organize this



Yesterday I asked people on Twitter and Facebook what they would like me to share when it comes to organizing.

There was quite a response to the question, so I thought that it would be best to share each Q and A here in one big post.

I’ll also say that some questions I cannot speak to directly from personal experience because I don’t have kids and I am not moving to or from Japan. So when I cannot relate personally from my own life, I will share based on principles, what I believe I would do in each case.

My hope is that these insights, or any that are provided in the comment section, are helpful for those that face similar challenges.

Ready? Let’s begin.



I’d love to see how you organize tech (and their accessories) with their respective warranties, instructions, receipts, & boxes.

– Kathleen Ballos ‏(@snowdropandco)

I’ll say right away that my approach may not be ideal for some people. But Mr. Lively and I have honestly found that we rarely ever use the boxes or instructions for electronics. And warranties are pretty rare for us since we are apartment dwellers without appliances and don’t purchase warranty extensions on our electronics.

So for this reason, I am pretty sure that I only have the instructions for the TV and the printer (which does get used from time to time).

I may also still have the box for my MacBook Pro in the guest room closet because it is the one electronic I would be likely to eventually sell. However, I did resell my laptop back to Apple and they sent me a box to use, so even my box may not be necessary.

Instructions, I’ve learned from Mr. Lively, are often available for products online, so we no longer worry too much about those as well.

So to answer the question, I keep a few instructions in a folder  and would include warranties there too, if I had them. Boxes I’m less concerned about keeping in general unless I was sure I was going to re-sell.



Jewelry and hair accessories please! My headbands and bracelets are out of control.

– Kelsey Heinze (‏@keheinze) 

This one I’ve got to say has a lot to do with editing. I have gotten better and better over the years at editing my jewelry wardrobe down to only the items that I use on a frequent basis.

The items that I use sit on my dresser, below. Necklaces go on the tree branch, earrings go in the ikat bowl, and bracelets and watches go in the crystal bowl.

I do have about 10 more pieces than what is shown in this photo, now, but overall this is still the same set up.




I also have some heirloom jewelry which I have on display, but my bedroom only houses the regular workhorses in my wardrobe.

There also is a bag of old Jess LC designs tucked away in the guest room closet (aka “the attic”) for when I have a daughter to share them with.

When it comes to headbands, I only have one. And it is hanging with my belts on these great hooks and rods from Ikea.


I’m hoping to get through my house this summer…but organizing the organizing is proving to be scary (it’s a big house and it’s just me doing most of it, kids aren’t much help).

Thoughts on organizing the organizing of a big house when you work full time? Thanks!

– Marguerite S.

This one I really can’t speak to from personal experience since I don’t have kids nor a big house.

I think I would personally try to devote a few weekends to doing it since I wouldn’t want it to drag on for months and weigh on me with such a busy schedule. I would also probably enlist my children (depending on age) to be responsible for helping with their items (something The Seven Habits recommends).

If that option wasn’t available, you could consider hiring help.

In fact, I was hired as a teenager to organize and clean a busy neighbor’s overflowing playroom since she was too busy to tackle the project.

Either way, it will require time (doing it yourself on nights or weekends) or money (hiring help) to resolve. You could even “hire” your kids!

If anyone else has thoughts on how to get this done, please share as well!


One idea would be prioritizing. Where does a rational person start? Another would be storage of under used hand me down china and crystal you can’t get rid of for various reasons.

 – Lynda M.B.

Not knowing your exact situation, I’d start with creating a vision of what I’d like the space to look like. I’d then figure out what actions and organizing would give me the most progress towards the actualization of that vision and start there.

To me, the ability to have your space reflect your vision for it is the highest priority. It may also give you the encouragement you need to keep going and complete the smaller, less impactful changes as well to complete the overall look you are seeking.

And on the china front, I’m sorry that you have items you feel you cannot get rid of! That’s really tough.

I suppose, since I live in an apartment, I would store it in Tupperware tubs under my guest bed. But you could do the same in whatever area of your home you have extra unused space as well.


Planning…electronic vs. paper…personal vs. work.

– Lauren H.

Great question!

For me electronic is best since it actively syncs with my phone and computer (I use Google Calendar and TeuxDeux).

I was a paper girl before, but the idea of losing that planner used to scare me. I also enjoy that my electronic schedule will beep at me and alert me before specified appointments to remind me to get a move on!

And to keep things simple I keep work and personal all in the same place. This might be easier for those that are self-employed vs. at a corporate job, however.

