Organize This! Our Chat On Facebook

Posted on May 21 2012 - 4:10pm by Jessica Johnson

Did you miss the incredible live Facebook chat with professional organizers Joshua Zerkel and Lisa Zaslow?

It was packed—pun intended—with good information. Really, though, there was so much good, professional information shared that I wanted to pass along some of it to those who missed it.

CLEANING AND PURGING your home, workspace, storage:

Be prepared: come up with criteria, have good supplies (black trash bags, recycling bin, donation bin, and a container for items to sell), and have time set aside at the end of each organizing session to take your items to donation center.

There will be items that you can’t decide on, so consider a “Maybe” bin and come back to it later. Cleaning out small spaces should be a quick process.

Start with and try to be judicious in getting rid of the bigger items—you will feel satisfaction and progress, which will compel you to continue. Don’t start cleaning out by looking at papers and memorabilia, and definitely don’t read all of the papers and notes.


Only purchase the amount of consumables you will use in a realistic amount of time. Paper towels may seem like a good deal when you buy them in bulk, but you are paying for the square footage where they will need to be stored. Keep it simple and small when you occupy a small space.

Use your walls for more storage. Sturdy, shelving units with adjustable shelves provide more access than ceiling spaces. Attach your storage units securely to the wall, especially if you are located in an earthquake zone.


Have the kids be involved when setting up their organizing systems. They will have more ownership in it and may come up with better ideas that you originally had. You will need to remind them to keep it organized until it becomes a habit for your kids.


Look for ways to create more space, rent a trailer or consider shipping really important items. Be smart about what you are transporting. Only take what you love, consider selling your items before you move, and replenish items once you move.


Some of us love the thrill of a good deal, but are running out of space to hold all of these items in our homes and storage spaces. Try “Almost Purchasing”—when you are at the store, play with the item, try it on, and then walk out. If after an hour, you truly want the item, give yourself permission to go back and purchase it. Put a delay on buying more things, and have an idea of where you are going to put it when it gets home.

Another concept to try is the “One In, One Out” strategy. For every one item you bring into your home, you must get rid of an item. If you are really strapped for space, up the ante to “One In, TWO Out.”


Use bins that are waterproof and find a product like Desiccant, which will suck the moisture out of the box. Paper items should not be stored in garages or basements. A room inside that is climate-controlled is the most ideal for items that are important.

If you’re interested in becoming or finding a professional organizer, visit the National Association of Professional Organizers at

Did your question get answered? Is there a question you have that you would love for a professional organizer to answer?