Effective Home Organization Tips to Get Rid of Clutter

Are you at the end of your rope with the clutter around your home? Don’t let it get the best of you. Here are some organization tips to help you de-clutter your home.

Clutter tends to build up gradually, and before you know it, a molehill has turned into a mountain. But don’t fret. The best way to tackle
b2ap3_thumbnail_clutter-150x150clutter is in manageable chunks. Try doing a little bit every day; this way it won’t feel like such a chore.

Start by picking one room, preferably a storage space, and work in this room for your daily de-cluttering sessions – it’ll be clear before you know it! One logical reason why you’d want to start with a storage space is that then you’ll have somewhere to put other items you’ll undoubtedly find around your house.

Try to look at objects impartially and without so much emotion. Do you really need that Christmas ornament from 1992? How many similar objects do you already own? Remember, you’re trying to get rid of clutter, so if you have a tendency to hold onto stuff, you have to be a little ruthless. Why not donate unwanted clothing or items to charity, recycle, or sell things online? And for the items you are donating, recycling or selling, make sure you keep them in a designated spot where they won’t get mixed up with the stuff you want to keep. Furthermore, make sure you carry out your intention to find a better home for them.

One of the worst clutter culprits is paper. Organize your documents with paper trays – outgoing and filing (the latter of which, you’ll
b2ap3_thumbnail_paper-trays-150x150need a decent filing cabinet for). Pay bills on time by using a calendar and journal. And by far the most important step to eliminating clutter – recycle the paper you don’t need (taking care to shred any sensitive documents).

When you buy something new, find a good home for it – a place where you know it fits, and where you’ll be able to find it. Is it to replace something? If so, get rid of the old one, don’t just store it somewhere with the intention of taking care of it later; you’ll most likely forget or put it off, creating more clutter.

Hopefully with these quick and easy-to-remember home organization tips, you’ll be able to keep your house free of clutter. And once you’ve freed yourself from the confines of clutter, you won’t want to go back.

5 Steps to Organizing Your Garage

b2ap3_thumbnail_Messy-Garage

The garage is that one place where all of the clutter seems to gather. It is a convenient location to store things – rakes, bikes, dog food – and they get pushed into a corner or against the wall. But before you know it, you have an ill-functioning area that is full of clutter and disarray.

When you start to organize your garage, you should keep in mind that this activity means designating a place for everything while keeping your goods available for everyday use. The following are five steps to help convert your garage from clutter to clean.

#1 – Sort your items.
To begin, sort and categorize all the items in your garage. The easiest way to do this is to completely empty your garage so you can see everything you have. Separate the tools from the sporting equipment, and the garden supplies from the household goods, and you will quickly realize how much stuff you have. Only then will you be able to determine the best ways to organize and store everything.

Misplaced items in your garage should be returned to their proper place. Also take note of the things that don’t belong in the garage – and find a new home for them (by relocating them to the basement or attic). For the items you no longer want or need, you can recycle them, donate them or set them aside to sell at the next community yard sale.

#2 – Separate seasonal items and equipment.
To keep lawn maintenance tools accessible yet out of the way, install a special rack on which to hang them. Near the beginning of every season, rotate out the equipment that you’ll no longer need and bring in the tools you will need. For instance, if winter is coming, it is good to have snow tools like snow blowers, ice scrapers and snow shovels handy (and the fun toys like skis, snowboards and sleds close, too). The basic principle is to store the items that you use on a regular basis in a way that makes them accessible every time you need them – without creating clutter.

b2ap3_thumbnail_clutter-free-garage#3 – Add shelving units and cabinets.

When organizing your garage, consider adding additional storage space to help keep the garage tidy. Shelves and cabinets can be mounted on the walls. Also, think vertically: shelves can be mounted above where the hood of your car gets parked to store those less-used items such as camping equipment, Christmas decorations or partially used cans of paint.

#4 – Create a workshop.
If you regularly use your garage as a workshop, why not dedicate an area just for this purpose? Install (or build) a workbench or table, hang a pegboard for tools and keep a sturdy toolbox easily accessible.

