!  At the time I was working full time with a 45 minute commute one way, caring for an infant, and as our home was a fixer upper we remodeled it.  Oh boy I was busy…at least I thought I was busy.  

Then our second daughter came along (I was even busier!).  I was full on Mom and enjoying every minute (at least for the most part).  I worked part time at this point.  So my days off were spent taking the girls to the aquarium, children’s museum, beach and library and doing all of that fun mom stuff I could not do while in the office.

In other words organization was not my priority…and frankly I was and am still OK with that thinking. Although if I had known a few strategies I would have lived a more organized and enjoyable life – but I was not there yet.

And the stuff just accumulated.  Babies grow and clothes that fit two weeks ago no longer do.  No one ever told me there could be so much stuff with two little kids. 

Our girls are also the youngest of 10 other children from our extended families.  The hand me downs started – everything from a full play house, at least 50 Barbies (with all of the little shoes and outfits), endless toys to dozens of clothing items.   I also worked in children’s publishing so had access to free books!  I am a book lover and was so happy to have all of these books for our children.  Before you know it, our house that seemed big, was stuffed to the brim.

Selling our first home

At some point, we decided to move into a larger home.  We were busting at the seams so the answer was a bigger home right?  Now as I look back a larger home to move more stuff is usually not (almost never!) the answer.  You have to live with what space you have. In our defense we had hit a remodeling wall.  It just was not worth it money-wise to put more money into that house so we called an agent.

I remember the day the real estate agent came, toured our house, and then when he arrived in the basement he said, “now it all makes sense.”  Basically we had made the basement a dumping ground.  We never had time (nor did we make time) to deal with the excess stuff so we just stuck it in the basement.

To sell the house, we started some serious decluttering, sorting and organizing.  After an exhausting few weekends and the realization that we had accumulated so much in a short period of time, I vowed that in my next house, I would not let a year go by without at least cleaning out all closets at least once.  At this point I realized that taking care of me versus taking care of a family and a home was something I knew little about.  This realization was really step one on the organization journey.

Being a successful professional does not mean organization at home is second nature

Here I was a successful business professional known for being efficient and organized at work, yet at home it was a different story.  If you are at this point, do NOT be ashamed.  No one really teaches you these skills now. Home economics was either eliminated or barely covers how to run a household.  Along with teaching personal finance to women and girls, it is a major reason and passion for starting this blog!

Another notable change has contributed to our difficulties managing our belongings. We entered the decades of stuff somewhere in the eighties and nineties.  Cheap exports from abroad and “fast fashion” have made it so easy to buy stuff and more stuff (and then there is an entire industry devoted to organizing it!).  We are also marketed to constantly on social media, email, TV …you name it.   Americans are drowning in stuff!

Nature versus nurture

It is worth mentioning that I had also mistakenly thought there are “neat” people out there, and that I was simply not one of those people.  Sort of like how some people tend to gain weight while others have problems keeping it on – organization was just not in my genes.  While it is true that being neat with your stuff may come naturally to some, I would argue (as a convert) that you can absolutely learn the habits and skills to become a neat, organized person.

To start solving a problem you need to realize you have a problem

Our second and current house is larger.  It has a finished basement/rec room and a walk up attic which have been blessings and challenges.  A blessing as it has been so nice to have some extra room (and ability to hide the mess).  A challenge as at some point, you need to face all of that stuff you “stored.”

I remember the day the realization came that our second home, while so much larger and with better storage, this home had also become terribly disorganized.  

We are fortunate enough to have someone help clean our home every other week.  One day, I saw her go into our rec room with the vacuum and come out almost immediately.  The room had so much stuff in it that there was only a tiny area to vacuum and clean.  Stuffed animals were everywhere. Toys the girls had grown out of were still there long after. Even my beloved children’s books were so overwhelming that no one really read them. Bells went off.  And, that is when I started Project Organization or Project O as I refer to it.  

I started reading books, searching on Pinterest for organization ideas and came upon some excellent blogs.  After some trial and error, I developed my steps to organize just about anything.  I spent all of my weekends one winter tackling the mess and getting to a really great place.  And, Project O as I still call it continues.

While I have entered more of a maintenance phase, I also have times where I still occasionally become overwhelmed (including the last 3 months). However, now I have the tools and inspiration to tackle it.

So check back in as my next post will share some great books, blogs and influencers who have helped me come up with my own strategies.

Kick-Off to Organization 101

Hi all,

How have you been?  I took some time off both from my job and the blog, and unplugged and organized!  I decided to organize our home in a week!  Yes, an organized home in 7 days.  I promise to share how I tackled that challenge.  But before I get to that, I am excited to share that I will be posting a series that I am calling Organization 101. I will share my journey and all of the tips, tricks, strategies and resources that have helped me lead a calmer, more productive life and have a home and homelife that the entire family enjoys.

