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change habits to get organized

Ask just about anyone what their New Year’s Resolution is and a large percentage of them will tell you something about getting organized. Some want to organize their garage, their attic, their basement, kitchen, closets, and the list goes on. It may not even be a specific project; they just say they want to get organized this year.

Here’s the problem. Organized is not a destination. When someone says they want to get organized I want to ask what happens when you get there?

Something has to change because anyone can get organized. The trick is learning how to be organized.

Things can be put away. Clutter can be reduced. Garages and any other area can be organized but what happens next?

Let’s rewind this conversation and look at it from a different angle.

What is prompting you to want to get organized?

This is the most important question to answer.

If you are thinking about getting organized for someone else, the organization will not stick because you have not changed your habits. Know why you want to get organized and then think about what habits you are willing to adopt or change to stay organized.

Why do the rooms/areas become full of clutter and disorganized? Is it because…

  1. No place to put things Is it difficult to put things away or find homes for them because cupboards and closets are full? Or is it because there’s a need for organizing tools like a bookcase or containers?
  2. There’s a habit of waiting until later Do you wait for the perfect time to deal with things instead of putting them away or evaluating them now? If you tell yourself, you will do it ‘later’, it will not happen because later is not a time.
  3. There’s no maintenance plan Maybe you do not have a plan for maintaining the various high traffic areas of your home.

Here are the best reasons to start the journey to be organized

  1. Minimize distractions Clutter is distracting. Every time you look at it, it sends you the message that there is something waiting for you to do something about.
  2. Reduce stress When you reduce the level of clutter in your home you also reduce your stress level. The nagging chatter inside your head about dealing with the things left undone is less noisy. You can find things when you want them AND you save money because you don’t spend money replacing things you know you have but can’t find.
  3. More free time If you reduce the amount of clutter, there’s less to take care of inside your home which leaves you with more time to spend with family, friends, and doing the things you want to do.

Tips to get organized and be organized in 2023

  1. Create a maintenance plan schedule time with yourself to do basic chores and to attend to anything left out, not put where it belongs.
  2. Before you bring something in think about where it will live. And ask yourself if you truly need it and will use it.
  3. Regularly evaluate your things think about how much is enough.

In conclusion

The very best reason to get organized is because you want to BE organized. Disorganization and the resulting clutter affect almost every aspect of life. It impacts the way your home looks. Things get lost and you waste money replacing them. It can negatively affect relationships, too. So, getting organized to be organized is a fabulous way to kick off the New Year.

Admittedly, it takes work and is not as simple as just putting things away.

If this is something you want to do reach out to a professional organizer for support, suggestions, and guidance. You can find a qualified professional organizer in your area by visiting either or Many organizers will work either virtually or in-person and some also offer clutter support groups.

Jonda Beattie and I run a clutter support group called Clear Space for You. We start new groups at the beginning of every month. Both of us also offer virtual organizing and, if you’re in the greater metropolitan Atlanta area, in-person organizing. You can also connect with us on our Facebook page for organizing tips and advice. We are here to help.

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.







  • Kim says:

    This is so good. Our why is so important and we can only do this work for ourselves. A lot of times I hear from clients that they just want someone to come in and do it for them. However, they need to work on those areas in order to change some of their thoughts and beliefs in order to move on. I really like this and will share with my peeps. Thank you!

  • Without understanding what’s driving change…THE WHY…it will be challenging to change habits and patterns. I’m with you 100% on getting clear with what is causing the desire for a change. That why will also provide the motivation needed when the organizing process has some hiccups. No change is a straight trajectory, so you must do internal work before starting the physical changes.

  • I love that you mentioned creating a maintenance plan. These small daily tasks keep your home organized after you have decluttered it. Thanks for sharing!

  • Seana Turner says:

    I’ve started thinking about where things will be stored when I’m buying gifts these days. I have two daughters living in tight accommodations, so I want to be considerate of this when buying for them. Getting them an item that will be hard for them to store isn’t really doing them any favors.

    • Diane Quintana says:

      That’s so thoughtful, Seana. There’s little worse than getting a gift that you have no room for. Then all you can think is “now what do I do with this?” instead of being thankful for the gift.

  • Julie Stobbe says:

    Wanting to be organized is a good mindset. It is a continual process that never ends. Too often people think you get organized and you’re done. In reality, it is a daily habit to establish. When you accept being organized as a way of life that job is simple to keep up with. Doing a bit each day doesn’t seem overwhelming.

  • Jana says:

    Thank you for this Diane! Like any goal, you have to have a plan for how you are going to reach it and how you plan on maintaining that goal. I think a lot of people would love to wave the magic wand and have their houses LOOK like an Instagram feed, but they haven’t really learned how to maintain that. For me, I know that with 3 kids there will always be clutter, messes, and “stuff” but it’s just creating a system and a plan for how I manage those things (and setting my expectations a little lower during this season). Thank you again for reminding us to have the end result in mind.

  • Julie+Bestry says:

    This post is just filled with excellent points. Echoing what you (and Simon Sinek) say, the “why” is the secret sauce to so much. Why do you want that end-result? Why is the situation the way it is? Without clarity on these questions, it’s hard to have the right motivation and the effective approach to solutions. Finding your why is an ongoing process, just as the maintenance phase must be ongoing. Without that maintenance plan, you’ll keep coming back to the “why” in “Why is this a problem all over again?” Even the “why” of “why am I bringing this into my space? What am I going to do do with it and where am I going to put it?” are all essential steps. Thank you for bringing the clarity!

  • This is such an important distinction to make. Being organized, getting organized, and just wanting to be organized are all very different things. I love that you remind people to consider why they want to change and what is at the root of it. Great post.

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