82 Tips to Get & Stay Organized
By Kelly Galvin, Organized in Paradise
- If you don’t use it don’t keep it.
- To maintain organization and order, do a daily pick-up and put-away session.
- Clear your desk when you finish working so it will be a useful workspace when you return.
- Do not use your countertops for storage. Only keep appliances that you use daily (coffee maker, blender, toaster).
- File papers unfolded, face up.
- When processing the mail – throw away envelopes immediately.
- Things tend to grow roots where they are planted. Therefore, only set down an item where you want to live for a long, long time.
- Forget perfect, aim for progress.
- Eliminate junk mail – get off lists if you don’t want their mailings.
- Keep a wastebasket in every room.
- Quit bringing in new stuff.
- Write things down.
- Just because you’ve always done it that way… does not make it the best way.
- Every household needs a desk (or even an office).
- Use vertical storage whenever possible.
- Put things you use often within close reach.
- Stop buying single use items. Warning: if it is labeled “AS SEEN ON TV” don’t walk, run!
- Move things you use sparingly out of the way.
- Create zones. Most rooms have multiple functions and therefore should have multiple zones.
- If you have not used it (or worn it) for more than one year, let it go.
- Make a conscious decision about what to keep. Don’t just keep everything (this is critical for all the paper in our lives).
- If you buy an item to replace one which is worn out, toss the old one.
- You are not the maid, teach the other members of your household to keep your home organized.
- Keep a memory box for each child. Keep only the best paintings, crafts and art projects.
- Keep art projects on the fridge for one month take a photo of the collection. Keep the photo, toss the items.
- Go through your toiletries and toss out any that you never use because you never liked them.
- An organized home is orderly, not sterile.
- Organize clothes by type: pants, skirts, dresses, jackets, sweaters, etc.
- Organize your dresser top to bottom in order of the clothes you put on.
- Add a valet hook outside the closet or on the door. This is great place to hang items you’ve brought in from the dry cleaner, or your outfit for the next day.
- One in, one out. Once you’ve done a full wardrobe organization, use this policy to stay organized.
- Add risers to cabinets to enhance accessibility to cabinets.
- When organizing a space, remember your goal is not to pack in as much stuff as possible. Simply store items you use in a way that makes them easy to access and put away.
- Drink water to keep yourself hydrated.
- Empty the trash regularly. A full trash can is a “stop” sign to tossing things out. Keep this road open.
- Use bins inside drawers or cabinets to hold a collection of small items. The bin creates a limit on how much of certain items may be stored and keeps one type of items separate from another.
- Use online banking to reduce the amount of paper you have read, process and file.
- When packing for a trip, take fewer clothes than there are number of days on the trip.
- Take your own reading material when you will have waiting time.
- Use project folders and magazine files to keep papers of an “active” project together and visible.
- Furniture can be storage container. Look for pieces that offer storage.
- Consider whether open or closed storage is appropriate for a space and items to be stored.
- Email is great, but limit the undesired messages by “unsubscribing” to mailings you are not interested in reading.
- When you get rid of “stuff” you don’t need, you are making more room for the things you use and love.
- Size matters – too many small bins or of all different sizes is simply more clutter. Use a container or bin of sufficient size to hold all needed items.
- Use a spiral notebook to record your phone messages. If necessary, you can transfer needed information to another place, but the spiral notebook will always have the original info.
- When you get your photos developed, toss out any that are obvious duds.
- Stock your pantry and freezer with meals which can be prepared without a trip to the supermarket.
- Get items off the closet floor – install shelves or bins for shoes and accessories.
- Organize your computer files the same way you organize paper files. Create category folders and keep the files in the appropriate category. A messy computer desktop looks as cluttered at a messy desk.
- Fold a complete sheet set together.
- Put the fold side out to it easier to retrieve a single towel
- Create a record of your medical history (and each family member).
- Let there be light. Add stick-on lights in cabinets and closets so you can actually see what you have.
- Kids are short – put items they should be able to access low enough for them to reach.
- Stop on occasion and take a deep, relaxing breath.
- Books – once you’ve read it, donate it to the library.
- Use labels, especially for storage bins and boxes.
- When deciding on a color for a storage space, go with white. It looks cleaner, reflects more light so you can see better when searching for an item.
- When kids tire of a toy or game, let go of it.
- Keep a “donate” box going at all times.
- Use hooks on your closet rod to hang handbags and totes.
- Create an in/out place for the keys, purse, etc.
- Use pictures as labels (shoes, accessories).
- Teach your kids to be organized by having them participate in part of the daily clean up.
- Bend your knees when you lift things.
- Stop stocking up on gifts you give “one day”.
- When displaying photographs, use the same type of frame for all in the collection for a cohesive look.
- Toss out the condiments and sauces in your refrigerator or cupboard that no one likes.
- Create a resource binder with the contact info of service people you use.
- Set aside at least 20 minutes twice a week to do administrative tasks – including filing.
- Prepare an emergency plan for your family.
- Buy containers and bins ONLY AFTER you’ve decided what you will keep in them.
- Edit your rooms. Look from left to right, top to bottom. Remove any item that does not belong or can be tossed.
- Writing things down. Do put unnecessary pressure on yourself to remember everything.
- Avoid time wasters. A few minutes of a computer games is a fun relief, hours at the screen is just a waste.
- Be aware of the difference between tidy (“a right angler”) and actually organized. A tidy space might look good; an organized space will help you get more done.
- Keep a few thank you notes on hand to be ready to send when appropriate. Don’t keep an entire stationary store.
- When you entertain, make it fun and a production.
- Create a place in your file system for Important Documents such as passports, birth certificates, immunization records, etc.
- A place for everything and everything in its place. Pay attention to both parts of this saying. Does everything in your house have a place?
- Use clear tubs for kids – they can see what’s inside without using any labels.
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