Fresh Start, Fresh New Year: How to Get Organized 101

ORG_professional organizer_iPhone suppliesI’ve always considered myself to be a fairly organized person. I thrive when I am. I also do best with a minimal amount of “things”, so I try to only purchase what I really need and/or love from cleaning supplies to clothes. That being said, being organized can be difficult to maintain. Life moves quickly for all of us. For me, after many moves – LA > NYC > LA > Fresno and into my now-husband’s home, things got a little scattered. And it made me feel mentally scattered. Not a good feeling!

It had been on my mind for a long time that I needed to get organized, but it felt daunting not knowing where to begin. After a friend’s high recommendation, I enlisted the help of a professional organizer, Sophie Dictos Garcia, to help me get on track and stop the domino effect. In our first 1.5 hour session together, Sophie narrowed my focus, starting with the office, and established the way we wanted to organize. My mind felt clearer and lighter with each trash bag filled and each box organized!

To make getting organized simple + stress-free, here are Sophie’s tips:

heartWhen Starting to Organize:

  1. Focus on 1 room at a time.
  2. Devote a small amount of time (1.5-2 hrs) to the project. Make a standing appointment with yourself. That can be once a week or every day, whatever works best with your schedule.

Have a plan of how you will store and organize. Get all necessary materials. *Sophie’s favs: white clear plastic bins + file holders + a label maker.  ORG_clear boxes in various sizes - large, file box, medium and small, & labelmaker_SMALLedited


How to Organize:

1. Take a subject & create a bin for it. Such as, iPhone supplies, Costumes, Christmas tags. ORG_empty small clear boxes2. Develop separate file systems by Year & by Subject. The Year file system (shown below) includes pictures, meaningful invitations & notes, etc. from each of those years. A Subject file system can include files like “Medical”, “Insurance”, “Home”, “Family”.

ORG_Kelly & Nick full file box by year3. Keep other “paper” that’s special. For example, I’ve kept a journal for most of my life & now they are all in 1 bin filed by year. It’s like my own library of thoughts! ORG_teamwork_journals


ORG_journals in box 2005-2014If you have kids, Sophie recommends to have a file bin for each child with their teachers notes, certificates, art work (only save hand & foot prints, special + cute handwritten notes, holiday art), awards/ribbons filed by year.

heartWhat to Get Rid Of + What to Save:

If you don’t foresee yourself using it or haven’t used it in awhile (say a year), then get rid of it. Don’t be afraid to let go of items. It’s okay because tastes change and you evolve. You no longer need what you once did. This doesn’t mean you have to get rid of your grandmother’s china & other pieces that have special importance.

heartNow, What to Do with the Leftovers:

  1. Offer to friends & family.
  2. Have a yard sale.
  3. Donate to a favorite charity.

heartHow to Stay Organized: ORG_small clear boxes on shelfOnce a system is in place it will be easy to manage because there is a place for everything. The goal is to not shove papers in a closet, but to fix and maintain.

For Sophie’s services, contact her at

If you have any organizing tips, please share!






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