Organizing Tips For Your Household
It's easier to organize your whole household if you begin with a basic outline.
Just as you learned years ago in grade school, pick up a three-ring, loose-leaf binder to help develop your personal, systematic approach to organization. As you implement your plan, your methods may change as you find more efficient ways to achieve the level of organization desired. Leave room for notes; the key here is learning the quickest method of cleaning and organizing while being efficient and thorough at the same time. As the process becomes rote, you will find that routine cleaning becomes less and less time consuming and tedious.
A loose-leaf notebook, opposed to spiral-bound, allows you to either replace a page as your cleaning procedure changes, or add a whole new page for a new category.
How To Organize Your House
Organize by Design - Not Accident
Your basic outline will include three main sections:
- Title Page and Mission Statement;
- Index which lists the rooms of your home by groups (individual rooms are listed in sub-headings);
- Systematic Organization and Cleaning which takes you into each area and outlines the routine cleaning process.
Blueprint For Success
Your Title Page may be called "My Blueprint For Success" and contains your goal or "mission statement". You might consider wording your mission statement something like this:
My desire is to create a cleaner and healthier, better organized home environment for my family and myself by reducing clutter and developing habits that will allow me to make the best use of my time and efforts in achieving that goal.
Take it One Room at a Time
The next page is your Index where rooms are grouped together under a heading that defines the general use of those particular rooms:
A. LIVING AREAS
- Formal Living Room
- Family Room
- Recreation Room
- Multi-Media Room
- Game Room
- Play Room
B. BEDROOMS AND BATHROOMS:
- Master Bedroom
- Master Bathroom
- Bedroom 1
- Bedroom 2
- Guest Bedroom
- Bathroom 1
- Bathroom 2
- Powder Room
- Guest Bathroom
C. FAMILY WORK AREAS:
- Mud Room
Systematic Organizing and Cleaning
The last section is entitled "Systematic Organizing and Cleaning". Using your outline, start with "Living Areas". Then, under sub-paragraph 1. Formal Living Room, add a paragraph that describes the best method of cleaning and organizing the room. It will look something like this:
A. Living Areas
- Formal Living Room:
- Pick up clutter and trash,
- Straighten magazines and newspapers
- Return books to bookcase
- Fluff sofa pillows
- Dust furniture and polish if necessary
- Sweep or vacuum carpet
- Damp mop hardwood floors
Organize The Easy Way
The easiest way to become organized and stay organized is to develop a habit of making lists. If your list contains tasks, check them off as completed. Besides making sure necessary projects are taken care of, you'll derive personal satisfaction by staying on top of things.
You should also make lists that contain specific possessions and their location. If the list is of financial and personal documents, be sure to make a note of where they are stored. Then, when you need certain information, you'll be able to put your hand on it without stressing and trying to remember where you last saw it.
Beware of impulse buying! Will the item make your life easier? Can you afford it? Where will you put it? Don't buy just for the sake of buying - take time to think it over before making the investment. In the long run, you will save time and money by simply learning to say "NO!"
Get Rid Of Junk
Make it a habit, whenever looking in your cupboards, shelves or drawers, to toss out things that you know you will never use again. Old periodicals, magazines, half empty lotions that you haven't used for a year, outdated, out grown, or worn out clothes in your closet - all just take up space. Make monthly routine trips to the recycling stations or thrift stores to dispose of your unwanted items.
Touch It Just Once
Stop junk mail from piling up. If you get your mail at the post office, go through it before leaving the premises. Separate out the circulars, ads, and junk mail that you know you don't want and drop it in a trash can at the post office. Don't bring it home! If you receive your mail by home delivery, sort it immediately and throw out everything you classify as junk. Don't allow it to accumulate. Open bills and personal mail, then file them in appropriate folders: Bills to pay, Letters to answer, etc. Once the appropriate action is taken, then they may be filed in your tax folders or personal correspondence folders, etc.
Using Intelligent Storage Containers
Clear plastic bags and storage boxes are a god-send! Maybe I'm a slow learner, but the idea struck me one day when I was looking for something I had stored somewhere during a recent move. I had to look through boxes and boxes until I found what I was looking for, then spent time and energy replacing everything else I had taken out. Use clear plastic bags and boxes to store items. Recently, while standing at a baggage carousel in a major northwest airport, I saw a large clear vinyl bag circulating with the rest of the luggage. Although everyone could see what it contained (dirty socks and t-shirts), it really seemed like a worthy idea for certain items of a non-personal nature. Luggage inspectors could see at a glance just what was contained in the bag. Also, being soft and constructed of a heavy-duty vinyl, it survived the trip with much less wear and tear than did my lovely matched set of expensive luggage!
Hang Things Up
Get into the habit of hanging things up! As soon as shirts and blouses, dresses, slacks, etc., are taken from the dryer, hang them on a hanger. This helps the wrinkles fall out, reducing the amount of time needed for ironing. Keep your closet organized, hang like garments together. That way, you can quickly find that blouse to go with that skirt, and your closet looks neat and clean.
Make Your List and Check It Twice!"
You've probably guessed that we are "list freaks" - but, if you haven't tried it, don't knock it! Just think of how many times you've gone to the grocery store for a specific item - but, because you didn't write it down, you were side-tracked, did a little impulse shopping, and came home without the bacon. Uh, didn't that green plastic fish shower caddy look cute in the shower? (Until it fell off the wall and broke.) If you'd had that one little piece of paper with the word "bacon" written on it, you'd have stayed focused on your goal and probably not even looked at the point of purchase display that preys on idle impulse shoppers!
The bottom line is, to be successful in maintaining a clean and orderly home, you must develop routine methods, including a cleaning checklist, and make every move count. The best way - right from the get-go - is to outline your Blueprint For Success!