We're Buzzing About ... Organize & Simplify Your Life

Fulfilling every role, requirement and task that every busy woman has on her list requires organization and - perhaps more importantly - simplification.  Organizing expert Stacey Crew shared her GOPACK® Method and tips for how to do it at a recent Center for Women Brown Bag Lunch: 

filingOur Roles include Social Director, Meal Planner, Coach, Transportation Coordinator, Household, Cook, Teacher, Psychologist, Staff Nurse, Groundskeeper and on and on.  Let's simplify.  

“A little simplification would be the first step toward rational living, I think.” - Eleanor Roosevelt

Find Your “Why”

• What would you be doing if you were organized?  Taking a class, dancing or singing, reading or just relaxing; whatever makes you feel lighter and happier just thinking about it. 

• Our “Why” is what keeps us motivated during the process of organizing.  Without a “Why,” it’s easy to become distracted and lose motivation. Compete with yourself and be relentless in your efforts to get the life you want!

Uncomplicate Things by Making Your Spaces Relevant

• Clutter = Indecision + Other people’s expectations of us

• GOPACK® Method: 

1. Group Objects—put like things together

Group like items together into piles.

Contain and label your piles with Post-its to keep yourself focused.

You’ll know exactly what you have.

2. Purge—Decide what stays, what goes

Decide whether to keep the item or give it away.

Ask, “Does this serve me in my life today?” Only let go when you are ready.

Tackle one pile at a time.

Your space will hold only those things that you love and use.

3. Assign—Where will “it” live?

Find the best home for your item according to the use.

Divide your home into activity/usage zones.

Place your items in the associated activity zone.

Everything will be where you need it when you need it.

4. Contain—What will “it” live in?

Measure and make a map to get the right containers.

Find the perfect container for your papers and bills.

Choose containers that reflect your personality.

The right containers means stuff will stay put away. 

5. Keep it Up—Maintain your systems

Organizing is a daily practice, not a one-time event.

Give paperwork a specific time every week.

Choose a high-energy time for your upkeep.

Your whole life will be more “in the flow” and free of blocks.


• Always leave open space in your calendar and all areas of your environment.

• Only bring in something new that passes the test:

Does it serve me?
Do I love it?
Will I use it?
Do I have room for it?


How to Simplify

• Create a place for everything and put everything in its place. 

• Care for your Closet - remove anything that doesn’t fit, you don’t like and haven’t worn the previous season. This is where you start and end your day—make it a good experience!

• Be brand loyal and find the best deal on that brand. 

• Use technology to your advantage. Purge old papers. Pay bills online.  Scan important documents & back up online like your wallet contents, passports, birth certificates, etc.

• Stop shopping and start purging—Find the hidden treasures in your own home and donate for tax deductions or consign to fund a vacation. 

Get off mailing lists.Cut down on magazine subscriptions. Unsubscribe from email lists that no longer serve a purpose. 

• Be honest about time wasters.  Are you spending too much time online and watching television or answering the phone instead of focusing on what needs to get done? 

Room-by-Room Tips 

• Kitchen—Put things where you use them

• Family Room—Create space for what you love

• Bathroom—Store excess elsewhere

• Closets—This is where you start and end your day

• Master Bedroom—make it a restful place

Laundry Tips 

• A hamper in every room!

• Children 7 years plus can do their own laundry WITH supervision

• Schedule a day of the week for kids to do their laundry

• Sheets and Towels done on a particular day

▫ Everyone strips their own bed

▫ Do all white sheets so you can easily wash (in hot bleached water) and get them

back on the beds with little fuss

▫ Put hooks on the back of everyone’s bedroom doors for towels to dry

▫ Have a place for everything so that everything (clothing) can be put back in its place. 

▫ Do one load at a time. For example, DON’T pull out ALL the laundry. If it’s in a hamper or sorter, take it one load at a time so the entire laundry room floor isn’t covered.


Paper Organization

• There are ONLY three things you do with paper: FILE, ACT OR TOSS

FILE = Anything that doesn’t require action. For example: Copies of insurance policies, paid bills, a child’s report card. Create a File System for the “FILE” items. Categories include: AUTO (subcategories within = Car Maintenance and Insurance), MEDICAL, UTILITIES, etc.

ACT = Paperwork that requires a call, or filling out. An “Action.”
Create a File System for the “ACT” items. Categories include: Bills to be Paid, Call, Discuss (anything that requires discussion with your spouse), an individual file for each family member (for ACTION items ONLY).

TOSS = Throw, Shred or Recycle. Examples include junk mail, unwanted or unneeded solicitations, etc.

• To eliminate the clutter on your refrigerator, create a Master Household Binder that holds all sports schedules, phone lists, take-out menus, town trash pick-up schedules, business cards for local services, etc. Review with all family members and keep it handy. 

• If you really want to simplify when it comes to paper, scan your documents.  Use an online system such as Carbonite.com

Keep it up

•  Once you put system in place, take 10-15 minutes a day to maintain them…this is the key to staying organized! You can make it happen!!

“Organizing is what you do before you do it so it’s not all mixed up.” - AA Milne


Stacey Crew is an organizing expert, mother of two and author of The Organized Mom.  To subscribe to her blog, text “simplify” to 22828.