Get organized on your terms and on your schedule.

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Credit: Getty Images/Susumu Yoshioka

These days, it can be hard to keep things neat and orderly. Since we're still spending considerable amounts of time at home, keeping a clean space can fall to the bottom of the list. But staying organized doesn't have to take a lot of time. We spoke with NAPO-certified professional home organizers Diane Quintana and Jonda Beattie, M. Ed., about the best tips to tidy up your house in just a few minutes. 

Diane and Jonda have a combined 30+ years of professional organizing experience. They have been featured on the A&E show Hoarders and TLC show Buried Alive to help people struggling with chronic disorganization that significantly impacts their lives. From their experiences helping an array of clients, they gleaned tips for how to get organized and stay that way in just a few minutes each day. They also recently published their book Filled Up & Overflowing (buy it: $18.95, Amazon.com). 

How to Get Started

When Diane and Jonda start working with a new client, they ask them "what hurts the most?" to get a sense of what is bothering the person most about how their home functions. This could be that their kitchen is not conducive for cooking or that there are tripping hazards near the front door. Jonda adds, "We also want to know why it is bothering them and what is important to them now." This helps their clients identify their motivation before moving forward. 

Looking at your house as a whole can be overwhelming when it comes to cleaning. Instead, identify what is bothering you the most and start there. 

Easy House-Cleaning Tips from Professional Organizers

Diane and Jonda are firm believers that every situation is different and there is not one set way to get organized and stay that way. Here are some of their tips for making cleaning a part of your life and your schedule. 

1. Respect the zones.

"If everyone in the home has an area that is 'theirs', you can set expectations," Jonda says. Giving people their own space can help everyone feel focused and taken care of. For example, if the kids use the kitchen table to do their homework, set the expectation that it needs to be cleared off and supplies need to be put away in their "zones" before dinner. 

When in doubt, talk it out. "If you have different people living in the home, it is important to have family meetings. This is a place where you can discuss what you need to do for them and they need to do for you," adds Jonda. Set expectations together so everyone knows what is expected of them and ensures everyone's needs are met. 

2. Stock up on supplies. 

Having the right tools helps set you up for success. It doesn't have to be expensive, we love these containers and organizers that are $30 or less. Diane and Jonda have a few favorite products of their own, too. Diane loves the Dyson Cord-Free Vacuum (buy it: from $292.89, Amazon.com). "It's small, lightweight and charges so it's easy to manipulate and is fairly powerful. I have two dogs and it takes care of their hair for me," says Diane. 

They also love the Elfa Shelving System products available at the Container Store. "They are terrific because you can create a shelving system for a tiny or a huge space, depending on what you need. Because of the way it's constructed, you can always add to it or subtract from it," adds Diane. 

3. Do a little bit every day.

Little tasks can add up when it comes to organizing. In fact, Diane and Jonda made a whole card game out of it! They recently developed the Organize Your Home 10 Minutes at a Time card set. It is a 52-card deck where each card has a 10-minute task to clean or organize an area of your home. The deck is broken into categories for kitchen, closets, bedrooms, bathrooms, family rooms and more. The set is not yet available for purchase, but check out their website to get more information. 

Diane also suggests delegating small tasks, especially when you are short on time. Simple tasks are a perfect way to get children involved while you take on a different task yourself. This way, you can get 20 minutes of work done in 10 minutes. 

4. Don't overlook docs.

"You want to avoid over-collecting of things. Spaces become overlooked when you don't revisit them," states Diane. Jonda adds that paper is often something that is overlooked, stacks up and over time it takes up a lot of space. Digital files are no exception, even though you can't "see" them. They can become confusing and distracting if you don't organize them. Identify or categorize what you need and delete what you don't. This can also make it easier to be more productive. 

5. Stick to a schedule. 

Staying organized doesn't mean sticking to a one-size-fits-all schedule. In fact, Diane and Jonda approach this very differently. Jonda divides her house into 10 zones, usually corresponding with a room. She tackles one zone each month. This involves taking everything out, deeply cleaning and putting back only what she needs. Once a zone is done, she doesn't worry about it again until the next year. Diane, on the other hand, doesn't deep clean as often. "I am fairly minimalist with my house. I don't have much in my closets or shelves so I don't need to do a deep dive as often." 

Regardless of the schedule you feel like is realistic for you, be sure to be consistent. "If you have a regular pattern, it is more likely to become a habit. Your routines help you keep the ground you've gained," adds Jonda. 

How to Stay Organized 

These professional organizers believe that staying tidy is a personal process. "Organizing is never a once and done thing. It's a work in progress. [For example,] if you want to leave your keys in a certain place so they are easy to find, mindfully practice leaving your keys there," suggests Diane. "If you slip up, give yourself grace and start again tomorrow. Fix it, don't forget it, and move on." People should focus their efforts on organization that keeps their home safe and themselves happy. Containers don't have to match, and it doesn't need to be perfect. But a few minutes a day will do a world of wonder to keep you organized.

To learn more about Diane and Jonda or to join their clutter support group, check out releaserepurpose.com