10 Highly Organized Habits for Personal and Professional Development

by DerdriuMarriner

The June 2016 issue of Real Simple magazine lists ten highly organized habits that sustain personal and professional development at home and on the job.

Ten Highly Organized Habits Accompany Personal and Professional Development

Ten highly organized habits are conducive to big-impact, low-effect personal and professional development, according to an article consolidating over 15 years of interviews and published in Real Simple magazine’s June 2016 issue.

The two-page article by Stephanie Sisco, home guide author and magazine staff editor, brings together 10 organizational behaviors whose benefits are immediate, lasting, personal and professional. The ten habits cultivate respect for how, when and where space and time must be ordered, as epitomized in two article-specific illustrations by María Corte Maidagan.

The ten demonstrate two questions that Dr. Sherry Pagoto, Associate Professor of Medicine at the University Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester, recommends asking in scrutinizing habits. Makeovers expect to “address a major impediment” to the goal of being organized and to “have a measurable return on investment” by knowing where things are.


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cover of Real Simple's June 2016 issue
cover of Real Simple's June 2016 issue

Ten Highly Organized Habits Find What Fits Where


Separation of storables into bins, compartments, containers and pouches, as first of ten highly organized habits, frustrates the counterproductive tendencies of “big black hole,” one-stop storage. Keys otherwise get lost in roomy but undivided backpacks and handbags, and such table accents as candlesticks vanish amid such table linens as napkins and runners.

The second highly organized habit has personal and professional development task-pegged so that goodness is not the only reward for organizing daunting attics, basements and garages. Having a favorite drink, soaking in bubble bath or turning music up loud is a reward for keeping current on home repairs and on household laundry.

The third habit juggles current possessions with existing space so that stuffed animals fit into existing toy chests without spillovers warranting purchases of more storage bins.


illustration by Maria Corte for Stephanie Sisco's article, "10 Habits of Highly Organized People"
illustration by Maria Corte for Stephanie Sisco's article, "10 Habits of Highly Organized People"

Ten Highly Organized Habits Keep Use in Mind


The fourth of ten highly organized habits for personal and professional development keeps storage of items of least use convenient and of frequently used objects closer.

The fifth habit lets on-the-spot, 30-second deciding where things go avoid sorting random piles the “weekend afternoon when you’re finally motivated to put it all away.” It merges with the sixth habit, of packing castoffs, giveaways and spillovers into the car trunk for drop-offs at such charitable organizations as the Salvation Army.

The seventh habit notes covering nooks with wall hooks so that hanging organizers, mounted racks and pegboards keep cleaning, hairstyling and yard gear “within easy reach.” It offers clear, clutter-free floors, just as the eighth habit organizes bookcase, cabinet, closet, pantry and refrigerator shelves into product-specific heights contrary to cramming or stuffing.


Bedroom Refresh: A Small-Space Closet Transformation ~ Stephanie Sisco regularly gives decluttering tips; the author of "10 Habits of Highly Organized People" also covers "The Great Closet Clean Out" in Real Simple's June issue and, here, clears closets.

Published on Mar 27, 2015, by Real Simple ~ URL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HhGJkkCL2V0

Ten Highly Organized Habits Proliferate in Happy Homes


The ninth of the ten highly organized habits pertains to arrangement by zones of “usage rather than type” for easy retrieval of food and of supplies. Practitioners of the ninth habit queue breakfast items together in the pantry, pet supplies near the back door, and pool gear with the mudroom’s outdoor tools.

The tenth habit recognizes that emotional attachments must not dominate purging decisions and that “a clean, clear surface is more satisfying than just having that thing.” The most convenient use of space and of time structures decisions regarding keepsakes, retrievals or tosses even though emotions surface in the final assessment and evaluation.

All ten turn the organization that works best for personal and professional development into the organization that works longest for “the greater good: a happier home.”


January 2014: Behinds the Scenes - Real Simple ~ Launched as a monthly women's interest magazine by Time Inc. in 2000, Real Simple aims for "creative, practical & inspiring solutions to make life easier."

Published on Feb 10, 2014, by Real Simple ~ URL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t0tNCtwIY0g



My special thanks to talented artists and photographers/concerned organizations who make their fine images available on the internet. 


María Corte Maidagan, illustrator of "10 Habits of Highly Organized People," notes for her Twitter profile caption:

"Me dedico a la ilustración en Barcelona."
illustrator Maria Corte's Twitter profile picture
illustrator Maria Corte's Twitter profile picture

Sources Consulted


“About María Corte Illustration.” MariaCorte.com.

