Dorothy Breininger, professional organizing expert (yes, that’s a real thing), shares her home organization tips and ideas for getting organized at the beginning of the year to face the coming months with less stress and more time for relationships and focusing on well-being and achieving your goals. “Tackle one task per day and you’ll be more organized in no time.” Sounds easy, right?
CREATE A NO-FAIL GARAGE SYSTEM.
Breininger says to start in the garage. Hang some peg board, put some tool hooks in the board’s holes, and draw an outline around each tool you hang to mark its location. You’ll know where everything belongs and easily see where to return it. Sounds old-school, but hey, if it works…
MAKE A GRAND ENTRANCE.
Whatever door gets the most use should work for you. Hang a pocketed hanger or place a basket to catch the mail or keys you drop. Designate a bench or hook for backpacks or items needed for errands. Having things handy will help to avoid last minute searches or forgotten things.
Give everyone in the family a laundry basket labeled with their names. Dirty laundry goes to the washer in the basket, and clean clothes can be picked up from the dryer back in the basket. Don’t leave a pile of clean clothes on the table or steps, where everyone walks by.
MAKE YOUR KITCHEN WORK.
The whole family uses the kitchen for a variety of activities. It’s smart to create separate stations for those functions. You might consider investing in a rolling cart if you have room; stock it with what’s needed for lunch-making: cutting board, salt and pepper, paper towels, baggies and wraps, lunch bags.
CREATE A FAMILY/HOUSEHOLD MANUAL.
If you’re a single-person household, a roommate situation, or a large family, you can make a manual of important information to simply your record-keeping. With a three-ring binder and a three-hole punch, you can gather all your information in one place. Collect all of your emergency contact information and everything important, such as the names and phone numbers of doctors, dentists, veterinarians, along with school calendars, alarm codes, medication doses for family members, the locations of your home’s water and gas shut-offs. As you move forward, you can add the manuals for appliances and gadgets.
Create a charging station to group your cell phones, iPads, kids’ games, etc. Rid your home of tangled cords with a station that conceals the cords and keeps things together.
TIDY UP TOYS.
Picking up toys is often listed as a problem byr parents. Children can and should be taught to put things away as a means to developing personal responsibility. The process does not have to be a chore. Use colorful bins to hold toys, sorting my type, such as games, Legos, dolls, cars, etc. You can label the bins with matching pictures cut from magazines or found online.
ORGANIZE ADULT BEDROOM CLOSETS.
Your bedroom (and its closet) should be a sanctuary (well, that might be a bit of an overstatement). Unfortunately, the closet often becomes a place to stash clean and dirty laundry along with everything else that needs a quick place to hide. Breininger suggests clearing the floor so you can get in there and making sure you have lighting that enables you to see what’s in there (always helpful). Then pull everything out; only put back what fits you right now, is stain-free, and requires no repairs. Make a decision about anything else; fix it, clean it, or get rid of it.
STRAIGHTEN KIDS’ CLOSETS.
Follow the procedure for organizing adult closets. Then take the next step to simplify your morning routine. Add a hanging shelving unit and label one pocket or shelf for each day of the week. Each weekend, choose clothes for the following week and put them in the designated day’s spot. Make decisions for picture day, field trip, or sports events. The mornings should be calmer and involve less stress.
Bathrooms don’t always have enough storage for all the shampoos, toothpaste, brushes, make-up, and stuff that each family member
needs wants. If your bathroom is small or has limited counter or drawer space, get an inexpensive caddy for each person, label it, and load it with their own items. If there’s no storage space in the bathroom, each person can take their own caddy to their room. The bathroom will be less cluttered, and clean-up will be automatic.