Janet Jarnagin Offers 5 Practical Tips for Organizing a Home

As a self-proclaimed workaholic, Janet Jarnagin knows a few things about getting things organized. When she’s not at work organizing data, Jarnagin likes to spend time organizing her abode or advising friends and family on how to create a more relaxed, clutter-free environment.

To accomplish this, Jarnagin relies on five overarching principles to help guide her, regardless of whether she’s organizing one of her own spaces or helping one of her besties tackle theirs.

The Room Organization Principles That Janet Jarnagin Follows

1. Choose One Room To Start With

Janet Jarnagin advises people to start their projects by focusing on one room. She suggests this because it cuts down on the possibility of overwhelm. Often, people don’t tackle their clutter because they concentrate on everything they have to do in the whole house. They want it all done at once.

Unfortunately, this backfires on them because nothing gets done, or a little gets done in each room, but the effects are negligible. The latter issue can be demoralizing because it’s difficult to tell if any progress has been made.

Instead, Jarnagin recommends choosing one room to start, with the understanding that all of the rooms in the house will eventually get tackled.

2. Dump The Mental Clutter

Janet Jarnagin points out that the best home organization projects always result in space that can be better utilized for a specific purpose. For example, a den may just be a place where the family watches TV. However, it may also function as a toy repository for the kids’ stuff or an informal home office.

However, many people approach the project without an end goal in mind. Worse yet, they have so much mental and physical clutter that they don’t really know what the function of the room should be.

That’s why she suggests a brain dump. All it takes is a pen and paper and about half an hour of free writing to scratch out the issues that have been holding the home organizer back. The goals for the room usually crystalize during the brain dump.

Challenges posed by the project also come out. For example, is someone hanging onto possessions that are better off at the second-hand store or in the trash?

According to The Spruce, people don’t always know what’s clutter and what isn’t. Doing a brain dump can help a person decide what’s a keeper and what’s a tosser.

3. Decide On the Project’s Goals

Now that the issues surrounding the room’s organization plans have been unearthed by the free write, it’s time to set some goals for the project.

Janet Jarnagin recommends that home organizers ask themselves the following questions when they’re setting their goals for the room.

  • What will the room be used for?
  • Who will use this room?
  • Are there space issues that require special accommodation, like furnishings that serve more than one function? e.g. ottomans with hollow centers that double as magazine storage.
  • What’s the budget for the project if new features or furniture are added?

Knowing the answers to these questions allows the home organizer to create written and specific goals for the room’s function.

4. Throw Stuff Out

One of the biggest reasons why people don’t succeed in becoming organized is because they hang onto stuff they don’t use. Home organization under these circumstances becomes more about moving unused stuff from one corner to another.

Janet Jarnagin points out that this doesn’t solve the underlying issue. Most of the time, the items aren’t used. It literally becomes a case of musical chairs without any of the chairs being taken away.

In this instance, it’s best to just throw unused items out. HGTV recommends that home organizers use a series of plastic bins labeled “toss,” “giveaway,” or “donate.” For those with an entrepreneurial bent, a fourth “sell” bin may also be appropriate.

Once all the extra stuff gets tossed, it’s no longer necessary to find a space for it. That cuts down on many of the challenges that home organizers are faced with.

5. Map Out the New Space

Creating a floor map of the new space allows home organizers to work out any kinks in their plans. Janet Jarnagin starts personal home organizing projects with a measurement of the room as well as a measurement of all the intended furniture.

She then uses graph paper and pencil or a mobile app to map out where each piece of furniture goes in the room. This map includes the exact measurements of each piece to ensure that everything will fit once the plan is done.

Finally, once the room is mapped out, it’s important that every item in the room has its own place, whether it be in a drawer, in a cabinet, on a hook, or in a bookshelf. It might be an old adage, but it’s one that Janet Jarnagin sticks to. “Make a place for everything and everything in its place.”

Otherwise, there’s no reason to map out the places for the larger items if the smaller items don’t also have their place. The clutter will just come back.

Final Thoughts

When Janet Jarnagin works on a home organization project, she does so with the end goal in mind. Taking this approach allows her to toss out unused items and to make a better, more productive use of the space once she’s done.