 

#5 – Relocate trash and recycling bins near the garage.b2ap3_thumbnail_work-bench

To easily dispose of unwanted items from your garage, relocate the trash and recycling bins to near your garage entrance. This way you won’t be tempted to keep certain items simply because the trash bins are too far away.

When organizing your garage, keep in mind that there are many pre-fabricated storage options available at home improvement stores. However, if you want your space customized, hire a handyman to custom-build storage to your specific needs. Although it might be an investment, the long-term benefits of having a fully-functioning garage will be well worth it

Practice What You Preach

Remodeled, organized and cleaned; what more could you want? How about sustained organization and cleanliness?

Just the daily routines of life can throw our homes into a cycle of disarray. The hectic schedules that we keep seem to give us license to drop, throw and leave our stuff all over the house. It is not until we can open the door to the house or someone trips and falls over a pile of junk, do we sit up and take notice that something has to be done about the clutter and mess.

Well, you have taken major steps towards seizing control of the situation by remodeling what needed to be changed, organizing the new and existing spaces and vowing to clean on a daily basis so that you don’t get overwhelmed by the cleaning monster.

Here are a few easy steps to realizing the dream of an uncluttered and clean environment in your home.

    1. Establish Boundaries – In a home there are private spaces and public spaces. Review the difference between the two with your family. In doing this, you can hold each other accountable for private things being left in public places. This should help in ridding the Living Room of junior’s shoes and socks, book bags and backpacks should have a designated area, not on the Kitchen floor, coats should be hung in the closet, not thrown over the Dining Room chairs. Rules like, “if it is yours, it should be in your room,” will help to clarify where things belong and keep you from being the bad guy when it comes to straightening up the house.
    2. Create Spaces – If you constantly are hearing, “I don’t know where it goes,” perhaps it is time to create specific spaces so that everyone knows where things belong. This is not a new concept. Almost everyone knows that if you say, “put the lawn mower away”; it would go in either the Garage or the Shed. Not too hard. It should be the same throughout the house. If something looks out of place, it probably is and you should be able to identify the owner and then it should find its proper place.
    3. Set an Example – How easy is it to throw your keys and the mail on the island when you walk through the Kitchen? Do you ever drop your purse just inside the door to free up a hand to do something else, and never get back to pick it up? Well, just so you know, there are eyes watching your every move. You are setting precedence with your every action. Even if you have a good reason for leaving your things out, you need to lead by example and clean up after yourself. If they see you doing it, it will encourage everyone else to take responsibility for their things.

So remember, establish boundaries, public and private spaces and things; create spaces, a place for everything and everything has a place; and most of all set an example or simply stated: Practice what you preach!

Happy Remodeling!

Next Time…Move to the Outside

Q&A&CQuestions and Answers and Comments are expected and welcomed.

YOUR STORY – Tell us about your remodeling experiences, good or bad. We all have had them and perhaps you can help someone else have a great remodeling experience or avoid the issues that you encountered. Remember…keep it clean and civil or we can’t publish it.

Keeping It Clean

Now that you have remodeled and/or organized your space, here are some ways to keep it neat and tidy. You don’t need to spend all day being bogged down with cleaning chores. All it takes is about 20 minutes a day!

Kitchen (4 ½ minutes daily)

Always start with the sink. “Keep it empty and shining,” says Marla Cilley, author of Sink Reflections (Bantam, $15) and creator of www.FlyLady.net, a housekeeping Web site. A sparkling sink becomes your Kitchen’s benchmark for hygiene and tidiness, inspiring you to load the dishwasher immediately and keep counters, refrigerator doors, and the stovetop spick-and-span, too.

• Wipe down the sink after doing the dishes or loading the dishwasher (30 seconds).
• Wipe down the stove top (1 minute).
• Wipe down the counters (1 minute).
• Sweep, Swiffer®, or mop the floor (2 minutes).

Bathroom (2 minutes daily)
Make cleaning the sink as routine as washing your hands. But don’t stop there. Get the most out of your pre-moistened wipe by using it to clean around the edges of the tub and then the toilet before tossing it.

• Wipe out the sink (30 seconds).
• Wipe the toilet seat and rim (15 seconds).
• Swoosh the toilet bowl with a brush (15 seconds).
• Wipe the mirror and faucet (15 seconds).
• Squeegee the shower door (30 seconds).
• Spray the entire shower and the curtain liner with shower mist after every use (15 seconds).