As far as what to plan to do when, I’m covering that in today’s WIKW!


Clothes, accessories and jewelry. By color, function or outfit and if by outfit what about muting use items?

– Janice W.B.

Clothes: I have t-shirts, shorts, and sweaters folded on shelves in my closet. For the rack, I do three main sections: short-sleeve and sleeveless tops, long sleeve tops, and dresses.

Each of those main sections are then color coordinated from light to dark so I can essentially find any item I’m looking for in any section quickly and easily.

Pants and skirts are on their own rack and are by color as well.

Accessories: I have my scarves and belts hanging on rods and hooks from Ikea.

Jewelry: Check out my answer to Kelsey above.



– Kara F.

My honest answer is: I try to get rid of as much as possible and keep everything online.

This leaves me with very little paper to deal with. I have a binder for consulting notes, a hanging folder box for bills and insurance, and a plastic folder for 2013 receipts.

Past year’s accounting items go in their own plastic folders and are stored on the upper shelf of the guest room closet.

Important items like passports, birth certificates, etc. all go here.


I second the clothing stuff (including editing with your organizing)- its something everyone can use, but many of us don’t have the money to hire someone to help us with this daily task! Everyone is busy and rushed in the morning – an organized closet can really help start the day right. Mine is a mess.

– Ashley G.P.

This can be tricky to do if you have a hard time letting go, but I think an intense makeunder could really help you.

They say that we wear 20% of our clothes most of the time. So chances are that you might be feeling overwhelmed by your closet due to having too many items that you no longer need, use, or love.

I would focus on creating a killer vision of what you’d like your closet to look like and how many items you’d like to have and then work your exfoliating towards achieving that vision.

You could also ask a friend who is good about clutter to spend the day with you to help you to make progress as well.

Here’s a previous makeunder I did on my wardrobe which might be helpful, as well.


Tomorrow I’ll be back to finish answering the questions shared on Facebook.

In the meantime, feel free to share any tips or insights you might have for these wonderful ladies as well!


dresser photo by

This Post Has 0 Comments

  1. Kimberly Anne

    This is a great post! I love organizing things in my house, but struggle with the best way to do so. I have tried using an electronic organizer, but I think I may go back to paper…I don’t want to, but I feel that I was more on track when I did. I struggle with the thought of carrying a planner, iPad mini, and a smart phone with me!

  2. Emily Cowles

    Re the organizing the big house question, break it into small tasks and set a timer for 30 minutes to an hour. When the hour’s up quit. It’s amazing how much you can get done in a short amount of time if you choose to focus on one area, or a part of one area. That way you can feel and hopefully see that you accomplished something and want to get back to it next time.
    Jess might have mentioned something similar on here but when I’m going through things, I keep 3 containers within arms reach of me, keep, get rid of, and trash. At the end of the time I’ve set I put the keep stuff away and the donate stuff near the door.

  3. Alicia

    Your inspiring me to try to be more paper-free! I’m very hands on and have a love for print design, aka paper. It creates a mess tho and I find myself getting annoyed because I don’t know which notebook it is in or where that one little piece of paper got lost.

    I’m quitting my job and my full time freelance career starts next week. I will attempt to start with all digital notes and organizing!

    1. Bravo! I hope you like the transition. For me, it took about a month to get used to, but now I’d never want to go back to paper scheduling and appointments.

  4. Mel

    Jess- Thank you so much for all the organizing tips! I’d love it if you’d go into more detail about your everyday jewelry. Or have you already done this in the past? For instance, how many bracelets, earrings, necklaces, watches, etc. do you have? Are all your pieces more classic and not super trendy? I’m to the point of wanting to own mostly classic pieces that will last, which will also decrease the need for constant editing. Any more details you have would be great! And again, THANK YOU for all the help!

    1. Hi Mel!

      I haven’t gone too, too much into detail. I would estimate that I have about seven necklaces and seven bracelets that I wear on a daily basis. I also have about 10 pairs of earrings, but again, I probably wear four most frequently lately.

      Some are trendy, some are simple/classic. But the trendy pieces are there until I find myself not wearing them and then I donate or pass them on to a friend.

      Any other items I still have are heirloom or old Jess LC pieces I’m saving for my daughter and those are in storage.

      I hope this helps!

