Sunday, May 26, 2013

Home Organization 101

We have moved several times over the past few years. We have lived out of boxes at times and stuff seems to have disappeared. When we first moved into this home, it seemed like we had endless storage space. But that space has filled up all to fast and we still can't seem to find the things we need. I have started thining that it is time to weed out the unnecessary items and organize our home.

Home organization is a step-by-step process.  It will take more than a day or even a week to accomplish this. Below are some tips to help with this process:

1. Start with the high traffic areas.  The living room and kitchen are usually the two most used rooms in the house.  Everything gets dropped on a counter or the couch in these two places.  Concentrate on getting everything set up the way that you like it before moving on to another room.

2. Use storage containers.  Over the years, the style of storage containers has upgraded to be pretty as well as functional.  Instead of storing containers in stacks in the garage, purchase ones that match your d├ęcor in each room and integrate them so that no one would even notice they were being used for storage.

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3. Divide items into categories.  You can use heavy duty trash bags, cardboard boxes or plastic totes for this part.  Everything that you find can go into a pile: KEEP, THROW AWAY, GIVE AWAY, and RELOCATE.  Items that will stay in that room are to keep.  Things that you don't need or are broken can be thrown away.  Clothes or furniture still in great condition can be donated and scheduled for pickup by the Veteran's association, Goodwill or other Charity of your choice.  Anything that definitely belongs in another room can be labeled for relocation when you get to that room.

4. Remove everything from drawers and cabinets.  This is a time-consuming process but it is easier to start with an empty space and fill it instead of simply pushing things around.  If you line things up on the counter, someone else can help by putting the items in some type of order.

5. Make use of all of your available space.  In the kitchen, for example, appliances or extra containers can be stored on top of the cabinets provided they don't extend all the way to the ceiling.  That's extra storage space without benefit of a storage container.  Also use the top of the refrigerator for cereal boxes and breakfast food like boxes of instant oatmeal or grits.  In the bedroom, shoes and winter clothes can go into flat storage bins that slide easily under the bed or the dresser.

6. Label your containers.  Use tape and a permanent marker to identify the contents of your storage containers.  Avoid writing on the actual container in case they are reused and the contents are changed.  Labeling also makes for easy identification if you decide to sell or give away a container of books or something.  You won't have to open each container to locate them. A label maker is also a fun and easy way to label your containers.

Organizing your entire house takes time. Remember it didn't get cluttered overnight and it won't get fixed overnight. But, once it is done, returning everything you use to its proper place will maintain that same level of organization.

Be sure to enlist the help of the entire family.  They can pitch in and learn a thing or two about controlling clutter in their own lives. Get creative and make it a game to help get the kids enthusiastic about helping!

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