Wednesday, January 18, 2012

New Year's Organizing Tip #2 - Where does it go?

Okay, now that you have purged all of the old paper and clutter from your rooms it is time to organize them. The best way to get organized and stay that way is to zone your rooms and assign a home to every object. Sounds like a lot of work, but it isn’t really. So, for example in the family room, common activities may be playing video games, watching t.v., reading and relaxing. Objects you will need to contain are video games, DVDs, books, remote controls, wraps and throws, etc. Start one room at a time and find a home for everything. Once you have a home for EVERYTHING then literally it should take less than 10 minutes to pick up several rooms in your home.

The harder clutter to contain is paper because it can quickly become overwhelming and look worse than it is if it isn’t processed every day. Know the pattern of the paper in your house and have a home for each category – bills, regular files, resource/archival files, magazines, action, etc. As I wrote about in my first New Year’s post, have a paper command center in the hub of your home to corral everyday paper and then have a resource/archival home…probably a home office where you have a filing cabinet to hold paper you don’t need as often. Check out the photo of my administrative zone that I have organized and ready for the New Year.

My gym has a motivational message on the door entering the gym, “the hardest part is showing up” and I feel this thought can be applied to organizing. Organizing is a process like exercising that you can’t just do once to see results. Once the hard part is done (the zoning and assigning homes), then the regular “showing up” part becomes the daily processing of stuff that can be done almost in auto pilot. I smiled reading the inspirational message leaving the gym yesterday “know you’ll be back tomorrow” and I liked the simple message that progress is in small steps, many times repeated until it becomes like second nature.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

New Year's Clutter Buster Tip#1 - Purge the Stuff

As we start a new year, I thought it would be helpful to discuss clutter busting strategies. To that end I’ll focus my January posts on general organizing tips.
My husband and I always get a laugh, as I prepare for our, at least monthly charity donation pick-up, at our house, as he sings the line “….give it away, give it away, give it away now…” from the Red Hot Chili Peppers song “Give it Away”. If you only keep items in your space and closets that you love (and that fits) and represents how you live now, you won’t believe how easy it is to put together a few donation bags a month. If you haven’t already, call up your favorite charities, and get on their regular pick-up schedule to give away your gently used items not needed. There is so much that comes in to our homes that needs to be sorted, purged and given away, recycled or thrown out, and a great way to keep the stuff moving and our homes kept up is to schedule charity donations.

It all comes down to downsizing the stuff and in the kitchen and many rooms of the home, much of the stuff tends to be paper oriented. Most of the paper can be recycled or shredded and for the paper that needs to be kept, decide if it belongs in your home office (not as accessible) or your other paper storage place…probably the kitchen (regular access). I highly recommend carving out some space behind a closed kitchen cabinet to hide it. House frequently used home files such as: school, activities, coupons, menus, and other high use categories where you use those most…probably in the kitchen and not a home office. Also stored here can be mail to be saved that requires action such as bills and invitations. Have basic office supplies in your kitchen administrative area and if you have children and they do their homework in the main hub of the home, then make sure they have everything accessible so that they aren’t running off elsewhere getting distracted.

To cut down on paper coming into the home, I am trying out a mail reduction service called Catalog Choice. They offer a range of services with the main goal of keeping the unwanted paper out of your home. I signed up for their mail reduction service whereby I have to tell them what I don’t want to receive and they do the leg work to get me off of the unwanted mail lists. I am also trying out their junk mail envelope service – same idea and possibly a little more straightforward. Some of my clients are trying out the junk mail envelope service, so I’ll keep you posted on how it goes, and I’ll let you know what we think about their services.

Start purging those rooms…especially the paper!