Hellen Buttigieg knows a few things about getting organized - and staying organized. As a certified professional organizer, life coach and TV host, she helps people clear the clutter in their homes, minds and lives. Her successful TV show, Neat, ran on HGTV for three seasons and is still showing on Global.
Her company, We Organize U, is a full-service organizing haven. She and her staff of organizing experts help people sort through the clutter to find the gems. Just as people are different, so are their organizing styles, so she and her staff dream up solutions based on the individual needs of their clients.
According to Hellen, there are so many reasons why you should organize your life, home or business. One reason to get organized is to reduce stress. One sobering statistic on her company's website, weorganizeu.com, is that a disorganized, stressed out person spends about 10 to 20 percent of the day looking for misplaced items. When you think about how busy our lives are, that number represents a huge chunk of leisure time.
Below she shares some simple tips to help you get organized in five minutes or fewer so you can start enjoying your life. Her book, Organizing Outside the Box, offers more tips and tricks to get organized and be happy.
Photography by Robin Stubbert
Around the house
1 Make the bed, fluff the pillows and duvet.
2 Pick up dirty clothes and put them in the laundry hamper.
3 Put clean laundry away.
4 Take excess shoes out of the hallway closet or front hall and place them in the bedroom closets. Each family member should only keep one or two pairs of shoes (depending on space) by the door or hallway closet.
5 Go through your sock drawer and give up any socks without partners. If you haven't worn panty hose since 2008, it's time to toss those, too!
6 Gather up all your accessories (belts, hats, scarves) and let go of the ones you no longer like or use.
7 Gather all the wire hangers in your closet and put them in your car. Next time you go to the dry cleaners, you can take them in for recycling.
8 Before starting something new, spend five minutes putting away anything that's left out from the last project you worked on. This is a technique that teachers use to keep the kindergarten classroom tidy and it works equally well at home.
Photography by Stacey Brandford
9 Transfer all the photos from your camera onto your computer before your card fills up.
10 Scan the emails in your junk folder (to make sure nothing important ended up there) and then delete them.
11 Delete all the old voicemail messages from your home phone and cell phone.
Photography by Donna Griffith
12 Toss out any spoiled food from the refrigerator.
13 Toss out any stale food from the pantry.
14 Clear out one ‘junk drawer'. Toss anything you don't need or recognize. Divide the drawer by using old cheque book boxes or small plastic containers to keep similar items together.
15 Clean out your wallet/purse. Toss gum wrappers, scraps of paper and old tissues; file receipts and business cards.
16 Go through your cosmetics and toiletries and toss any items you no longer use or are past their expiration date (usually 6 months to a year).
17 Sort through 3 to 5 file folders and shred what you don't need. Keep a coloured folder upright in your filing cabinet to mark where you leave off.
18 Go through your collection of coupons and toss the expired ones. Put the others in your purse or the glove compartment of your car and use them next time you go shopping.
19 Put all the newspapers and mail flyers in the recycling bin.
20 Make a list of all important documents and contact information and remember to tell someone where it is, in case of emergency.