Seeing Double? Quick Tips from a Professional Organizer

Written by Kathi Jaggers of Staging Your Next Move
Updated January 19, 2015
Professional organizers suggest tackling one drawer or closet in your home at a time.
Photo courtesy of Angie's List member David V. of Lake Zuric

Stop buying things a second time because you can't find them! Tackle your mess with these organizing tips to save time and money.

Get quotes from up to 3 pros!
Enter a zip below and get matched to top-rated pros near you.

Have you ever thought to yourself, “I could swear I already have a . . . (fill in the blank).” Or, “I know I just bought one of those last week.” Or better yet, “Why do I have two (or more) of these now?”

Not being able to find something when you want or need it is not only frustrating but can also lead to buying items you already have. You look around one day and discover you’ve got half a dozen tape measures scattered around the garage, or 10 jars of peanut butter in the pantry.

Sometimes it's no big deal — you can donate the peanut butter to a food pantry, and the tape measures won’t spoil. But in many cases, either the multiple purchases are not needed or cannot be used before expiring. That’s when excess buying can be a waste of your money and your time.

However, when you take the time to organize, designating a home for everything, you are a LOT less likely to buy double.

And the benefits of organizing go beyond savings in money and time spent on excess purchases. The time savings in finding things right away, the increase in energy and flow in your spaces when items are in their place, and the decrease in stress related to a lack of organization can be priceless when the rest of the world seems out of control.

So let’s run through a few simple tips for getting organized to help you create this peaceful atmosphere and mindset:

1. Organizing: start small

When most people think about organizing, they think too big and the task appears too overwhelming. So they give up.

But if you break larger to-do items (for example, organizing your kitchen) into smaller tasks (say, organizing the pantry), then it seems more doable and you're more likely to complete the organizing project.

RELATED: 10 Tips for Organizing Your Bedroom Closet

2. Set a timer before you start sorting

Start yourself out with a short period of time, such as an hour. When the timer goes off, complete what you’re in the middle of doing, then stop.

Knowing you only have to work on organizing for a short period will keep you focused. And you will be more likely to do another hour some other time, when you see how quickly the time went and how much you were able to accomplish.

3. Purge your possessions while organizing

Take this opportunity to get rid of excess items that you no longer want or need, and belongings that are no longer in working condition or are out of date. Don’t find a home for an item just because it's there.

Maybe those double purchases can be sold to make back some of the money you spent? Ask yourself when you last used it and whether it is truly likely you will use it in the future. Enjoy being generous and take excess items to someone in need.

4. Determine needs before purchasing organizing solutions

Many homeowners tend to buy organizing supplies in advance of doing the actual organizing. That works fine if you know for sure what you need.

But 99 percent of the time, you won’t know what you’ll need until you start organizing, and can determine the size and type of bin, label or holder that will work.

RELATED: How to Best Organize a Linen Closet

5. Ask for some home organization help!

Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Consider asking a family member or a good friend. You can offer to help that person do the same once your organizing is complete.

Having help will not only make this process go faster, but can also be a lot more fun with someone else. Or, consider hiring a local professional organizer who can provide you with fresh organizing ideas. Either way, don’t feel bad about getting help!

Once you get areas in your house more organized, I guarantee your “double vision” will improve immensely!

About this Experts Contributor: Kathi Jaggers, co-owner of Staging Your Next Move, has been a professional organizer and home stager in Louisville, Kentucky, since 2008. She and her business partner, Lynn Medeiros, also act as move managers, creating smoother moves for their clients. Follow this contributor on Twitter and Google+.

As of January 19, 2015, this service provider was highly rated on Angie's List. Ratings are subject to change based on consumer feedback, so check Angie's List for the most up-to-date reviews. The views expressed by this author do not necessarily reflect those of Angie's List.

Need professional help with your project?
Get quotes from top-rated pros.