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3 Surprising Things You Must Do So That The Best Organizing Tips Work

stack of books to help with organizing

Most experienced organizers offer their clients much of the same advice. They may say it slightly differently but if you read between the lines and boil the advice down to its essence, it’s the same. It doesn’t matter if you follow Marie Kondo, Peter Walsh, or Martha Stewart the heart of the advice is identical. We, experienced organizers, give our clients the best organizing tips that are tried and true. We know these tips will work but you must do your part to ensure they continue to work after we leave.

Let’s start by talking about the best organizing tips.

Have only the things you use and that support your lifestyle in your home.

This makes sense, doesn’t it? If you aren’t using something it is taking up valuable real estate on a shelf, in a drawer or a closet. Why are you keeping it? You don’t have to be actively using everything. For instance, you may be storing the platter that you only use during the holidays. The difference is that you DO use that platter from time to time.

Honor things you love by displaying them.

If you have a collection of things in a box at the back of your top closet shelf you are not honoring them. Get them out of the box and display them. Show the collection off. Let them be out so you can get pleasure from having them in your environment. Otherwise, why are you keeping them?

Give everything a home.

When your belongings have a place to be, not only do you know where to find them, but you also know where to put them back. Before you bring a new something into your home plan where you will keep it.

I realize I am over-simplifying these tips. However, these best organizing tips will not stick or work unless you are ready to do these three things. Read the list below and consider the questions I posed.

  1. Understand why you are getting organized.

  • Did something change in your life to prompt you to want to get organized?
  • Are you getting organized for you or is someone else urging you to get organized even though you aren’t sure you want to?
  • Do you want to improve your quality of life, save money, have better relationships, spend more time living life and less time taking care of your stuff?
  • When you know why you are getting organized it is much easier to follow your professional organizer’s suggestions and strategies.


  1. Give yourself permission to let go of things you do not want or like (even if they were a gift from a friend or a relative).

  • Did your parents give you furniture that you don’t want any more?
  • Are there wedding gifts still in the box in the garage or attic that simply don’t fit your lifestyle?
  • Is there something that you spent lots of money on but don’t like and are reluctant to let go?
  • Removing these things opens up space for the things you want and use.
  1. You must have a maintenance plan. Organizing is not a once and done process.

  • Will your routine need to change?
  • If there are other people in your home, are they willing to help?
  • Are you going to work to implement the organizing strategies?
  • Your professional organizer can give you a suggested maintenance plan to follow.

Organizing is hard work. It taxes your brain because there are lots of decisions to make. You will have a greater chance to be successful in your quest to be organized if you first understand and embrace your personal reason to get organized.

Professional organizers are there to guide you and will offer you suggestions, but it is up to you to follow through. When Jonda Beattie and I work with clients either in person or in our clutter support groups, we are very clear that all the best organizing tips will only work when our clients understand and do these three surprising things. Read this post which tells more about Jonda and me and our work as professional organizers.

If you are ready to embark on an organizing journey, please reach out to me at for a free 30-minute phone consultation.

Diane N. Quintana is a Certified Professional Organizer® ,a Certified Professional Organizer in Chronic Disorganization®, Master Trainer and owner of DNQ Solutions, LLC and co-owner of Release●Repurpose●Reorganize, LLC based in Atlanta, Georgia


  • This is such solid organizing advice. And I’m sure that most organizers would agree with everything you said. I believe in displaying the things or collections we enjoy; however, sometimes, overflow pieces don’t get displayed. At least this is true for me. I used to collect miniatures and displayed all of them. But at a point, I let go of most of them. The few I kept are close by. But, there are some that I didn’t want to have out but still wanted to keep. So those are in a box labeled “Miniatures.” I think there are probably other things like that for me and others. They don’t serve a purpose, but we aren’t ready to part with them yet. So, I don’t think it’s an issue unless it becomes “an issue.”

    • Diane Quintana says:

      I agree, Linda. Sometimes it’s not possible or practical to display everything. In that case, as long as you have space to keep the things and remember you have them there’s no problem. As with everything – nothing is an absolute. There are exceptions to every ‘rule’. Thank you so much for your comment.

  • YES to all of this! These are really the keys to the castle right here. I create a digital maintenance calendar for clients to help them keep up with all the work we implement. It seems to help them build good habits. Great post.

    • Diane Quintana says:

      Great idea, Melanie. Building good habits, maintenance and a willingness to follow the organizer’s advice are important for success. Thank you for chiming in!

  • Julie Bestry says:

    This short post is a master class on some of the key tenets of organizing! It’s hard to believe that something is important to someone if it’s in disrepair, at the bottom of a box in the back of a closet, never shown love, attention, or honor. These habits and questions are crucial!

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