The Secret to Maintaining an Organized and

Smooth-Running Household is Simple –

Strengthen your C.O.R.E.

Everyone knows that our bodily core strength is key to our general health and fitness. It’s the same for getting and staying organized. If you work your C.O.R.E. regularly you will see visible improvement in the quality of your life and the well being of your family!

The Smartly Organized C.O.R.E. Operating System™ evolved over the years as my family grew and life became busier. To manage daily life and to minimize disasters I came to rely on these C.O.R.E. principles.

First, C = Calendar

Electronic calendar with color coding and time blocking

Embrace an electronic calendar as part of your C.O.R.E. System.

“If it ain’t on the calendar, it ain’t happening.” Sounds harsh but it was the easiest way to stop my young son from constantly begging to go to Game Stop. He quickly learned that when the activity was entered into the calendar it was sure to happen. And, along the way he learned delayed gratification and patience.

I urge you to embrace an electronic calendar system so the entire household can use it.

Because, if you hadn’t noticed, much of life happens outside the home. The paper calendar hanging on the wall or tucked in mom’s purse just isn’t going to provide the functionality needed when racing from one activity to the next. Not only does a detailed electronic family calendar allow for active use of time blocking and color-coding, but you can also add addresses, directions, travel time, notes, reminders, and other information so you have it when you need it. Bonus tip if your children play team sports: schedules can be automatically imported into the family calendar. Wait, what?? Changes or cancellations are immediately reflected. Mind Blown. I can go on and on about the value of the Calendar and how to use it for planning.  But I’ll proceed to the next C.O.R. E. Principle.

O = Order


Assign a “home” so you can find something when you need it.

“A place for everything, and everything in its place.” This is an oldie but a goodie. Like the calendar that manages our time and schedule, providing order to our stuff by assigning “homes” is the easiest way to keep things running smoothly in a busy household. While this sounds fairly simple, the process of deciding where things should live takes time and effort.

The benefit of Order is obvious: you can find something when you need it!

Children soak this up in elementary school and you can continue it at home. Show them a shoe bin with their picture or name on it and they will gladly place their shoes in it. Place a photo of the toy on the outside of a toy basket, and they can clean up after playing. Model this behavior, remind them often, and most kids will embrace this concept, at least until their teen years! Without a home, stuff just gets pushed around until it eventually gets pushed to the back of the closet or underneath the bed.

R = Right Tools

Right Tools lead to a strong system

The right tools remind the user where things belong.

You simply cannot strengthen your C.O.R.E. without the Right Tools.

The physical structure supports the organizing system by reminding the user where things belong.

To wit, well-planned closets and cabinets are the foundation for Order. Strategic use of other organizing products can enhance the closet or cabinet functionality. My personal favorite is the Lazy Susan that makes every pantry or cabinet immediately neater and more functional. Drawer dividers are up there in importance as part of the organizing process. Shallow trays for kitchen drawers, baskets for the pantry, or specialty drawer inserts for jewelry and accessories in a closet allow you to group like items and create instant Order. Lastly, good old-fashioned laundry baskets provide a great way to collect stray items and return them to their “homes.” Do an evening sweep throughout your home and return items to their rightful places. Done on a regular basis this will minimize clean-up time going forward.

Lastly, E = Everyday Actions

Checking off tasks make a good system

A daily checklist system creates good habits.

The C.O.R.E Operating System requires Everyday Actions to maintain the overall organizational system. Access your calendar daily. Use it to plan your day. Make daily decisions regarding your time and your stuff rather than delaying.

Avoid the “Just for now” or “I’ll do it later” syndrome.

I’ve seen it happen. Items not put away make for hours of clean up later. Piles of paper left on the counter get swept into a bag when company comes; that bag gets tossed in the closet never to see the light of day again.

Like any exercise regimen it pays to start slowly and focus on consistency. Build on your accomplishments and strengthen your C.O.R.E. over time. Operating systems occasionally need to be rebooted. If you find you need some help call in an expert. At Smartly Organized, we can provide the support and training you need to get and stay organized!



Andrea Handwritten Signature

Certified Professional Organizer® Andrea Walker is passionate about helping her clients. As owner and founder of Smartly Organized, LLC, a professional organizing firm headquartered in New Jersey, Andrea has been helping discerning clients accomplish their organizing goals since 2010. Her attention to detail and high level of service set her apart from her peers. Contact her at 917.846.9953 or

A Smartly Organized move is the smartest move you will ever make™.

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