15 Tips to Celebrate 15 Years of Clutter Cowgirl!

Happy Spring! I’m taking a quick break from organizing with clients to celebrate my 15 year anniversary of running Clutter Cowgirl Professional Organizing!


15 years ago, in 2003, I had already been helping friends and family here and there to clear out their closets, reorganize their refrigerators and bathrooms, pack up for moves and so many other tasks. I enjoyed helping people sort through their stuff so much that it dawned on me to make an actual business out of it! The professional organizing industry at the time was still quite small. I always had to explain to people exactly what a Professional Organizer does. But looking back, I enjoyed explaining the definition because it continued to help me hone in on what precisely I liked about the whole process. I loved helping people get out of their own way and I loved helping them give themselves permission to move forward and reimagine their space with fresh eyes. This is what I still love and about my job today. The work that I do is extremely personal and intimate and has been a wonderful opportunity to help people at all stages of their lives and over the years. I’m very grateful.


To celebrate my 15 years, I’ve put together a list of my Top 15 Organizing Tips. Enjoy!


  1. Work in small bursts. To get your project started, work on it for only one to two hours at a time. You will be productive and motivated by this short window and you won’t risk burning out. Then you can go back in refreshed and ready for another burst.
  2. Don’t buy organizing products. Until you figure out exactly what you’re keeping, do not buy too many bins, baskets or hangers. Get your inventory straight and take the correct measurements of your closets and drawers and cabinets and that way you can purchase exactly what you’ll need without overspending on unnecessary and wrong supplies.
  3. Keep nostalgia in its place. And that place is not front and center in your closet. You’re welcome to keep a few pieces of memorabilia like a college sweatshirt or a high school yearbook but don’t let those items claim prime real estate in your life. These select pieces can be tucked up on a high shelf or in the back of a closet so as not to interfere with your day to day living.
  4. Set goals for your home. What do you envision for your home? Would you like to have a dinner party but your clutter has held you back from having friends over? Would you like to invite a partner to live with you? Would you like to adopt a pet? These short and long term goals can act as excellent sources of motivation. When you’re not quite sure what’s the point of sorting through all your stuff, tap into one of your goals and forge ahead.
  5. Make your bed. By treating yourself to this one chore every morning, you’re warding off piles of magazines, books, clothes and anything else that isn’t your pillow and blanket. Making your bed sets the tone for your day and it also encourages you to create more harmony in other areas of your home.
  6. Stop accepting gifts you don’t like. This means when your mom hands you free Sephora samples that she doesn’t want you can politely say, “no thanks, I’ve got plenty.” I’m not telling you to turn down a free Rolex watch on your birthday. That’s just nuts.
  7. Treat your systems like habits. Systems are not some high tech solution that a robot creates. Systems are simply habits that are now part of your home. Get into the habit of putting your clothes away where you decided they should go. Get into the habit of hanging your keys up on the new hook you installed. Get into the habit of storing sheets on the shelf in the hall. Once you have a handle on these individual ingrained habits, they simply become part of your daily actions instead of this overwhelming idea of “getting organized.”
  8. Label items in your own language. If you’re the person in charge of your own files you should be using names for labels that make sense to you. If you want to call your medical file Sick 2018, that’s perfectly fine. If you want to label your shoe box Sexy Aruba Wedding because you’ll remember which shoes they are from that super fun wedding you went to a year ago, go for it. As long as the labels work for you, call them whatever you want, it’s your home.
  9. Be honest about the value of your stuff. Not all of your clothing, dishes, linens, jewelry, art and books are worthy of being in your home. Be truly honest about whether or not something still carries value for you. Does a dress still speak to your style? Does an old iPod still function? Basically, is your stuff still good? If it’s no longer carrying its weight, it’s time for it to hit the road.
  10. Try going digital. Most of the paperwork in your home is never going to be referenced again. Unless it’s a lease, a will, a deed, a 7 years or younger tax return or a signed copy of the Bible, it’s okay to throw it in the shredder. If you truly need to keep some paperwork and it doesn’t have to be the original copy, go ahead and scan it and hold onto it as an electronic file.
  11. Resist a sale. Sales are sneaky suckers. You think you’re walking into a great deal but you end up buying clothing that you normally wouldn’t pay for at full price. Be diligent about what you bring into your home. If you’re not going to wear it, it’s not such a bargain after all.
  12. Tidy up every day. Devoting a few minutes every day to keeping your home in check is a small and wise use of your time. For 10-15 minutes every evening you can put your things away, sort through mail and take out the garbage. Think of the hours and hours you’ll save on a precious weekend day off when you devote only a small pinch of time during weeknights to keeping your home neat and sweet.
  13. Pay attention to what you’re doing right. The systems that are truly working in your home can be expanded in other areas. Are you happy hanging your towels on a hook in the bathroom? Try doing that for coats and for clothing on the back of your bedroom door. Be mindful about how you behave in your home and set up solutions based on what will work for your personality.
  14. Get one type of hanger. It seems frivolous but hanging your clothing on consistent hangers creates a pleasing eye line when you open your closet and your pieces will all hang at the same length from the closet rod. This is a simple fix for a part of your home that you use every day. This also applies to having one type of storage box in the basement and one type of basket for your living room shelving unit. It’s instantly calming to see all of the same thing instead of many different types of bins and baskets. The eye doesn’t lie!
  15. Be kind to yourself. You are human and clutter happens. Focus on the fact that you’re tackling this issue right now and not on the fact that you’ve wasted money or time or energy on accumulating and growing piles of stuff. Laugh it off and get to work with love for yourself. You can do it!

I’m grateful to all of my wonderful clients for trusting me to help them. Here’s to 15 more years!


With love, light and less clutter…