Sustaining Organization: How Professional Organizers Keep Their Resolutions to Stay Organized!

Happy New Year! Now is the time when many people decide that this is the year that they are going to get and stay organized. This article is about staying organized, so if you are not there yet, that’s ok. We can start small and work from there.


HERE’S THE SECRET:  The way to stay organized is to develop organized habits. That’s it!


So how does one do this? Change has to happen! The change will only come if the consequences of continuing the current behavior and lifestyle are too painful or the reward is great and worth the work. If not, it’s unlikely that lasting change will occur.


So many people vow to lose weight at this time of year and most don’t succeed. But, if it’s time for your wedding or high school reunion, you’ll suddenly lose those last 20 pounds you’ve been carrying for ten years. You want to look great and it’s too embarrassing (painful) not to, and the reward of everyone seeing you at your best keeps you motivated.


Here’s an organizing example: You occasionally (like 2X/year) lose your keys, phone, or glasses on your way out the door, but you either have backups or the items are misplaced rather than lost, and they always turn up in time. It’s an annoyance but not a huge problem. A change in this situation seems unnecessary.

How we change: However, if you are having trouble getting out the door on time many days, because of lost items, your kids are late to school, you’re late to work, your boss is starting to notice and you’ve had to spend money more than once to replace lost items, then this scenario would be much more likely to prompt some changes. And if you’ve never been organized, you may only imagine the many rewards.


CLICK HERE for some rewarding and beautiful inspiration.


Some quick logistical rewards include:

  • Not being stressed because of lost or misplaced items

  • Not buying items you already have

  • Paying all bills on time and never paying a late fee

  • Feeling proud of possessions and beautifully organized spaces.


More wonderful are the rewards of:

  • Peace of Mind

  • Freedom

  • Time


So you need to get honest with yourself. Is the pain too great and are the rewards appealing enough to motivate you to do the work necessary to keep your home, work, family, and life organized?




What’s the difference between us and you? Probably not as much as you think! Professional Organizers are not perfect. Sometimes we don’t want to do the daily tasks necessary to keep spaces organized, but we know firsthand about the consequences and rewards.  If you have the desire to be organized, it is a learnable skill for almost everyone.


Qualities most Professional Organizers seem to possess.

If this is not you, don’t despair. Much of this can be learned if you are willing to put in the time needed on a daily basis.

  • We have a knack for categorizing our belongings and storing them efficiently so that we can easily find and use them. 

  • We have the discipline to delay the instant gratification of shopping for the long-term reward of staying organized.

  • We have a good grasp of spatial surroundings and can estimate volumes. In other words, we can accurately judge how much stuff will fit in that bin, basket, or closet by sight.

  • We enjoy organizing. One of our professional organizers’ is quoted as saying “I would rather organize a closet than go on vacation!”, and she still feels that way after years with the company. (More on that next month!)

  • We love lists and organizing products.


How do Professional Organizers STAY Organized?

  • Decluttering is something that has to happen every day. Clutter accumulates when items are not put away or new items that have no “home” are brought in.  Delay the instant gratification of shopping for a double win – more money, and more space!

  • Streamlined systems are in place. When there are streamlined systems in place, everything has a home and staying organized is just a matter of discipline, like brushing your teeth. 

  • Being ruthless about not exceeding storage space. This is one of the most common forms of disorganization. When purchasing items, one should already know where it’s going to be stored. If not, either don’t buy it or donate or discard something of equal size. 

  • Practicing. Look at the difference between these two systems. They each are methods of storing shoes, but when it comes time to find a pair, the second system will make life easier. Each pair of shoes has a designated storage space. If new shoes are bought, old ones must go!

Where to start?

  • Start small and set manageable goals. Try to accomplish a small organizing project such as decluttering one often-used drawer.

  • Create a system to maintain it and live with that for a while. This practice will foster good habits and build confidence. Once you are comfortable with the drawer, move on to something a little bigger.

  • It is also easier to start with spaces that you are not sharing with others first, and graduate to those areas after you’ve built some skills to pass on.

  • Ask yourself: What is working already? Do you always keep your keys in one place? If yes, great! If not, install a hook by the door and use it! You can build on habits that are already successful. If you brush your teeth every day, ask yourself “Why?” Isn’t it because the reward is worth it and you want to avoid the consequences? If you have a consistent habit, try piggybacking another good habit on top of that – for instance, always declutter the bathroom after brushing your teeth. Please be kind to yourself when it comes to getting and staying organized. You are not alone!

*P.S. If you can’t get there on your own, that’s what we do! Check out some TESTIMONIALS here.

**Please remember that mental illnesses like hoarding disorder and ADHD make organizing impossible or very challenging. Professional counseling is advised.


By Jennifer Dwight

Contact Ideal Organizers + Design at 757.777.8685 or to learn more!

Founded in 2009, Ideal Organizing + Design offers professional services in Downsizing, Move Management, Home Organizing, Personal Business Organizing, Office Organizing, Product Services and Interior Space Planning and Styling. Our team of talented and dedicated experts has decades of experience helping countless clients to love their spaces and lifestyles again.