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6 tips for staying organized when you have no time or energy

by respaced on February 22, 2011

Get your organization systems in place, like this
vegetable bin from Land of Nod for easy,
accessible toy storage.

If you work part time, full time or have very young children at home, the idea of organizing your space, or even tidying up, might seem like a joke at best. Who has time for that when you work 8, 10 or 12 hours a day? Some of my clients have been in this situation, so I will tell you what I tell them:

1. Get your organizing systems in place. A good organizing system will cut down on the amount of time you spend looking for things, replacing things and cleaning things. You will instantly know where to find things when you want them or where to put them back when you are done. Your house will stay cleaner because of this.

Yes, you might have to sacrifice a weekend or two to set up your systems, but the amount of time you will save in the long run makes it all worth it. Read this post or this post to learn how to set up a good organizing system.

2. Do a little bit of clean-up each day. Spend 5-10 minutes in each of the main rooms of your house putting things away at the end of the day. Don’t save up doing major chores like laundry or dishes for the weekend, because then you will be faced with doing a 2-hour long activity that you know you won’t have the energy (nor likely the interest) to complete.

3. When you do that evening clean-up, have someone in the house follow behind you with a container of Lysol wipes. As you pick things up, they are swiping down surfaces, wiping doorknobs, even getting the little stains off the floors and furniture. You will be amazed at how this will cut down on the amount of deep cleaning you have to do.

4. Make sure everyone in your family is pitching in to help maintain the house. You don’t do your kids any favors by cleaning up their toys and bedrooms for them. Teach them responsibility for their belongings, which means putting their toys away when they are done playing with them. And don’t be afraid to assign chores, such as sorting laundry, feeding the pets or putting the silverware away to children as young as 4.

5. Delegate or hire out. Seriously consider hiring a maid service to come deep clean your house once a week if you really can’t bring yourself to clean anything. Hate doing laundry? Hire a local preteen to come to your house and fold laundry for a couple of hours. It won’t cost you very much, yet it will make a big difference in keeping your household running smoothly.

6. The best way to cut down on time spent cleaning and organizing? Own less stuff. Let’s call it The Golden Rule of Organizing: the more stuff you have, the more time you will spend cleaning, organizing and putting away that stuff. The less stuff you have, the less time spent ….. well, you get the picture. To kick start this level of purging, pick a percentage of stuff you think you can live without (eg. 20 percent). Then commit to getting rid of 20 percent of your clothes, 20 percent of your DVDs, 20 percent of the kids’ toys, etc.

Our free time is so very precious, especially when we have children at home. Put these 6 tips to use in your home, and watch how your home goes from stressful and chaotic to organized and relaxing.

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