Good chefs and organizers have something very important in common. We both employ a technique that is commonly used by professional chefs called mise en place, which means "everything in its place". Designating a place for everything is at the core of organizing because without this important element proper systems can’t be set up.
Something I see a lot as an organizer is many clients will pile things or stuff items in places because either they aren’t sure where the items are suppose to go, a home was never identified for the items, or they intend to put it away and the put away pile becomes daunting. The ramifications of not employing the mise en place philosophy is that organization will be elusive, never ending, and overwhelming when it doesn’t have to be. Also, you will probably re-buy things you already have because you either can’t find the item when you need it or you think you don’t have it in the first place.
So what should you do? First, I recommend in any room that you are organizing to do a thorough purge, only then can you see what truly needs to be organized. The second step is identify any storage in the room to see if it can be utilized better, if other items can be rearranged to free up more space, and then determine if more storage needs to be purchased. The last step is ….mise en place – put everything away. This last step is the icing on the cake! A logical home is determined for every item needed in the room. I realize it isn’t as straight forward as I’ve written, but if you keep this process in mind, you will be able to employ the mise en place strategy in no time.