Tips From a Pro

Eight Tips For Getting Your Home Organized This Spring

Professional organizer Amy Esper shares her advice on tackling those pesky in-home messes.

By Chloé Cuyler April 15, 2022

Having trouble getting your home organized? Can’t decide what should go and what should stay—or maybe your mess has piled up and you’re not quite sure where to start? Amy Esper, owner and founder of Methodical Organizing and Moving in Sarasota has some pro-approved tips on achieving your organizational goals.  

Set Aside the Time

If you’re serious about getting organized, you’ve got to make time for it. Tidying your home is not something you can effectively do on a whim.

“You have to make an appointment,” says Esper. “Set time aside on your calendar, set an alarm and make yourself do it at that time. Don’t put it off. Start with just one room at a time or one area at a time, and keep chipping away at it. I recommend not doing it during the week, when you have work and you're stressed. A Saturday or a Sunday is a proper time to start a project like this.”

Enlist a Friend to Help

Two heads—and sets of hands—are always better than one. “Invite a good friend who won't let you slack,” says Esper. “One who will provide a second, outside level of accountability that will give you a fresh perspective and help you get rid of things.”


In order to get truly organized, you need to first get rid of all the excess. “Decluttering is first," says Esper. "You can't really clean if you have stuff everywhere; the floor can’t be vacuumed if there are toys all over it. You have to declutter before you can actually get down to the cleaning and binning and labeling things—all the fun stuff that we do. It'll really improve your daily life. If you don't have things everywhere, you’ll have less to worry about and your routine will be easier. It'll give you control over your home.”

Group and Sort

Trying to decide what to keep and what to part with? Try sorting the items in question into groups. “You have to group and sort and then you have to make decisions. Create three piles: trash, donate or sell, and keep," Esper explains. "Once you've gotten rid of the trash and set aside the donate or sell pile, then you take the keeps and group them together. At that point, you can put the items you’re keeping away in their places. Doing this will get you on your way to having a systematized and organized space.”

Let Go Emotionally

Before you can let go of physical items, you need to sever the emotional ties you have to them. “Not everything has a sentimental attachment,'' Esper says. “Something may not have a purpose for you personally, but it may have one for somebody else. We all have certain things that we're sentimental about or that we covet. We all have a problematic area—two of the big ones are gifts and heirlooms. When something is handed down to you or given to you from someone special, it is often quite difficult to let go of. The same goes for papers. People think they’re important. People like my older clients don't trust the cloud.

Esper says that she doesn't judge her clients about wanting to keep these items. “If they feel strongly about it, we don't fight them. We find a place for it, regardless of what it looks like, because at the end of the day, it's their home. But if it happens multiple times, I try to be firm and step in and let them know what I see. Then we can figure out what to do."

She says there are a few questions she asks to help the process along: Can it be repurposed? Can it be donated it to someone in need—for example, a client at a women's shelter? "Sometimes it helps for clients to think of their item as being useful to someone else, rather than being tossed in a dumpster or a landfill somewhere," Esper says.


Life is a little easier when things are in order. “In order to make maintaining your home sustainable, you have to systematize things, even if it's just one room at a time," Esper says. "For example, it's important to be able to locate your keys. Put a nice little dish on the countertop that you can put your keys in. You'll never lose them again. I promise.” 

Drawer dividers are another key item Esper recommends for organizing your home, whether they're used in the kitchen for silverware or in a vanity. She also swears by the envelope fold—a way of folding your clothes popularized by Marie Kondo that allows them to be tucked into drawers vertically so everything can be seen and remain tidy.

“I've converted so many people in Sarasota to folding that way, and they just love it," Esper says. They love being able to grab a T-shirt and not have to grab from the bottom and have all the other stuff wrinkled and messed up.”


Be Honest with Your Kids

You don’t want to be lied to. Give your kids the same courtesy. “Be frank with your children,” says Esper. “When you get rid of something, like a toy, don't tell them you don't know what happened to it. Or that someone took it. If their art starts to pile up, tell them you have to let some go. Take a picture of it and upload it to the cloud. There's a cool service called Artkive. You can send in their artwork and they send you back a book of it all. It can go on a shelf, and then you don’t have all of this 3D stuff popping out at you from every corner of the room. That gets crazy.”

Be Realistic

Just because something doesn’t “spark joy” does not mean you should part with it. “I think Marie Kondo was onto something. But I think 'sparking joy' is too vague," Esper says. "You need to set allowances for certain things. I’ve had so many people come to me years ago saying, ‘I want to get rid of everything. Nothing sparks joy.’ But you can’t just dump your whole house. Not everything's going to spark joy, but you still need it.”

Bonus: Book Recommendation

Esper recommends Declutter Your Home In Just 15 minutes a Day by Dawn Madsen, founder of the YouTube channel The Minimal Mom, if you want to read more about organization and decluttering. This workbook-style guide gives you essential information on how to declutter your home, one room at a time.

Methodical Organization and Moving is located at 1646 S. Orange Ave. For more information or to schedule a consultation, visit the company’s website or call (941) 260-5927.

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