"I was really inspired to write you a note and let you know how much I love and enjoy what you've put together with First 30 Days! The site really offers so much value and practical wisdom for people's lives-it's just wonderful." -William
Read More Testimonials»

On the New Directions Blog

Young Adults and Addiction: The Benefits of Inpatient Care

For many young people, drug use and experimentation is a rite of passage of sorts. However, experimenting with drugs and alcohol is far from harmless, and can often result in lifelong...

Read More About Young Adults and Addiction: The Benefits of Inpatient Care»

Our Getting Organized Experts

Peter Walsh

Peter Walsh

Design professional and star of TLC's Clean Sweep

Shared by First30Days View Profile»
Meryl Starr

Meryl Starr

Organizing expert, author and personal consultant

Shared by First30Days View Profile»
Debbie Stanley

Debbie Stanley

Author and owner of Red Letter Day, a professional organizing...

Shared by First30Days View Profile»

Meet all of our New Directions Experts»

Ideas for a Simple, Clutter-Free Life

 

It’s 7:42 as you get in the car. You can still make your 8:00 meeting if— where are those keys? You dash back inside; rummage through the upstairs, downstairs—no keys. Stumbling across toys, magazines and shoes, you collapse on the family room couch. 7:54—you’re late. Now you’ll have to call work.

Sound familiar? You’re not alone. Americans are finding themselves drowning in clutter. According to Agency Sales magazine, about 80% of what people have never gets used. And at what cost? Lost time. Not just at home, but also at work; Fast Company says corporate executives waste six weeks per year searching for lost documents.

What you do during the first 30 days of getting organized can make or break your organizing ideas as you clear out the clutter and put long-term plans into place that will keep you organized into the future.

Where to Begin?

Figuring out what to organize first can be incredibly overwhelming. “You should start organizing the part of your life that bugs you the most,” says Julia Signore, professional organizer and owner of 1,2,3, Sort It, a professional organizing company in Maui, HI. If there’s no one place that’s worse than the rest, focus on giving your whole house a light overhaul.

Jean from Ocala, FL, made the garage her starting point. “I chose the garage first because it was getting dangerously out of control,” she recalls. After throwing out unusable items, Jean took the items she wanted to keep and packed them up in boxes.
Once you’ve decided where you want to start, create a vision for that space. “The most important thing to do is establish what your goals are,” says Laura Leist, certified professional organizer and owner of Washington state-based Eliminate Chaos LLC.

It’s also really important to develop a manageable schedule and stick with it. Figure out how much time you can devote daily or weekly to organizing. If your plan is realistic, you’ll stick to it and start seeing results immediately.

With a full-time career and toddler to care for, Jeanine from Warwick, RI, didn’t have much time to organize. “I felt so overwhelmed by my stuff and couldn’t find the things I needed,” she says. “I had to commit to organizing everyday.” By dedicating 10 minutes each day to organizing, Jeanine tackled a good portion of her house in the first three weeks.

Posted: 9/25/07
marvinwilliams

Becoming organized requires a whirlwind of activity, but I've found STAYING organized requires a system. Many highly successful people have taken the stress out of being busy by choosing an organizer for notes and projects that agrees with their personality. A helpful article on balancing many projects at once without forgetting anything is called The Secret: Link

DeborahD

This is great how do i make sure it will come to my email? There was not a box to click!

Only37Constant

I've only read the first page, and already I've gotten some great, usable ideas. Sometimes I can read through an entire book on the subject and not get a quick jump start like this. This is great!

Anonymous

My personal organizer recommended NOT starting with what was bugging me most, but something small and achievable. In my case, I did my pantry, which wasn't that bad, before my study, which is a disaster with eight boxes of paper! This way, I felt a sense of accomplishment to tackle the rest of the apartment!

  • By Anonymous
  • on 6/22/08 4:22 PM EST
Anonymous

My personal organizer recommended NOT starting with what was bugging me most, but something small and achievable. In my case, I did my pantry, which wasn't that bad, before my study, which is a disaster with eight boxes of paper! This way, I felt a sense of accomplishment to tackle the rest of the apartment!

  • By Anonymous
  • on 6/22/08 4:22 PM EST
Ballerina

I feel that I've received a most beautiful, useful gift today. A friend in Florida sent me a quote from "First 30 Days" ... and my daughter and I immediately enrolled in the program. We're both plagued with extreme accumulation and clutter, and what we've read today is truly encouraging.