  5. Amy

    I have another tip for organizing a big house, and I am by no means a natural organizer. Since organizing a whole house can be a daunting task, first tackle a small area that you feel would be easy. For me, this is usually the bathroom because it’s a small space and I know which products I use daily and which ones sit untouched on the counter or in a drawer. Once your accomplish this task and can benefit from the newly organized space every day through your daily routine, it will motivate you to tackle bigger areas of the house. Good luck!

  6. Jowhara Mahomed

    Thank you so much for the tips ! Will definitely be putting some of them into action this weekend

  7. Jessica

    Advice for the editing & organizing your closet question: I recently cleaned out my whole closet and this is what I found useful: Separate your clothing by summer/spring and fall/winter. Right now since it feels like summer in Los Angeles I’m keeping all my summer/spring clothes in my main closet & my winter/fall clothes in an armoire tucked away. Now with my main closet I put the hangers in the opposite direction than I will normally hang them. And when I use that certain clothing item, I put the hanger with it in the right direction. At the end of the season I know what I wore and didn’t wear. So the things I didn’t wear will still have the hangers facing on the opposite direction and I take them out and find out what I can do with them.

    I donate them (to an organization that needs them. In L.A. is the Dream Center), give them to my sister or friends. Or it makes it easier to part away with items if your getting paid for them. So sell them to a consignment shop or have a garage or yard sale. That always works for me. But it takes really hard work to let go of an item. Organize, Edit, and then Organize again is my motto.


  8. Colleen Slack

    Jess – have you tried Wunderlist? I used to use Teux Deux, but got frustrated with its limitations. Wunderlist allows you to create categories, subtasks, due dates, reminders, star tasks, etc. I love being able to separate my personal and work to-do lists, even into work vs. marketing categories. And starring tasks allows me to prioritize nicely.
    I second current season vs. off-season separation, by type, etc.
    As a work from home mom of a one year old, I’m definitely ready to reevaluate my wardrobe and try to create a vision to guide future purchases. This is all good reminders as I work through that.
    Also, for getting rid of excess paper, I’ve been working on scanning relevant articles, advice, products, etc. and putting it all into Evernote as my electronic (searchable) file cabinet. Best program ever.

    1. I haven’t tried Wunderlist yet, I have heard great things, though! So far, for me, I am still loving Teux Deux for the simplicity, but if I ever feel like I need something beyond it and Asana I’ll be sure to do a little trial run. : )

  9. Marta

    Hi Jessica! I really like your tips regarding stuff, but I have some different problem ith organizing. I’m struggling to organize my links and articles from internet. I’m using Evernote and saving links and articles I like or I want to read, but now it is just too much. It’s hard to delete them, because some are inspirational, some I might to use in the future;) From one side I would like to have this area simplified but for the oter I know they are not takimg really space in my apartment (only in my head;)). It’ll take a lot of time to go through all of my 50 notes and countless number of links, if I want to do it good. Or maye I should just delete them?;) Do you have som tips? Greetings from Germany:)

    1. Jess Lively

      Hi Marta! Welcome from Germany! : )

      My first thought as you described what you are facing was to consider making a Pinterest board for all of those links? That way you can go visually back and look at them at a glance? I’m not sure if that makes sense for the way you think about things and compared to Evernote (which I’ve never used), but it might be a clearer way to see everything at once and know where to find it?

      1. Marta

        Hi Jess:) Thanks for your answer:) I’m also using Pinterest, but for some other, more visual purpose, and don’t want to clutter it with all my links and articles. I’m not sure if it will do the trick in case of my “piles” of articles, but thank you for suggestion:) If you don’t know Evernote, you should try it, it is a free (basic version, but I think is already more than enough) program for taking notes, with a nice interface and wide accessibility – computer, phone, can also be synchronized with to gmail and Remember The Milk. And if you use it well and not get cluttered in all your notes, it can be a great tool to save all your interesting information, be use as a Getting Things Done tool or in whatever way you chose to use it. I’m still figuring it out;) I can recommend also One Note – it is a Microsoft Office component, very nice to work with, especially for projects. So maybe my real problem is, that I have too much of all of this “important informaton” and I should just “exfoliate” it, like you suggest doing it with objects?

        Thank you for your blog and all of the inspiration:)
        Have a great day!

        1. Jess Lively

          That’s great to hear! Thank you for the details on Evernote, too! For me, I like to keep things crazy simple and pretty much only use a priority list on paper 1xweek,, and Google Calendar. But if that ever changes and I need more systems I’ll be sure to keep it in mind. Until then, I want to keep things as simple as I can. ; )

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