Get Organized and Live Life On Purpose.
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This month I’m sharing the best tips and strategies that have helped me to get organized and stay that way. This week I am sharing basic organizing principles that I have found to be essential to living an organized life.
Principle #1 is Eliminate, Eliminate, Eliminate (read more here.)
Principle #2: A Place for Everything and Everything In Its Place
You have probably heard this phrase before, but maybe you haven’t realized the power behind it. In order to have an organized and orderly home, every single thing has to have a place to belong and it has to be put in its place.
A PLACE FOR EVERYTHING
*Every item should have a home.
Every item in your home needs to have a permanent resting place. You are going to put your stuff down somewhere, but can you find it when you need it? Keys need a basket or a tray to land in. Coats need a hanger or a hook to hang on. Dirty clothes need a hamper or laundry basket to wait in.
*Keep Items Where You Use Them.
Kids Stuff: Corral your kids’ shoes in a closet, storage bin or basket near the door where they take them off. Provide hooks or shelves for backpacks and an “in” basket for papers you need to sign, etc..
Kitchen Stuff: Place glasses next to the sink, dishes near the dishwasher, food storage containers next to the fridge, spices near the stove, mixing bowls and measuring cups together, etc..
Paper Stuff: Make a paper sorting station with an in-basket, calendar and file folders. When you bring in the mail, go through it immediately. Throw away any trash, write bill due dates on the calendar and file them in a folder or notebook where you can find them later. Sign school papers immediately and place them back in your child’s back pack.
*Group like items together.
Within your large storage areas, group like items together. For example, under your bathroom sink have a container for cleaners, a container for toilet paper and a container for cosmetics. Don’t put cosmetics in the cleaner container and don’t put cleaners in the toilet paper container.
*Look for cheap alternatives.
You don’t need to spend a lot of money to organize your things. Use what you have in a different way, visit thrift stores and garage sales and think creatively. An unused vase can store your cooking utensils. A mason jar can hold the pencils on your desk. A paper or fabric covered shoe box can keep your cosmetics together.
This past summer I needed serious help with my “junk” drawer, but I didn’t have extra money to spend on organizing supplies. I had plenty of extra plastic containers from the strawberries and blueberries we were buying, so I used them as drawer dividers.I also used some colorful cardboard boxes from a gift I had received. Now everything in the drawer has a home and I can easily find what ever I need.
EVERYTHING IN ITS PLACE
*Retrain your brain.
Finding a home for every item in your home is fairly easy. Making sure the item is put back in its place is the more difficult part of the equation. You have to train yourself and your family to put things where they belong, not just drop them in the most immediate place.
Teaching your family (and yourself) to put things away requires effort and many times we give up because we get tired. The more support we can get from our families, though, the easier it will be to keep an organized home.
*Make organization work for you.
Organization has to work for you and your family. Ideas you find in magazines or online may look good, but if they don’t fit your needs and your family’s lifestyle, you won’t maintain them. If you have made the “homes” for your things convenient, you are more likely to use them.
Look at the places where you find clutter now and find solutions that fit your needs. If the coffee table is constantly cluttered with mail, find a basket to put the mail in so at least it’s contained. The next time you watch television, go through the mail basket.
If you are constantly finding dirty clothes on your child’s bedroom floor, give him a laundry basket or hamper for the closet and train him to take it to the laundry room each morning (or on laundry day).
Be patient with the process of re-training yourself and your family. It takes time to form new habits–some experts say it takes three weeks of consistent use to re-train our brains to a new way of doing things. Eventually, though, you will do things differently without thinking about it.
If you have a bad day, week or season of life and “fall off the wagon”, just try again the next day. Keep your goal of a peaceful and organized home in mind. It is well worth the effort.
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