Start with a Written Plan of Five Words or Less

SORT and Succeed is so easy, it just takes five words to get started. Which five words? That depends on your organizing project. To be successful with your organizing project, start with a written plan of five words or less.


You have to start somewhere, and as they say, the beginning is a very good place to start.

The beginning isn’t at the store buying bins. (Just say no.)

It isn’t by hauling all of your things out of the closet or your room. (That’s a great way to make a bigger mess.)

It isn’t by heading to Instagram to see what other people did in their closet. (That’s a good way to waste an afternoon.)

Step 1 – Start with a written plan.

Start with a Written Plan of Five Words or Less

In a notebook. On the back of an envelope. On a whiteboard. On your Notes app. On a sticky note. The act of capturing that thought makes it turn into something real. It’s no longer just an electrical impulse inside your head, gone like a flash of light. Writing it down means there is a record of your intention. That’s going to come in handy in about a half hour when you are starting to get dis….oh look, there’s a squirrel!

If I were there with you, I could keep you in the room or space you want to organize. I could tap you on the shoulder and remind you to stay focused on the organizing project in front of you. But sadly, I’m not there with you. But that written organizing plan is a great way to remind yourself what you committed to doing today. Right now.

Five Words or Less to Organizing Success

Don’t overthink it. 

Don’t get overwhelmed. 

Don’t over-extend yourself. 

Don’t write a term paper. 

That’s a lot of don’ts that you can squash with five words or less. Plan your organizing project in five words or less.  Here’s are some examples:

  • Empty the kitchen sink
  • Remove too-small clothes from closets
  • Swap summer/winter wardrobes
  • Re-arrange my bedroom
  • Clear off the kitchen counter
  • Clean out the garage
  • Make space in the playroom
  • Put holiday decor away
  • Prepare for an auction/sale
  • Empty one bedroom for downsizing
  • Donate half my books
  • Organize the fridge (This is an excellent organizing project for the New Year!)

Is any of this giving you ideas for your project?

Breaking Down Organizing Goals

Have you ever torn your house apart while organizing, only to end up in some other part of your house later that day, with a big mess or maybe lots of smaller messes behind you, feeling like you haven’t really made any progress at all?

Step 1, writing down your organizing plan, will help you define what you are working on before that burst of enthusiasm creates even more chaos.

If you already started on your organizing projects this year, do you see how narrowing down your project to a short, defined list can keep you focused?

Keep Your Organizing Goal Simple

You know in your heart that “organize the whole house,” even though it’s only five words, isn’t a reasonable plan. Break it down into smaller goals like those bulleted above.

Something simple like “organize the hall closet”…

Start with a Written Plan of Five Words or Less- SORT and Succeed

can lead to big changes in very little time. This took about a half hour.

Start with a Written Plan of Five Words or Less- SORT and Succeed


If you have an organizing project (or two or ten) on your mind right now, try distilling each of them down into five words or less.

Go ahead. I can wait. 🙂

The SORT and Succeed system, those five easy steps, are the plan for getting you from here to there. If you can define the “there” in five words or less, you’re over the first big organizing speed bump, and you are more likely to get to the end result you have in mind.

Step 1 of SORT and Succeed

If you are still winding up to organizing a big project, perhaps a guest room, or the basement, or starting your big downsizing effort, take a moment to think how Step 1 of SORT and Succeed can help you become more organized, one project at a time.

No matter when you found us, catch up with all of the New Year’s organizing articles here.