Four Philosophies to Help You Organize

3 of 3 in Series: The Essentials of Getting Organized

Some people are naturally organized. Others have to work at keeping their lives in order. No matter what your organizational style is, the philosophies here can help you keep on track when you are organizing a room:

  • Be disciplined: Life runs more smoothly when the members of your household know where to find items and where to return them after use. Here are some suggestions for keeping to a relatively disciplined organization routine:

    • Set up systems around your home: Employ a to-do box and a donate box. Get kids involved early. When they’ve outgrown an item of clothing or toy, they add it to the donate box. When you get a phone call from a charity soliciting donations, say “Yes!” and relish in the fact that your donations are packed and ready to go.

    • Use baskets, bins, and boxes: Group like items together, find an appropriate home for them, and label it. Resist the urge to stuff items in drawers or cabinets. Taking one minute to put items away properly saves many minutes of future!

    • Relax — everyone is allowed to have a junk drawer: There’s probably a drawer in your home that’s a constant problem. Nothing in this drawer seems to fit into the other categories, making it an endless source of frustration. Decide to let that drawer be a junk drawer, and move on. As this drawer fills up, weed out the trash, but don’t try to make more sense of it.

  • Be green: Follow these guidelines for keeping your organizational efforts green:

    • Make green decisions: Be green by reducing your purchases, reusing containers you have on hand, and recycling everything you can. If you can, borrow an item instead of buying it.

    • Act locally: Donate gently used items to local women’s shelters, charities, and schools.

  • Be frugal: Once it’s organized, the best way to maintain your space is to reduce the influx of items coming in. When you’re about to buy an item, ask yourself whether you really need it, can afford it, can borrow it or buy it secondhand instead, and where you will store it. You may be surprised by your answers! If you buy a new sweater, prepare to get rid of an old one.

    Here are a few additional ideas for embracing your frugal side:

    • Repurpose items: Cardboard boxes and old jars are far better organizational devices than piles of stuff on the floor. Consider turning an old door into a desk, repurposing an unused wine rack as a magazine holder, or transforming an old shower rod into a clothing bar.

    • Stop paying for storage: If you’re currently paying for offsite storage, weed through the items in storage and determine if they support the goal for your home. Donating or selling unnecessary items from storage will make you feel better, and the money you save from eliminating this fee goes straight to your bottom line!

    • Regift: You’re bound to come across unopened items when sorting through a room. Return things for which you have the receipt, and regift whatever else you can.

  • Be clever: In general, start with less stuff to manage and fewer things to do, and you’ll soon find that you have fewer frustrations in life. Remember, when it comes to stuff, less is more! Consider these guidelines:

    • Home organization stores, magazines, and TV shows are inspirational because they display the work of professionals! If you see an idea you love, copy it!

    • Less is more. Purchase toys that don’t require batteries, which need frequent changing. Cancel subscriptions for magazines you don’t have time to read. Get rid of items you use less than once a year and struggle to store. Small changes like these add up and result in more time, less frustration, and fewer items on your to-do list!

    • Embrace technology. Store your DVDs and CDs in media folders. Upload your CDs to your hard drive. Scan your photos onto your computer.

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