How to organize anything (including your closet)

When you have a small house and growing kids it's hard to stay organized.

But taking the time to do it is one of the best things you can do to make a big difference in your life.

Here's a scary fact. We wear just 20 percent of our clothes, 80 percent of the time. That means closets could be a lot less cramped. Click here to read about organization of closets in Good Housekeeping.

Carol McCabe is a Professional Organizer in Quincy and owner of "Simplify."

She says every home has limited space or prime real estate for your belongings. So the key is identifying the stuff you want in your life ... and the stuff that's cluttering up your life.

McCabe says getting organized not only looks nice but saves you time and money.

McCabe said, "You're not running around looking for it ... and money because you won't have to go out and buy another one ... because you know right where it is. If you have everything in that closet, you're afraid to open the closet. It gets too overwhelming for you if you're looking for something."

There are five easy steps to organization: sorting, purging, containment, labeling and establishing a home for the items.

1) Sorting is easy. Just take out damaged or hole riddled items and eliminate outgrown clothes from the closet.

2) Then when you've sorted - purge.

"How do you decide what you need to purge?

McCabe said, "You have to decide what you want in that closet. What purpose is that closet going to serve. Then eliminate anything that doesn't go along with that plan. Then you decide do you no longer use it, do you no longer love it? Does it fit in your life anymore?"

McCabe said, "Ask yourself questions: Do I love it? Do I use it? Does it fit anymore? Does it have holes in it?"

You have to remember this closet or shelf is your prime real estate, so only keep at your finger tips what you actually use at that time or season. Click here to see more solutions.

And your needs are changing all the time and that means what you store is also changing. So adapt your stuff for what you are using at the time ... it will save time and money down the road.

Purging can be the most difficult part ... so how do you get rid of things you've had forever?

McCabe said, "I suggest you put it in a box, label the box with that date on it and put it somewhere that its not your prime real estate. Put it in your basement or attic. Then when you do your follow up organizing, go back and check and say did I go back to this box and get anything out of it? If I didn't donate it to someone who can use it." Click here to read more about that.

3) Third step is containment.

McCabe said, "A common mistake is people pick too small of a container for the items they have."

McCabe suggests containers that you can fill 50 to 70 percent of the way full, allowing for any other items that you may find or buy in the future.

Pick containers based on the person using it. More often kids like to have accessible containers or bins without lids so items are accessible and kids are more likely to put things away if its accessible.

4) Label the container.

5) Establish a home. That's where ever your family will go to use it.

McCabe said, "For the guys I put baskets for gloves and hats on the ground in a closet. If it doesn't get tossed in the basket, it gets tossed in here or on the floor."

Remember, organization is an ever changing job based on your families ever changing needs. Click here to read more from McCabe and her business Simplify.