Here are topics to look for in the coming days:

The Sunday’s Bread organization journey

Top organization blogs, books and TV shows

Getting started when your home is a mess

Why your past matters for your organization style

What motivates you to organize?

How organization is like weight loss

Why it is OK to keep some stuff (at least for now!)

The organization pass system and how it will help you minimize

Daily routines that help you maintain an organized home 

Trigger points to watch out for that will sabotage your organization progress

How to make money selling your stuff (and where to sell it)

How our consumable “Stuff” culture has made it so hard to get and stay organized

And probably more!  My goal is to share all of the tips, tricks and how to’s that I have learned through the years to make YOUR home and life as organized as you want it to be.

So stay tuned folks.  And, before I begin, you may just want to check out The Home Edit on Netflix to get excited about having an organized home.

5 Steps to Declutter & Organize Any Space

Welcome to 5 steps to declutter & organize any space in your home.

Why organize and declutter any space in your home? For starters, if you are like me you have a certain vision for your home. And, let’s just say this vision is not full of clutter, chaos and spending hours looking for lost items.

So this post is exactly how to approach how to organize & declutter pretty much any space – from a small drawer to an entire garage. But before I get to that I have a confession.  I am not a naturally organized person.  I am a clean person (phew let’s just get that out there). 

If you work with me, you would see I have had a messy office.  As a new mom (and a more seasoned mom) I never could get a handle on toy, clothes, you name it clutter and mess.   My own mother called me Messy Mimi when I was a kid (back then they did not sugarcoat it!). Honestly once I had my own home, I did not know how to declutter or organize in any meaningful and permanent way. I did not understand that similar to an exercise program – organization has to be an ongoing effort.

So I started where you may be at – trying to organize our home where you feel comfortable and relaxed and maybe don’t spend an hour looking for that permission slip/favorite sweater/fill in the blank.  

Sound familiar?  Sound like you could use some help?  Here are my recommended 5 steps to declutter and organize any space.  Trust me.  If a naturally messy person like me can do it.  You can too.

Declutter and Organize

Will share some photos of before and afters…and in-betweens too. To get you started, check out this before of the contents of the utility closet in the laundry room…a mix of vacuums, plastic bags, cleaning supplies, rags…you name it…I followed the steps below (and the after picture is at the end!).

5 Foolproof Steps to Organize Anything
Everything that was in the utility closet. A mess for sure!

Remove everything

  1. Take everything out of the space you are trying to organize (see photo above).  Ugh.  Really?  Yes.  Trust me.  This is a key step.  If you have a large space like a basement you could do this in sections.  The only way to see what you have is to take it all out.  Go ahead.  You can do it.


  1. Set up three areas and designate them as:  Keep.  Discard.  Give away.  
  2. Sort your stuff into those three categories.  So, I have never sorted items from a disorganized space and not found the following to happen:
    1. You will find things you thought you had lost
    2. It is likely you will find spare change or even dollars (I found $200 my mom had given me!)
    3. You will realize you have stuff that you do not need and will be able to either give it away or sell it.

Evaluate + Organize

  1. Assess the items you wish to keep and then think about how to store them.  A few storage tips:
    • Vertical storage is generally the best use of space.  So think up.  Could you put a multi-tiered shelf in that space?  
    • Break larger storage spaces into smaller.  So if you have a shelf then measure to put smaller storage containers into it.
    • Think about ways to minimize visual clutter. Instead of stacking school and office supplies buy some decorative boxes and then mark what is in each (see blog image for an example of inexpensive boxes from Ikea). Which leads me to….


  1. LABEL, LABEL, LABEL  Why am I shouting that?  Because as a naturally messy person labeling keeps me honest.  I also often start out with the best of intentions on how I am going to store an item but then promptly forget a few weeks later.  Labeling also lets others in your home understand where an item goes.  This is even helpful for young kids and toys and any babysitters or others who may not understand your in your head organizing system.
    • I plan on a longer post just on labeling (yes it is that important). In the meantime, think about having some fun with labeling (fun?). Yes fun (maybe not like going to Disney or your favorite wine bar fun but fun in a creative, getting things done kind of way). Avery labels makes some pre-designed labels that you can print yourself or you can even buy pre-printed on Amazon. Avery has a great blog to check out for inspiration. More to come on labeling!

So now for the good part – here is the after of my utility closet after I followed five steps to organize and declutter any space. 

Years later I still have it organized and only need to do a simple refresh every once in awhile to remove cleaning product bottles that are basically finished.

Do you have any tips to share?