3 Tasks to Involve the Family in Organizing

Laundry

Get the laundry under control. Designate a day (or two) each week rather than running small loads each day. Color code laundry baskets for each household member. Deposit clean, folded garments into each and have each person put away his/her own clothing. If you hate running to the dry cleaners, then it’s time to stop buying dry clean-only clothes!

Bathroom

Avoid confusion and foster accountability in the bathroom. Assign each family member a color for toothbrushes and towels. Give each person a drawer or storage bin for personal items. Toss expired medicines and cosmetics, tattered towels, and duplicate hair styling appliances. And finally, maintain order by scheduling time to organize on a regular basis.

Car

Give your car a good spring cleaning. Grab a garbage bag and round up all the papers, food wrappers, and random trash under the seats. Spray down surfaces with cleaner, and polish till they shine. Vacuum out all the winter “yuck.” Your car will look and smell (almost) like new!

Reduce Unwanted Mail With 5 Simple Steps

Peek inside your mailbox and you’ll discover junk mail overload. Over 40% of the mail we receive is junk mail! Follow these quick tips to drastically reduce the amount of stuff in your mailbox, making paper management a breeze!

1. Limit unwanted mailbox advertising: Greatly reduce advertising mail (and save some trees) by registering with the Direct Marketing Association’s Mail Preference Service. Call 212-768-7277 or visit www.dmachoice.org.

2. Opt out of unsolicited credit card offers: The nation’s four major credit bureaus will help you get off lists for pre-approved credit card offers by simply calling 1-888-5-OPTOUT. You’ll need to provide your social security number, full name, address, and telephone number.

3. Use caution when giving out your contact information: Nearly every time you send in a product warranty card or enter a contest, your data will be used to send you more paper! These companies may in turn sell or share your information with other companies. Use caution. And if you provide your contact information, request that the company not share or sell it.

4. Cancel subscriptions: Take the pressure off yourself by canceling any magazine subscriptions that you never seem to get around to reading anyway. Same with the newspaper.

5. Keep junk mail at bay in your home and office: Immediately after daily retrieval, sort mail while standing over your recycling bin. Toss with reckless abandon (be sure to shred things like credit card offers) so junk mail doesn’t create piles of, well, junk in your home or office.



© 2018 Articles on Demand™

Reduce: Make the Earth Happy

One of the great benefits to living an organized life is the positive impact you can have on our environment. When you’re organized, you can buy less stuff (reduce), you can think of creative ways to reinvent old items (reuse), and you can thoughtfully dispose of your discards (recycle). Follow these tips to tackle the first “R.”  You’ll earn key benefits like saving money, time, and natural resources, as well as feeling less cluttered and stressed at home and work

Think before you buy. Studies show that 80 percent of what we use comes from 20 percent of what we own. That means that 80 percent of the things in our homes are rarely or never used. Next time, before you buy, think about the time you’ll spend in cleaning, storing, and maintaining that item after you bring it home. If you must buy, establish a “new item in, old item out” system where some purging takes place before shopping, meaning less clutter in your home.

Reduce waste at the office. Try to generate less paper by printing less and saving more to electronic storage, such as your computer or a CD-ROM. Send an e-mail rather than a printed memo or letter. Think before you hit “print” and you’ll have less paper to deal with on your desk.

Purchase items that have less packaging. Buy concentrates, such as orange juice and laundry detergent. Avoid single-serving products and buy in bulk instead. Reuse paper or plastic shopping bags or bring your own sturdy cloth tote, thus reducing a messy pile of bags littering your home.

Reduce travel toxins. Opt for walking, biking, or taking the bus or subway over driving a car. Try to combine trips when running errands to save time, money, and natural resources.


© 2018 Articles on Demand™

Sort It Out

With the huge variety of organizing products out there, it’s easy to become overwhelmed — and cash-strapped — when shopping for containers. A professional organizer can help you demystify the myriad of bins, boxes, and baskets so you purchase products within your budget that will be beneficial for you and your spaces. You can also try some of these creative storage solutions.

The first thing — before you ever step foot in a store with the intention of buying organizing paraphernalia — is to sort, pare down, and evaluate your stuff. Whether it’s a closet crammed with clothes or a tiny junk drawer full of oddball items, you can’t contain it until you follow these steps:

SORT

1) Sort: Pick a space to tackle, and gather similar things together into piles. For example, if you’re organizing your bathroom, separate out hair-care products, first-aid supplies, towels/linens, make-up, paper products, etc. Once you can clearly see everything you have...

