Friday, October 7, 2016

How to organize your medicine cabinet

1. Make a decision about what kinds of things you'd like to have on which shelves
2. Draw a schematic thinking "how would it be if it were perfectly organized?"
3. Remove the items that no longer belong, according to your schematic.
4. Toss expired items.

To see more before-and-after pictures, click here!


Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Does Organizing Ever Get Easy?

The answer to this question is Yes and NO.

One way to talk about this is to compare organizing to getting fit. Right now I'm doing a daily strengthening routine.

I use high-tension resistance bands instead of free weights. Every morning I do a series of eight simple (but strenuous) exercises that work the main muscle groups of my body.

And today I noticed that the exercises were getting a little too easy. So I added another band to increase the tension. And now the exercises feel about has hard as they did a month ago.

Wouldn't it be great if we could just keep exercising at the same level forever but keep getting stronger and stronger?

Unfortunately life doesn't work that way.

And the principle is exactly the same with your organizing. 

Right now I'm putting the members of my Organizing Mastery Program through the paces: Making decisions, sorting papers, dividing possessions into yes / no / maybe, clearing surfaces, creating visual *bang,* and making a commitment to their organizing.

And although they've been in the program for only a few months, it seems much longer! Everyone is exercising organizing muscles that haven't moved much in a long time.

A few weeks from now they will be doing more challenging things such as clearing entire rooms, clearing important surfaces, filing all of their papers, emptying boxes and more.

And these actions won't seem as hard as the actions they're taking now.

I have to be careful not to be too easy on them or their organizing muscles will begin to atrophy and they'll find themselves avoiding organizing activities that are essential to their long term goal of getting and staying organized.

One of the biggest struggles people have when they really get into organizing is how long things seem to take.

Making those important decisions and creating a plan can take hours and hours spread over several weeks.

At this point, many people just want to give up. "After all, what's the use? This is just too darn hard!"

And then they get a compliment from someone... a spouse or a child, or an important relative (like a parent or a sibling).

And it hits just like the results of exercising hit me. "I'm getting stronger. I'm more flexible. My back doesn't hurt as much." Sure there are ups and downs, but the progress is real.

If you don't have a plan and don't take action you can expect your organizing results to be pretty much what they've always been. In fact, you'll get weaker, not stronger.

But if you take your intention to improve your life and add a regular organizing routine, slowly but surely you'll have solid evidence that organizing does in fact work.

Are you ready to take the first step? It's often the biggest one.

Have a terrific day!


If you're serious about developing an organizing routine and building your organizing muscles, often the first step is to gain the information so that you're working on the right organizing exercises. Until you know what to do it can be hard to make the commitment to take action.

Check out the SOS Organizing Program (where you will learn independently, on your own schedule), or the amazing Organizing Mastery Program (where you are guided through your organizing step-by-step).  Both programs contains everything you need to get your organizing going in the right direction.

Organizing is Boring!

I just started working again with a former client, Janet, who is the director of a small non-profit company in South Florida.  Janet called me because she has way too much clutter, not enough space or time, too many books, a full closet… (you know the deal).

We figured out the best method for Organizing was to start with her goals, decide where to start, draw a schematic, and begin working on one room or area at a time.  This is a tried and true method for a large organizing project, and my organizers have  done this very successfully for many, many years.

We start with the thinking (the plan); then we move into action.

The steps are simple: 

  • 1. Think. Think about the end result.  If everything were perfect, how would it be?   
  • 2. Plan. Create a plan.  Start with a simple schematic and plan on paper – before moving a single item.
  • 3. Act. Start with deliberate actions that move you in the direction of your organizing dreams. 

This is what I call the Direct Outreach Organizing Method. And because it doesn't entail jumping in and moving your things around first, it's not so brutal. Nevertheless, it takes many hours and decisions (After all, clutter IS postponed decisions!) to end up with an organized space.  It’s simple, but it’s not easy!

But a lot of people shy away from this Organizing method. 

Why? Because it takes an unusual amount of persistence and determination. It's a little like fishing. You show up at the fishing hole every day, spend an hour or two, and keep coming back day after day after day until you finally finish.  Until you land "the big one."

And many people give up on this kind of Organizing after a few weeks for several reasons: 

  • 1. The work can be repetitive and somewhat boring. 
  • 2. The work takes a long time, and sometimes you can’t see the end at first, you just feel like you are tirelessly working in a never-ending treadmill.
  • 3. It takes consciously moving in the right direction, towards your plan.  This means not veering off, getting distracted, or changing directions.  You have to stay the course. 

But when it comes down to it, most Organizing methods have the same challenges. Whether you are organizing your papers, your garage, your kitchen or your office, organizing take time, persistence and the ability to stick to it.

The good news is that this method can work if you have a plan; a complete, end-to-end system that has been tested and proven to work — if you follow the system.

