How to Go from Messy to Mess-Free

Okay, I’ll admit it: I’m messy. I mean, I’m not a slob or anything, but I have a pretty hectic life, so certain things have to be sacrificed. For me, this sacrifice often ends up being cleaning my room.

That’s where Lorie Marrero comes in. Lorie is the creator of The Clutter Diet, which explains the A, B, C, and D system of organization. Lorie and I had a chat a while back about how I could keep organized – and how I could help other teens do the same. She had some very interesting ideas.

 How to Go from Messy to Mess-Free

This ISN’T my room, just to be clear, but the level of messiness is fairly accurate…

First, we talked a bit about time management. “You always have a choice,” she said. “You can sit around watching Netflix, or you can be productive. No one makes you watch TV instead of doing your work. You need to prioritize for yourself.”

She’s totally right. I mean, sure, as teens, we often have adults telling us what our priorities should be, but when it comes to the actual moment of decision, we’re the ones making the choice. Truth be told, I don’t always make the best choice. I can make myself watch 6 hours of ‘Nashville’ on Netflix when I should be cleaning my room so I can see the floor. But that’s a post for another day…

Lorie did help me realize that keeping my room clean isn’t as hard or as time-consuming as I thought it might be. And apparently, cleaning up a little every day is a lot better than cleaning once a month like I normally do.

ABC, Easy as 1-2-3

Lorie also advocates using a system to organize an area that ranks things in four categories: A, B, C, and D:

A – Used every day, goes in the easiest to reach spot (think your favorite t-shirt and your best jeans)
B – Used regularly, goes just behind the ‘A’ category (jackets, sweatshirts, etc.)
C – Used seldom, goes near the back of the closet (dress clothes, heavy coats)
D – Used rarely, goes at the very back of the closet (Holiday sweaters, novelty hats, and the like)

Practice (and Pitching) Makes Perfect

Organization is key, but it’s not just a one-and-done deal. Lorie says you have to keep at it until it becomes a daily ritual. Hang up clothes, put away anything that’s clean, keep shoes in their proper place, and keep organized. (I’ve been trying, but it’s HARD.)

Another way to get yourself set is to follow Lorie’s “One In, One Out” rule. Basically, if you purchase something, you have to get rid of something else. If you buy a new pair of shoes, donate an old pair to Goodwill. If you get a new shirt as a gift, get rid of one that’s stained or permanently pilled.

Most importantly, this kind of organization saves both time and money. If you know where everything is, chances are you won’t end up buying something you already have or don’t need. It also means you won’t have to waste time (potentially time that could be spent doing other things) searching for your lost tennis shoe or that one earring that isn’t with the others.

Lorie’s tips are super helpful. Since I started implementing them, I’ve found I’m able to find things much more quickly. Plus, bonus, I can actually see my floor now. Well, most days…