Closed September 2017

Clutter Video Tip: How to Organize Anything! Part 4: Establish Homes and Routines

Oh give me a home, where no clutter roams… The deer and the antelope understand the need to establish a home, and it’s no different with your organizing project. Watch this video to learn the strategies I use to establish homes for items and routines for managing those items. Following these tips will make your home on the range a more organized and peaceful place. Then seldom will be heard a discouraging word!

(Click here to watch on YouTube if you can’t see the embedded player. Or watch the video at


Hi, I’m Lorie Marrero, creator of the Clutter Diet book and online program. Today, we have Part 4 of our five-part series on our general approach for any organizing project. This is the acronym order. We’ve done “O” for Outline your plan, “R” for Review your items, “D” for Decide where things belong, and now we’re at “E”, Establishing homes and routines.

You’ve sorted everything, decided where it belongs, whether you’re going to keep it, what you’re going to donate. Now you’ve got to put it away, establish a home for it and establish the routines that are required for maintaining this space. That’s key and a piece that some people forget, and that will lead to you having to do this project over sooner than you like. You’ve got to think about that maintenance.

When you’re putting things away and establishing homes, think about the “ABCD” prioritization tool that we talked about in the last video. Put A things in A places, and C things in C places, and so on. I have this set of nesting bowls that you see here. The reality is, I use these two the most often. These are my “A” bowls. It’s tempting for me to just continue to store the entire nested stack, but it actually gets in the way. So I left these two out and put them on an “A” shelf. The others are going on a “C” shelf. This is how detailed I want you to think about your frequency of use of your items. Think about items being visible, easy, and obvious.

You’re trying to get visibility to all the stuff you have. When you’re considering establishing homes for things think about the point of use. As you are putting things away, think about where you’re going to use them. Consider safety in your establishment of homes as well. If you have children, put sharp, poisonous, or dangerous things away from their reach. Also, think about any kind of functional things, like we talked about the four “F” words– flow, function, features and frequency –think about the plug, what needs to be near the plug.

Consider labeling at this point as well. As you’re establishing a home, make that home visible, easy, and obvious for everyone, labeling is part of that process. Think about the functions that you thought through when you were outlining your plan. We talked about the functions of this pantry: food storage, small appliance storage, overflow storage from the rest of the kitchen, and also we wanted to have a note-taking space, a bulletin board space. So, here on the back of the door I have adhered cork tiles. Also, look for hidden storage. The back of the door is really another wall, so if I needed more space in this pantry, I could have some kind of storage system to hold further physical items. Think about how to go up higher, go vertical. You can see here there’s a picture of how I stored some large cooking utensils on the inside of the wall here where there’s a little hidden wall space. You can add helper shelves, as we’ve talked about before. There’s lots of ways to add hidden storage.

Let’s quickly touch on establishing routines. That is part of this phase as well. Think about what routines are needed to maintain this space. In this case we have recycling going on, we need to take out the recycling. When we put the groceries away, we need to maintain the space by putting the new groceries away in the right places. And we also need to regularly straighten the shelves and make sure that everything is in the right place as we put dishes away and other items.

That is how you establish homes and routines. Stay tuned for the next segment, the last “R” in our “order” acronym, and if you need help on your projects, come and see us at where we have helped thousands of people in 18 countries. We can help you too for about the price of a pizza. Come find us at

We’ll see you next time. May you always be happy and grateful for having more than enough.

Other videos in this series:
“O”- Outline Your Plan
“R”- Review Your Items
“D”- Decide Where Things Belong
“R”- Revisit Your System

You may have been searching for tips for a successful organizing project.

Click here for FREE decluttering help NOW!

Leave a Reply

ParadeRachael RayInStyleCNBCFast CompanyThe Boston GlobeWomen's DayWGNToday