The Heart of Organizing podcast

I recently listened to all 25 episodes of THE HEART OF ORGANIZING, a podcast by the veteran San Francisco Bay Area professional organizer Andy Hartman of Clutter Free Services. Andy produced the series in 2009-2011 but it remains just as relevant and inspirational today.

Before beginning an organizing project, he encourages listeners to devote serious thought to exactly what they want to achieve and crucially, why. Only once you've determined what is important to you can you select and arrange your possessions to support those values.

He breaks down organizing projects into three "S's" -- simplify, sort, and store. To put it briefly:

  • Simplify. Getting rid of things that are obsolete, broken, not being used, accessible online, redundant with other possessions, or have low value for you (do not support what is important in your life or uplift you.)
  • Sort. Determining categories with whatever level of specificity works for you, and putting like with like. When categories overlap, choose one and cross-reference.
  • Store. Assigning each category a home and if necessary, a container. The stuff you use most often should be most accessible, the size of category should match the size of the space, and ideally the home should match the function (where you use something).

The first two steps, simplifying and sorting, can be done in either order or simultaneously. If you have difficulty simplifying, Andy recommends that you sort first to see what you have and where you have redundancies. And simplifying does not have to mean discarding. Andy offers a helpful episode and corresponding webpage with Resources for donating, selling, and re-cycling.  

If you need motivation to get started, check out his episode on "The Hidden Costs of Stuff." Consider the costs of losing things among the clutter and buying duplicates of what you already own; of late fees and damaged credit score for late bills; of off-site storage of unused belongings and of transporting them when you move. Things deteriorate from non-use. How much does it cost to maintain your things free from dust and pests? Is disorganization impacting your quality of life? Are you serving your stuff, instead of your stuff serving you? 

Marie Kondo's magical folding method

After reading Marie Kondo's mega-bestseller THE LIFE-CHANGING MAGIC OF TIDYING UP, I couldn't wait to try out her unique folding method.

She recommends folding garments in thirds vertically and horizontally so that they stand up in a drawer or other container like files, instead of in stacks which press wrinkles into clothes. Kondo's method looks beautiful and has the added benefit of making all of your items visible at once so that you can:

  • incorporate more of your items into regular rotation instead of picking from the top of a stack
  • more easily see redundancy or gaps in what you own
  • not waste time sorting through a stack for a particular item

The incredible part is that it takes up less space. I had a hard time believing this until I re-folded the contents of my dresser and ended up with an entire empty drawer

It's been a few weeks since my conversion to Kondo's method. Folding clean laundry takes a few extra minutes as I'm still getting accustomed to it. Even if I don't get much faster, I'd have to say it's worth it for wrinkle-free clothes, extra drawer space, and being able to see all my items standing neatly in a row. 

Give it a try and let me know what you think!

Image courtesy of  @letsjustorderapizza

Image courtesy of @letsjustorderapizza