The Magic Organizing Blog

An ongoing series of organizational tips and how-to's

Principles of Organizing - Find the Beauty

Dec 13, 2018

Today's two-hour kitchen job used the "Find the beauty" principle. This artist has limited storage space and wanted help using it better.  She has cupboards and shelves full of things, many unused, and just needed some prompts and tricks to lift the space up.

"Find the beauty" applied in many ways for this job.  As we emptied her most troublesome cabinets, we found many genuinely beautiful things, tucked right out of sight. The gorgeous platter pictured to the left was down in a bottom cupboard.  One plate hanger and a picture hook later and it is now a featured art piece above her table. The colors match her kitchen decor perfectly.  Magic!


We found the sweet wooden caddie that you can see in the picture collecting dust in the back of a shelf. We cleaned it up and it will be perfect for brushes and pencils and other art supplies.


She also had a genuinely attractive mug collection behind a cupboard door while at the same time she had boxes and bags of food items sitting in plain sight on an open shelf. I suggested a swap, and she agreed. Soon we had her mugs out where they can be seen placed right above her attractive tea collection.  The pantry foods and baking ingredients went in the closed cupboard.  What a difference that swap made.


Her own cupboards had hidden gifts of usefulness and beauty. Pure magic.

Expanded article here: https://alisonlongstaffmoore.blogspot.com/2018/12/principles-of-clutter-clearing-1-find.html

Principles of Organizing - Put like things together

Dec 17, 2018

Okay. This one is easy.

It just makes sense to store your batteries with your other batteries, or your light bulbs with your other light bulbs. It makes sense to store your candles all in one place, or your hardware together in a certain area (sorted by type and easy to find.)

Then when you need some, you know exactly where to look.

But a lot of folks, in their rush to get through their days, just put things away "wherever", and then later can't remember where on earth they stashed them.

"Oh, I wondered what happened to that." or, "How did that get in there?" or, "Is THAT where I put them?" or, "I just bought more, and now I find them," ---these are the sorts of comments I hear all the time.

In a recent job, my client lived in an area that has frequent power outages. She kept a lot of candles, which I found all over the place. There were some mixed in with stationary and envelopes (which were also stored in several places), some in with her Christmas decorations (also scattered), and some, strangely, in with her hammers an nails.

Eventually, we got all of her candles in one location, along with her matches, candle holders, and flashlights. Now, the next time the power goes out she has everything she needs all in one place.

We also dug out lots of batteries, many of them expired. We settled on one place where they will now be kept, and now she knows just where to look when she needs batteries. She also knows how many of which kind she has, and none are expired!

Save yourself time and money by keeping like things together in one place. You can do it!  

For the expanded article, see here: https://alisonlongstaffmoore.blogspot.com/2018/12/principles-of-clutter-clearing-2-store.html

Principles of Organizing - Observe your work style

Dec 18, 2018

I wish I could say that there is one perfect formula for how to organize, and if you just implement it, your life will be all better. 

But my experience is that each life is different. Each job must be tailored to the specific strengths and limitations of each person and situation.  So a big part of what we do is to assess how you are already using your space and then adapt and create ways that support you moving towards what you desire.  

We look at what you are already doing, how you are doing it, what your goals are, and what habits or physical limitations keep you from your desired outcome.

While there are general principles that guide how we help you organize, each one must be flexible. Each one has to respond to the client and space.  Each one guides the decisions we make depending on a synergy blending all the other principles with the client's work style and the spaces we are working in.

One client, let's call her "Emily," has a very visually motivated work style.  She responds to what she sees needs doing, and doesn't tend to get to things that are out of sight.  For example, for Emily, seeing a broken toaster would bump her into ordering a new toaster, whereas seeing, "order a new toaster" on a list might leave Emily feeling stuck. Emily had written plenty of lists but wasn't getting things done. So we adapted to her actual work style.

In Emily's case, how she worked clashed with the Feng shui principle of having everything tucked away and serene at the end of the workday. She figured out that if she stacks visual cues in her workspace, she plows through her to-do "lists" in a much speedier fashion.  Now she sets up her workspace each night with visual cues for the next morning, and now has little trouble getting started or getting through. She ignores the rule saying everything should be tidied at the end of the day to honor her need for visual cues.

So don't get bogged down in  organizational "rules." Be sure to adapt them according to how you actually work!  The "rules" are there to support you in getting where you want to go. They are not there to be one more thing you have to implement perfectly. "Perfectly" means adapting the concepts to work for you, based on how you already work.  It's magical. 

This article can be found slightly expanded here:  https://alisonlongstaffmoore.blogspot.com/2018/12/principles-of-organizing-observe-your.html