Nicole Anzia, professional organizer and founder of Neatnik, took part in the Washington Post’s Home Front online chat. Here is an edited excerpt.


Q: What are the main reasons that resolutions to get organized are derailed?

A: Trying to do it all in January and then stopping. People work really hard at decluttering and purging at the beginning of the year and then think they’re done. But organizing isn’t really something you’re ever done with. As long as things are coming into and leaving your home, it’s a continual process. Do a little bit here and there, but schedule some regular time weekly or monthly to continue the work.


Q: What are your favorite organizing and storage products for those on a budget?

A: I love clear shoe boxes. They’re great for so many things: batteries, craft supplies, office supplies, as drawer dividers, to stack shoes, etc. The Container Store sells them at a reduced rate when you buy in bulk. At Ikea, I love the Kallax shelves. They’re great for books or customized with doors or drawers. They can hold bins and baskets and can be situated upright or horizontally. Generally speaking, though, clear bins from anywhere are great because you can clearly see the contents. Whatever storage containers you decide to purchase, I would suggest buying a few extra so you have some on hand in case you can no longer find them later.


Q: I’m overwhelmed by the clutter in my house. How do I find time to exercise, work, clean the house and declutter? Is there a way to do this that isn’t overwhelming?

A: Clutter is overwhelming and exhausting. You’re not alone in feeling this way, and studies have proved that clutter affects your mental health. You’re also right that it’s very hard to find time to focus on decluttering and organizing. A couple of thoughts: Set a timer for 30 minutes and try to conquer one space. If you finish before the time is up, move on to the next spot. Don’t try to do it all at once. You can have a friend come over to help if you can’t do it on your own, or schedule time with an organizer. Putting the work on your calendar also helps.