Secrets Of An Organized Mom: Teleclass Re-cap

Mothers can feel like life is running on a never-ending loop. Just when one problem or responsibility is overcome, another trips us up. Barbara Reich shared her strategies for staying ahead of the curve in her highly informative teleclass last week:

1. purge
2. design
3. organize
4. maintain

The keys to Barbara’s success are simplicity and consistency. Room by room, she walked our listeners through the most problematic areas in the home – from the tornado-struck play area to the packed basement or storage unit. She provided pointers on organizing in manageable bites – many of which can be dealt with in two hours or less. As the mother of thirteen-year-old twins, Barbara offered insight into the lives of crazed moms as only a mother could. In case you missed it, you can listen to this amazing teleclass here.

During the talk, Barbara went over her 10 Commandments for organizing:

1. Do the one thing that is most distasteful to you first.

Why spend the whole day dreading a simple task. Get it over with and enjoy your day.

2. Routines work.

Do it the same way every time. Charge your phone in the same place, put your keys in the same pocket of your bag, and put your glasses in the same place when you take them off.

3. Freebies are not your friend.

Freebies inevitably take up space in your home until the day you get away to throwing them away. Think of the gift bag you received at the last benefit you attended. You don’t need samples of a shampoo you don’t use, a t-shirt with the name of a bank, or a flimsy tote bag with the name and date of the event on it.

4. Beware of junk mail.

Catalogs take up space and encourage unnecessary spending. There’s nothing in the catalog that you can’t find online, and you know what online stores have what you need.

5. Store like with like, and designate a place for everything

If you store light bulbs in 3 different closets, you have no idea how many you have or when you need more. The same holds true for black sweaters. If they’re not folded in one pile, you will end up buying yet another black sweater. When you store like things together and designate a place for everything, you know exactly what you have, whether you need more, and where to find everything.

6. Store things where you use them

Keep school supplies where your child does homework, the checkbook where you pay bills, and your daughter’s hair ties where you brush her hair. Tip the environment in your favor and make things easy!

7. Get it off the floor

The floor isn’t a storage option. Avoid having boxes, bags, or toys that reside there permanently. Having trucks lined up around the perimeter of your playroom isn’t acceptable. If you don’t have a closet, you need shelves. Only buy what you have room to store!

8. Ignore sunk costs

The original price of an item is not nearly as relevant as whether you use it, will ever use it, and how much space it occupies in your home and in your mind. Don’t think about how much you paid for it – only about whether you like having it around.

9. Use one kind of hanger, storage container, etc.

This is a simple remedy to avoid “visual clutter” – that feeling of anxiety when everything’s a jumble and your eye doesn’t know where to go. Think about the clothes in a boutique. You don’t notice the hangers at all. When they’re the same, they become invisible.

10. Make a decision and act on it.

If you receive an invitation, decide whether you want to go and respond. If you don’t like the broken lamp, get rid of it. Say no, not why!

Here is a link to some of the charities Barbara suggests:

Barbara Reich is a professional organizer based in New York, NY. Her tough-love approach turns organization and clutter from chore to lifestyle. She takes inspiration from her love of organizing, her husband and their thirteen year old twins. Her book, “Secrets of an Organized Mom” is on shelves now. To find more tips from Barbara, please visit or

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