3 Simple Steps To Do BEFORE You Start Organizing

by Melody Mesick


Finding the incentive to tackle that jam-packed closet or address the pile of papers tumbling off the desk is difficult for even the most ambitious of individuals. Why? Because it can feel so overwhelming!

For many, organizing seems to remain on the “to-do” list rather than the “done” list because the time commitment to complete it prevents us from beginning at all.  We think, “I don’t have time!” or “I don’t know where to even begin.” We’ve quit before even starting.

How can you take your organizing project from overwhelming to attainable? Here are 3 simple steps or approaches to consider before you even begin, so that when you do, you feel in control, motivated, and efficient.

1. Prioritize - Most of the time, you simply don’t have enough hours in the day to complete an organizing project from beginning to end. So identifying which areas to focus on first can really alleviate the pressure. A great rule of thumb is to address the visible clutter first. Instead of starting with a hidden desk drawer, begin sorting the clutter on top of the desk. If you can see your progress early on, you’ll feel more encouraged to continue working.

2. Clear Space – When you are sorting items, it’s super helpful to have a space to group like-items together outside of their long-term home. So clear off a counter, a bed or even some floor space to designate for category groupings as you go. You can use hampers or boxes that are labeled things like “toss,” “donate,” “storage,” or even more specific item groups, like “office supplies,” “Joe’s sports gear,” etc.

3. Time It – An organizing project may need 10 hours to complete, but instead of waiting until you have 10 hours to spare, start small. Set a timer for 10 to 15 minutes and try to get as much done in that allotted time. You may actually gain some momentum and go well beyond your time frame. Whether if you complete 10 or 20-minutes of work, these regular “power sessions” will really add up.

Featured Image: photo source

Bneato Website Group Photo!

I would Love Your Support!

These past 6 years of Bneato have been such a wonderful experience and I couldn’t have done it without you (Bneato clients, Boot Camp attendees, family, friends and fans)! That’s why I’d love to feature YOU on my website in a group photo. My friend, Laure Joliet, will be taking a group photo in the Bneato spirit (think fun) and I’d love to have you stop by. The picture will be taken on Friday, May 25th at 2:00 p.m. It will only take about 10-15 minutes of your time and I won’t tell a soul that you took off work early for an early start to your Memorial Day Weekend!!
What: Bneato Group Photo (will be put on the Bneato website)

When: Friday, May 25th @ 2:00 pm

Where: Community Room of United Methodist Church (at Reservoir and Alvarado in Echo Park)

Think: Bright, solid tops, stripes, polka dots (blues, reds, greens, yellows, purples work great).

Spread the word and RSVP if you can make it!

There will be treats for everyone + organizing goodies for the first folks to RSVP!

Bneato on Daily Candy Deals. word.


i was super impressed with the write-up and layout of Bneato’s Daily Candy Deals feature. it’s been a little over a year since we first appeared on Daily Candy and that experience led us to so many of our favorite clients–and i’m sure this will be no different. rock steady.

Bneato’s Daily Candy Deal lasts until Sunday, October 30th.











find us on FB

even though i can’t blog everyday i do try and post links to interesting articles and tips regarding all things organizing on the Bneato FB page. what else will you find on the ‘ole fan page?

-links to our current newsletter

-before and after pics from recent projects

-inspiring quotes

-information on free shredding events in the Los Angeles area

-our twitter feed (which has all sorts of useful info)

-direct links to articles i write about productivity and efficiency on other blogs & websites

-up to the minute info regarding organizing boot camp and classes offered

-plus lots more!

so go ahead. like bneato.

Shred Or Go Home!

Look at my fun new toy!!! Nathan at AIM Mail Center in Glendale made this fun new license plate holder for the Bneato automobile (aka a Scion). I’ll have to start practicing on being a better driver (I have been known before to get a little impatient behind slow drivers…). How fun (and totally ridiculous is this)? I would have never spent money on one before but I won a gift certificate to Nathan’s store and he suggested I get a personalized license plate holder–and I thought, why the heck not?!

Organizing Receipts

Having a simple way to handle receipts will save you tons of time
1. Just say no. Grocery store receipts are rarely needed so just say no at the check out line and decline the receipt.
2. If you use your credit/debit card at Target, they’re able to pull up your receipt (so again–you can feel confident declining the receipt at the register).
3. Have a place for your receipts to go in your purse or wallet. Go through them when you get home and transfer them to an active storage spot.
4. Your active storage spot might be a small drawer or an accordion file folder. Each week (or as often as needed) go through your active file spot and recycle or shred receipts that you no longer need.
5. If you’re going to hang onto your receipts long-term, think about scanning them in. Most receipts are printed on thermal paper (which fades over time). Plus, the IRS prefers scanned in paperwork (which means less clutter)!
6. Fijitsu SnapScan and Neat Receipts are great products to invest in for scanning paperwork.

How To: Organize A Purse

Not being able to find an item when we need it is a big cause of frustration. Not only can we not find the item, it usually happens when we’re already running behind or just about to leave the house. To prevent wasting time looking for items in our v. large purse, we’ve organized our purse to suit our needs. Because our big ‘ole red purse (thank you Jessica Simpson) has 5 smaller compartments and one big compartment–we’ve assigned each space a specific function. For items we use all the time, the outside compartments are homes for things like business cards, a cell phone and chewing gum. The inside pockets hold items like pens and our sunglasses with the biggest compartment holding our wallet, notebook and bigger ticket items. Now, when we go to use our cell phone or put on lip gloss, we know just the pocket to look in. When we’re done, back it goes. How do you organize your purse? Is it a big one like ours or do have an extremely organized smaller purse?

Organizing Studio Space

A majority of clients that turn to Bneato for help are business owners whose businesses have become swamped overnight (and need help with creating new systems to keep their workflow organized). A new client of ours that fits this bill is Suzy Yun, creator of fashion forward clothing line, Unhee. Suzy, like many of Bneato’s clients, has an organized mindset but became overwhelmed when the clothes she was making starting flying off the rack. It’s no wonder with clients like Selma Blair and Tyra Banks wearing your line, fashionable women take notice (and want to buy an outfit or two). Enter Bneato–we’re working with Suzy’s current work style and taking it to the next level (without making it hard to follow). We love creating systems that are accessible to each client’s lifestyle (so the systems can grow with them as their business keeps thriving). Check back next month to see our process in action (plus the “after” pictures).

Jenn’s Organized Closet

Hello Beth-

I did my closet this weekend and it was GREAT!
Your suggestions were wonderful and made it easy to accomplish. I used the bed as you noted, it is a great space to be able to rummage through the piles easily without getting up and down off the floor. I also used bins like you suggested… I now have enough room to fit my HUGE yoga ball and ALL my exercise stuff and clothes ALL in the closet. WOW! I spent under $30.00 for the neat stripped bins, hanger and curtains (garage sale find) and a new upright clothes hamper. I utilized the shoe rack and shelves that I already had but arranged them in a better way to fit within the closet nicely. The best thing was that I found clothes that I love and have not worn in a long time because they were too hidden and now they are out and easily accessible to wear. I also found clothes that I tried on and NOW they fit…. Thanks to All About You Exercise Boot Camp! In total, I got rid of 4 bags of clothes and shoes etc. from my closet. 
It is such a difference without the cluttered look and it is calming and peaceful in my bedroom now! 

P.S.; I wanted to say that I also went to the web for images of organized closets for inspiration–it made it so much fun to get started!

Thank you Beth so much!