This spring is a good time to review POSSE’s basic organizing recipe SSPOE. Even though I am going to use pets as a category of possessions as my example, the principles are the same and transferable for all organizing skills.

petsSo, think about your pet(s). What kinds of things do they require you to keep in your house or what kind of time do you need to devote to them in order to properly take care of their daily and lifelong needs?

For the purpose of this article, I will use a dog as an example but you can easily imagine many household items for other furry and non-furry companions such as cats, birds, fish, ferrets, reptiles, etc.

Here is your basic organizing sequence for any project you would like to tackle: Sort, Select, Purge, Organize and Equalize (SSPOE).

S is for Sort — Create individual grouping of similar items. Dog items might fall into the following categories:

  • “Walking Items” – such as leashes, collars, poop bags, treats
  • Toys – chew toys, outside toys, inside toys
  • Food – dry food, wet food, snacks, treats
  • Bedding – crate, dog beds, doggie blankets
  • Medication – monthly preventative meds for heart worm, fleas, ticks and special medicine for any specific health challenges
  • Papers – pedigree information, veterinarian information, other papers such as special canine training
  • Time – walks, exercise, feeding, vet appointments

dog_with_leashS is for Select — Now that you’ve categorized Fido’s things, you’ll need to decide if you still love them, use them, or need them. If you own 9 leashes for example, do you really need or want all 9? Maybe you need one for walking him, one for dog therapy service and one as a backup?

P is for Purge — This doesn’t necessarily mean garbage. It just means that now that you know which items you are de-cluttering, where will they go? For example, maybe the dog crate, extra leashes and toys Fido doesn’t play with and extra blankets you’ll give to RBARI; the old vet bills will be shredded, the outdated medication and expired food will go in the garbage.

O/C/L is Organize, Containerize, Labelize — Now is the chance and time to give proper homes to your pet’s things. Where will the leashes live? Maybe on a hook in the front closet. Maybe you put this hook in the closet right by where you might now place a basket for the poop bags and a flashlight. Where will you keep the dog’s medication? In a container with your first aid supplies or right along another container with the family vitamins and medications? How about Fido’s papers? Do you have a labeled file called “Fido” that is in with all your other properly labeled family files?

E is for Equalize — This last step is extremely important. In order for your organizing work to stay “in order”, what systems will you put in place so that Fido’s belongings remain organized? So a house rule might be, whoever walks the dog needs to hang the leash back up and place the poop bag in the special garbage can set up outside just for this purpose. It might mean that when the dog is down to his last heartworm pill, you order more and replenish the prescription. What I’d like you to think about is “One In, One Out”. If a new dog toy comes in the house, one goes out.

Now that things are blooming we will all be doing some much needed decluttering. Remember this basic POSSE recipe SSPOE and do the above steps in sequential order for any organizing project you desire.


maura_and_YAP_dogMy daughter is a YAP Ambassador. YAP’s mission is to educate America’s youth about working dogs in order to advance and secure the future of this critical field through mentoring, career, and volunteer opportunities, and through raising awareness of the importance of sustaining the purebred breeds who perform these essential services.

This organization needs her time so we need to remember to block her community service on our calendars.