Organization is one of my passions, as anyone who has spent much time with me probably knows. Here are a few fun statistics for you, mostly taken from the National Association of Professional Organizers:
- People spend, on average, 6 minutes a day looking for their keys.
- Getting rid of clutter eliminates 40% of housework in the average home.
- 23% of adults regularly pay bills late because they lose the bill.
- 80% of clutter in the home is a result of disorganization, not lack of space.
Does any of this sound like you? I used to be there, honestly, but over the years have evolved a variety of systems that have helped me to overcome some of this. A few tips that have helped me:
- Admit that you’re only human – while you may have the best of intentions, you’re not always going to do it 100% all the time, so cut yourself some slack and realize that good enough is sometimes just that – good enough!
- Even if you have a file cabinet where you file bank statements, paid bills, etc. how often are you actually filing stuff there? I found that the hassle factor of taking up everything to file was deterring me from doing the filing, so I bought a cute 18 pocket accordion file and labeled each pocket with one of the categories that would eventually get filed (think Taxes, Power Bill, Bank Statement, etc.) and that way it’s cute enough to keep out, so I could keep it conveniently located, and I can easily file bills and statements as they come in, then only have to hit the file cabinet every six months or so.
- One word: containers! I have all different sized containers, particularly in the kitchen. Cereal Storers for each different cereal, a tight lidded container for sugar, for flour, for cookies, for pasta, etc. All these match, in various sizes, so my pantry has a nice put together look to it and it’s very easy to see when I’m running low on something.
- Evaluate just how many of something you need. Do you have 42 different coffee mugs (you know, those ones that you got as a giveaway at the bank, at the health fair, or the ones from a company you worked at 6 years ago, etc.)? Does anyone really need all those? Toss all but about 12 of your favorites or those that have sentimental meaning to you. This declutters your kitchen cabinet and allows you more room for the stuff you DO actually use. The same holds true in all areas of your life – some of the biggies are the underwear drawer (are you ever going to wear the pink leopard print thong again, seriously?), the sock drawer, the t-shirt drawer, etc.)
- Take a look at your CD collection. Do you ever listen to most of what is in there anymore? Even if you can’t bear to part with them, you might think about getting a large CD wallet for them and trashing the jewel cases. This will take up SO much less room, and if you do it in an organized manner, the CDs will still be just as easy to find when you do want to listen to that old Bell Biv Devoe CD from back in the day.
- Set up a landing pad nearby whatever door you come in in your house (front door, door from the garage, etc.) This space should have a place to put the mail, your keys, your purse, and anything else you typically have with you when you come home. If you always put it there, you will always know where it is. Sounds simple, but sometimes simple is the best solution. Hang hooks on the wall near that door – one for each member of the family, that they can hang their backpack, purse, baseball cap, etc. on.
- Have a junk drawer (or two) in your kitchen? Just because it’s a junk drawer doesn’t mean it has to be a mess. Pick up a couple drawer organizers from the office supply store, and sort your junk. You might find that you have multiples of the same item and can get rid of some (I believe last time I cleaned out my junk drawer I found five tape measures, which truthfully is about four too many.)
- If you find that clutter tends to collect on every flat surface of your home, put something decorative in those spaces. For example, if the kids are always throwing their stuff on the coffee table, put a pretty candle arrangement or a nice fruit bowl there. Give them a small basket in the laundry room or on the stairs that they can throw their stuff in. Naturally this stuff should be taken upstairs with them to their own rooms whenever the basket is full.
- Check out Flylady, if you’ve not heard of it. She’s got a ton of ideas on decluttering and cleaning your home.
So that’s it for today. I will be the first to admit my house is very rarely spotless, and I would contend that it may never be, with a husband, two kids and five furred creatures, but at least I know where stuff is!