"Call Julie Morgenstern," I urge my frustrated friend. Instead she puts out an SOS via e-mail to Morgenstern, CEO and president of Task Masters and the author of Time Management From the Inside Out and Organizing From the Inside Out. The e-mail reads (in part):
"I have closetsful of debris of one kind and another... from YEARS of pack-rat behavior—my own and other people's. I seem to be the repository of not only our daughter's past, but my late aunt Carlotta's, my parents', my late sister's, and of course my late husband's.... So you can see it's terrifying. I can only bear to tackle one closet at a time, and there are five, packed to the gills, plus a storage space in the basement and boxes strewn around and things under the beds... shopping bags.... Just listing this is making my breath come faster!"
Julie's Rules of Order
Start in the room you spend the most time in.
Avoid zigzag organizing. Begin in one corner of the room and complete each section before moving on to the next.
Attack the visible clutter first—these items are more current and will give you instant change.
Don't get distracted sorting things that belong in another room, just move them to that location.
Search for the treasures instead of the trash—organizing should be a positive experience, not a negative one.