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3 Reasons It Is Hard To Stay Organized

By November 28, 2021October 4th, 202313 Comments

Why can’t I stay organized? This is a question clients often ask me. Before I get into the reasons lets talk about getting organized. The first idea I want to share with you may be hard to swallow. This is the idea that organizing is a continual journey. It is not a destination and it is never ever done. You cannot organize a space once, walk away, and never have to organize it again. This is because things are always in use in a home. This is a natural occurrence since you live in the space.

There are three things that happen which makes it harder to stay organized. Think about the things you do in your home. Develop systems to conquer these three things and it will be easier for you to remain organized.

Here are the 3 reasons it’s hard to stay organized

Reason #1 things are not put away

Things are moved but don’t get back to where they belong. They stay where they are. They may be near where they belong, put in a pile, or left where they were most recently used. It is easier to stay organized when you put things back every single time they are used.

Reason #2 things don’t have a place to belong

It’s impossible to put things away when they don’t have a place to belong. Keep it simple and put things where you will look for them. Many people ask if they are organizing the right way. There is no right or wrong way to organize. My answer is the right way is the way that works for you. Create a simple solution for you and your family, then practice until it becomes a habit.

Reason #3 things come in, but nothing leaves

You like to shop and forget that your home does not expand to accommodate all the things you bring inside. Space is finite. Before you buy something, think about where you are going to keep it and what you are removing to make room for this new thing. This may prompt you to stop buying so much.

Remember to buy things that fill a need or a purpose.

Give yourself some grace

At this time of the year, I recommend you don’t worry so much about organizing everything in your home. It’s a time to spend with friends and family. Giving and receiving gifts and simply enjoying the festive season.

It’s easy for your home to look a bit messy. Don’t worry about it.

Do the big tasks – keep up with laundry (do a little each day), take out the garbage & recycling, and do the dishes. When you take care of these regular on-going tasks you keep most of the messiness under control. This way you avoid the HUGE pile of clothes to launder. The garbage can won’t smell, and there will not be a big pile of dishes in the sink and dirty dishes stacked on the counter. Here’s another article to help you tackle those big tasks.

Create a few routines that you always honor for the things that are important every day. You will feel more organized and in control when you know without any doubt where your keys, wallet, and handbag/purse are.

Have one place you always put your keys. This might be a hook or a particular dish near where you enter your home.

Keep your handbag, purse, tote bag or wallet in one place – always.

I have a place I keep my handbag and I have a place in my handbag that I always put my wallet. If I am at my desk, shopping online and use a credit card I always put the card back in my wallet and my wallet back in the same place in my handbag. Why, you ask? Because I know without any doubt that when I grab my bag to leave the house my wallet (with my driver’s license, credit card, insurance card) will be in its place in my handbag. I don’t worry or stress about it.

If you want to stay organized follow these simple rules:

Have a place for everything and put everything in its place

One thing in and one thing out

Do the big tasks: laundry, garbage, and dishes

Create a routine for important things which you always honor

Then acknowledge that you live in your home. From time to time it will be a little messy. Life can be messy, and life is for the living. There will always be time to clean up and organize.

Diane N. Quintana is a Certified Professional Organizer® ,a Certified Professional Organizer in Chronic Disorganization®, Master Trainer and owner of DNQ Solutions, LLC and co-owner of Release●Repurpose●Reorganize, LLC based in Atlanta, Georgia. For more tips sign up to receive Diane’s monthly newsletter.


  • Thanks for the reminder that it’s okay to let things get a little loose around the holidays! All around great advice, especially having a home for everything in your home. It’s the foundation of organization!

  • I love your four simple rules. If you can keep those you will stay pretty organized. “Do the big tasks” should be our motto!

  • Julie Bestry says:

    I love that you make the point of organizing being a continual process, not a destination. I always tell people, organizing is like laundry; unless you’re planning to live in a nudist colony, you’re always going to have laundry every week, at least, so you may as well make it easy on yourself. A little work now saves a lot of pressure on “future” you later on.

    To teach clients about putting things away, we often look at something they often forget to put away and make a sign, even a little sticky note, that says, “Welcome to Away” as though Away is the name of a town. It helps train them to think of putting things away as a town/house number/room so they get in the habit of remembering that things have homes, not just flat surfaces where piles can fit.

    I’m sure there’s a balance between going hog wild doing nothing and giving yourself just enough grace to skip some things while maintaining the essentials, as you note. Laundry, garbage, and dishes seem like the perfect “big things” to be sure to hit.

  • Seana Turner says:

    These are all so true! I find when it is a bit “hard” to put something away, I often put off doing so. For example, when an item needs to go into the back corner of a lower kitchen cabinet, or into the bottom box in a stack. I’m tempted to just stick it somewhere instead of getting it put back “home.”

    Great list of hurdles to be aware of!

  • I love that you mentioned that there is no right way to organize. People assume that the PO will be judging them for their process – that is so far from the truth.

  • Jana Arevalo says:

    Love all of these suggestions! My favorite is to give yourself grace during this time of year. So wise! Thank you.

  • Great post – especially now! I totally agree that this is the time to keep up with the big tasks that can really make a house look messy like keeping up with laundry and dishes, and putting groceries away. Just doing those tasks on a regular basis can make a big difference in how your home looks and feels.

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