The Best of the Best Advice on How to Get Organized in 2021 – Part 1

How to Get Organized

There’s something quite heartening about the end of a year, as it magically turns over to a new beginning. Like a clean sweep, we pass the baton, in the hope of something fresh. It gives us another chance to reset, to alter, to launch. It’s that moment of hopeful renewal that we are ready to exhale, triumph, and start all over again.

Every single one of us needs that moment this year, as we spring from so many challenges. I can’t think of a more important time to be mindful and embrace the power of collective thoughts. In that spirit, I’m bringing to you the wisdom and advice from incredibly smart and accomplished women, who spend their days helping others.

For the next 2 weeks, reap the encouragement from experts, the top Professional Organizers from around the country. They’ll make your life easier, as they guide you on how to get organized. Here’s a special gift for 2021. Share on X

Keep What Brings You Joy

Erin Neumann of Sacred Space Organizing says:

“My advice is to keep only what brings you joy and serves a purpose in your life and let go of the rest. When we are surrounded by the things we love we can live life to the fullest with deep intention in all that we do. I always recommend starting small and then continuing the momentum to other areas of your home and life.”

Let it Go

Seana Turner of The Seana Method says “Don’t waste time organizing what you should be shedding.”

Often we have the habit of simply buying containers to hold our ever-increasing collection of possessions. Unfortunately, this only crowds our space and creates a future sorting project. It is important to circulate items out on a regular basis. If a space is disorganized, start by evaluating what in the area is truly contributing to your current lifestyle. Items worth keeping are those that you love and/or use. If a belonging doesn’t meet these criteria, have the courage to let it go!


Hazel Thornton of Organized for Life shares why downsizing can help you discover the items you own that have real meaning.

It’s never too early (or too late) to start downsizing! And you don’t have to be planning to move, either. Why not make some decisions now – and clear out some things you no longer use or care about – so your loved ones won’t have to later? The things you leave behind are part of your legacy.

Even if you eliminate nothing at this time, your family will thank you if you identify your treasures and tell their stories. They can be specific to your life, or relate back to your ancestors’ lives. You can do it verbally, or on a super-sticky note. Take a photo of an item and add it to a story you write by hand or type on your computer. Add in some relevant family photos. You might find yourself wanting to learn more, and tell more stories, about your family history!

How to Get Organized
Credit: Jude Beck

Bag it

Lucy Kelly of Joyful Surroundings LLC suggests throwing out the trash before attempting to organize your possessions:

“It’s tempting to haul out one of the many dusty boxes from the garage and start sorting. Got to clear the clutter, right? That’s one way to do it, but it’s a shortcut to sweaty disillusionment. The most crucial step in any organizing project is always to find out what you’re dealing with and the quickest way to do that is to take out the trash.

Grab a trash bag and go around the house searching for everything you can immediately call trash, no decisions involved. Old food containers and wrappers, used paper towels and napkins, gum wrappers, and the fragments of leaves the dogs bring in on their tails. Pick it all up and stuff it in the trash bag. If the bag gets full, take it out to the can and start another bag.

If you find a lot of things you want to recycle, collect them in the same way. Fill the bag and take it out to the recycling can. Ignore anything you’re not immediately sure is trash. If you have to think about something, leave it and keep going in search of trash. If you might use those old boxes, leave them be. If they’re saggy and ripped and the cat threw up in them, and you can see they’ve become trash, out they go. Collecting all the trash might take a few minutes or it might take much longer. That’s okay, this is where we start.”

The “To-Do” List

Kim Tremblay of Space for You suggests going back to basics with the “to-do” list.

Sounds pretty simple and it is, but very effective too. Just writing it down, gets it out of your headspace and onto paper. It becomes more than just an idea. It becomes more real and it then helps you to be accountable to yourself. Just be accountable to yourself for now. Write a list for the day or the week, five items, prioritize them, and see what you can do. Then there is the satisfaction of crossing that item off the list. You can also have a “ta done” list which means that when you find yourself doing a chore that wasn’t on your list, write it down and cross it off. Yeah! Feels good. Right?

