Don’t Abandon Your Organizing Systems

organizing systems

Don’t abandon your organizing systems – they are the key to staying organized! 

“I got organized a few months ago, but now things are back to the way they were.”

“I tried getting organized, but it didn’t last.”

Do these sound familiar?

Do you think something is wrong with your organizing systems – or with you – because things don’t magically stay organized? Don’t get discouraged!

Here’s an open secret: you have to put some time and effort into maintaining your organizing systems. “Continue” is the last step in my Less Mess = Less Stress organizing system.

As most of my clients have heard me say, “The clothes are never going to put themselves back into the closet!”.

Staying organized isn’t a one-shot deal. Just like you have to keep exercising to stay in shape. And you’re never done with doing laundry. As the Zen koan says,

Before enlightenment, chop wood, carry water.

After enlightenment, chop wood, carry water.

Take a moment to let that sink in.

The good news: staying organized is a lot easier than getting organized.

Maintaining your systems involves activities like:

    • Putting things back into their “homes” (not leaving things out “just for now”) – hanging up clothes; putting the scissors back in the drawer; putting toys away
    • Creating homes for new things – creating files for new projects; finding a spot for the air fryer
    • Clearing out old things when they become clutter – shredding receipts you don’t need to keep; giving away clothes that your child has outgrown; letting go of tired towels when you buy new ones; deleting e-mails you’ve dealt with
    • Re-organizing or letting go of some things when you no longer have room for them – when your bookcases are overflowing; when your closet threatens to avalanche when you open the door


How often you need to maintain your systems depends on: the pace of new things/info coming in; your space and your own preferences and “tolerance for chaos”.

For example: You may feel more energized to start working in the morning if you clear off your desk first, or you may feel that clearing your desk at the end of the day gives you a sense of completion.

It can be surprisingly satisfying to keep your systems maintained. I love the feeling of dropping pens back into my pen cup. Neatly folding your sweaters can give you an unexpected sense of calm and control. Making a clear label for the folder for a new project can boost your motivation to work on it.

organizing systems

Think about your space: are there areas that are bothering you – that feel cluttered and out of control? How would you feel if they looked and functioned better? What maintenance activities would make a difference?

You can do maintenance activities on a regular basis (process the mail every day) or as they become necessary (purge your papers when the file drawer gets full).

If you’ve neglected maintenance for a long time and you need a serious system re-set, there’s no shame in getting help! Working together we can quickly get you back on track.


Take 5-10 minutes right now to tackle a nagging maintenance activity. Toss and file papers on your desk. Clear off the coffee table. Weed some old magazines. Clean out the refrigerator.

Then, celebrate your progress!

Let me know how it goes. I’m here to cheer on your successes and help with any challenges.

As Seen On:

Gotham Organizers