10 Things Not To Do When Organizing


not to do when organizing

Have you ever organized a space in your home, but only a short time later it’s a mess again? Today I am pointing out 10 things not to do when organizing.

This way our homes will work for us and not the other way around.

Organizing can be a daunting task, but with the right approach, it can also be incredibly rewarding. Whether you’re tackling your closet, kitchen, or home office, avoiding common pitfalls can make the process much smoother.

In this blog post, we’ll explore 10 things not to do when organizing, so you can sidestep the most common mistakes and achieve a clutter-free, functional home.

From avoiding overcomplicating systems to resisting the urge to hoard unnecessary items, we’ll cover key tips to help you streamline your organizing style and create a calm home.


1 – Don’t organize until you have decluttered

This seems really straightforward but sometimes we forget to declutter and we jump right into organizing.  The problem with this is if we organize things we don’t need we are wasting our time and making it much harder for ourselves. 

Essentially we are organizing things that we shouldn’t even have in our home.

When my firstborn son was one I would organize and reorganize his toys over and over. I was always looking for organizing hacks, and we just needed fewer toys. 

Once I decluttered what we didn’t use it was super easy to keep everything organized and I didn’t even need a hack! 


2 – Don’t forget to look at the big picture.

Think of how your home is used before you start organizing. I think sometimes we get so excited to organize and get our homes set up that we don’t look at the full picture.

Now I try to organize my home according to the most used and least-used areas.

For instance, our front closet was initially used for the storage of things we rarely used. But when I stopped to think about it we needed that area for our everyday items like the swim bag, my sun hat, and the diaper bag.

All those things I need when we are about to run out the door.  So I added some hooks for all these things we use every day and I put the cleaning storage items in a different location. 


3 – Don’t let space go to waste. Use all the space you have!

Again with this front closet as an example.  The closet is super narrow and deep. So instead of shoving one big thing in there and calling it a day I had to get creative. 

I hung all the tall things that I don’t use very often at the back (mop, & ironing board) and then I put the vacuum that I use every day in the front.  I added a shelf at the top for extra toilet paper and tissue boxes. 

It’s all about getting creative with the space we have. 


4 – Don’t be upset if your home doesn’t look Pinterest perfect it’s still organized.

I know when I imagine an organized space it looks perfect. Everything is in clear shiny bins that are stacked up and color-coded. 

I am sorry to burst everyone’s bubble but our homes can still be organized and not look like that.  In a lot of ways, all those containers just waste your money and don’t leave you more organized.

I would love it if we could start to normalize average-looking homes.  When I grew up no one’s home looked like a model home there wasn’t a theme and the decor didn’t seem important.  People had their homes set up to be functional and cozy.  I guess my point is if your home looks like an average home that is ok and it can still be organized.

Color coding everything might be fun for some people but it can also be a waste of time and distraction from enjoying life. 

A good example is, I have enough room to store my off-season shoes in their original boxes and I am fine with that. It’s still organized.

organize with basket

5 – Not all Organizing trends are great

Let’s just take open shelves as an example. This can be a great way to organize in a more decorative way.  But most of us have a lot of mismatched dishes and functional items that are better off behind closed cupboard doors.

I do have some open shelves in my kitchen.  But I quickly realized I can only put certain things on the open shelves or else it looks like a cluttered disaster.


6 – Prepare Before You Organize

A great way to save yourself some time is to get prepared before you jump into organizing.

For instance, if you are going to organize your kitchen make sure all of the dishes are out of the dishwasher and you have everything. If you are organizing your closet make sure all your clothes are clean and in your room.

This way you know what you are dealing with and can see where everything will fit the best. 


7 – Avoid Distractions

During the decluttering and organizing process, it is super easy to get distracted.  When I don’t really want to do a project I can find a lot of ways to get distracted.

I try to schedule a chunk of time to declutter or organize and stay focused during this time.  I might put my phone on silent or keep it out of the room and turn all other possible distractions off.  Now if you have kids this is going to be a little harder…

organize with kids

8 – Organize By Priority

Don’t organize just to make something look good try to organize by what you use the most.  Being organized is all about making an area more functional.

