For The Home

TACKLE THESE ROOM BY ROOM ORGANIZATION IDEAS THIS WEEK

A completely organized home is that level of Nirvana many of us strive toward, but struggle to achieve.

Instead of being overwhelmed by attempting to revamp the entire home, break up the effort into room-by-room projects to make your life simpler and less chaotic.

“When you are organized, life is easier and less stressful,” said Janine Adams, professional organizer and owner at a Peace of Mind Organizing (www.peaceofmindorganizing.com) in St. Louis, Missouri.

To remedy the situation, start at the door and work through the home.

ENTRYWAYS

Very often the entrance is a dumping ground for shoes, boots, coats, and backpacks. Adams recommends, “Have a designated place for everything.”

  • Hang a key rack by the door so you place your keys there every time. This completely eliminates the lost keys, and wasted time.
  • For families with children, create a space for footwear, coats, and backpacks. Stacked cube shelves hold shoes or boots, along with hats and gloves. Be sure to place a label for each child’s space. And have hooks at the children’s heights for their backpacks and coats so they’re readily accessible.
  • Keep only what you need at the door. Adams suggests keeping only the daily footwear at the entrance. “Other shoes might logically go in the bedroom,” she said.

BEDROOM TO LAUNDRY ROOM

The laundry room and the bedroom are undoubtedly connected. Adams says when she sees piles of laundry, it’s typically because there is too much clothes.

“It’s hard to put it away when there is no room,” she says. “The first step is letting go. It’s not doing any good clogging up your closet.”

  • Purge those closets and dresser drawers. If you haven’t worn it for a year, or you don’t absolutely love it, toss it or donate it. This allows plenty of space to put away your clothes, eliminating the need to dress out of your laundry baskets.
  • Since socks seemingly defy laws of physics and become lost despite the best efforts, one way to wrangle single strays is to hang a clothesline near the dryer. Pin unmatched singles to the clothesline with a clothespin to find its mate when it appears.
  • If you don’t have cupboards to stash the detergent or liquid fabric softener, use clear decorative beverage containers with spigots at the bottom (as you would use to serve iced tea or lemonade). These are functional and nice looking.

KITCHEN

“Pantries are a great example of a space that requires some maintenance,” says Adams. “Go through them on a fairly regular basis.” This cuts down on tossing out expired items or over- buying.

  • Have what you use the most within reach, while keeping annual items, such as the ingredients for fruit cake, out of the way.
  • “Sometimes it make sense to store items together that you use together. It’s like a kit,” she says. Adams says she’ll have the spices and ingredients for chili, tacos, or other meals in groups so she can grab them and go. This also makes it easier to take an inventory of your pantry so you don’t end up buying items you already have.
  • Create categories according to how you cook. For example, keep the baking items together so you’re not searching through the shelves. As you remove everything from the pantry to reorganize it, Adams suggested putting them in rough groups so you can visualize how to replace them.
  • If you have a deep, closet pantry use the inexpensive short wired-racks to store items along the perimeter and within sight. And don’t forget to attach a rack on the back of the door to utilize that valuable space.
  • If you’re losing space on your countertops, it’s time to prioritize. Make a space for kitchen gadgets you don’t use daily, or find a new home for them.
  • There’s nothing more frustrating than looking in a freezer when you can’t find what you need. Label everything clearly with the contents and the date, and group similar foods together. As you add to the freezer, be sure to rotate the stock so valuable meat and other items aren’t lost below newer foods and never used.

BATHROOM

  • Use dividers in drawers to keep items separated. Clear bins keep items together in a cupboard.
  • Use clear jars or containers for items such as cotton balls or cotton swabs so you can replace them before they run out.
  • Roll towels to create more space and add visual appeal on open shelves.
  • Shoe racks with clear pockets work great to store everything from bandages to extra shampoo since it’s visible and easily accessible.

PAPER

Piles of paper can be a challenge throughout the home. “Paper is a big problem for a lot of people,” Adams said. “I’m sure that people tend to have a fear of letting go with paper. They’re afraid they’ll miss something important.” Instead important and unimportant items are mixed together creating chaos.

  • Deal daily with the mail. “It’s really a great idea to have a designated spot for opening the mail,” Adams says. If it’s not important, it goes in the trash.
  • Consider paperless statements. Receive your statement notices via email, and pay the bills online to eliminate the paper clutter.
  • File immediately. Since you should only keep papers that require action or need to be kept as a record, have a folder designated for each category and file as soon as the task is completed.
  • Don’t save entire magazines. If there is an idea you simply must try, and it’s not online, tear it out of the magazine, pin it on a board to use immediately, or file it. Then recycle the publication.

As with all organizational systems, the key piece to making any of them work is developing habits. If you focus on following through, the actions will become second nature, ultimately saving you valuable time and money.

This article was written by Amy Grisak, contributor for The Daily Clutch.

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