Has the craziness of summer done a number on the order in your home? We asked our Operations Manager Extraordinaire (a professional organizer) to share a bit of wisdom, and boy did she deliver!
Top Ten Tips to Keep Your House in Order
- Don’t keep stuff you don’t need or use
Take a look in drawers, closets, garage and storage areas, and donate things you don’t need or use anymore. You’ll gain back space, feel less “buried in stuff” and be able to put away and organize what you need to keep.
- Give everything you own a “home”
This is your key to clutter control. Decide where something “goes”–a specific drawer, closet, shelf, room, corner, basket, etc., and always keep it there. You should be able to tidy up your home just by putting everything (shoes, keys, chargers, purse, gift cards, coins, scissors, homework, library books, backpacks, mail) away. Anyone in the house should be able to answer, “where do we keep this?”
- Store things where you use them
If you find yourself repeatedly walking elsewhere to get something, using it and then having to take it back, see if you can store it closer to where you use it. Think: broom, tools, art supplies, tape, paper goods, wrapping paper, hairbrushes, medicines, envelopes, etc. Things will be easier, and more likely to be PUT AWAY if it’s close and convenient.
- Create work areas
Designate clearly defined work areas and store appropriate things there. These specific zones will save you time and keep things clutter free–set up baking area in the kitchen, a bill paying station, a place for cards and wrapping, and zones for homework, hobbies and projects.
- Make things easy to put away
If you have to open, move or take something else out to get to what you need, it creates more work and things will be left out (=clutter). Make things easier to put away. Use hooks vs. hangers for things like coats, towels, and backpacks, take lids off bins, don’t stack items or put things behind other things.
- Contain Things and Store Like Items Together
Loose items become unorganized and cluttered. Use bins, baskets, or boxes to contain loose, bagged, or small items–for example, a bin for medicines and first aid, baskets for kids toys/games, drawer organizers for bathroom stuff, utensil dividers for kitchen drawers, bins for garage tools, baskets for pantry items, etc. Use containers in drawers and on shelves, and label them.
- Identify clutter spots and eliminate them
Notice the areas that are dumping grounds and devise storage solutions in that area for those things, for example: baskets for shoes by the door, hooks for backpacks, inbox for papers on the desk, hamper where clothes get dumped, etc.
- Use space and storage creatively
Think out of the box & look for wasted space that you could use for something you “need”. Walls and doors can become great storage with shelves and hooks. Take advantage of a tall unused space in a cupboard or pantry by adding another shelf. Add storage in a tall closet or garage by adding shelves for storage up high.
- Have Systems for keeping on top of things
Use a “factory philosophy” (from start to finish) to do more work in less time. Set up a system– where it goes, who does it when, when it gets worked one, how it gets put away, etc.–for keeping up with dishes, laundry, desk papers, and household chores.
- Pickup every day
Taking a few minutes each day to put things in their place and keep up with the clutter will make a HUGE difference. Set a timer and do a “ten minute tidy” or pick up before you turn the lights out – whatever your strategy, have a plan to keep on top of things so you can enjoy being in your space.