On Day 1 & Day 2, you have de-cluttered your garage on the surfaces and inside drawers and cabinets, and taken care of the ‘stuff’, whether it’s recycling, donating, selling or trashing, it is now time to figure out your categories.

Deciding what categories of ‘stuff’ you want to store in your garage will help you determine how much you have in each, and where its ‘home’ will be.

Categories may look like this:

  1. Sports and Camping
  2. Keepsakes
  3. Tools & Home parts
  4. Back up home supplies
  5. Back up kitchen
  6. Cleaning supplies
  7. Gardening Supplies
  8. Electrical
  9. Holiday Décor
  10. Toys & Hobbies

There is no rule as to what to keep in a garage, but whatever you do end up keep there must be easily accessible, and live in its place consistently.

For now though, all you need to do is to go out into your garage with a piece of paper and a pen, and determine what categories of ‘stuff’ you will keep here.

That is all for today- have fun!






When Organizing anything, it is best to De-clutter first.  That way, you have a clean canvas to work with.

On Day 1 in our Garages, we De-cluttered the surface areas, the floor, and anything visible.

Today, we are going a little deeper.  We are De-Cluttering the cabinets, drawers, and bins.  This does NOT mean organize everything, or decide where to put it, it only means open up a cupboard or a drawer, decide what can go, and get rid of it. It does not mean decide where to put it, or to tidy things up.  This will distract you from the de-cluttering process.

Remember how to ‘get rid’ of things:

1. Garbage

2. Recycle


4. Sell

Be sure when you’ve decided what to sell, you list them today on craigslist, or in your local paper for next weekend.  Fridays are the best time to list things.  You may decide to use Ebay or ‘Play It Again Sports’ or a consignment store as well.  The key is, do it today, or at least this weekend.

Next, when you’ve decided what to donate, pack it into your car, and take it away today or this weekend.

When you are finished de-cluttering, put the ‘stuff’ back, such as bins or boxes, and call it a day.

Good Job!


Today let’s De-Clutter your Garage!

This is your first step to begin the process of ‘Organizing’.

The goal is to get all of the ‘stuff’ that is not needed out of your way.

I suggest having several bins, boxes or garage/recycling cans, and divide your ‘clutter’ (stuff you are not keeping):

1. Garbage

2. Recycle

3. Donate

4. Sell

Then begin the de-cluttering process.  Start in one corner of your garage, left to right in a clock-wise pattern, and begin putting the ‘stuff’ you are parting with into the categories listed above.  Stick to the ‘stuff’ you can see, including the things on the floor, counter tops, shelf tops, and things hanging on the walls. There is no need to go into cupboards, boxes or bins today.  This task is meant to clear the way for more progress.

Once your things are divided, throw what needs to be thrown. Recycle what needs to be recycled. Drive the things you are donating to the nearest drop-off center. Last, if you choose to sell things, list them now- whether it’s eBay, Craigslist, or your local Newspaper.

They key is to get the things that you’ve determined you were getting rid of- well- RID OF.  Today.

Have fun!



Lately folks have been approaching me in masses asking about how to go about organizing their garages. Garages seem to be the dumping ground or clearing house for all of the extra ‘stuff’.

There are two kinds of garages. The first is the kind that holds very little and is so clean you can eat off of the floor. It houses the car. The second is the complete opposite of this. We are dealing with the later here.

The first step in addressing a garage is to figure out its purpose in your own household.

* What do you use your garage for? (storage, play area, work area, work out area, etc.)
* What categories of ‘stuff’ go here? (camping, holiday, sports, storage, tools, etc.)
* Do you need access to the ‘stuff’ that lives here?
* If so, do you feel you have the proper shelving, bins, boxes or cabinets to meet your

Once you determined the answers to the questions above, we are ready to begin. Stay tuned for further direction.


Organizing is such a big word. It’s the thing to do. It’s vogue. It’s on the front of every magazine cover (along with health and weight loss). No wonder we feel so much pressure!

Your goal when it comes to ‘Organizing’?: BALANCE. Be realistic in your endeavor. Do what you can do. If you have kids, a spouse or roommates, or if you work 60 hours a week, things will get cluttered. Your home will more than likely never look like ‘Better Homes and Gardens’ or Martha Stewart’s unless you hire someone to maintain it for you. A home or an office is meant to be lived in and used.

