A new technique is presented for decomposing unsteady turbulent flow variables into their organized unsteady and turbulent components, which appears to offer some significant advantages over existing ones. The technique uses power-spectral estimates of data to deduce the optimal frequency-domain filter for determining the organized and turbulent components of a time series of data. When contrasted with the phase-averaging technique, this method can be thought of as replacing the assumption that the organized motion is identically reproduced in successive cycles of known periodicity by a more general condition: the cross-correlation of the organized and turbulent components is minimized for a time series of measurement data, given the expected shape of the turbulence power spectrum. The method is significantly more general than the phase average in its applicability and makes more efficient use of available data. Performance evaluations for time series of unsteady turbulent velocity measurements attest to the accuracy of the technique and illustrate the improved performance of this method over the phase-averaging technique when cycle-to-cycle variations in organized motion are present.