I know, this is so darn boring! It is not exciting at all.

What we want to do it just the opposite. We want to implement some magical kind of Organizing *juju* and get huge wins!  Imagine perfectly cleaned off kitchen counters!  An office that you are proud to bring clients into!  Knowing where your papers are filed! Actually fitting your car into your garage!

I've been in business for over 25 years, and I've seen it happen over and over and over (click here to see before and after pictures!).

Yes, I've seen promises, magic formulas and silver bullets. What people usually want when they respond to pitches for these magic Organizing formulas is very little work for a high return.

The hype rarely matches the reality. When it comes down to it, all of these approaches to Organizing take more time than you realize, are technically complex and are quite difficult to implement. And sometimes they just don’t work.

I help my clients in a very different way. We identify the organizing methods that will work best for them, turn them into systems and then support them in implementing them — one boring step at a time.

But when our Organizing method ends up doubling or tripling someone's success in a few hours, it doesn't seem so boring after all.

Here's what I suggest you do: 

Study some reliable hands-on methods for Organizing your home or your office. Turn those methods into repeatable systems and persist until you get results. You may find the SOS Organizing Program a good place to start.

If you need extra hands-on help, you may find the Organizing Mastery Program a good place to start.

Have a wonderful day,


Do you have some disorganized friends in who have been trying magic formulas with little results? I invite you to turn them on to my work. It's all commonsense stuff that actually works. This past week I received a letter in the mail from one of my students. She said: "Thanks again for your work. You are like a silent partner/coach. Working with you has made the difference for me."

Monday, December 9, 2013

"Smart-Office Organizing" is an upbeat must-read for anyone who feels organizationally challenged!
Published by Revell, a divison of Baker Bookhouse.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

How do you deal with common obstacles to maintaining a clutter-free house, including storage needs, health issues, space restrictions and even family sabotage?

What is your favorite strategy?

Happy Organizing!

Marsha Sims

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Whatever you vividly imagine, ardently desire, sincerely believe, and enthusiastically act upon... must inevitably come to pass! Paul J. Meyer. 

The key word, though, is "act". Action is the only way to make your dreams come true.

Happy Organizing!

Marsha Sims

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

How to De-Clutter in 15 Minutes

As you know, I recommend that you spend at least 15 minutes every day on your organizing.  But... if you have a lot to do, will 15 minutes even make a difference?

The answer is a resounding YES!  You CAN make a difference in your home in only 15 minutes.

I found a great blog post from Better Homes & Gardens entitled "How to De-Clutter in 15 Minutes" which tells you what to do with that time.

So... the big question is... where to start?

Here are the questions to ask yourself.
1. What bothers me the most?
2. What would make me feel the best if it were done.
3. Which area has the most visibility?

Armed with the answers to those three questions, I have included excerpts from the BH&G article that tell you how to de-clutter the most prominent areas.

The next blog will tell you how to de-clutter the more hidden areas, and after that I will give you some ideas of things you can do when you only have 5 minutes to work on your clutter.

Happy Organizing!

Marsha Sims

Declutter Your Kitchen Cabinets
If you have 5 minutes: Simply straighten the insides of your most disorganized or most frequently accessed cabinets and drawers. Bringing order to the things you use most often will make daily routines easier.
If you have 10 minutes: Spend a little time doing the organizational tasks you always think about when you?re cooking but don?t have time to do in the moment, such as relocating your cooking utensils to a drawer closer to your range.
If you have 15 minutes: Do a quick sort-and-toss. Put items you never use into a donation box, and toss gadgets that no longer work or are past their prime.

Declutter Your Clothing Closet
If you have 5 minutes: Hang up clothes that are draped over your designated drop spot, such as on a chair.
If you have 10 minutes: Reorganize the hanging bar in your closet by item type, placing all of your shirts in one section, pants in another, etc.
If you have 15 minutes: After you organize the hanging bar, target one other area, such as the top shelf or the floor of your closet. Come back as you have time, such as five minutes before hitting the hay, to organize the next section until you've worked through the whole closet.

Declutter the Bathroom
If you have 5 minutes: Put away anything on the countertops, and pull the shower curtainclosed to conceal any bathtub clutter.
If you have 10 minutes: Straighten any open displays, and relocate items that don?t belong in the bathroom.
If you have 15 minutes: Dive into the vanity cabinet and any other storage space. Toss items that are outdated or unused. Corral items by type into baskets or bins.

Declutter Your Entryway
If you have 5 minutes: Straighten up the shoes and coats.
If you have 10 minutes: Entryways, as coming-and-going spots, tend to collect more than their fair share of clutter. Do a quick cleanup, and return items to their rightful places.
If you have 15 minutes: Hang hooks or pegs to give coats and bags a home instead of the floor.