Article Summary:Ten home organizing tips from a professional organizer, including rooms, entryway, school papers, and memorabilia.
Re-purpose Your Rooms
Rooms without a specific purpose tend to become museums or dumping grounds. If there are rooms in your home you seldom use, like a formal living room or dining room, consider converting the space into a home office, playroom, or craft and hobby room, depending on your current needs and lifestyle.
Make Meal Prep Easier
Sharp knives will save you time and frustration and make meal preparation more pleasurable. If you are storing your knives loose in a drawer with other kitchen gadgets, they have probably become dull over time. Knives should be stored in a wooden block or, to save counter space, on a magnetic wall mount (and out of children's reach). Another option is to have a drawer specially fitted with inserts for the knives.
Use plastic bags that zip to freeze homemade soups and gravies. Fill each bag to about an inch from the top and lay flat in the freezer until frozen and stack the bags to save space. Use a permanent marker to label them with the contents and date.
Memorabilia Without Mess
If you have bits and pieces of memorabilia piling up all over your home, it's time to create a memory box. Purchase or repurpose one container for each family member; choose plastic bins, photo boxes, hat boxes, vintage suitcases or old fashioned picnic baskets to store precious mementos. Be selective about what goes inside, and when the containers are full, remove one item before putting another item inside.
De-clutter Your Display Case
Has your dining room cabinet become an overloaded repository rather than an attractive display case? Consider selling, giving away, or boxing and relocating excess dinnerware sets, glasses and vases so you can showcase and give breathing space to a limited selection of the most cherished items.
Have a "To-Do" Zone
Most of us keep an on-going `to-do' list but what about the materials that are required for many of those tasks, like the gift you still have to wrap or the library book you have to return? They often end up strewn about in different parts of the house. It makes it much easier if all the physical items you need to take action on are located in one place. Consider designating a bookcase, shelving unit or extra closet as your `to-do' zone to act as a temporary holding tank for work still in progress.
Keep Track of School Papers
Purchase a file box for each child to store all the multitude of school papers that would otherwise end up cluttering your kitchen counter. These usually come with hanging folders, which can be labeled by subject. This acts as a temporary home for exams, assignments and notes that will be referred back to throughout the year (or semester). At the end of the year, they can be tossed to make space for the following year.
Create a Homework Centre
Create a study space conducive to doing homework. Find a location away from the TV. Some children like to do their homework in a central location like the kitchen, where mom and dad can help. Designate a cupboard or basket for homework supplies and stock it with scissors, glue, pencils, pens, paper and any other items your child will require on a daily basis. For those who prefer to do homework away from any interruptions, make sure there is a comfortable desk surface, adequate lighting, and comfortable seating in addition to homework supplies.
Motivate your Kids to Stay Neat
Remind your children that time spent searching for items is time they could be spending doing things with friends. Getting them involved in not only the organizing process but also in picking out colorful containers for their space will give them a feeling of ownership. They'll be more likely to put things back where they belong and keep their space tidy.
Does your main entrance say 'welcome home' or 'go away'?
The manner in which you and your guests are received in your foyer affects mood and can set the tone for how the rest of the space is enjoyed. Mountains of shoes or piles of mail are a stressful thing for anyone to come home to. Clear doorway clutter by adding shoe racks, baskets, peg racks and hooks. Bring in a small table or chest for placing incoming/outgoing belongings and a mirror for checking personal presentation before leaving. For larger spaces, the addition of a bench or chair provides a comfortable place to sit when putting shoes on. For safety reasons, never block access into or out of your home.
Hellen Buttigieg, CPOŽ, is an award-winning Certified Professional OrganizerŽ, life coach, Gemini - Nominated TV Host and President of We Organize U. For free tips on organizing your home, your office and your life, visit www.WeOrganizeU.com and sign up for her newsletter, emailed to you monthly. To contact Hellen or for information on hiring a We Organize U organizing specialist, call 905-829-2219 or e-mail info@WeOrganizeU.com.