There are so many ways in which to get organized, de-clutter and simply our lives but for most of us, getting started is half the battle and the other half of the battle is KEEPING things de-cluttered and organized. Things seem to start out great: you somehow find the time to get things organized, put away, filed and trashed only to find yourself in the throes of a disaster again three months later. So how can we maintain our hard work throughout the year? One way to accomplish this is to develop good organization habits and stick with them as best you can, even if it means 15 extra minutes a day of work to keep things manageable and avoid letting the messes pile up. Here is a short check list of questions offered up by professional organizer Candita Clayton that can help you stay organized - especially when it comes to decision-making time and wondering what to do with something or where to put it.
1. What do I need to have a place for?
2. Do I need to have this item close or at arm's reach or can it be put away?
3. What supplies help keep me organized?
4. What is the best way to label this item and its contents?
5. Is this the easiest way to accomplish this task?
6. Do I like the way my system looks and is it functional?
7. How do I remind myself to use my new system until it becomes habitual?
Let me tell you what I personally do to stay organized in my own life and to keep my family organized. I'm always in "tidy-up" mode. I try to do things in the moment, meaning I put groceries away when I come home from the store; I try to do most laundry a couple loads back to back when I'm near the laundry room and playing with the kids - I then try to fold laundry and put it away all within the same day; I place coats, mail, keys, backpacks etc. in the exact same place every day - as part of a routine. For example, when I come home with the kids from school, I bring everyone inside, take lunch boxes and backpacks to the sink, unload them, trash the trash and file pictures, art etc. I then hang the lunch sacks on hooks in the pantry (I bought them for $3 a piece at Target) and then go on about my day. Before bed time, I tidy up each room a bit, wash dishes, and leave things I'm order so that we are ready to start the next day in an efficient manner. Does this sound do-able? I think that if I can manage it with two small children and a million different things going on every day, so can you. In the very least we can try, right?
Let me know how you fare or where you struggle and I'll help you come up with a solution: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here are some fantastic ideas for storage in children's rooms courtesy of HGTV:
Try a system like this one for school-age children in an afternoon homework spot. Making it simple for kids to stay organized turns YOUR de-cluttering tasks into a family commitment. By having assigned areas every family member is responsible for, not only will you stay organized and keep things manageable for yourself but you will instill in them a sense of becoming organized in their earlier years. . .they'll thank you later ;)
Smaller children and smaller spaces can still be kept tidy and stylish by adding sweet and simple labels to fashionable metal containers.
This wood boxes are easy as pie!! Buy them at Hobby Lobby and paint them any color you want to match your rooms and spaces - then simply stencil the name of the contents on each box. Or try this in a mud room with each child's name. Make them put away their own shoes and backpacks so you can lessen your load and teach them responsibility in one fell swoop!!
Monochromatic or printed cardboard boxes and lids can be found anywhere from an office supply store to Target to Ikea. This is a great way to file papers that need to be kept long term but out of sight. I also use this system for special children's keepsakes: birth certificates, baby shower mementos, cards, class pictures, hospital tags, etc. You are only limited by your imagination - just remember to label the boxes and if they start to overflow, add the year to the label and start a new box.
Simple plastic containers with easy to remove lids are retro, fun, clever and easy way to store a myriad of things from art supplies to toys to snacks. Ikea and Target carry these and they are inexpensive enough to use just about anywhere you have space for them.
These wall-hook storage bags are wonderful. Martha Stewart makes them for Target in neutral khaki and canvas colors. Use them in a pantry, home office, kitchen. . .anywhere you have papers that seem to become unruly.
And lastly for the person who has a too-simple closet set up and needs better options this system is incredibly easy to put together and can be found at the Container Store.