Sarah Welch and Alicia Rockmore

Experts in the art of imperfect organization
We are big believers in the organizational power of the simple trash can.

Sarah Welch and Alicia Rockmore (once stressed-out professional moms) are real women on a mission to help busy people get organized.

After feeling like organizational failures because they were unable to reach an impossible “org porn” standard, they realized that there are really just a small handful of tasks that are crucial to getting organized, and that there is no such thing as being perfectly organized.

This discovery led them to launch Buttoned Up, a website and lines of tools that help women live an organized life. The pair coauthored the book Everything (Almost) in Its Place, and their second book, Pretty Neat: Get Organized and Let Go of Perfection, hits shelves October 2010. You can find them at, follow them on Twitter @getbuttonedup and learn more about Sarah and Alicia here:

What is your favorite product for organizing?
Sarah and Alicia: We are big believers in the organizational power of the simple trash can. As a rule, you should have at least one in every room so you’re never more than a step or two away from one. (It’s worth investing in bins you actually like to look at.)

What, in your opinion, is the most overrated organizing tool?
Sarah and Alicia:
This might sound a little heretical coming from organizing types, but probably the most overrated organizational tool is the filing cabinet. Don’t get us wrong—it can be great if you are a meticulous filer. But most of us aren’t. The sad fact is that it enables people to hold on to way more papers and files than they really need to, and all too quickly they devolve into a dysfunctional “catch-all.”

What is your best advice for getting organized?
Sarah and Alicia:
Use the 80/20 rule to focus on the handful of organizational tasks that really matter. The 80/20 rule is actually an economics rule, but it applies to literally everything in life. It basically states that in anything, there are a few things that are crucial, so you get a lot further a lot faster by focusing on those. That rule is absolutely essential for staying ahead of the chaos in our 24/7 world.