Sometimes you just need a few organizing tips to kick start your organizing project. I made a list below of many of the tips I tell my clients.
1. Store kitchen utensils and equipment near where they get used in the kitchen. For example, store your pots and pans near the stove. Store your plates near your cups and glasses, and store all of those over your silverware drawer to make dishing up easier.
2. Create “rules” for each drawer. For example, you might make a baking drawer with the rule that only items pertaining to baking — measuring cups, teaspoons, cupcake liners — can go in that drawer. In homes with small children, I like to designate one drawer the “sharps drawer” with the rule that all the sharp tools – cheese grater, pizza slicer, apple corer, etc. – go in that drawer. Parents can then put a childproof latch on that drawer to protect little fingers from playing with things that can cut them.
1. Replace your coffee table with a storage ottoman for storing extra bedding, blankets, oversized toys or even holiday decorations. An elegant, lightweight tray can rest on top of the ottoman if a flat surface is needed for holding drinks.
2. Cut down on the number of knick-knacks you display. Multiple knick-knacks on every flat surface not only makes a room look cluttered, it also make you panic every time a small child comes to visit and makes dusting a nightmare.
1. Do yourself a favor and put your clothes away every night. I promise you that you will sleep better in a tidier room. If it is difficult to remember to put your clothes away, try setting an alarm on your phone every night at your bedtime with a message that flashes “remember to put your clothes away” to remind you.
2. If your nightstand tends to look cluttered, remove anything that doesn’t pertain directly to bedtime and sleep. Dirty dishes, toenail clippers and the mail don’t pertain to sleep.
1. Kids’ toys multiply overnight like Gremlins in water (child of the ‘80s here). Have a garage sale this summer and let the children keep the money from the toys they sell. Better yet, have the kids pick out a new toy and tell them how much money they have to earn by selling their old toys to buy the new toy.
2. Limit the number of clothes that have to be stored in the closet on clothes hangers. Hangers are so hard for little hands to manage. Clothes folded and stored in bins work much better.
1. Go through your filing cabinet. I know you would rather have many painful dental procedures then devote the three or four hours this will take, but it’s the only way to get a handle on your paper avalanche. You don’t have to do it all in one sitting. Figure out when your peak energy time is, eat a snack beforehand, crank up the music, set a timer for 20 minutes and see how fast you can get it done. Most of my clients report that it’s not that bad once they get into it; it’s just motivating themselves to start that is the challenge.
2. Only keep the bare minimum of office supplies on your desk or in your top desk drawer. I’m talking two pens, two pencils, the stapler, your reading glasses and maybe a pair of scissors and paperclips. Everything else can go in the bottom drawers or in a box in the closet.
1. You know all those beautiful bottles full of seldom-used product that are covered in dust on your bathroom counter? Toss them all. Doesn’t matter how expensive they were. They are destroying the clean and tranquil environment that your bathroom should be.
2. Put a clothes hamper in the corner for dirty clothes so family members will stop tossing them on the floor. If there is no room inside the bathroom, see if there is room right outside the bathroom door.
1. Divide your basement or garage into zones such as the camping zone, sports equipment zone, holiday decoration zone, etc. Make it a hard and fast rule, maybe even a COMMANDMENT that no other unrelated items are allowed into each zone.
1. Organization isn’t something that just happens (or doesn’t happen) in your house. It is directly related to the choices you and your family make. Do your choices make the home more organized or less organized? Remember that choosing to do nothing is still making a choice.
2. Make time to organize. Each night set a timer for 10 minutes and have each family member tackle a different room. Make it a beat-the-clock game. When everything gets put away by the time the timer goes off, everyone gets dessert or gets to watch their favorite TV show.
Have you found any tricks you love that work in certain rooms in your house? Let us all know by sharing in the comments below!
Image courtesy of Martha Stewart magazine.