This Is the Key to Staying Organized

Expert Jane Stoller breaks down how your organizing skills have to change with each phase of your life.

“People often say the hardest part is getting organized, but in my opinion, the hardest part is staying organized,” Jane Stoller, organizing expert and author of self-help book Organizing for Your Lifestyle: Adaptable Inspirations from Socks to Suitcasestells Domino.

The reason? As you go through different phases of your life, your priorities change—sometimes, your career is your primary focus, but when you get married and have kids, you might want to focus more on the home. “I think that when you’re single or with roommates, your organizing style is so much different from when you’re cohabitating with a significant other,” says Stoller. “You focus on different things, so your old methods don’t work anymore.” Stoller likens it to starting a new diet or workout—it’s hard to start, but then, you also have to keep tweaking it in order to make sure it’s still serving you.

As a result of her vast experience as an organizing expert and her ability to coach people from all walks of life, Stoller is currently in the process of launching an online coaching program in which she teaches people to organize, based on her passion for decluttering messy spaces. Calling herself a “structure strategist,” the author and coach creates an online, four-week module for her clients that are based primarily on individual needs.

“A busy career woman may want to start by focusing on her closet, while a homemaker would want to deal with her kitchen, for instance,” says Stoller. “I start with an informational call where I chat with my clients and find out what made them want to start getting organized in the first place.”

From there, the program is divided into four aspects of the organizing process: The science behind organizing, the closet, office efficiency, and final goal. “I think for people to really stay motivated when it comes to organizing, they need to know why it’s important—it can be frustrating spending a whole beautiful day inside organizing, but when you know it’ll save you time in the long run and lead to a calming, less stressed out environment, it’s much easier to stay motivated,” explains Stoller.

She also automatically starts each lesson with the closet because she says that most women find it the hardest place to keep clean, but it’s one of the easiest to organize—i.e., everything after goes much smoother.

From there, the class goes more into the nuances of organizing, which is what Stoller thinks really differentiates her from other organizing experts out there. “There are so many myths out there when it comes to organizing—for instance, people don’t know when to declutter versus when to organize,” says Stoller. “The goal is always function, but people get caught up in the nuances, like which hanger to buy, instead of focusing on what those items really accomplish.”

Stoller therefore offers suggestions for which items to buy for each space from kitchen to bathroom to bedroom, and she even works with her clients to create a way to change their style depending on what future changes they’ll be experiencing—like say, moving homes, or adding members to the family. “I think organizing has to suit your lifestyle: You shouldn’t change your lifestyle to organize,” she says.

This could mean always having ready-made toiletry bags on hand if you travel a lot, or arranging clothes based on color if you like to mix and match. Those little touches take organizing from a chore to something that makes your life easier, which is all we really want in life. “I think people tend to stick with [their organizing] because they then see how much time it saves them in the day, which is necessary in your always busy lives,” says Stoller. “My course serves as that foundation.”

Through her course, Stoller hopes to give people the tools they need to conquer whatever life throws at them: “Being more productive at home helps in every aspect of your life, from relationships to work,” she says. “And with an actionable plan, you can get some of those incredible benefits for yourselves.”

See more organizing stories:
The One App That Finally Organized My Life
How to Make Magazines a Stylish Part of Your Decor
Expert Takeaway Tips for Organizing Your Bookshelf

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Published on July 10, 2018 - 1:00pm EDT

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