Monday, February 25, 2013

Seven Top Rules to Get Organized

There are a few guidelines to follow once you make up your mind to get organized. If you follow these guidelines, you will become organized and be able to stay that way.


1. Love it, Lose it or Lose it

Purging is the first step in getting organized. The less you have to organize, the more organized you can be.

If it has sentimental value- keep it, but don't hide it away in a cabinet. Put it out on display and use it. I have several pieces I use daily. For example, a set of wooden bowls from my grandmother. I use the largest to hold magazine in our living room and I use one of the smaller ones to hold bread.



The same goes for children's artwork. If you want to save it, put it in pretty frames or invest in a created memory book where your children's art can be saved permanently without the boxes of paper. Such sites as http://www.blurb.com/ will create a book for your child's art.

In your closet, turn the hangers backwards for a season. As you wear the item, turn the hanger. Get rid of items you didn't wear.

2. A Place for Everything and Everything in It's Place

Every item should have a specific home. If it does, there will be a place to put it back after you use it. It will also help alleviate the problem of not being able to find items- that is if you always put it back in its home. Get your whole family involved in this process. Labeling items comes in handy with this first step.

The place you choose to put an item (much like in the kitchen) depends on  how often you will use the item and where you will use that item. You really wouldn't want your seasonal dishes taking up space on the lower shelf of your cabinet when you only use them once in a while.

3. Sort Small and Within Boundaries

This tip helps in locating items quickly. Items should be categorized by type. For example, all baking supplies together.  When items are grouped, store them in containers to fit. You wouldn't store Legos in a toy box, but would store them in a container alone with a lid. Store items that are alike in the same place.

Set boundaries. If your daughter collects dolls or doll clothes, give her a specific container just for these items and make a rule that she cannot get more unless she purges some first. Even children need limits.

4. Make Lists and Use Lists

-grocery lists
-to do lists
-calendars
-cleaning lists

There should be a list om your refrigerator or message board where your kids and anyone else in your home can write items if they use the last of it. This goes for groceries as well as toothpaste, etc. This will save you time when you go to make your shopping lists. You need to be firm with this list. the first time your husband asks you if you bought some more shaving cream, you will have to say, "Did you put it on the list?" This goes for older children as well. They will soon begin to use the system you put in place.

In this category of making list, I will say that having a Home Binder works great. I will be posting more on this in April, but a home binder is a place for you to keep everything in order so the home will run smoothly. Additional copies of menu planners/grocery list, calendars, school papers and schedules, babysitter notes, weekly cleaning schedules and home maintenance checklists, pet information, important phone numbers. Whatever you need to have at arm's length goes into this binder.

Even if you never get around to having a home binder (you can read more in April and hopefully get one going that works for you), you should have a calendar in full sight for everyone in the house to use. This will allow everyone to know what is going on during the week.

5. Look for Systems and Use Those Systems

A Home Binder and a Calendar are example of a system. Using a label maker to organize items for your home is an example of a system. If everything has a place, everyone needs to put things back in those places. If everyone uses the systems, the home will stay organized.

For kids' toys, place toys within easy reach of the kids so they can help clean up when it is time. Only put out a certain amount of toys at one time and store the rest away. Rotate these toys sporadically- kids will think they have new toys and it will alleviate boredom and a mess. Kids will play more if they have less to play with. They will also create less of a mess at any given time.

6. Respect Prime Property 

This tip just means that you store items where they will be needed most. You don't want to store your baking items in your biggest kitchen cabinet if you never bake. You also don't want to store all of your kid's sporting items in the only coat closet you have in your entryway.

This holds especially true in the kitchen. You need your counter space for food preparation and dishes. If you are not using an item all of the time, store it out of site. Only place on the countertop what you will use most. Store seasonal items on a top shelf.

7. Everyday-- Tidy up A Little

You should organize one area completely at a time. When it is organized, keep it that way by performing daily maintenance. After you eat breakfast, make it a point to put away the cereals, etc. Before you begin cooking dinner, empty the dishwasher of clean dishes and put them away. If the dishwasher is empty before you begin preparing the meal, the used utensils and dishes can be put there as you prepare and plates can be put there after the meal. This saves you time.

Also, have set times during the day when you tidy up the clutter. You could have a basket at the end of the staircase where you put items that need to go back upstairs. Take this basket up once and empty it out and put items away.

I hope these tips help you to get organized. Put these systems in place and perform routine maintenance. Things will change sometimes depending on life changes, but if you have an overall system in place, you will save time and money in the long run.

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