Did I get your attention? Good! Now, I hate to break to you, but there really is no “secret” for getting and staying organized. However, having a plan and sticking to it will definitely be a good start. Here are a few tips to get started:
- First of all, if you are a parent like me, tell yourself (and believe) that some degree of clutter with a child is going to happen no matter what!
- Begin with messes and clutter that you see every day. For example, work on organizing your kitchen and family room before a hallway closet where you store seasonal items.
- Assign everything in your house a place. This way when your family searches for something they need, they will know exactly where to find it and where to put it away. This will save many hours of searching for things. It will dramatically cut down on the clutter of items left out “for now” or “until I find a place for it.” Develop a new mantra: everything has its place and a place for everything!
- Enlist a new rule: throw out one old thing for every new purchase that enters your home.
- When using stairs, never go up or down them empty-handed. Always grabsome items that belong to upstairs rooms and quickly put it away while you are there.
- Make a mental note to observe what things pile up in your house and where they cluster, and then come up with a place nearby that becomes the official home where those things will reside. Introduce baskets, shelves, and folders for this purpose. They work well. Set aside one basket for you and your partner for incoming mail, bills, and receipts and letters.
- One of my favorites: Create a number of brightly marked folders for discount coupons, invitations and directions, and other time-sensitive papers that just clutter your counters.
- Keep items that are used frequently in places where you can reach them without stooping or bending, and store them close to the place they will be needed.
- Hang hooks for your keys and purse at the entry to your home, so each time you walk in, you can hang them up.
- Establish one defined place in your house for storing library books, and end a house-wide hunt when it is time to read or return them.
- Get rid of all junk drawers, or allow yourself just one that you clear out once a week or more. When you establish certain items are being used repeatedly, designate a drawer for those.
Things you don’t need any longer:
- Magazines you meant to read but have never taken the time for
- Expired medications
- Clothes you no longer wear
- Sunscreen that’s expired or more than one year old
- Extra paper or plastic grocery bags
- Makeup and samples you have never worn
- Cookbooks you rarely use. Cut out your favorite recipes only
- Organize your coupons and throw out all that have expired
- Stuff your crumpled plastic bags from your grocer inside a cardboard roll like a hand towel roll. Keep under your sink.
Getting rid of your clutter and organizing your home top to bottom will free your mind to remember your daily chores. Be vigilant about cleaning about once a month and you will find it much easier to keep up, week-by-week.