A good, and useful step in organizing is to have a ‘home’ for everything in your house or office. Know where to locate your ‘stuff’ so you don’t have to search for it. Keep in mind though, once things have a ‘home’, they often take vacations. (They get used and are not put back). This requires one to develop habits, commitment, and comfort with the new ‘home’ or location of an item.

Organizing requires maintenance. It’s just like housecleaning. You clean- it gets dirty- you clean again.

You organize- it gets cluttered- you organize again.

Be gentle with yourself.


You have been working on ‘Your Main Living Space’. This includes Living Rooms, Dens, Kitchen Islands, and any other areas that get used heavily and ‘stuff’ tends to congregate.

Here is a brief summary of what you should have been accomplishing:

De-clutter Surfaces: (Floors, furniture, counter tops)- Determine:
1. Toss it
2. Recycle or Repurpose it
3. Donate it
4. Put it in it’s ‘home’ (where it is supposed to live).

De-Clutter Drawers or Cabinets: Put the clutter:
1. Toss it
2. Recycle or Repurpose it
3. Donate it
4. Put it in it’s ‘home’ (where it is supposed to live).

De-Clutter Media & Electronics: (cords, X-boxes, CD’s, VHS Tapes, DVD’s)- Determine:
1. Have I watched it or listened to it? Will I again?
2. Do I even have a VCR anymore?
3. Are all the proper movies and music with the proper cases?

The last steps in this process are:
1. De-clutter any other areas- inside or outside- in your main living space if you have not yet
2. Drop your ‘stuff’ at Goodwill today, or any other place you will donate to
3. MAINTAIN this area. Each night or each morning, pick up, de-clutter, and organize these areas.

Soon you and other members in your household will get used to this. It will be second nature, energy will flow more easily, and you all fill feel less pressure, and be less overwhelmed.


Your Main Living Space is your Living Room, Den, Kitchen Island, or any other area in the home you spend a lot of time, and ‘stuff’ collects.

The last two posts we de-cluttered. Now we are working on our Media Area. This includes cords, video games, adapters, and DVD’s or Video Tapes.

This area is simple to attack, and necessary.

First, look at your cords and electronic things. Many people tend to hold on to these and they seem to multiply. Make sure each cord or adapter you have here goes with something. Label it so you know where it is needed when you need it. The rest may be donated or go to E-waste. I know it’s hard to part with these things, but unless you know what they are for, they are useless.

Next, look at your DVD’s, CD’s, Video Tapes, Video Games (X-box for example), or anything else you are hanging on to. Decide:

1. Have I watched it or listened to it? Will I again?
2. Do I even have a VCR anymore?
3. Are all the proper movies and music with the proper cases?

Then, you are free to purge what you don’t need, and donate it. Keep in mind we are nearing the point of not being able to view VCR Tapes. If you have something valuable, locate a company to transfer it onto a DVD for you, or buy something to do it for you. An inexpensive effective suggestion is: Roxio Easy VHS to DVD. It can be purchased at Sears, Office Depot, or Walmart.

Now put everything you’ve gone through back. Wrap cords neatly. Some like to alphabetize DVD’s or CD’s (Kid’s are great helpers here)

Great work today! Now you are ready to move on.

Great work!


The Main Living Space of a home is often a Living Room, a Den, or the Island of a Kitchen. It is where everything gets dumped, and a lot of time is spent by most of the family.

This area tends to get cluttered and disorganized often.

In my last blog all surfaces in this area were de-cluttered. Remember, this should continue daily. A general ‘sweep’ of stuff is required each night or early each morning for maintenance. This conditions us, and makes it a habit in our lives.

The next step in our Main Living Space is addressing any drawers you may have in these areas. Often end tables or built in media centers have drawers. Start left to right, in a clockwise pattern, and open each drawer. Determine the purpose of that drawer. Empty everything else out that does not belong there and put it:

1. Where it belongs
2. In your car to donate it
3. In the trash

Attempt to do all drawers today. It’s easiest to do one task in one time slot. That way, you stay focused and have a better chance of finishing.

