Organizing Tip of the Day: Work in a Circle


For my first post of this new series, I want to start with a general organization and cleaning tip that I seriously love and naturally wind up using every time I’m doing either. It feels intuitive and just makes sense to me. The tip is: work in a circle.

This is a great strategy because it automatically makes the mess or clutter feel less overwhelming, and that overwhelm is what I think often deters people from starting on an organizing project. When you work in a circle, you’re not tackling a huge mess – you’re tackling one small area at a time. It focuses your attention and keeps you moving forward in an organized, rather than chaotic, fashion.

Here’s how you do it. Say you’re working on organizing a whole room. Start at one piece of furniture – say, the dresser. Stand in front of it and mentally shut out the rest of the room. Just tackle that dresser – what’s on it, what’s in it, etc. Then move clockwise to the next part of the room. Maybe it’s a pile of stuff on the floor. Maybe it’s the desk. Whatever it is, that’s the next part you tackle!

Another good aspect of this strategy is that if you have to stop in the middle to take a break or you need to regroup and come back to this project the next day (or the next week!), it will be easy to tell where you stopped and where you need to pick it up again. You could even use this strategy to make a deal with yourself. Today I’ll just do the dresser. Next weekend I’ll just do the pile. Weekend after that, the desk. You can work in a circle over a long period of time, effectively breaking a big project into small, do-able chunks.

This is a perfect strategy for cleaning as well, and one that I employ every weekend when I clean my apartment. I dust by moving in a circle from furniture piece to furniture piece, before vacuuming and changing bed linens. It works well for me and hopefully some of you can employ this strategy when you embark on your next cleaning or organizing project!

Have a great weekend, and remember to send any organizing questions my way if you’ve got ’em!

Leave a Comment

  1. Lauren wrote:

    Very interesting! I like that things are broken up into segments which makes it much easier to tackle larger projects. I’m participating in Apartment Therapy’s January Cure, which is also a help. Still looking for some great inspiration on organizing craft supplies that is functional – perhaps I’ll convert a sideboard I have.

    Published 1.8.16 · Reply
    • York Avenue wrote:

      Yes, I followed along on I think, the Closet Cure last year? It was fun, good tips in there.

      Published 1.14.16 · Reply
  2. Elana wrote:

    That’s such a creative idea!

    Published 1.8.16 · Reply
  3. I love the idea or an organizing series 🙂 I can’t wait for all the tips that are to come!


    Published 1.8.16 · Reply
  4. Mallory wrote:

    I’ve recently started doing this and it’s absolutely helpful!

    Published 1.8.16 · Reply
  5. Dorothy wrote:

    great idea, going to
    try this today

    Published 1.12.16 · Reply
  6. Dorothy wrote:

    can’t wait to see all the tips!!

    Published 1.12.16 · Reply