4 Things Professional Organizers Would Never Tell You for Free

If I had lots of expendable income, near the very top of my “Things to Spend My Excess Money On” list would be to pay a professional organizing service to upend my life and put it back together again. Because when all is said and done, the kinds of organizing overhauls that I drool over on Instagram and Pinterest (courtesy of professional wizards and lots of trips to The Container Store) can be more than a little pricey.

Luckily, Kitchn has an in with a few professional organizers who were so kind as to offer some expert advice that they’d usually only give to their paying clients. Listen up!

1. Keep, toss, or donate.

“One of the biggest problems our clients face (and most likely why they’ve called Horderly in the first place) is an excess of clutter. In the kitchen, all sorts of categories tend to pile up whether it’s food, dish sets, utensils… you name it, we’ve seen it. The challenge here is taking the time to review everything you have and decide whether to keep, toss or donate. Reminder: Always check for expired foods and spices!” — Jamie Hord, Founder of Horderly Professional Organizing

“Here’s a secret: You can dramatically cut the cost of working with a professional organizer by doing an easy pre-edit first. Here’s how: Toss all expired food and spices. You’ll probably find nutmeg from 2013. Pull out anything you rarely (or never!) use, that you don’t like, or that’s broken. Don’t worry about sorting it into categories or where it might go. Put it all in cardboard boxes to review with your organizer, if that’s the route you choose.” — Lisa Zaslow, Founder of Gotham Organizers

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2. Find a new home for certain items.

“The kitchen is the heart of many people’s homes — which means it can become the main landing ground for non-kitchen items. Don’t let your kitchen become one giant junk drawer! As you sort your new space, consider whether or not that item needs to live in the kitchen or if it can relocate elsewhere. Junk should be limited to one (neat and tidy) drawer.” — Hord

3. Follow the one-in-one-out rule.

“If you buy something new, our pro tip is to throw one old item away. This will help you maintain a clutter-free kitchen and creates an easy game to get rid of older items that would otherwise have a tendency to pile up.” — Hord

4. Label, label, label!

“Once your items are properly edited, sorted, and have a home in their proper rooms, label everything. This will not only help you keep track of what goes where, but will help you make sure stray items don’t end up in the wrong spot ever again!” — Hord

Do you have anything to add to this list?

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