  • Available @ http://www.mariacorte.com/about/?id_lang=1

Brown, Dorcas. 15 August 2013. “My Inspirations: Maria Corte.” Global Blue > Discover > SHOP Magazine Cover Illustration.

  • Available @ http://www.globalblue.com/discover/shop-covers/my-inspirations-maria-corte/

Pagoto, Sherry. 3 May 2016. “21 Days to Change a Habit? Why It’s Not That Simple.” U.S. News & World Report > Health & Wellness > Blogs > Eat + Run.

  • Available @ http://health.usnews.com/health-news/blogs/eat-run/articles/2016-05-03/21-days-to-change-a-habit-why-its-not-that-simple

Sisco, Stephanie. June 2016. “10 Habits of highly Organized People.” Illustrations by Maria Corte. Real Simple.

  • Available @ http://www.realsimple.com/home-organizing/organizing/how-to-get-organized


Stephanie Sisco, author of "10 Habits of Highly Organized People," notes for her Twitter profile caption:

"So just love, make mistakes and have wonderful times, but never second guess who you are, where you have been and, most importantly, where it is you are going."
author Stephanie Sisco's Twitter profile picture
author Stephanie Sisco's Twitter profile picture
the end which is also the beginning
the end which is also the beginning

J Is for Jazz by Ann Ingalls; illustrated by María Corte Maidagan ~ Available now via Amazon

Artist María Corte Maidagan, who illustrated "10 Habits of Highly Organized People," is involved in a variety of illustration projects, including animation, books, book covers and posters.
María Corte Maidagan's art portfolio

Me and my purrfectly purrfect Maine coon kittycat, Augusta "Gusty" Sunshine

Gusty and I thank you for reading this article and hope that our product selection interests you; Gusty Gus receives favorite treats from my commissions.
DerdriuMarriner, All Rights Reserved
DerdriuMarriner, All Rights Reserved
Updated: 11/13/2021, DerdriuMarriner
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DerdriuMarriner on 05/07/2021

WriterArtist, Thank you for visiting and writing about excellent remedies to overflow: sharing with others.
During the shutdown months of March and April, I remembered this article and went through everything everywhere, indoors and outside. It was a sobering experience that turned out very satisfactorily.

WriterArtist on 05/07/2021

I need to apply this to my overflowing clothes closet. The way I try to manage an overload is to donate stuff. Although it is hard to relinquish some old stuff, it gives me satisfaction that it will come handy to someone needy. A good article indeed, most of us need organizing skills. Our degrees and education does not matter much. And such skills can be acquired, they are not inherent.

DerdriuMarriner on 03/02/2019

katiem2, Thank you for settling on this article that Corte Maidagan, Sisco and Real Simple did such respectively great jobs in illustrating, writing and publishing. I'm sorry to hear that this up-and-down weather is getting an excellent redheaded article, book and play writer and illustrator like yourself down. Have you thought about illustrating and writing your "I like myself" redhead into a children's book about green roof or Hawaiian rain gardens?

katiem2 on 02/23/2019

Winter has been so crazy and well, a dab depressing with this topsy turvy weather. I needed a boost, this is just what I needed.

DerdriuMarriner on 07/10/2018

BrendaReeves, It seems to me that it's always a tightrope walk between the disorganization that "The 13 ways to end autopilot cycle rut and help personal development" identifies as helping us create and innovate and the organization in "10 highly organized habits for personal and professional development" that helps us find things when we need and want them. I wouldn't bemoan not having an "organized brain" since ultimately all that matters is being able to get through ours' and others' disorganization and organization.

BrendaReeves on 07/10/2018

Good article. I've come to the conclusion that the only hope for me is to own as little as possible. I don't have an organized brain.

DerdriuMarriner on 07/28/2017

CruiseReady, Amen! Achievements always need to be recognized and rewarded.

CruiseReady on 07/27/2017

Sounds like an interesting - and useful - article. I particularly liked item two, because those small rewards can go a long way towards motivation for so many of the other nine.

sandyspider on 03/24/2017

It is different when the family is involved.

DerdriuMarriner on 03/06/2017

sandyspider, Perhaps the two are necessary for a career since research behind "The 13 ways to end autopilot cycle rut and help personal development" indicates that messy desks help creativity far more than neat! It's difficult not to feel lost when making any attempt at organizing a home since the whole family is involved!

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