The 8 habits that drive professional organisers crazy

Which ones are you guilty of?
Marcel Aucar

It is often simpler to see from the outside looking in where things are going wrong as we drown in the clutter of our daily lives.

Enter professional organisers, who are trained to recognise our bad habits and suggest new ways to combat them.

“When I work with clients, I make sure that a system is right for them (& and the rest of the household) so that it has a chance of being maintained, says home organisation specialist Georgie Rees of Clutterfly. “I think there are many people out there feeling the pressure of the ‘perfect’ images we see on the internet, so I encourage clients to focus on what’s right for their family.”

“It’s actually surprising how a space can instantly feel more aesthetically pleasing if there’s a system that’s followed, no matter how simple.”

Georgie Rees, Clutterfly
The 8 habits that drive professional organisers crazy | Home Beautiful Magazine Australia
(Credit: Getty images)

Here are the things professionals say we should not be doing:

1. Not making your bed

Most professional organisers will encourage us to make our bed first thing in the morning to start the day as you mean to continue. Ticking this job off your list and seeing the tidy results of your efforts is your number one job for the day.

2. Not making a to-do list

The biggest mistake of all is not knowing what your day holds. A list of things to do will keep you on track and provide the satisfaction of ticking things off as they are completed.

3. Overstuffing your storage

Know your limits – “a place for everything” doesn’t mean everything in the same place! Create storage for items with an idea of the capacity you will need to store them there and cull as needed to ensure you don’t collect clutter.

The 8 habits that drive professional organisers crazy | Home Beautiful Magazine Australia
(Credit: Melissa Heath)

4. Keeping unwanted items

Sometimes sentimental, sometimes simply hopeful to use it one day, it can often be difficult to say goodbye to things. Being organised and doing a good declutter means a little ruthlessness is in order. If you think it still has value, donate to charity, offer on a buy/swap/sell social group or give to a friend.

5. Hanging on to things just because they were expensive

“I will never earn an income from my rarely used handbag/shoe/jacket/jewellery collection that costs me more in real estate than what it’s worth,” says professional organiser Danielle Atkins on her Declutter Life blog.

Investment or not, if you’re not using it, get rid of it – it’s that simple. Some things hold their value however so consider selling to recoup some of your investment, but not if it takes more time than it’s worth to do so.

6. Filing without thinking

When filing anything, whether it’s kids’ artwork, bank statements or emails, don’t file things away forever that you’ll need again soon. Likewise try not to create big folders to stuff things into that you’ll never return to. Keep your systems efficient with regular edits.

The 8 habits that drive professional organisers crazy | Home Beautiful Magazine Australia
(Credit: Sue Stubbs)

7. Breaking habits that are working for you

“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”, goes the adage and this is particularly true with home organisation. Stick to your systems that work – lining up your lunchboxes, storing items carefully in your fridge, folding towels just so… are all valid ways to help things stay where they should and continue help your efficiency. Keep it simple though. “I often see examples of people trying to set up systems that are too elaborate to actually be maintained,” says Georgie Rees. “Whilst they might look good or be a great organising solution, if they aren’t going to be maintained then there’s no point.”

8. Getting distracted from an organising task

“As tempting as it is to just leave a task unfinished if you are tired or needing to get on with something else, it’s always better to just do it there and then, so it’s done,” advises Georgie. “For example, once the shopping is unpacked, make sure the shopping bags go straight back to the car rather than sitting in a pile at the door until you go out again. We all know that little things can pile up very quickly and get out of control before you know it.”

When you set yourself a task to declutter a space, keep at it. Don’t move from room to room as you sort and organise things. Set up piles nearby for things to distribute, dump or donate and stay where you are.


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