I'm so happy to introduce you to Robin Harisis. She was roomates with my older sister at Messiah College, so I sort of know her by association. She is the founder of Room Service Personal Organizing, LLC and a member of the National Association of Professional Organizers and Faithful Organizers. Robin believes that everyone can learn to be organized and she finds satisfaction in teaching organizational skills to others. In the summer of 2010, Robin became a Certified Family Manager Coach. Family Manager Coaches help families learn to work together to achieve organizing goals and live more fulfilling lives by modeling proven business practices.Robin lives in Ontario, New York with her husband, her son and daughter, and two crazy dogs. She enjoys the outdoors, reading, gardening, and of course, organizing. You better believe that I had ulterior motives when I asked her to be a guest blogger- I need these organizing tips more than anyone!
Top Three Organizing Tips
Define a Starting Point
The question that is most often asked of me is “Where do I start an organizing project?” Sometimes the project is so overwhelming or habitual it is hard to define a true starting point. I equate it to asking a child to pick up his toys in a room scattered with his belongings. Most of the time, the child will stand there, staring at the mess, arms at his side, still as can be. The child cannot do what he is asked because it is too overwhelming. He cannot identify a starting point.
We can be just like the child when we are staring at an organizing project. Here are some ways to help define a starting point:
- Deal with the project that would make the most meaningful change in the shortest amount of time
- Set up a bill payment system as the first step to a paper management system
- Organize the foyer or entryway as a start to organizing your home
- Cup your hands around your eyes and pan the room. This limits your view of the project, allowing you to see it in smaller portions and giving the project some definition. Choose a section and begin your project.
- Determine a main or final goal for your organizing project. Break the project into steps working backward from your goal. This will not only help you find a starting point, but will give you a plan to follow until your project is complete.
Buy Containers Once You Know What to Contain
Many times, we buy containers BEFORE we start an organizing project. But why would we buy containers if we don’t know what has to go in them? How do we know it’s the right size or will function correctly? Buy containers after you have sorted your items, you know what has to go in them, and where the container will be stored. This will give you a much better chance of choosing the appropriate container for the job.
Sort and Label According to You
Organizing is a very personal activity. Organizing systems work best when they are created specifically for the person or people using them. Here are two ways to customize your organizing system:
- Sort like with like
- If a pile of seemly random objects were dumped on a table in front of a group of people, each person might sort them differently. One person may sort by color, another by shape, and yet another by use. Each way is correct, showing the difference in how people view “like with like.” Sort your items according to what like with like means to you
- Label according to you
- Labeling can be straight-forward. For example, a box of Christmas decorations are labeled “Christmas.” However, there are times creative labels can be helpful in classifying items. “Financial Documents” may not mean anything to you, rendering the papers hard to find. But when the same papers are labeled in a file called “Papers that make me money,” they are located in a snap. Label items according to what makes sense to you and forgo the traditional titles, if need be.
If you want to get a hold of Robin, or have her help you organize your life, here's her info:
Room Service Personal Organizing, LLC
Office Phone: 315.524.7151
Thank you so much, Robin! Now, ladies, get to work! :)