Thursday, September 24, 2009

"Let's Get Organized"

So here is the first blog on organization...

 I love to feel organized.. Don't you? Well maybe some of us love it and others it doesn't bother at all. It makes me feel lighter and happier when I walk into a room vs. feeling overwelmed and almost like you don't even want to step foot in that room. You start to feel like a tornado hit it and you wished you had a magic genie. Well here are some tips to help solve those problems.
Don't forget, Start small.

1. Set Goals for Your Rooms
 Make a room-by-room list of what you want to accomplish in the next few weeks. A list for your family room, for example, could include alphabetizing video tapes, corralling magazines and designating a space for the remote. It doesn't have to be this detailed. Just at least get the stuff in the same area. By jotting down goals for each room, you'll alleviate some of the pressure of accomplishing the tasks all at once. Plus, you'll have the satisfaction of checking off tasks as you complete them, a great motivator to keep going.
2. Define "Organization"
Organization means different things to different people. It might be a home where everything is accessible at your fingertips, but out of sight. Or, it might be a desk loaded with piles and stacks (organized, of course).  So, ask yourself the following questions and put the answers in writing:
  • What works in the room?
  • What doesn't work in the room?
  • What items are essential?
  • Why do I want to get organized?
  • What's the cause of my clutter?

Also, take a minute to sit down with other members of your household to find out what organization means to them. Discussing with your spouse and/or children will mean everybody gets to voice how they want the home to be collectively organized.
Now, my children don't have a say. They are too young and when we tell him to clean up...buddy you better believe it... he better clean up!
3. Find What Works for You
One of the biggest organizing mistakes is committing to a system that isn’t second nature to you. Keep in mind to store things where you use them. Designing a system around your natural habits makes it easier to maintain. That's not to say you should continue with your messy, throwing clothes on the floor ways; rather, find ways to make your tendencies less messy. Stick with simple solutions you know you can commit to: throwing clothes in a readily available hamper, for example. Think through what you want to accomplish, then keep it simple and doable according to your habits.
4. Start Small
"The most important thing is to start small and start in the room you spend your most time,which is what I mentioned earlier. Most people don't do this. They see the big picture, start right in the middle and then get discouraged and don't finish. You could always start with the bathroom so you can practice on a smaller space.
5. Seek Professional Help
If the thought of organizing gives you an ulcer, a professional organizer might be in order. A professional can identify problems and solutions you might be unaware of, gently guiding you toward more organized systems and spaces for your home. The National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO) is a non-profit association with members across the country, many specializing in residential organization. Check its website,, and find a professional organizer near you.I have never used them before but it is always an option if you are really in need of some help.
6. Donate
Identify where you should donate all those clothes and unwanted items you'll be purging. Besides widely known charities, check local churches or consignments. Make some calls to find out where your items are most needed. Knowing they're helping out other people will make you feel good.
7. Minimize Interruptions
Just when you begin organizing your phone rings. And keeps ringing. When you want to get things done without being interrupted, set a night aside each week when family and friends know not to bug you, except for emergencies.Or get up early one morning and work on it before the kiddos wake up. I like to work late at night so you could always pick a room and do it after everyone goes to bed!!
8. Organize Your Fridge (Inside and out)

Clean that fridge out! Get rid of all the old food in your fridge and clean off the shelves. There is no need to let food grow mold and your shelves have sticky gook on them. Also, do you really need 15 magnets, or will five suffice? Usually the outside of the fridge becomes a catch-all for mismatched magnets, emergency phone numbers and take-out menus. Clear everything off your fridge and organize it by stacking ads, coupons, menus, etc. and put them into easy to get to files. If you keep phone numbers on your fridge, type or neatly print them on a single sheet or look into putting them in your planner.
9. Toss Old Medicines
Take 10 minutes to sort through your over-the-counter and prescription medicines, throwing away any that are expired. You might want to relocate your medicines, too. Even though medicine cabinets are a logical place to store medications, capsules and tablets really should be stored in a moisture-free environment. Just be sure to store them out of reach from children. All medicines should be kept in their original containers, unless you’re using a pillbox when traveling.
10. Practice Early Morning Organization
I know I mentioned it earlier but it is such a great idea. If you dread organizing and have a hard time committing to it, try doing your organizing projects early in the morning. By spending just 30 minutes on a project before you start your day you'll be free to do things you really enjoy later in the day. It's also great for those days where everything seems to get in the way of your carefully scheduled plans.
11. Clean out the purse and do something with the receipts

Receipts — what to do with them? They find their way in your wallet, your check book and your piles of bills stacking up on the kitchen counter. Gather them up and make a quick pass through, noting which payments have cleared and which are still pending. Get organized fast: Check ATM and bank receipts against your monthly bank statement; shred grocery and clothing receipts if you have no problems with the products; Make a pact from now on to retain credit card receipts in an envelope until you pay that month's bill. Shred all receipts rather than tossing them.
12. Writing things down

Designate a space for the grocery list in your kitchen (not your bottomless purse!). When you run out of an ingredient, write it down immediately. Gone will be the days of getting half-way through your dinner casserole and realizing you forgot the main ingredient. Also, if you can't sleep at night b/c  you have so much on your mind, then put a pen and pad by the bed and jot your stuff down as you think of it. This way you will get it off your mind and get a good nights sleep.
13. Find Ways to Remind Yourself
You've made a list of organizational goals... and promptly lost it. Enlist a spouse, relative, or friend to help you remember — and remind you about — your goals. Sometimes all you need is a friendly reminder to keep your organizational efforts on track.
If you forget where you put things then, make a copy of your list and keep it in two prominent places in your home where you'll look at it every day. Or, go digital and sign up for free with the simple Todoist or more complex Backpack Both let you replicate your to-do list, but Backpack allows you to schedule reminders to be sent to your e-mail or phone. I-phone users(I would recommend- Todo)
14. Consider Creative Containers
Functionality is important when choosing containers for your things. Know exactly where you're going to put  the containers before you go shopping for it. It is easy to make things as much fun to put away as they are to take out by using sleek, classy storage that matches the decor of your room or home.
Instead of several shopping trips, reuse items you have lying around your house: Baskets, boxes or shelves can be repurposed with a new coat of fabric or paint. Often, this is less expensive than buying a specialty container and can be just as effective for organizing. The key is to buy containers last, not first, so you know they'll be effective.

Hopefully this has given you ideas for quick and easy clean-ups!!
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