Value of Labeling

by Janine Cavanaugh, CPO®
Janine Cavanaugh, CPO®
While on vacation I read an article on the plane about David Beckham.  Did you know he’s really into Legos?  While reading, I was reminded of a client of mine.  I helped her organize her son’s room and his large Lego collection.  He liked them sorted by theme, so we put different themes into different containers.  That action would have been futile unless we labeled them.  We labeled the containers in two ways, with words and stickers that related to the themes.  Labeling is an important part of organizing, because it clearly indicates where an item belongs, and reinforces where an item needs to be returned. Do you think David Beckham had his Lego containers labeled? read more

What Would You Bring to a New Land?

I went to Ellis Island recently and was really fascinated by the history around me.  All those people arriving in a country where they didn’t know the language, customs or rules, but eager to make their way.  One of the things I found particularly fascinating was the luggage, the bags, baskets and trunks.

They literally moved their entire world in a handful of containers.  Clearly only those things that truly mattered made the cut.  It’s a good way to go about purging your own belongings.  If you were moving and could only bring what you could carry, what would you bring?  Granted you are going to keep more than that but, it should help with prioritizing which things you truly need or love. read more

Craft Organizing: Store Knitting Needles in Hanging File Folders

You may have several sets of favorite knitting needles, but organizing them for easy access and clean-up can be a challenge.

Here is a crafty organizing idea a client of mine came up with:

  1. Buy a portable file caddy
  2. Add hanging file folders
  3. Label each file tab with a needle number
  4. Group needle sets in labeled plastic bags or wrap them together with a rubber band
  5. File your needles!

Sets are now easily organized in individual file folders according to categories of size. When you need size 5 needles,you’ll know how to quickly find them and return them when you’re done.

If you would prefer to organize your needles by material type as well, you can add a descriptor to your tab. It would look like this: 5 – bamboo. This system can be as flexible or specific as you want. read more

Four Questions for Deciding Where to Store Things

This is true for everything from kitchen gadgets to computer gadgets, paper plates to paperwork, and craft supplies to first aid supplies.  Here are four questions to help you think through where to “assign homes” for all your stuff.

  1. “Where are its friends?” Items that are similar or are used together are friends.  For example, a hammer is friends with a screwdriver but not with your extra paper towels.  Postage stamps are friends with envelopes and matches are friends with candles.  When you keep all the friends together, it’s easier and quicker to find them.
  2. “Do I use it often or infrequently?” Not everything needs to be kept within arm’s reach.  Items you use frequently need to be accessible, but seldom-used items can be put away in a less convenient place.  Save your prime real estate storage space for the things you use the most.
  3. “Where do I use it?” For those things that you use frequently, keep it near where you use it.  Keep the dog leash near the door, the recycling bin near where you open the mail, and the ironing board near where you like to iron.
  4. “When it’s time to use it, where will I think to look for it?” Our brains are wired in such a way that we actually have different neuropaths for where to “put” and where to “find.”  Since what really counts is finding what we want when we want it, it’s best to store things according to where you will look for them.

When the above questions don’t help, think about where you would first look for something. There’s no right or wrong place.  It just needs to make sense to YOU.

Amanda Darlack is a Professional Organizer with Living Peace LLC of Salem, MA and Winchester, MA.  Check us out at  Or call (617) 519-5693. read more

The Organizing Process: More than Just Throwing Things Away

Have you ever tried to get organized simply by throwing things away?

Many people get fed up with the clutter in their homes and start chucking things, thinking that by having some space back they are more organized.  But in a few months, the clutter has returned.  It’s not that their organization system failed; it’s just that they were never organized in the first place.

Yes, getting organized includes weeding your belongings, but that is just one step in a whole process.  Each step is key to establishing a functional and lasting system. read more