10 Common Mistakes when Organizing

common organizing mistakes



Even with the best of intention and efforts, your organizing may not be making a difference. You may have tried many times to get organized, but for some reason your home is cluttered.  It may be that one of these common organizing mistakes is a problem.  Check out these solutions for common organizing mistakes.


Plan your work and work your plan

Too often we jump into organizing and find we have made a bigger mess.  Take a few minutes to think about what you would like your organization to look like, what you need most, and what routines will keep it organized.  A little pre-planning makes all the difference.


More bins = more organized

It’s not about having more storage. It’s not about having the right bins.  Hold off from buying bins until you have worked through and decluttered your space. Then you are ready to decide on storage options.


Difficulty decluttering

We start decluttering, get everything in a bag, and it stays at your entry or in  your car for weeks.  Make decluttering easy with an easy way to drop off your donations.  Have a donation bag set up in your home for regular drop offs.  The easier it is, the more you will donate.

Zig zag organizing

You start in one space and realize you need to bring stuff to another room.  You head there and – oops – that space needs work too. Labeled as zig zap organizing, you will see the most success if you remain in and worn on only one space at a time.  Place the stuff at the door with a post it note on it.


Too much coming in

Even the most organized home suffers when more and more is brought in to the space.  Start an awareness of how much you purchase, why and when you purchase items.  By creating a barrier to more stuff, you are able to establish organizing systems and routines.


Label, label, label

It can be surprising how much labeling a space makes a difference. Everyone knows where items belong and can put them away.   Labeling keeps you organized.


Daily distribution

It’s easy to stash and dash. That’s when you get a new item but regretfully never put it away.  Set up a daily distribution time to reset your personal and family organizing, put items away and put away the bags they came in.


Paper, paper everywhere

Keep your paper together. It sounds overwhelming, but keeping it in one spot helps you sort, recycle and keep the important papers. When paper gets spread out, all of a sudden it’s everywhere.  Create one designated spot for mail to come to and sort.  Triage it daily and work on your papers weekly.

Keep it all, just in case

We don’t know what paper we might need to we keep it.  We think we might use something, and we keep it just in case.  It’s time to make a decision and decide what to eliminate.  Basic questions to ask are these.   When will I use it again? Do I have another good one?  Would I purchase this again today?  Don’t let indecision keep you from being organized.


Team up

Organizing is hard work! Don’t go it alone!  Gather up a team, whether it’s your family, church members, office colleagues or hired help. When  you work together you make more progress and have fun too.


Are you struggling with getting organized? Post your question or problem here for a solution.


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13 replies
  1. Sabrina Q.
    Sabrina Q. says:

    Great tips! Right when the mail comes in, I stand near the shredder and recycling bin and sort the mail every day. Too bad I am the only one who sorts the mail in my household. I will work on that. =)

  2. Janet Barclay
    Janet Barclay says:

    I love the Daily Distribution idea. In the book “Totally Organized the Bonnie McCullough Way” it’s called Minimum Maintenance. Bonnie suggested spending 5 minutes per day in each room, gathering things that don’t belong there, tidying, etc. It changed my life!

  3. Ellen Delap
    Ellen Delap says:

    @Sabrina ~ great habit! It’s much easier to get your paper under control this way.

    @Janet ~ just 5 minutes a day is all it takes too. It surprises us that it take so little time but is so hard to do.

  4. Diane Quintana
    Diane Quintana says:

    These are wonderful tips, Ellen! I believe in organizing one space at a time. It’s so tempting to take an item to another room and then get distracted organizing that other space!

  5. Seana Turner
    Seana Turner says:

    Love that point about zig zag organizing. I think one of the major benefits of bringing a PO into your project is that we keep you from running off and getting distracted by another situation:)

  6. Autumn Leopold
    Autumn Leopold says:

    I just had a conversation with a friend today about how she holds onto things because she might need them and her husband holds onto things for sentimental reasons. So together they have managed to hold onto a lot of stuff! But she is now at the point that she knows it’s not necessary. Great post Ellen!

  7. Sarah Soboleski
    Sarah Soboleski says:

    I like your point under Too Much Coming In to work on developing an awareness of what enters your home. Establishing boundaries and rules about what comes into your house is so important! Thanks, Ellen!

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