Set up a no-fail garage system
A place for everything, and everything in its place (or at least you’ll be able to tell if it’s not).
I suggest starting out in the garage, because it can be one of the most overcrowded places in the house. Picture yourself driving into your garage and seeing at least one new system set up for easy use in the coming year.
Here’s an approach that’s simple, inexpensive, and quick to accomplish.
Hang some peg board
Put some tool hooks in the holes on the board
Using a thick marker, draw an outline around each tool to reserve its location.
Your new tool organizing system will keep you organized, and alert you when tools are missing. This garage system also helps other family members put things away because it’s easy to see where to place each item.
Make a grand entrance
Whether you enter through the garage or via a front or back door, it feels so good to be home. This is usually the last stop of a long string of errands or a full day’s work. Our tendency is to enter the home and drop our mail, dry cleaning, backpacks, and more.
But this passageway is also the send-off point each morning before we leave. Being organized when exiting the house can make or break your day.
Hanging a pocketed hanger on the door knob or over the back of the door provides a spot to hold items you will need for running errands, or for your work or school day. This gives you easy access to items such as outgoing mail, lunch money, keys, and receipts for purchases you need to return. Each morning, those important items are ready and waiting for you.
Cut laundry time in half
How can one of the smallest rooms in the house seem so chaotic? And why does doing laundry seem to take up so much time?
Here’s a laundry system that will save you time and restore your sanity. First, provide everyone with their own laundry basket. Put family members’ names on the sides of the baskets so there are no lost items or mix-ups.
Now here’s the sweet secret. When the wash is done, rather than placing the clean laundry on the dining room table or the stairs (and watching everyone walk by without picking up their clothes), have everyone come to the laundry room to pick up their personalized basket of clean clothing.
Work some kitchen magic
The kitchen is the activity hub of most homes. It’s a busy area because family members or roommates use the kitchen at least three to five times a day. We open our mail here, study for school, use our laptops and tablets here — not to mention, it’s where the food is.
A lunch-making station helps streamline morning routines.
Because we have so many varied activities happening in the kitchen, it’s wise to create separate stations for those activities. One way to accomplish this is to invest in a rolling cart — whatever style and size works best in your kitchen.
Use this cart to establish a dedicated space for one of your most common activities. For example, create a lunch-making station stocked with a cutting board and knife, salt and pepper, paper towels, wraps, and baggies. Create the space for your family to assist in making your life easier while also keeping one station of like-items together.
Put it in writing
Whether you’re a one-person household or a family of five, one tool can save your life or home: a household manual. The beauty of this handy tool is it doesn’t have to be compiled all at one time, and it costs you nothing to create.
Grab a three-ring binder and a three-hole punch, and keep your essential information in the binder. To get started, collect your emergency contact info and other vital information such as the name of your vet, school rosters, alarm codes, medication doses for your kids, the name of your father’s caregiver, and where your home’s gas shut-off valve is located.
As you continue to organize your home and find more essential documents, you can add to the binder. For those who prefer a high-tech approach, store your manual on a highly secure cloud service such as Digital LifeCloud.
Get a charge
Many people are frustrated by cell phones, iPad chargers, memory sticks and tangled cords sprinkled throughout the house. Relaxation and recreation activities often seem to need the power of a charging station that’s easily accessible — and it doesn’t hurt if it’s attractive, too.
One simple solution is to consider a charging station that conceals the cords, keeps all the electronic items together, and looks good while doing it.
Tell a tidier toy story
Whether it’s grandparents or new moms and dads, one of the biggest complaints of people who share their home with children is about picking up toys.
The “putting away” task is a skill that can and should be taught to children, as it’s important for establishing personal responsibility in kids as they grow into teens and then adulthood. Besides, putting away toys can be fun.
Here’s one idea that will shift your playroom atmosphere from frustration to elation. Use colorful bins to hold toys, designating each bin to hold one type of toy, such as musical instruments, cars, dolls, games, or Legos.
To make it even easier, find pictures of the toys in magazines or online, and use them to label the bins.
If you have dolls or stuffed animals in one bin, attach the matching picture to the front of the bin. Keep the number of bins small, but make sure the bins are large and easy to access.
Declutter the grownups’ bedroom closet
Bulging closets and growing piles of clean and dirty laundry may nix the possibility of either rest or romance. Decluttering in the bedroom creates a sanctuary for both.
Starting with the closet is good move. Once the space is clear, it all boils down to finding what you need when you need it.
Here’s a quick process for getting your closet in order:
Clear the floor so you can move around easily.
Make sure you have proper lighting.
Pull everything out.
Only put back in what fits you right now, is stain-free, and requires no repairs.
Set kids’ closets straight
For organizing kids’ clothes, there’s no better tool than a hanging shelving unit. Designate one pocket for each day of the week, and label it. Each weekend, pick out clothes for the following week, and put them in the pockets for the day your child will wear them.
Whether your kids have class pictures or an outdoor field trip, the proper outfit for the day is all set. Imagine a calm morning without clothing conflict.
Bundle toiletries and grooming tools
Some bathrooms are small, and everyone seems to have their own favorite shampoo, hairbrush, and brand of toothpaste. Drawer, cabinet, and counter space tends to run out quickly.
If this is your situation, try assigning everyone in the house a bathroom caddy, loaded up with all their cosmetics, toiletries and grooming tools, and labeled with their name.
Store the caddies on a shelf in the bathroom or carry them to and from the bedroom. The bathroom stays organized, and there’s an automatic clean-up built in after every visit.
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