“Organize” is a household word heard on many of today’s most popular decorating shows. Every family has their issues with some kind of clutter, whether it’s piles of papers or a cluttered and cramped bathroom. In fact, the National Association of Professional Organizers reports that 80% of what we put away we never use, 20% we wear with the clothes we own, and the other 80% are hanging just in case, and 25% of adults They say they pay the bills. late because they lost them.
Whether you have reams of paperwork, busy mornings, or lost car keys, use the following ideas to help you organize your family and home.
1. If you have rushed mornings, pack lunches, arrange clothes, and put everything you need for the next day in a designated area the night before. Have the children pack their homework and books in their backpack so they are ready for the next day.
2. Put your purse, briefcase and keys in a designated area every day so you always know where they are.
3. Decide the night before what’s on the menu for breakfast the next morning. If the family is going to eat cereal, set out the cereal boxes, bowls, and spoons.
4. Make a “to do” list for the next day and organize it according to the task that needs to be completed first.
5. Fill up the gas tank the day before so you don’t have to worry about refueling if you’re late the next morning.
6. To organize countertop clutter, buy a plastic tub with a handle on top. Put all your accessories, like hairspray and lotion, in the tub and place them under the counter. Take the tub out when you’re ready to use it, and then put it back under the counter when you’re done.
7. To organize your shower, buy shower organizers to hold your soaps and shampoos. There are numerous styles available at many fine and discount department stores.
8. To help keep shower doors clean, buy a squeegee (like you use on windows) and place it in the shower. When you’re done showering, simply wipe the doors clean with the squeegee and you’ll have a clean, dry shower door. Many of the squeegees come with a hole in the handle, which is convenient for hanging it in the shower with a suction cup.
9. Install a straight magnet in your medicine cabinet for tweezers, nail clippers, and scissors.
10. Store reading material in a decorative magazine rack. As you add new magazines, discard the old ones to prevent the magazine rack from overflowing.
11. Dispose of old or unused items such as makeup, lotions, prescriptions, over-the-counter medications, old razors, sunscreen, and perfume in your bathroom.
12. If you don’t have room for towels in your bathroom cabinets, roll them up and display them in a decorative basket next to the shower or tub.
13. Install hooks on the back of the bathroom door or in the wall space for towels and robes.
14. Use drawer organizers for makeup, jewelry, ponytails, and other loose items.
15. Put a shelf above the toilet to store extra towels, washcloths and other accessories.
16. Put a clock in each bathroom so everyone is on time.
17. Put baskets in your closet for clothes and dry cleaning.
18. Sort your clothes and anything you no longer wear, pack up and donate to a local charity. This includes clothes that are out of style, that no longer fit you, or clothes that you haven’t worn in a year. Also, get rid of those worn and/or uncomfortable shoes that you no longer wear.
19. Separate your clothes by season. If you have a tall closet with multiple rows of rods, put the current season’s clothes on the lowest level and move out-of-season clothes on the higher rods.
20. Sort your clothes by purpose, such as work, casual, and formal.
21. Gather all unused wire hangers and take them to the dry cleaner for recycling.
22. Hang scarves on a hanger or scarf hanger. Also, hang belts and ties on hangers or racks.
23. Use a shoe rack to keep shoes organized and ditch shoe boxes cluttering the floor.
24. Install hooks on the closet wall to hang hats and purses.
25. Store the clothes you want to store in a vacuum-sealed plastic bag. These bags are packed to store under the bed or in a closet. Remember to only keep the clothes you think will be worn!
26. Organize your cabinets into various categories, such as plates, glasses, Tupperware, children’s plates and sippy cups. Put the plates on one shelf, the glasses on another shelf, and so on. This way, when you empty the dishwasher, you or other family members will always know where everything goes.
27. Group your food items in the pantry for easy access and to help you identify when inventory is running low. For example, group your canned goods, cereals, pasta, etc.
28. Put all packages (gravy, Jell-O, sauces) in a basket and place on a shelf.
29. Buy a spice rack that works best for your cabinet. Alphabetize your spices and place frequently used spices at the front of the rack and all others at the back of the rack.
30. For all those plastic containers and Tupperware items, dedicate a cabinet or drawer for those items and try buying stackable containers to maximize your space.
31. Save your counter space for items you use every day. Show only the cookbooks you actually use, and if possible, keep your container set in your pantry instead of on the counter.
32. If you have a collection of clipped recipes that fill your drawers and counter space, buy a three-ring binder in a color that matches your decor, a box of plastic sheet protectors (to protect your recipes), paper and a set of tabbed dividers. Tape each recipe to a sheet of paper (use the front and back of each sheet of paper), then place them in a sheet protector. Sort the recipes (breakfast, dessert, etc.), label the tabs and put the recipes in the folder. Bonus Tip: If you buy a binder that has pockets, store clipped recipes you want to try in the pockets before adding them to your collection.
33. Do you have lots of plastic bags from the supermarket? Put about 10 bags inside 1 bag and throw the rest away. You can always get more the next time you go to the supermarket.
34. Get in the habit of cleaning out your refrigerator every time you bring food home. Discard any food that is no longer edible or that your family will not eat.
35. In a child’s room, place a basketball hoop over a laundry basket to dispose of dirty clothes.
36. Put a two-compartment hamper in your child’s room so they can separate light clothes from dark ones while undressing.
37. Hang a clothesline in your child’s room and ask him to hold his favorite piece of art.
38. Hang a fishing net from the ceiling to store stuffed animals, dolls or action figures.
39. Add a bookshelf and help your child organize their books.
40. Buy the kids their own alarm clocks and teach them how to get up on time.
41. Make sure everything in your house has a home. Teach all family members to take care of their own doughs. For example, if you take it out, you put it back in; If you open it, close it; if you drop it, pick it up; if you mess, clean it; and so.
42. Put trash cans in each room and put several unused trash bags in the bottom of each one. This will eliminate countless trips to retrieve new garbage bags and give everyone in the family a place to dispose of their garbage.
43. Put a decorative basket on the coffee table to store remote controls.
44. Use a plastic cart (instead of shelf space) to store cleaning supplies and move them from room to room.
45. Keep toy baskets or tubs in each room for quick pick up and play.
46. For kids’ outdoor toys, buy a weatherproof, bench-style storage box and store the toys inside. Also, gather all outdoor balls and place them in a large mesh drawstring bag and store in the garage.
47. Every night before bed, have everyone in the family clean up the mess for 15 minutes. Make a game and see who can collect the most things in the shortest amount of time.
48. Create a family message center on the refrigerator or other prominent place and use it for shopping lists, reminders, calendars, and phone messages.
49. Make a master shopping list on your computer from a spreadsheet or Word document. Categorize groceries into sections like frozen, dairy, etc. In each category, list the items you buy most often. Organize the shopping list according to how the islands of your favorite grocery store are set up. Print copies and keep a copy handy for the current week. When you find you’re running low on product or preparing your shopping list for the week, simply highlight the items you need. Keep the document up to date by adding new items and/or removing items you no longer purchase. Also, create a space in the document for Misc. articles where your family members can write what they need that is not on your list.
50. Create an inbox on your desk for papers (bills, permits, etc.) that need your attention.
The goal of organization is not to make your home spotless, but to make your life calmer and more functional. Work with the ideas above and you’ll end up with less clutter, a streamlined home, more quality time for you and your family, and increased productivity.