Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Organizing Your Home

Here is a link to a site that gives you room-by-room advice on organizing!
And below is what I wrote before I found the site...


There are two categories for organizing. Getting organized (big project) and staying organized (daily maintenance). The job is not done once you have something organized. It takes mental commitment and scheduled time to keep it that way.

Getting started:

  • Decide what you want to accomplish – the big picture.

  • Think about what is holding you back.

  • Break the big picture into parts/tasks.

  • Write down each part as a separate goal and a date you would like to have it finished and post it on the fridge.

  • Share the list with everyone in the house and get their support/help.

  • Choose a day/time and commit to working on the first part/goal.

  • Decide what items you need to accomplish only the first goal and collect them right before you are ready to start working on it.

  • PLAN A REWARD FOR YOURSELF for each section completed.

Make a Plan:

  • Collect a file organizer or a couple bins (clear or color coded) or other method of storage.

  • PLUS a garbage can, donation box and OTHER box. The OTHER box includes things that need to be returned to other people or passed on to others.

        • See additional section on organizing toys.

Set Guidelines and Get Started:

  • Guidelines Examples:

    • If you haven't used something in 2 years, it goes. If you haven't worn something in 2 years, it goes. If it's worth something it goes in the donation box. If it's not, the garbage.

    • Evaluate how you determine emotional value and make a commitment before you start. How much space can you commit to “memories” items? How often will you look at those things and reminisce? How big are they? If many things relate to the same memory, can you just keep one or two things and get rid of the rest? Can you take a picture and create a “memories book” separate from your other photo albums?

    • Would someone else like to have the item that would make you feel good about sharing it?

    • Is it worth more now if you sell it than if you wait a few years?

  • If you find some thing that doesn't belong in that area, put it in the OTHER box/bin and keep working in that area – do not leave the project/area or you may get distracted.

  • Is this the appropriate are to store this item/these items? Is this the most convenient place to put this if it is used regularly? Where do I put seasonal items vs regular use items?


  • Immediately load the donation box into your car and carry the garbage box out of the house.

  • If you have additional time, you can start sorting the OTHER box.


  • Evaluate:

    • Think about the functionality of a toy. Does it do multiple things?

    • Is it broken? Missing important parts?

    • Does your child(ren) enjoy playing with it?

    • Is it agonizing to take out and put away?

  • Sort:

    • Sort your toys by set using bins or sturdy bags. Many small sets can then be put in larger clear bins for storage.

    • Choose a place that will hold ½ or more toys and put the bins away.

      • Make a rule: When something comes out, something goes in. This is a game of “trade” that will make the organization last longer and help keep your sanity.

  • Trade/Recycle:

    • Find friends with children of similar ages and agree to trade a bin of toys for a month.

    • Buy from garage sales and purge often. You will get more “new” stuff, spend less and feel better about getting rid of stuff.

      • Your child may feel good about giving an “old” toy to another to enjoy if you let them choose.


  • This topic is hard for many. The best suggestion I have found was to evaluate the most convenient place to store it.

    • Example: If you bring the mail in, have a basket by the door (or the first place you always go) for incoming/out going and empty it AT LEAST once per week.

      • To empty it, check the outgoing daily on your way out for mail, permission forms, etc. Take all of the incoming to the place where you pay bills when you have at least 10 minutes (more for a larger pile), which should also be the place where you file bills/receipts/etc and keep your shredder or paper garbage.

      • Open the file before you start and place the “save” papers directly into the file as you look at them and the “throw” pieces into the garbage.

      • Papers that you do not get to should be placed back in the incoming basket to ensure the organization remains.

There is so much more – but you get the idea! I can't repeat enough - you have to budget the time and commit to it if you want to be organized...

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