Clean Out Schedule
Problem: An overflowing refrigerator.
Solution: Use trash day as a reminder that it’s time to clean out the refrigerator. You’ll make room for new stuff to come in and get rid of any spoiled food before it gets smelly or messy.
Overwhelmed No More
Problem: There’s just too much to tackle.
Solution: Come up with a plan and timeline for taking it one step at a time. Examine the room you want to organize and visually break it into small areas that you can tackle in increments. Set achievable deadlines to give yourself a goal to work toward. Make a list of what stays and what could go to reduce clutter. Focus on the reason you need to reorganize, such as creating a clutter-free area for family gatherings or cleaning out a guest room so there’s space for visitors. Prioritize your tasks, starting in an area where you can quickly see progress. Schedule time to work on a project when you’re most energetic and least likely to be distracted. Set a timer and quit when the timer rings.
Problem: No matter how hard you try, you just can’t get rid of clutter around your house.
Solution: You can’t hide all clutter, but you can contain it. Look at where it collects and set up attractive ways to deal with it. Place a large bowl on the kitchen counter to collect keys. Leave a big basket by the door for shoes. Check discount stores and office supply houses for patterned folders for storing bills — or wicker, fabric, and leather boxes to match your decor.
Problem: Generous gifting at holidays and birthdays overwhelms already stretched storage.
Solution: Go through toys with your child before birthdays and holidays. Have a donation station always available for kids to put toys when they have decided they are tired of them.
Target Your Efforts
Problem: Your organization efforts don’t seem to yield results.
Solution: Avoid zigzag organizing. Scattering your efforts over multiple rooms prevents you from seeing progress. For visible, dramatic results, work one room at a time, one section at a time, completing each area before you move on to the next.
Problem: Your closet is overflowing, yet you still can’t find anything to wear.
Solution: You should have only three types of clothes in your closet — clothes that fit you, clothes you love, and clothes that always bring you compliments.
Top Shelf Solution
Problem: The top shelves of your closet are a no-man’s land.
Solution: Slip a slim step stool inside the linen closet so you can easily make use of the top shelves. If you can’t reach it, you won’t use it.
Problem: Household necessities are tricky to store and even trickier to find.
Solution: Stackable plastic drawers are a great way to manage household supplies such as light bulbs, vacuum cleaner bags, and batteries.
Make Time for Organization
Problem: Time is not on my side. I’m so busy.
Solution: Know how to find time to commit to organization. Play beat the clock and schedule 15 to 30 minutes of daily catch-up time and see how many organizational tasks — sorting the mail, reorganizing a cupboard, putting laundry away — you can complete. Knowing that an end is in sight will make it easier for you to get going. Sound an alert. If time is always getting away from you, set an alarm on your cell phone or computer to remind you to do a specific organizational task. Make time fly and multitask. Minutes will pass more quickly if you do a task while watching TV, listening to music, or conversing with a spouse, child, or friend.
Get a Move On
Problem: You waste precious time every morning running around the house looking for the items you need for the day.
Solution: Use a “transfer basket” to gather everything that needs to go out the door the next day — library books, bills to mail, schoolwork, etc. Haul the basket to your car every morning and bring it back into the house when errands are done.
Problem: You’re working with limited space.
Solution: Think dual-purpose. Look for furniture that works hard: beds and coffee tables with drawers, ottomans with lift-off tops for out-of-sight storage, and chests that can stow linens and tableware and also serve as buffets.