How to Get Organized
Credit: Anna Shvets

Finish Projects

Stacey Agin Murray of Organized Artistry recommends starting 2021 with a clean slate by completing any unfinished 2020 projects.

Commit to finishing projects you started but didn’t complete in 2020. Create a list of those projects and write down the steps that need to be taken to complete the project. Open your calendar and block out time to complete the tasks. Focus your time and brainpower on being able to scratch those projects and their related tasks off your to-do list. It’s OK if your list is long you’re still finishing up in January. The momentum of the ‘getting things done’ at the end of 2020 will motivate you to continue into the New Year.

Break Up Tasks

Neena Nandagopal of Almost Practical gives advice on how to get organized if you don’t know how to start.

One of the hardest things about getting organized is actually getting started. When there is stuff everywhere, digging out can seem impossible.

The trick is to break the project down into smaller tasks.

If you are cleaning off your desk, start with one drawer. Organizing the pantry? Start with one shelf.

Once you get the ball rolling, you will be surprised how much quicker everything falls into place.

It may sound cliché but organization is a journey – not a destination. So take it one step at a time.

Organizing Holiday Decor

Jodi Eisner of Method 2 the Madness shares how setting rules for yourself at certain times of the year can help you get organized.

Set rules for yourself:

When you go to put away all your decorations, that’s a good time to make mindful decisions. If you don’t like something or it is worn or broken, now is the time to let it go. It is not going to miraculously get better next year.

Try to store all like holiday items together; this way you can see exactly what you own. If you enjoy purchasing new decorations each year, designate a space, and set a rule that you can only keep what you have room to store.

Resist the urge to hold on to all your decorations with the notion of passing them on to your children. It’s ok to pass certain items down if they want them, but most adult children will tell you, they don’t want their parent’s “old stuff”.

When putting things away after the holiday is over, take your time. Put things away neatly and safely. This will make the following year much easier. 

Be sure to label everything. Be specific with the label so you don’t have to rummage through to find what you are looking for. Use either clear bins for all holiday decorations or color code according to the holiday.

How to Get Organized Now

The new year is not just a time to make resolutions, it’s a time to take action on those resolutions. You don’t even have to wait for January 1st to get started. The sooner you act on your intentions, the better. Learning how to get organized is not something that happens overnight. It takes effort, perseverance, and the willingness to take that first step towards this goal. By starting now, you’re building up the momentum that will carry you through into 2021 and beyond.


No more wondering how to get organized in 2021. You know what you need to do!

Use the advice shared by these knowledgeable organizing experts to guide you as your work towards your goal of being more organized.

And if you need more inspiration or motivation, keep an eye out for next week’s post (the first for 2021): The Best of the Best Advice on How to Get organized in 2021 – Part 2.

Which tip on how to get organized in 2021 will you be trying first?


How to Get Organized

Comments 8

  1. What a wonderful round-up of organizing advice! When we think about “getting organized,” it can seem like a large and overwhelming process. Reading the advice from my colleagues makes it clear that what’s needed is to start small. Begin with one area or task. Build success from there. It’s not possible, nor desirable to do everything at once. Feeling organized enough doesn’t happen overnight, but you can get there with commitment and support.

    1. Linda,
      The advice here is so smart and incredibly mindful. I’m looking forward to showcasing more tips and wisdom next week, including your important advice!

  2. Thanks for including my tip in this terrific roundup of ideas. I’m thankful to be associated with so many committed and talented professional organizers. Wishing everyone a productive and organized 2021!

    1. Seana,
      This post is a beautiful collection of wisdom, from hard working organizers, who make people’s lives easier. Stay tuned, there will be more pearls of wisdom from other fabulous organizers next week!!

    1. Sabrina,
      I don’t blame you one bit. Why should we surround ourselves with anything that doesn’t bring our lives joy in one form or another?

  3. You have curated quite a comprehensive list of organizing advice–and there’s still a Part 2 to come! Your readers are going to have a ton to contemplate as we all head into 2021. Love your graphics–looking forward to reading Part 2!

    1. Stacey,
      YES! There’s always so much to learn. I really like your advice about finishing up projects for 2021. Making a list of the projects and the steps we need to take to finish each one. It helps everyone to navigate what can be overwhelming!

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