Over the years while helping clients get organized, I have compiled a set of principles or rules for organizing. These rules guide the structure for my organizing systems. They keep my methods consistent and insure the success of the projects that we work on. Today I am unveiling the entire list along with a brief description. It is easy to win the game of organizing when you understand these rules. These are not steps. They are rules to use to create order in your life. They are in no particular order.

  • The Decision Rule:  Everything you own needs a home.  In other words you must decide on a place for everything that comes into your home or office.
  • The Container Rule:  Use containers to group like items together.  Keep items that are used together in a container too.
  • The Capacity Rule:  Leave wiggle room. Fill containers to no more than three-quarters of their capacities.
  • The Efficiency Rule: Keep frequently used items near their point of use.  Store items rarely used in a harder-to-access-area.
  • The Warehouse Rule:  Leave a clear path in a storage area.  Do not block access to shelving. Think warehouse and create rows or isles with walking space between them.
  • The Vertical Rule:  When space is limited “look up.” Use tall bookcases and storage units.  Add shelving or hooks on the walls. File rather than pile.
  • The Label Rule: Label everything. Labels help you find things faster. Labels act as rules in that they make you think before you put something in a container or space where it doesn’t belong.
  • The Big Rock Rule: When organizing a space, place the largest of your essential items in first.  When planning your week, block out time on your calendar for the most important events and tasks.
  • The Agreement Rule: Honor your agreements with yourself and with others. If you tell someone that you will be there at 9:00am, be on time. If you tell yourself that you are going to exercise, put it on your calendar and do it. This is my newest rule and the one that I struggle with the most.