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The secret to having an organised home (from a professional organiser)


By Helen Butler

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Contrary to popular belief I was not born with the organising gene.

Tanya in her organised home officeIt may surprise you to know that even though I’m a professional organiser, I’m not one of those women who spends every waking second organising my undie drawer, colour coding my Tupperware or writing to-do lists as long as my arm.

Sure I have lots to do, I run my own business as well as care for my family and myself. To-do lists are inevitable, but really, colour coding and categorising?  That takes it too far, even for me!

Actually, organizing my home, like everything that got me to this point in my life, has been learnt.

What I have worked out is this – the organising strategies you use in your home, life and business have to work for you.  And if you didn’t know what they are, you need to go and learn them.

This is the key to being organised, knowing what works for you, learning those specific strategies and running with them.

So how do you know what works for you?  And once you know that, how do you go about getting your home organised?

Here are 6 tips to get you started:

Stop comparing yourself to others.  I know this can be hard, but really no one knows you or the intricacies of  your life and its ups and downs, better than you.  Focus on you, your family and responsibilities and work toward making sense of them.

Look around your home.  There will be one place you are already organised, I promise!  Go there, check it out, and work out what’s so good about it.  Are things in little containers, holding everything in neatly?  Have you used great colours that you love and make you want to keep the space organised?  Is the space so small there’s no other choice but to be organised?  Look hard and copy that process in other areas of your home and life.

Know what you’re good at – and do more of that!  Sure there may be things you have to do that you don’t like, but if possible delete those from your schedule and give them to someone else to do.

Make good use of the 168 hours you have each week.  Let other people help you do the things you don’t like – whether that’s your partner, children or hired help – so you can free up time to do what you love.

Cut down on the number of steps it takes to do things at work or home.  Fewer steps = more chance of it getting done.  Even better it will free up more time for you to do everything else you need to – you’ve got to be happy with that!

Put off what doesn’t have to be done right now.  There are very few things that need to be done right this minute, so set yourself up with a planner that works for you (either digital or physical diary) and get scheduling.

These strategies will help you start to make sense of the clutter and disorganisation in your home.  There’s no need to do them all at once, goodness knows none of us have time for that.  Just pick one, focus on it for a month or so, and see how you go.

What do you do to stay organised at home? Leave a comment and let us know.

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Helen Butler - to view all of Helen's blog post click here

Owner and Director of Clutter Rescue, Helen Butler is an Expert Professional Organiser who works with Mums to move them from BUSY to Balanced by helping them organise and declutter their space and time. Sign up to receive a free copy of the Eight Traits of an Organised Mum and to learn about Clutter Rescue’s new definition of BUSY.


  • Excellent tips Helen. 168 hours in a week, that puts everything into perspective, when I take out the 49 hours on average I sleep that leaves 119 hours that I really could use more productively!

    • I know Jodi – it does sound like a lot of time doesn’t it? With 119 hours you could learn to belly dance, train for a marathon or take up karate – whatever you love doing – as well as all the ‘normal’ stuff that needs doing in a day. Good luck with your journey! 🙂

  • What don’t do with my 168 hours a week? Holy cow.
    Thank you for this, the point I loved is doing what works for you. I am all about things being in a certain order – by alphabet, numbers, colours, sizes etc. I find my problem is that I don’t communicate this order to others then get frustrated when its not done correctly.
    So now I know how to keep everything organised, just tell others how I like it!

    • Hi Nicole! Thanks for your lovely comment. Yes, communicating what we want with others is important to keep any system running smoothly. Be gentle with yourself though, particularly if they don’t follow or understand the system. Start with something small and simple (eg unpacking school bag and putting notes and lunch box where you want them) and stick with that for a month or so before moving onto something else. Take care and good luck! 🙂

  • I loved reading that you weren’t born organised. I’ve never looked at organisation in the home in the way that you put it eg knowing what works for you, learning those specific strategies and running with them. Organisation seems a lot more achievable now! Thanks for the fab tips.

    • Thanks Jane! The key is to not over think it. The world won’t fall apart if we don’t fold the washing, but if we have a day (or three!) when we wash and fold it frees us up on other days. Simple systems with two or three steps – that work for you – is the aim. Good luck with your journey! 🙂