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Utah County organizing pro shares top home organizing mistakes, how to avoid them

By Vicki Winterton special To The Daily Herald - | Jan 9, 2018
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A basement before Vicki Winterton's organizing.

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A basement after Vicki Winterton works her magic.

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Vicki Winterton completes shelving for a new move-in project.

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Vicki Winterton shows off one of her garage-organization projects.

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A cluttered pantry.

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The same pantry after it has been organized.

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A Tupperware drawer before organization.

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The same Tupperware drawer after it has been organized.

In my 11 years as a Utah-located home organizing professional, I have learned that most people genuinely want to get organized but are held back by hidden barriers they don’t understand.

All home disorder can be attributed to at least one technical problem also known as simple mistakes in a home organizing plan. These mistakes can be fixed by identifying your own problem areas and trying a few of the solutions listed here.

7 Mistakes and Their Solutions

1. Thinking too big. Not knowing where to begin is a classic symptom of being overwhelmed by clutter. Often my clients get caught in wanting to make a “perfect” decision. Perfection thinking nearly always brings paralysis. Instead, create a master plan. Break your home organizing tasks into different rooms and then spaces within those rooms. Once you have a defined plan, start in one room of your home that has a trouble area easy to complete within a one hour period of time.

2. Confusing decluttering with organizing. My clients often think that decluttering and organizing are the same thing. They are two completely different strategies. Instead, recognize the difference between the two. Decluttering is needed when you have more items than you have space in which to store them. Items that bring little value to your current life need to go. Anything that is left can now be organized into simplified purposeful order. And, it is true that when you get accustomed to living with less, it becomes second nature to live organized.

3. Keeping something “just in case.” We all know the frustration of throwing something away and then regretting it later because we find we need it. Instead, realize that the amount of space taken up by those “just in case” items far outweighs the inconvenience of having to rebuy or borrow a few things that might be discarded in error.

4. Items have no specific assigned home. By the time my clients call me, they realize that their clutter has become somewhat invisible to them but triggering and bothersome to their brains. Instead, devote 30 minutes today to assign a specific home to each item in one of your piles.

5. Storage is inconvenient. Is it too much of an ordeal to put things away? If you have to go climb a ladder or cross the length of your house just to put something away you’ll rarely do it. Instead, store items in the rooms where they are most often used. Keep the items you use every day in plain sight or at eye level. The things you use daily should be easiest to get to. The things you use once a year ought to require a step stool.

6. Not labeling containers. Even my clients with great memories and small homes now recognize the need for visual reminders of what is stored in their boxes. Instead, recognize the importance of labeling things. Using a piece of tape and a permanent marker, or label tags will keep family members from rummaging through containers to find what they want.

7. Thinking “living organized” is a one-time activity. Instead, getting organized and living organized are two very different concepts. Living organized takes consistent buy in. Keep on top of the items stored in your home by consistently downsizing and then organizing what is still used and most loved.

Individuals who live organized save time. For every hour invested in organizing, three to four hours are acquired. Living organized pays back every single day! When our surroundings are organized life feels comfortable and at peace. Who doesn’t want more of that in their life?

If you feel you are ready to live differently and want step-by-step detailed solutions that will allow you to free yourself from the burden of household clutter, I invite you to attend one of the two classes I will present right here in Utah County.


WHAT: A free home-organizing class presented by Utah County’s own home-organizing professional, Vicki Winterton

WHEN AND WHERE: Two shows — the first is Thursday at 7 p.m. at the Orem City Library and the second is at 7 p.m. on March 8 at the Springville City Library.

INFO: organize-utah.com/get-organized-classes

MORE: Bring a friend for a chance to win a prize package.


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