PARE DOWN

2) Pare down: You probably own much more than you originally thought, so start tossing! Get rid of anything broken, stained, or past its prime. Then, for remaining items, ask yourself if each item is truly beautiful, useful, or loved. If not, it’s time to go! Recycle, donate, or share those things with someone who really needs them, and then..

EVALUATE WHAT'S LEFT

3) Evaluate what’s left: You probably don’t have nearly as much stuff as when you started! That’s a good thing. Now that you’re down to the essentials, you can...

FIND THE RIGHT SPOT

4) Find the right spot: Decide where you’ll store each category of items, take note of the size of the spaces you have, and figure out what type of storage containers will work best. (Use a tape measure!) Now, you can begin either shopping for new containers or creatively reusing ones that you already own, saving environmental resources and money.

© 2018 Articles on Demand™

Identifying Clutter With Three Easy Questions

What exactly is clutter? Clutter is anything unnecessary and extraneous. It can be more than the physical clutter most of us think of. Getting organized means clearing out the clutter in your mind, heart, and life. As for the physical clutter, ask yourself the following three questions about each item in your home. If you can’t answer yes to at least one, it’s probably clutter!

Is it beautiful?

A stunning piece of artwork enriches your life because it brings joy each time you see it. A gorgeous vase full of fresh flowers reduces stress and energizes your spirit.

Is it useful?

You use your 12-cup coffee maker every day. You couldn’t make it through the week without it. (Don’t confuse this question with, “Will it be useful someday?”)

Is it loved?

The antique pocket watch from your grandfather is a precious reminder of him. Your favorite cashmere sweater makes you feel fabulous.

You’ll find that as you inventory your possessions, you may be able to answer “yes” to two or even three of the questions above. Those are the things that are most valuable to you. Remember, the goal of decluttering is not to get rid of everything. It’s simply to keep only things that you truly appreciate and use.

To stop clutter, prevent it from accumulating in the first place. Don't give clutter a chance to form. As you've probably experienced, once clutter occupies a space, it has a way of multiplying. Always remember to place your emphasis on quality over quantity. In other words, it's not important to have a lot of things, many of which you never use. It's more beneficial to have fewer things, all of which you use and/or enjoy.

Think before you buy. Try to look beyond the initial “thrill of the purchase” and see what provides deeper moments of meaning. Before you buy, think about the time you’ll spend in cleaning, storing, and maintaining that item after you bring it home. If you must buy, establish a “new item in, old item out” system where some purging takes place before shopping.

Once you rid yourself of clutter and make space only for what's special, you'll find it's easier to get — and stay — organized! You’ll soon reap the benefits of a clutter-free life: more energy, happier relationships, a well-organized home or office, new opportunities, and a better outlook on life.

© 2018 Articles on Demand™

Archive Your Files With Ease

What shape is your filing system in? Are your filing drawers stuffed so full that it’s nearly impossible to get another piece of paper into — or out of — them? Once a year, you should take time to review your files and purge as much as possible, leaving room for next year’s papers.

1. Determine what to keep. As you sort through papers, ask yourself, “When will I really need this again?” “Can it be easily recreated or retrieved elsewhere?” Don’t hang onto things unless you have a really good reason! Be ruthless — remember, 80% of the things you file will never get referred to again!

2. Keep records retention guidelines in mind. Your accountant, attorney, or professional organizer can tell you which documents you should keep for legal purposes.

3. Keep only day-to-day paperwork at your fingertips. For rarely-used files that must be kept, archive them in an out-of-the-way area, such as a closet, basement, or off-site storage facility.

4. Some things can be immediately tossed. Instruction manuals for products you no longer own, old research materials, previous drafts of letters, out-of-date magazines and articles, and receipts for items past their return date can be discarded.

5. Stash important documents in a safety deposit box. It is imperative that you stock your safety deposit box or home safe with the following papers: adoption and citizenship papers; passports; birth, death, and marriage certificates; deeds; divorce decrees; insurance policy papers; lease agreements and loan documents; mortgage papers; personal property appraisals (jewelry, collectibles); Social Security cards; stock and bond certificates; vehicle titles; copies of wills; and powers of attorney papers. And don’t forget to LOCK your home safe. It is NOT fireproof unless the lock is engaged.

 

© 2016 Articles on Demand™