Ideal Organizing + Design: 5 Secrets of a Professional Organizing Coach

5 Secrets of a Professional Organizing Coach

By Jennifer A Dwight


I am a night owl. I don’t jump out of bed all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. I sometimes slip back into my luxurious bed when the rest of the world is having its second cup of coffee. 

That being said, when I’m up for the day, I make my bed. Sometimes the job brings me a simple joy, other times not, but I do it either way. Doing this simple task always sparks a feeling of accomplishment and organization. 

By the way, it doesn’t have to be perfect or difficult. I was brought up with a strict Nanna who insisted on “hospital corners,” but that is not my style. 

I have a fluffy down duvet and about seven pillows. I do wrestle the fitted sheet around the corners most days, but I’ve kept it simple so that I will do it. This simple habit provokes me into all kinds of other healthy behavior. 


One of today’s most popular organizing magazines is “Real Simple.” Everyone’s idea of “simple” is a little different and that’s ok. Even though I’m a professional organizer, my home does not look perfect. 

I’m the type of person who likes to see things, so if I use it every day, it’s probably not stored out of sight. Since I use a lot of items every day, it can look like clutter. 

To me, it’s simple to function in my home because I know exactly where everything is and I can find it immediately! 

Others like pristine surfaces and surroundings. If that is the client’s desire, I am an expert at creating those perfect, beautiful storage solutions, and it is a lot of fun.

No matter what your storage preferences are, your life will not be simple if you have too many things. In my home, the rule is this: If I’m not using it and it’s lying around-it’s clutter and will be dealt with. 


As I’ve already confessed, my home appears cluttered at first glance. I like quite a few things out and accessible. However, if you were coming over in ten minutes, I could stow everything without creating chaos in my cupboards, drawers, and cabinets. 

The secret is to only use 80% of your storage space at most. Just because you have space, doesn’t mean it has to be full. 

Leaving storage areas partially empty gives a feeling of freedom and spaciousness. 

Sometimes items don’t have a home. We move them from place to place but never really put them away. Make a decision! Put the problematic item somewhere and if it doesn’t work there, you can always try another location, right? 

The most important thing to remember is that each possession must have a home, even if that home is on a surface.


I procrastinate the most with paper clutter. I have a lovely, functional, and efficient filing system. I’m an expert at creating and maintaining other people’s files. Why do I procrastinate? Because filing my own papers feels like drudgery, I guess. 

It’s not that painful to have a few odd sheets of paper on the dining room table. I know that 90% of what is filed is never looked at again and may decide not to keep the offending sheets. 

Regardless of these excuses, I always feel better once everything is filed. If you tend to lose paperwork, the best thing to do is just keep all paper in one place, like a basket. 

If something is missing, it may be in a messy pile, but you’ll know it’s there because that is the only place you keep papers. Of course, you’ll need to sort through this pile at least once a week or it’s going to get out of control.


I must admit that I have trouble with this. I want to be independent and can learn how to do many things with a quick search and video tutorial. 

When I actually do something new and complete the project, the feeling is triumphant. Sometimes though, I have the intention to do something and it never quite gets done. If I am honest with myself, and it’s been more than a reasonable amount of time, say three months, it is probably never going to get done!  

I will procrastinate and always find something just a little more important at any given time. Many of our clients have put off their organizing project for years and when they hire us, they can’t believe they waited so long. 

Organizing is one of those things that is easy to procrastinate. Sure, cluttered spaces bug us, but we muddle along. Pulling everything out, and dealing with it just seems like too much. If this is you having a coach to encourage and advise makes all the difference.

Hi, I’m Jenn Dwight, Organizing Coach at Ideal Organizing + Design. If you would like to ask me a question or work with me, please feel free to email me at