Sometimes I can get caught up in trying to make something look amazing only to find out I have made my life harder.

In my kitchen, I have a large bread machine which I keep at the front of the cabinet.  Most people would probably put that at the back because it’s larger, but I have it at the front because I use it more often than other things in there.

I try to put the less used items at the back since I am not getting them out as often. Also the bread maker is quite heavy so it makes sense to have it at the front of the cupboard where I don’t need to drag it out from the back.


9 – Don’t Buy Organizing Products Before you Start

I have fallen into the trap of buying some organizers before I even know what I am going to organize!

This can be such a waste of time and money. Even if you can return them it can be very annoying.

Now I decide how I want to organize a space and then I look around my home to see if I already have something I can use.  It is surprising how many bins I have been able to repurpose for different areas.

When I do need to go out and buy something I make sure I write down all the measurements and bring a tape measure with me to the store.  One time I was in HomeGoods and this man saw me measuring a basket and he said wow I wish I had thought of that LOL. 

laundry bag

10 – Don’t Try to Organize Too Much at Once

Just like it would be hard to declutter your whole home in one day it’s also hard to organize your home in one day.

I like to break up the different areas I am going to organize into bite-size chunks. So one period of time might be organizing only my desk drawers. 

Another 30 minutes on a different day could be organizing my office closet. Breaking up these projects makes getting organized attainable. 

By avoiding these 10 glitches, an organized area will be easier to set up and maintain. These are the strategies I have used to transform my living space into a peaceful and functional home.  


Here are 5 surprising benefits we found after living in our organized home:

  1. Promotes Mental Tranquility: An organized home reduces stress and anxiety by eliminating clutter and chaos, fostering a sense of calm and clarity.
  2. Enhances Efficiency and Productivity: With belongings neatly arranged and easily accessible, daily routines become streamlined, saving valuable time and energy.
  3. Fosters a Positive Atmosphere: Tidiness cultivates pride and contentment, creating an environment conducive to creativity, innovation, and harmonious relationships.
  4. Improves Health and Safety: Minimizing allergens and creating a safer living space, an organized home promotes better health and reduces the risk of accidents or injuries.
  5. Elevates Quality of Life: The benefits of organization resonate throughout every aspect of life, enhancing overall well-being, productivity, and enjoyment of the living space.

Looking to Declutter?

Check out my decluttering Ebook where I lay out the exact method I used to declutter everything extra in our home.

declutter course



In conclusion, organizing is a skill that can be honed through practice and mindful decision-making.

By steering clear of the 10 common pitfalls outlined in this post, you can set yourself up for success in creating a more orderly and efficient living space.

Remember to resist the urge to procrastinate, avoid overcomplicating systems, and refrain from holding onto unnecessary items. By embracing a more minimalist approach and staying consistent with your organizing efforts this will ultimately lead to a more peaceful and calm environment.

With these tips in mind, hopefully, you can confidently start on your organizing journey and find the benefits of a clutter-free and smooth-running home.


Read More Organizing Posts:

How to Keep Your Home Organized

How to Become The Most Organized Person

7 Things Not To Do When Decluttering

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10 things not to do when organizing

3 thoughts on “10 Things Not To Do When Organizing”

  1. Beth Ragle

    Thank you Shannon!
    I love reading your decluttering tips and cleaning guidelines.
    Although I have a lot of decluttering still to tackle, I feel encouraged and empowered every time I read one of your posts.
    And a side note: thank you for the beautiful water colored artwork throughout this post: these pictures inspire me to actually pursue this effort!

  2. Beth Ragle

    Hi Shannon,
    This is Beth Ragle.
    I do have a question.
    Where can I take my VHS movies so I can creat more room?

    1. SHANNON

      Hello Beth,
      I looked up all the options for what to do with old VHS tapes. I saw that if they are in good condition you can donate them to the secondhand store. If they aren’t in good condition you can either throw them away or take them to the recycling center to see if they can be recycled. I think this would probably depend on where you live and what your local trash center does with things like this.
      I hope this might help.

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