How I Do It! 10 Organizing Tips from Linda Samuels, CPO-CD

I love the concept of sharing our inside secrets as organizers. Throughout the month of May I have asked my colleagues to share what works for them.  I know you will enjoy this post from Linda Samuels, founder of Oh, So Organized!


Linda Samuels

Being organized enough helps me focus on what’s most meaningful instead of feeling stressed by systems and things. Here are 10 tips that keep this organizer, organized.

1 .“Buzz” Me – I can get completely absorbed with my morning digital communications (email, social media, blog.) To allow me to concentrate and also keep me on schedule, I set a timer to “buzz” me to stop and get ready to transition to next appointment or activity.

2. Hold Those Keys – I have an unreasonable fear of losing my car/house keys. I refuse to put them down until I place them in their designated “home” in my handbag.

3. Multiple Glasses – At 50+, my reading glasses are essential. Instead of playing the Moving and Hunting game, I’ve invested in multiple pairs. They are strategically located in the places I use them most like my night table, desk, purse, car, and organizing bag. While I’m not an advocate of excess, in this case, the extras are time savers.

4. Put Away Now – As new things enter our home, be it mail, groceries, gifts, or dry cleaning, I use the “Do it now!” mantra and put them away immediately rather than letting them collect in piles and corners.

5. “Buy Me” List – When we’re running low on items such as toilet paper, toothpaste, or milk, I add a reminder to the shopping list, which resides on our fridge. Family members also add to this list, so we help each other keep the essentials stocked. I grab the list on my way to the store.

6. Capture Ideas – To remember thoughts, to dos, or actions, I write them down. Pads of paper and working pens are always available. Just this week, I installed a waterproof pad (AcquaNotes) in my shower. I sometimes leave messages on my voicemail. The quick notes gets transferred to my electronic scheduling system, the “2Do” app, which I use mostly on my iPad.

7. Clear the Decks – Before bed and leaving in the morning, I take 5-10 minutes to return things back to square one. The bed gets made, the clothes go in the hamper, stray items are returned to their “homes.” I start and end my day with clear spaces, which allow for a clear mind.

8. Releasing Sessions – Twice a year, when making my seasonal clothing switch, I go through my drawers and closet to let go of the things that are taking up real estate, but that no longer fit or are wanted.

9. iLove – I’m a card-carrying member of the Apple fan club. I’m not sure how I’d stay organized without my 3 i’s- iPhone, iPad, and iMac. They sync with each other. They capture all my assorted lists, to dos, contacts, images, and schedule. They color code and remind me with dings and pop-ups. I know I functioned pre-“i”, but can’t remember how. My digital world, which meshes with my actual world, is organized in these three amazing devices.

10. Not to Do” List – Before saying “yes,” to others or myself, I think carefully about the commitment. While I live a full, busy life, I try not to overschedule. This lets me fully enjoy what I have said “yes” to. If I’ve said “yes” to too many things and begin feeling overwhelmed, I look for what might be a candidate for the “Not to Do” list.


Linda Samuels, CPO-CD® is a compassionate, enthusiastic professional organizer and coach, founder of Oh, So Organized! (1993), author of The Other Side of Organized and blogger on organizing and life balance.  She has been featured in The New York Times, Woman’s Day, Bottom Line Personal, Westchester Magazine, Everyday with Rachael Ray, and Connect with Linda on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, blog, or website. Sign up for a free monthly e-newsletter with bonus tips at

9 replies
  1. Linda Samuels
    Linda Samuels says:

    Thanks so much, Janice. I love the tips you shared on Ellen’s blog last week. I don’t know if you had this experience, but some of these things are so intuitive to me, that I don’t often stop to analyze what keeps me organized. It was fun to make the list and bring these things front and center. Did you have a similar experience or different?

    A BIG thank you to Ellen for inviting me to be part of this wonderful “How I Do It” feature that you just created. It’s brilliant, just like you!

  2. Helena Alkhas
    Helena Alkhas says:

    Great tips Linda! I LOVE that you have a notepad in the shower! Don’t we just have our best ideas there? I also leave messages to myself or record my ideas on the phone. Very interesting to see “organized people” share some basic habits like your “do it now” policy or the AM/PM clutter clearing habit. I love that! Thank you Ellen for bringing these posts together. Have a wonderful weekend!

  3. Linda Samuels
    Linda Samuels says:

    So glad you liked the tips, Helena. I’m guessing you have many things that help you stay organized too? I heard about the shower notepad at conference and just had to get it. It’s been great. I often get ideas then, and having the tools I need when the thoughts appear is wonderful.

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