Organizing from the Inside Out

An organizing classic! Julie Morgenstern’s Organizing from the Inside Out discusses the following basic principles to create a functional arrangement for anything:

  • Sort (group like items together to determine how many exist)
  • Purge (in each group, decide which to keep and which to discard)
  • Assign a home (where should it go, how much space is needed)
  • Containerize (put each category in its own labeled container), and
  • Equalize (aka regular maintenance, the most frequently neglected step).

This organizing template has stood the test of time. One of the first books I acquired on the topic, it still speaks to the organizing challenges that I and my clients face. Read it yourself, and find out why it’s one of the most frequently cited books in the educational materials of the National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO).


“There are five basic needs-assessment questions:

  1. What’s working?
  2. What’s not working?
  3. What items are most essential to you?
  4. Why do you want to get organized?
  5. What’s causing the problems?”

~Morgenstern (1998) Organizing from the Inside Out, p. 39.