With Summer Behind Us, Time To Get Organized

house Summer is over, the kids are back in school, and life seems to have suddenly gone into overdrive as calendars quickly fill up with the kids’ activities and fall events. A house that was once efficient and organized in the lull of the summer months can at once become cluttered and disorganized.

It’s not an easy task, getting organized, but it’s well worth spending a few weekends to keep the clutter from snowballing. This allows for a sense of ease in our hectic lives.

To truly become organized, you must have a game plan. Set aside time on a weekend to go through each room and closet, one-by-one. Be realistic, but set a goal for yourself, such as one room per week.

Be brutal. Get rid of the things you don’t use. It’s important to de-clutter and free up space to store the items you really need and use. 

Identify what you use on a daily, weekly and monthly basis; the things you access the most should be the easiest to locate. Label everything and you’re guaranteed to find what you’re looking for in a fast and efficient way.

We all have those magazines that stack up on the coffee table and become a mountain of dog-earred issues. Tearing out those pages and organizing them in a binder gets rid of the clutter. But for those issues you choose to hold onto, buy magazine files to keep them neatly on a shelf. Labeling the holders allows you to easily reach for a specific issue.

Baskets are perfect for hiding clutter and paperwork. Instead of thumbing through piles of random papers, everything is in one tidy spot. Flat baskets can be used on desktops to keep paperwork in order, or they can be used on the floor to contain that day’s newspapers before they go off to the recycling bin.

CDs and DVDs should be kept out of sight and hidden in a media box, or in a closet or cupboard. Arrange them alphabetically and the whole family can effortlessly find a movie to watch. With the media tucked away, shelving space can be used for books, family photos or as a place to store items that you use every day.

Furniture that does double duty, such as storage benches or trunks, can be used as coffee tables or side tables; they can hide extra toys, blankets or magazines. Furniture with shelves can also store items that are neatly stacked and kept at your fingertips for access.

Keeping your kids organized is already a challenge. Designate their own shelves or cupboards for them to keep their toys or homework tools in order. A homework caddy is also a great way to keep your kids tidy. Find something that’s mobile so they can carry it from room to room, depending on where they study. Stock it with plenty of pencils, pens, rulers and other essentials for studying.

Keeping toys in color-coded bins is an efficient storage solution. A picture of the items stored in the bins can be used as a label, and your child can easily find – and put back – their toys in the proper place.

Having a storage bench in your entryway with cubbies underneath can neatly store shoes and backpacks for the kids. Use baskets to keep hats (or in the rare occasion of a cold snap, it can hold mittens and gloves) in one place and by the door for easy access. A large, round basket can hold baseball bats or tennis rackets.

Hang hooks by the door for jackets and Fido’s leash. Visit vintage stores or fleamarkets to find more interesting hooks or pegs. Old doorknobs can also be attached to a board and hung on the wall to be used as hooks.

Linen closets can really become unruly. Keep bed linens together as sets and tie them up with string or ribbon so that they stay together and can be pulled out quickly and easily. Store towels by size and color to keep washcloths, hand towels and bath towels neatly together.  The ideal way to store tablecloths is with a hanging rack installed on a closet door so they can hang to avoid wrinkling. Also store matching place mats and napkins together as a set. This way everything is easy to find and you don’t waste time looking for what you need.
Now that you’re organized and things are at your fingertips, don’t forget to keep it up! Set aside time each week to put away any clutter that accumulates during the week. The household will run smoothly and efficiently, even amid the chaos of daily life.

September 17, 2009

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