Organize Any Space in 5 Simple Steps

So many of our NEAT Method clients say their biggest challenge is just not knowing where to start. We get it. So…let me give you a glimpse into the steps it takes from “I wish my {fill in the space} was organized,” to “Look at how organized my {fill in the space} is!”

This step is where the phrase “It’ll look worse before it gets better” was born. Also…I do realize STEP 1 is actually a series of two actions. That’s intentional, of course. I don’t want you doing twice as much work, so as you are empyting out the space you’re working on, sort the items into like categories.

For example, if your pantry has turned into a bit of a “junk drawer” situation, you’ll want to sort through what you find in there. Snacks. Dinner prep. Cereal. Cleaning products. Paper towels. Wait…are those shoes? Goggles? You get the idea. By sorting as you empty, you will set yourself up to make STEP 2 much more efficient.

Now that you have everything out and you can see it all, take a stroll through each of those categories that you have sorted. Which categories do not belong in that space? Put those away. What do you have too much of? Take that off your shopping list for a while. Is anything expired? Toss. Found some clothes you simply don’t wear? Donate them. Stray tupperware lids? Toss them.

Then there’s the standard “Do I…” test. “Do I love this? Do I use this? Do I need this?” Spending some quality…HONEST…time at this step will make the next steps so much more manageable…and your finished space something you will really LOVE.

You’ve taken it all out and you’ve taken the time to lay claim to the items that are staying in this space you’re organizing. Now, think through how you want the space to FEEL AND LOOK. What is needed to reach that goal? Are you going to need containers or baskets to keep like items together? Airtight canisters for your baking products? Maybe those canned foods would be easier to see if they were on a riser? Maybe all the oils and vinegars can share a turntable in that awkward corner of the pantry. Do you have more hanging clothes than you have hangers? Grab some post it notes and assign a space to each of your categories in your empty space. This gives you a chance to test out how it will all feel when pulled together – and post it notes are super easy to move around so you can keep playing around like a game of tetris until you have a layout you like. Make a list…or better yet…take pictures, grab measurements and make notes of what you will need to create organized systems in your space and then head to the store to get what you need.

Using your notes, your wish list and the products you’ve gathered, it is time to put everything back. Contain like items. Create zones within your space. A baking shelf, for example where all of your flour, sugars, chocolate chips can live together so when you are ready to make some cookies you know just where to find the ingredients you will need. A Grab and Go bin for the kids to grab a snack on the way to dance class or baseball practice. One drawer to keep all of your workout clothes to make getting ready for the gym a mindless habit. Feel free to move things around until the space is working for you. And when you’ve got it all just how you want it…step back…take a deep breath…and pat yourself on the back…YOU DID IT!

Yes. Emptying. Sorting. Editing. Planning. Implementing. Those are all very important steps in the process. But Step 5 is, hands down, the most important step. MAINTAIN. MAINTAIN. MAINTAIN. Do not let all of your hard work go to waste. Take the time in those small moments throughout your day to give your newly organized space the love it deserves by simply maintaining the systems you put in place. Let those systems work hard for you. That is why they are there. Getting organized is not just about file folding t-shirts into your drawers or putting your sugar in a glass jar…it’s about creating a space that is not only organized but that IS WORKING FOR YOU EVERY DAY because its FUNCTIONAL and EFFICIENT.

At Neat Method we recognize that life gets hectic and that having the time to walk through all of these steps may be a luxury not everyone has available. So if that describes you, please reach out and let’s get you on the road to all things NEAT!

About the Author

Kathryn Gute is the owner of NEAT Chicago, Northwest Suburbs, with NEAT Method, a lifestyle service committed to providing a more luxurious and smartly appointed living space.

Recognizing that life gets hectic and that maintaining an organized home can become a challenge, Kathryn and her team design and implement customized solutions that are not only effective but sustainable and beautiful. They offer home and corporate organizing for all spaces and move/relocation services that ensure every detail is complete. Click here to learn more about Kathryn, give her a call at 440-668-0311 or send her an email at

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This endangered Rusty Patch Bumblebee worker on CFC property is nectar-robbing the flower. She's sipping through a puncture hole near the base of the flower rather than going through the front of the flower. Rusty-patched Bumblebees often do this with Bergamot.
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