Great work on your commitment to an Organized 2012!


Living Areas in homes can be one main room or maybe two or three. This depends upon how big your home is, and how big your family. It also depends upon how much time you spend at home. It usually includes a living room, maybe a kitchen island (not the whole kitchen today), or a den of some sort.

Regardless of what those areas are for you, today we are focusing here. As always, if you get on a roll, by all means, do more than indicated in this blog.

Simply ‘de-clutter’ surfaces. A surface is the outside and top of things. This means tables of all kinds, counters, floors, and furniture. When de-cluttering, it simply implies taking anything from the surface, and either:

1. Toss it
2. Recycle or Repurpose it
3. Donate it
4. Put it in it’s ‘home’ (where it is supposed to live).

If you have a lot of ‘stuff’, then do piles or put it in labeled bags or cardboard boxes. When labeling the piles or the boxes, I suggest using a bright post it note with a sharpie marker. This way, you don’t have to think- you automatically put whatever belongs in the pile there.

‘Stuff’ may include: magazine, papers, notes, pens, excess decor items that are old, broken or used beyond their intended life span, toys, medicine, cups or plates, mail, office supplies, clothes, hats- it’s that ‘stuff’ that accumulates, looks like clutter, and needs to go somewhere else.

When you finish with this- follow through. Throw, Recycle, Donate (these items go directly into your car today), or put into their ‘home’.

Solicit help if you’d like and make this fun! The key is to keep this area de-cluttered. Do a clean sweep each day and maintain what you have done.

De-cluttering is the first step in Organizing.


I’ve always wanted to make a top 10 list.

The problem is, there aren’t really any steadfast rules to being an organized person. We are human beings. We are individuals. We think differently, act differently, and perceive things differently. This is determined by genetics, our environment, and even our culture, just to name a few.

That said, I will make a few suggestions- and if they ring true- then apply them. If not, read on to the next.

First, strive for balance, not perfection. I’ve found that if perfection is your standard when it comes to organizing, that you’ll do just that. Organize. Organize constantly. This is not a balance approach, and tend to be time consuming.
Second, be realistic. Do tasks in bite sized pieces if that’s all you have time for. Do what you can do. Be happy with that. Move on.
Third, start as you mean to go on. When implementing a system, visualize the end. Then begin with that intention in mind.
Fourth, stick to it. Once you’ve developed a ‘system’- even if it’s going through the mail immediately and tossing what you don’t need, then continue with it.
Fifth, maintain your environment. Organizing is like cleaning. We clean our homes when they are dirty, we organize when things become chaotic.
Sixth, know yourself. If you are a ‘do it all at once’ kind of person, then by all means, take a weekend and bust it out. If you are a ‘do a tiny task’ a couple of times a week type, that’s fine too.
Seventh, be honest. Disorganization leads to chaos. Chaos leads to loss of time, confusion, lost items, forgotten plans. I know you know exactly where that piece of paper is on that pile on your desk- but I guarantee you will find it faster if it’s in the same spot each time.
Eighth, everything must have a home. That means when you, or someone in your family or business uses something, it goes back to that exact spot when you are finished with it. It lives there.
Ninth, Organization does not come naturally, as I have previously written. It does not come naturally by reading all the books on organization or buying all of the newest gadgets to get organized. It is a learned behavior for many. It is a habit. This is what we will be working on this year.
Last, do only the next indicated step. This means that when approaching a task, don’t look at the entire room, office or home if it is upsetting, but only the immediate item in front of you. This will immensely aid in decreasing feelings of being overwhelmed, as well as for those of you who tend to get a little distracted.

Wow- I guess I did finally do my list of 10- at least for today. Like everything, things change.

So will you if you stay tuned!

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Become more organized – OR experience a De-cluttered Calm Life

Become More OrganizedMissy Bystrom, professional organizer of over 25 years give you her insights and ideas on how to live a more balanced, and less cluttered and chaotic life. No workbooks, no ‘step-by-step’, just a simple common sense approach you can listen to and follow at your own pace. Listen while you are driving or at home, and get ready for a calm, balanced life!

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