Over the weekend, I had a chance to participate in a “WOMEN ROCK” event sponsored by our local hospital system. I was asked to focus on “Organize & Declutter Your Life”. Okay, I was a little unsure at first but I found the discussion on simple solutions for your life a topic which interested a lot of women.
There were many conversations about Pinterest and magazines with the perfect organizational system. Once the products are purchased and you actually take the time to set the system up, you find out it doesn’t work. The visual in our head seldom matches what the project turns out to be when it is done. Organizing systems need to fit your style or they won’t work. We need to follow through with the system for more than a few days to see if it will work. Have you ever heard the old saying “it takes 21 days to change a habit”? The same holds true for organizing systems.
Here are a few of the tips I shared with some of the women who said their house was a “hot mess”.
#1 Start a New System—and Test-Drive It
Tackle one spot, let’s say the linen closet. Rearrange the shelves to how you THINK you want them, then mark them with sticky notes. Live with the system for a week and make adjustments as needed. When you’re happy with the system, replace the notes with labels or boxes or totes, which will motivate you to maintain it.
#2 Clean Out Your Kitchen Tool Drawer
Let’s be honest, many of our kitchen drawers could also be called junk drawers, right? Don’t leave me hanging like I am the only one. First, we have lots of duplicate tools, do you really need 3 partial sets of measuring cups? Whatever the kitchen tool, if you have duplicates – keep the one which works best, then donate or toss the rest. I have lots of rarely used pieces like a turkey baster or melon baller. I can’t remember the last time I used them. So, I have moved them to a bin on a high shelf out of the way. Now I might actually find some things in the drawer.
#3 Pare Down Your Purse
Despite being a “bag lady”, my purse tends to collect stuff – old receipts, papers, to do lists and a mass of other things as the week goes on. How many times have you been waiting in a doctor’s office, stuck on a long phone with a chunk of idle time? Stick a clean, empty plastic sandwich bag into your handbag. When you find yourself with time, fill it up with non-essentials to trash or relocate later.
#4 Sort Batteries the Way the Store Does
Imagine having to dig through a box at the store to find the right size batteries to buy. Is this your setup at home, I know it is ours. If we had some extra wall space, I would love to wall-mount and organizer inside the utility closet to keep AAA’s, C’s, and D’s separate and visible.
#5 “File” Cookware (or lids)
Do you have cabinet chaos? Are your pans stacked nicely but the lids are all over? Why not get a stand at the dollar store that holds files and “file” them in a file like organizer. It can also keep sheet pans and cutting boards in check.
#6 Give Your Desk an In-Box
Okay, I can see the eyes rolling already. Maybe you have one and it is overflowing. I used to use a basket but things got buried and I seemed to spend more time sorting then I did actually taking care of things. I use a Fold N File which has hanging files with tabs like bills, to read, donations, receipts, etc. Then when I get ready to pay bills, they are all in one spot. Seems basic, but the best way to rescue a buried desk is to funnel papers into a manageable system you can deal with on a regular basis. You can also use a file box but I find the most success with something on my desk and I can see when I pick up a piece of paper. My theory is to touch it once – saves time and energy.
#7 Where is the manual (or the takeout menu)?
My hubby is forever asking me for the instruction manual for something. So we now have them in one binder in the pantry closet. When we replace an appliance, the new manual goes in and the old one gets tossed. Does your family do a lot of take out? Why not do the same thing with the take out menus? Don’t have that many? How about putting them in a Ziploc bag and stash ’em – where else? – on the fridge or cupboard.
Let’s be honest, despite our best efforts, you can’t have everything in its place every moment of the day. But you can cut down on wayward stuff by giving it a defined space. What are your best tips?
Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!