As someone who has been helping people get organized for many years, I have friends, family and clients asking me constantly for tips to keep their home looking neat and tidy. Some of them feel like they are not the kings and queens of their castle because the ugly clutter beast is in control.
Not to worry. It may take some time and to change a few habits, but you can have an organized home yourself.
Read the following tips below and start to implement them now. There is no time like the start of a new year to find the motivation you need to get things in order.
– Only keep items out if you use them every day. For example if you love to make coffee every morning, the espresso machine should stay on the counter. However, if you only use your mixer when you bake, that should be stored in a cabinet an only taken out when needed. This will reduce the cluttered feel in the kitchen. If you do not have a lot of cabinet space, there are many space saving items or store smaller items within larger ones for greater efficiency. This rule applies for every room in the home. If an item is not being used every day, it should be stored out of sight.
– Paperwork can be the albatross in any home. If not constantly managed, papers can get out of control. Create a system that works for you. When you bring in the mail, sort it immediately. Eliminate the things that do not interest you right away by tossing them in the garbage. Recycle if possible. With either folders or trays, sort the remaining mail into the following categories: Action Items, Bills To Pay, Things To File, Miscellaneous. Once a week or once every other week, clean out all folders and handle each item. File papers you want to keep and do not create any paper piles.
If you want to be really organized, scan all paperwork and file it electronically. There are many people who use this form of system so they become paperless. You may also pay bills online which will eliminate the amount of paper that comes into your home as well.
– When you bring home a new item, you must get rid of a similar item. For example if you bring home a new book, you must eliminate a book from your home. This is crucial for keeping clutter to a minimum and giving you more discernment before purchasing new items. You will realize how many things you buy needlessly which may reduce unnecessary purchases.
– The best organized people are those that have organization routines. These are people that do things habitually to stay neat. If you find this challenging, start small. Some experts say it takes approximately 66 days to form a habit, but once it place it will continue easily. To create your first Organizational Routine pick either the beginning of the day or the end of day. Make sure that you choose a time where you have the least amount of stress. Choose what you want to do every day that is organizational, and do it every day. Write yourself notes, set an alarm in your phone and ask others for help reminding you. For example, if keeping your closet organized is important, put all clothes away every day before you go to bed and lay out what you want to wear for the next day. After two months it will be part of your routine and will happen without effort.
Create An “Always” Station – Have a place where you always stop every time you return home. This is where you put everything you need for when you leave: keys, cell phone, purse, jacket, sunglasses, gloves and anything else. Locate your “Always” Station in the door you enter most often (front door or garage door). Ideally you also have an outlet so you can immediately plug in your cell phone so it can stay charged.
This is a great idea for those people who tend to lose their keys or misplace their wallet. You know you only have to stop one place before you leave out the door.
I have a ton of good ideas that I have implemented myself as well as help others. You have to realize that this is not a “one size fits all” challenge. Certain things will work for you and others will not. Don’t get discouraged. Choose one and work with it. You will determine if it is right for you or not. When one works, celebrate and add another. If it is not the best solution, choose another and try that one. You will eventually land on the right combination for yourself. Just continue to have fun and keep in mind the end of goal of being completely organized.
By Kathryn LaBarbera
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