I read a lot of magazines with organizing tips and after a while, you start to not see anything all that new. So in case you’re not the type to read that stuff, but you are the type to need the help, here is the best advice I’ve been able to glean in a step by step format.
Decide. Figure out where you want to start. You can’t organize a whole house in one day unless it was organize pretty recently. Pick a manageable area. If you have a whole house to organize, decide what reasonable areas would be to work with until the project is complete. Examples: A hall closet, your pantry, half your kitchen cabinets, one bathroom.
Assess. What is it that this space currently is? What is it that you want this space to be? What would make storage and organization in this area easier? Example: What you have is a catch all storage closet with everything that doesn't have any other place to go. You want a dedicated coat closet for outwear and bags.
Sort. Everything in the space is in one of two categories: should be there or shouldn’t be there. (Yes, very possibly some of what shouldn’t be there is trash, but still, it shouldn’t be there.) Relocate items you want to keep; trash, recycle, or donate everything you don't. Examples: You probably don't mean to keep a casserole dish in your coat closet, but that's where it ended up. Get rid of the broken sandals from two years ago that you loved. Recycle all those plastic bags--you don't need 200, or even 50. Donate your kids old coats and gloves.
Reassess. Once you have everything that you want to be in the space, spend some time thinking and talking to household members about what would make using this space easier. Pay special attention to small voices—it’s more important than you may realize. Be willing to let go of your own set ways in place of cooperative organization. Examples: If you would really prefer all shoes to be neatly in closets, but your household can’t get the hang of it, notice where they do keep shoes and find a way to make things organized where they already are. Also, reflect on why it is that you don’t want the household member to leave an item in a certain location. If the reason you don’t want an item on a table is because it’s difficult to get the table cleared, provide a basket where the person can put his or her belongings for quick and easy removal.
Implement. Begin returning the correct items to the space with the ideas you brainstormed in mind. Examples: Your daughter said a lower hook would help her put her jacket away on her own, rather than leaving it on the floor for you to hang on a hanger in the closet. Your son said that a basket in your living room would make cleaning up toys easier, rather than having to take everything upstairs to put away. You realized that simply buying more hangers would make you put away your clothes more often.
Next week: Most important concepts of organization