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You Can't Organize Without the Right Tools

As Published At Organize My Drawer
You Can’t Organize Without the Right Tools

Getting any space in order requires three important components — the right mindset, the right system, and the right tools. Let’s take a second to look at what each part of the process entails.

The Right Mindset

The right mindset is an open one — a headspace where you’re willing to rethink beliefs and behaviors that have become counterproductive to your organizing efforts. This starts with a good hard look at which of your belongings you actually use, which you don’t, and (most importantly) why you haven’t touched those dust-gatherers in the last decade or so. It also means examining the often-overwhelming emotional baggage that’s become attached to your clutter — those myriad excuses and rationalizations that keep you from cleaning out things you logically recognize as serving no practical purpose in your life. It almost certainly involves giving yourself guilt-free permission to let go of belongings that do nothing but take up space. And you might even (god forbid) need to start holding other people (like family members or co-workers) more accountable for how they manage their own time and stuff.

The Right System

Where you store your belongings is often more a matter of habit than conscious decision-making. (At some point in time, you put something somewhere. And it’s lived there ever since — regardless of whether or not that location made sense at the time you chose it, or in any way still makes sense today. It’s the same reason some folks never leave their hometowns, even though they’d be a lot happier elsewhere!) But having the right system in place means pairing each object with the best possible space. In order to do this, you need a rational and defensible reason for assigning each individual doohickey to a particular home — because it’s closest to the point where you use it, because that’s where you keep attachments and related accessories and other similar items, because you get at it all the time, because you only use it once or twice a year, because your kids can easily reach it, because your kids CAN’T easily reach it, whatever makes sense to you.

The Right Tools

At this stage, it’s all about the mechanics of setting up your storage. Any space (be it a drawer or cabinet, a shelf or closet) is nothing more than a gaping hole (and therefore, an incurable clutter-magnet) — until you figure out the best solution for subdividing and configuring it. And while there’s no such thing as “right” or “wrong” when it comes to technique, you can very definitely choose the “wrong” tools for any job. This happens when the gadgets and gizmos you’ve selected are in some way inappropriate — for the space, for the items being stored there, for your organizing goals, for your lifestyle and preferences and personality quirks. If your paraphernalia isn’t in alignment, you’re setting yourself up for failure.

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Ramona Creel is an award-winning 15-year veteran organizer and member of the National Association Of Professional Organizers. As well as having birthed “The A-To-Z Of Getting Organized,” Ramona is also the author of “The Professional Organizer’s Bible: A Slightly Irreverent And Completely Unorthodox Guide For Turning Clutter Into A Career”—and the creator of more than 200 “quick-start” business tools and templates for use by productivity professionals. She writes seven different blogs, has worked with hundreds of clients, and has delivered scores of presentations on getting organized. Ramona resides on the roads of America as a full-time RVer—living and working in a 29-foot Airstream. Learn more at and

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