January 14th, 2017 9:32 AM by Jackie A. Graves
New Year! Have you noticed most of your resolutions are action-oriented? Walk
10,000 steps a day. Fix that leaky faucet. Register for VolunteerMatch.
But “get organized”? It’s a goal so broad that just trying to
figure out what action to take makes you wonder what you were thinking in the
first place. It’s like you need an organizing plan for your organizing.
Here it is. Follow these steps, spending less than an hour day
(sometimes just a few moments), to a better organized home by Feb. 1:
about your space is making you feel uncomfortable or overwhelmed?” asks Amy
Trager, a professional organizer in Chicago. Is it the paperwork disaster in
your office? The pile of clothes teetering on your dresser? Or that mess that
surrounds your doorway? Start with what’s annoying you, she says. One hour on
that task will get your organizing engine revving.
anything you’re planning to donate in it (or give to a friend, or take to
recycle). And keep it by the door so you can easily grab it when you’re
— the holidays are over! When you’re putting away your décor, donate anything
you didn’t bring out last season, and separate decorations by holiday. No need
to dig through your St. Patty’s clovers when you’re searching for a menorah.
a “command center” so your front door doesn’t become a lawless accessories
arena, especially during winter months. Add hooks for coats, bins for shoes,
and a mail sorter if you need it. (Remember to keep a place for your “go away”
the time spent scrambling when your pup is desperate for a walk or eager for a
meal. Hang hooks and cubbies near the door and keep leashes, kibble, bowls, and
toys in one convenient spot.
your herbs and spices alphabetically, by cuisine, or by brand — whatever makes
them easier to find when you’re in the middle of your noodle stir fry.
accumulated several dozen kitchen utensils in your culinary career: can
openers, microplanes, four (what?!) wine openers. Pare down the collection and
use drawer dividers to keep the remainders in order.
digging around in your shelves for the oversized, cast-iron skillet. Donate the
pots and pans you hardly use, and install cupboard organizers to help manage
You never use Worcestershire sauce — except that one time. Go through your refrigerator and
pantry and ditch or donate anything past its prime.
better use of your pantry by sorting through your staple dry goods — think
flour, sugar, pasta, oatmeal, dry beans — and putting them in airtight,
stackable containers. You’ll free up a ton of space, too.
You had noble intentions when you purchased that spiralizer.
(Zucchini noodles every night, right?) Give those space hogs
to someone else with lofty dreams.
time you lose a sock, a new coffee mug appears. Keep one or two mugs for every
coffee or tea drinker, and donate the rest.
singles allowed. Toss any tops or bottoms that have no mates.
Shelves crammed with knickknacks, books you’ll never read, and stuff you somehow accumulated are just a
waste of space. Donate books to the library, discard the junk, and arrange
what’s left in a way that pleases you.
Roku, PlayStation, DVD player, and a cable box, it’s no surprise your
entertainment center is a mess. Create ID tags for each plug from bread tags or
cable ties, and bundle the clutter together with velcro strips.
your clothes over to the slimmer, grabbier hangers. They use less space and
keep your clothes from sliding down to your closet floor. As you do this,
discard the clothes you never wear.
scarves, purses, hats — all the accessories that don’t have a drawer or spot in
the closet can end up everywhere. Buy an accessories hanger or install a simple
series of hooks to give your wardrobe’s smallest members a home.
storage is ideal for out-of-season clothing. But when out-of-season becomes
out-of-sight and out-of-mind, clear out those clothes you’ll never wear again
from this precious storage space.
your workspace is swimming with collectibles, staplers, Post-its, and more,
paring down can keep you focused when it’s time to hunker down.
Not every form, statement, and tax record needs to stay in your
filing cabinet forever. Check out this list to make sure you’re not wasting space.
Shred the rest to ward off identity thieves.
that you’ve shredded the paperwork you don’t need, tidy up your files by
organizing them and labeling them clearly. Colorful folders can help organize
by theme (home stuff, tax stuff, work stuff, etc.).
it. You’ve got a drawer where black mystery cords, chargers, and oddball
electronic bits go to die. Free that drawer up for better uses, or at least get
rid of the ones you know for sure are “dead.”
intentions were honorable when you bought that curl-enhancing shampoo — but it
expired two years ago, and you haven’t used it since. Throw away any expired
potions, salves, hair products, and medicines.
everything out. You’ll be amazed at what you find (like those Magic Erasers you
could never find). Then put back everything you’re keeping in bins you can
easily pull out so nothing gets lost again.
storage is so often overlooked. Find a spot in your home where a shelf would
solve a problem, and hang it. Maybe it’s for some toiletries in the bathroom,
or laundry supplies, or for your kid’s stuffed toys.
There are the towels you use — and the stack of towels you never use. Donate them to the animal
shelter. Those torn pillowcases? Convert to rags or toss. Same for napkins,
dishtowels, pot holders, etc.
shoe organizers can solve a ton of storage problems beyond the obvious. They
can store scarves, mittens, cleaning supplies, craft supplies. You can even cut
them to custom-fit inside a cabinet door.
no shame in a junk drawer — but why not organize it? Dump the whole thing on
one surface and sort everything into piles. Use drawer dividers to keep each
pile in its own space.
the right Phillips-head screwdriver to put together that cute IKEA bookshelf
shouldn’t be so hard. Track down your hammers and screwdrivers, and arrange
them in one easy-to-access spot, such as a pegboard.
See how much you’ve accomplished! Take a look around your newly
organized home, making note of any spaces you missed. Then dream a bit about
your next home project. Maybe paint that dining room, finally?
By Jamie Wiebe
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