In honor of all of you who have declared one of your New Year resolutions to GET ORGANIZED, I have been posting an organizing tip each day in January on my facebook page. Here are tips 1-10:
Organizing tip #1: the best decluttering tool... A garbage bag! When I am working with a client, it is the first thing I pull out. It is amazing how easy it is to let go of things if the bag is right there with you.
Organizing tip #2: Keep a donation bag in your closet. When you put something on that you take right off because it doesn't look good, or fit, put in the bag instead of hanging it back up. When the bag is full, put it in your car to drop off at a donation site the next time you are running errands.
Organizing tip #3: When cooking a meal, consider doubling or tripling it and freezing a dinner or two. Meatloaf, spaghetti sauce, soups and casseroles work great. Having extra meals in the freezer is a huge timesaver on busy days. My next door neighbor is returning late tonight from a two week trip, she will find one of my dinners defrosting in her fridge so that she doesn't have to worry about dinner tomorrow :-)
Organizing tip #4: Utilize your kitchen timer, set it for 15 minutes and GO! You can get lots done in a short 15 minute span.... Clean out your junk drawer, organize a shelf in your pantry, sort your laundry, clean out your email inbox, walk thru the house and find 10 things to throw away or plan your dinner menu for the week. As my 20 month old as just learned to say... Ready, set, go!
Organizing tip #5: To make your pantry more efficient, place like items together. All breakfast items on the same shelf (cereals, pancake mix and syrup, etc), lunch items together (PB, bread, lunch soups), baking items together (mixes, flour,etc, cookie cutters). I put all my pastas in a basket next to the pasta sauces... and all breads in another basket (breads,bagels,etc). Label your shelves.... If items have a home, they will be put back where they belong:-)
Organizing tip #6: Laundry, that never-ending, thank-less task.... Mornings are hectic, for me it starts at 6:15am to get my middle-schooler up and out the door, then my shower, and then the baby waking and needing to be fed... It could be 9am before I get a load of laundry in the wash... But if I spend 10 minutes the night before, sorting and putting a load in the wash, ready to go, all I have to do is push a button on my way upstairs at 6:15am.... By 9 I have a load already done! I love having a jump start on chores :-)
Organizing tip #7: The first step to home office organization is having a home for ALL of your paperwork. I'm not just talking household bills, most people have a pretty good handle on that, especially now with online banking and paperless billing. But do you have a home for your HOA CCR's, your kids report cards, your furniture purchases, the new washer and dryer user manual, last years tax return, donation receipts for the year or how about your car repairs bills? Clients who I have set up filing systems have said that they love being able to find everything so easily, and filing is breeze. Make sure your filing system has a place for everything.
Organizing tip #8: Snack size zip-loc bags are one of my favorite organizational products. I buy snacks at Coatco (Nilla Wafers, Cheerios, Goldfish, etc) and portion them into the bags. They make it easy for my older daughter to pack her lunch by just grabbing a bag or two to add to her bag. For my toddler, when we are heading out the door, I just grab a snack and put it in my purse. One of my clients, potions approved snacks for her three year old and puts them in a special basket in her pantry. Whenever her child wants a snack, she is able to tell her to get one from her basket :-)
Organizing tip #9: How many times have you left the house and forgot to take something with you, something like the Redbox DVD, library book, bank deposit, outgoing mail, a donation bag or a Macy's return? To avoid this, I keep a tote hanging on a hook by my door to the garage. I call it my 'out house bag' :-) Anything that is headed out of the house is placed in that bag. When I am heading out I check the bag and check to see if anything is in the bag that has a destination near where I am going. Most times I take the bag with me, just in case I have some extra time. I also keep a couple of magazines in the bag, just in case I have a few extra minutes in the school carpool lane.
Organizing tip #10: In today's technology age, whether you are online shopping, banking or just socializing, you need a login ID and password for everything. There are many schools of thought... From using a program to store your passwords to storing them on a password protected spreadsheet to scraps of paper on your desk and from using the same ID and password for everything, or not. For me personally, I use several different IDs and passwords for personal use and several others for business use. To keep track of them all, I use a password dictionary, like the one here from the Container Store. I reference this book at least several times a day.
Check back on the 10th for the next 10 tips, or if you are facebook, just search 'At Home Organizing' and 'like' me :-)