Simplifize Your Life: Organizing Basics Part 1

by Vanessa Hayes

in Around the House,Organize Anything Series,Organizing

I know I’ve said this before….but I really do wish that when I was growing up there was a requirement to take an organizing class as part of the prerequisites to graduate from high school.   I mean really, out of my nine years of military training as an officer in the Air Force and with all my undergraduate and graduate coursework, the classes that had the most impact on me were ones that taught me life skills…ones that I use every day like math, cooking, driving, and typing.  Why not organizing?  We’re expected to be efficient and productive at home and work, yet a key to success is being physically and mentally organized.  Unfortunately, it’s just not given much attention…until we’re desperate and can’t control the chaos!

The bad news is, being organized is not an innate skill.  The good news is, it’s a learned skill…so everyone has a chance to be organized.  Yes!

With that in mind I thought I’d do a series of posts on organizing basics.  I’ll be focusing specifically on how to organize physical spaces.  As I’ve helped folks organize their spaces I come to realize (as I’m sure most other professional organizers have too) that you can organize practically any space by following some basic steps and organizing concepts.  What I’d like to do is break down the organizing process for you step by step.  I call this process the NAPO cycle.  The NAPO cycle consists of the following steps:  Needs, Assess, Purge, and Organize.  Hmmm… isn’t that the same acronym as for the National Association of Professional Organizers?  Purely conicidence…but convenient!  Let’s face it, there are many different acronyms for organizing processes, yet they all follow very similar patterns and principles. My NAPO cycle works best for me and I recommend it for you too.

So here’s what you can’t expect from the series:

  • It will be a 6-part series: Part 1 Intro (this post), Part 2/Step 1 Needs, Part 3 /Step 2 Assess, Part 4/Step 3 Purge, Part 5/Step 4 Organize, Part 6 Finale
  • You can expect to see the posts every Wednesday and Friday for the next 3 weeks (barring any technical or scheduling difficulty as I am in the process of prepping for a move back to San Antonio, Texas…ye-haw!). Mondays will still be reserved for the ever-so-popular Quick Tips!
  • I will explain each step of the organizing process as well as share some basic concepts and tips with you.
  • Then, I’ll wrap up the series with a finale post…where I’ll pick a specific space to organize and walk you through the process step by step as explained in the previous posts.   Here’s where I’d LOVE for you to be involved. Let me know if there is a particular room of the house or office you’d like me to focus on in the finale.  After all…this is for you!!!

So with that, get ready!  Prepare to simply and organize your life…let’s Get Simplifized!!!

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Beth Tomas June 26, 2010 at 8:16 PM

Really, I need help in every room, but right now, I sure would love some help in my kitchen. With that, I suggest that the finale room is the kitchen.
In my particular case, I have a very small kitchen (less than 10 linear feet of counter space). It is a galley style kitchen (some people call it a “pullman” kitchen) from the 50s. As my whole house is small, all my everyday dishes and “special occasion” dishes are stored in the kitchen, along with various and sundry kitchen appliances. I do have a pantry (cabinet from IKEA). I keep only the appliances I use on a regular basis on the counter tops (food processor, toaster, microwave-yeah, I’m old skool) that way.
I struggle with my pots and pans and trying to keep the pantry functional. Also, lack of a dishwasher requires losing counter space to drying dishes. So cooking can most times becomes more of a chore than it should be. Actually, the whole kitchen always looks cluttered. Help??

Vanessa Hayes June 27, 2010 at 10:28 PM

Wow, Beth! Sounds like you’ve got a challenging situation with your small kitchen. I can understand your frustration trying to maintain an organized, functional and aesthetically pleasing kitchen with such limited space. I encourage you to follow the series for the next 3 weeks and continue to participate, ask questions and leave comments as we go through the steps. My goal is to give you and all the other readers a better understanding of the organizing process as well as some cool tips to help you out. Oh by the way, right now it looks like there’s a pretty good chance that the finale could be the kitchen ;o) We’ll see…
Thanks, so much for the comment, Beth!

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