Bedroom (6 ½ minutes daily)
Make your bed right before or after your morning shower. A neat bed will inspire you to deal with other messes immediately. Although smoothing sheets and plumping pillows might not seen like a high priority as you’re rushing to work, the payoff comes at the end of the day, when you slip back under the unruffled covers.

• Make the bed (2 minutes).
• Fold or hang clothing and put away jewelry (4 minutes).
• Straighten out the night-table surface (30 seconds).

Family Room, Living Room, Foyer (6 minutes daily)
Start with the sofa – as long as it’s in disarray, your living room will never look tidy. Once you’ve fluffed the pillows and folded the throws, you’re halfway home. If you pop in a CD while you dust, you should be able cover the whole room by the end of the third track.

• Pick up crumbs and dust bunnies with a handheld vacuum (2 minutes).
• Fluff the cushions and fold throws after use (1 minute).
• Wipe tabletops and spot-clean cabinets when you see fingerprints (1 minute).
• Straighten coffee-table books and magazines, recycle unwanted issues, put away CDs and videos (2 minutes).

Walla! Taking these 20 minutes daily will make your regular cleaning day go so much quicker, you might even have time for that afternoon tea, walk or even finish that book you started in 2006.

Happy Remodeling!

Next Time…Practice What You Preach

Q&A&CQuestions and Answers and Comments are expected and welcomed.

YOUR STORY – Tell us about your remodeling experiences, good or bad. We all have had them and perhaps you can help someone else have a great remodeling experience or avoid the issues that you encountered. Remember…keep it clean and civil or we can’t publish it.

Organizing Spaces

Organizing is a great thing to do. However, what most of us do is express grief over the way a room or space looks and we often hate the way it makes us feel, but we don’t have a real plan of action to make it better.  So, we fizzle out in our organizational effort. We lose focus because we didn’t have a plan.

Use this entry as a wake-up call; a call to prepare a plan of action. Whether it is the un-cluttering your entire home or an all out single room remodel, we hope that this will provide the organizing solution you’ve been dreaming of.

Creating Organized Spaces Once and For All

    1. Visualize – How do you want your space to look?  How do you want things to work for you?  What will you need to do to clear out the area?  Visualize where items could be housed.  Write down notes of what your ideal space looks like…What color is it, how does your ideal space serve you?  Visualize in your mind how a new look can best serve you and your family.  Make notes of what isn’t quite right about it too so that you can know where to tweak as you go and what issues to address in the process.
    2. Inventory – What will you keep?  What do you see yourself using?  Get 3 boxes for keeping, donating, and disposing.  What items will work in your cleared space or newly created space?
    3. Eliminate – Some things are really just unnecessary.  Consider the benefits of simplifying.  Having only what is useful and what you love, will minimize the occurrences of having to clean, maintain things that you feel lukewarm about anyway.
    4. Create – Make homes for all remaining items.  Use baskets, boxes, shelves, wire baskets, or whatever items you already have that can be repurposed into a place to restore items.
    5. Order – Put items away in a way that creates an order for you.  That may be visual with baskets, paper on cork boards, pretty boxes, containers, or that may be in the form of putting items in cabinets, armoires, closets…places that hide, but can still be orderly.  Place items that are close to where you will be working with them.
    6. Identify – Take note of what is working about your arrangement.  When things start to back up and lose their purpose, notice why “…too much stuff, not enough of an effective system to keep things running smooth.”  Once you can identify how that pattern originated, ask yourself what you can do to create a smoother pattern.

Even in a newly organized space, sometimes there are blips.  If you’re asking yourself, “how did things get this way again…” and you previously created a remodeled space, rework your plan and be willing to simplify, purge, and containerize to keep that area in order.

Happy Remodeling!

Next Time…Cleaning Tips

Q&A&CQuestions and Answers and Comments are expected and welcomed.

YOUR STORY – Tell us about your remodeling experiences, good or bad. We all have had them and perhaps you can help someone else have a great remodeling experience or avoid the issues that you encountered. Remember…keep it clean and civil or we can’t publish it.