Although every home is different and every client has varying needs, there are some organizing staples that we recommend to everyone!
What are your favorite organizers under $20?
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This post may contain affiliate links. Click here to learn more.
Whether or not you want to admit it, that spare room in your home IS your unofficial dumping ground. I’m talking about the guest room that only receives guests a few times a year and the home office that holds a lot of paper but doesn’t do much work. I had a friend once tell me that she referred to spare rooms as prayer rooms --- simply praying for someone to clean them up.
Don’t be embarrassed. We’ve all been there. We’ve all had our “prayer rooms” and dumping spaces because LIFE HAPPENS.
So how do we alter reality? How do we transform our spare spaces into meaningful places?
So which spare space will you attack first? The cabinets? The den? The guest room that has never been able to be a guest room? Share your stories below and don’t forget to join our #5ADayEdit challenge on Instagram.
School is in full swing for almost everyone in America. There are lunches to pack, bookbags to stuff, and supplies to keep track of.
If you’ve got younger kids at home, you’re also battling the daily onslaught of coloring pages and crafts that have made their way through your front door.
The teachers are genius. The KNOW all the papers cannot be saved --- there just isn’t enough room in the cubbies. So they pass the hard conversation onto the parents: How do you tell your kids that your house simply isn’t big enough to contain every doodle, craft, or writing activity completed each day? And that some of these papers will meet their demise at the weekly trash collection?
You tell them the truth.
Children are very resilient. They learn quickly and bounce back from disappointment when surrounded by a supportive family. Did you catch the word supportive? In order for your kids to be okay with limiting the “prized” possessions, you’ll need to equip them with two life skills:
Lessons about value center on comparison. Which do you like more? Which did you put the most effort into creating? Which is your favorite of the day/week? Questions like these help our kids to select the best and most loved items.
Although it would be great if our schedules allowed us to go through the folder and evaluate each piece every day, that probably isn’t realistic. In the mean time, have a drop location for all the papers that come home in the folder for the week. At the end of the week, possibly on Sunday night, go through the papers and have your child pick out their top 5.
Only 5?! Only 5 per week?! You read that correctly. This is where teaching your children to establish healthy boundaries comes into play. They cannot and should not learn to keep everything. There is no reason to hold onto everything. At the same time, they should learn that there is space to keep those items that are dear to their little hearts. Remember that refusing to let a child to keep anything can lead them to develop hoarding tendencies, so you must find a healthy boundary. I like the number 5. Most likely your kid(s) will learn to choose less than that each week.
At school, it’s likely that your child’s teacher is collecting artifacts (favorites or best samples of work) for the year to demonstrate your child’s progress. You can do the exact same thing at home and even encourage your child that you’re simply following the teacher’s lead.
To contain the artifacts, purchase a clear box that holds letter size file folders and assign a grade level to each folder. (Check out which products I use for this clutter clearing activity here!) Children understand size much earlier than we give them credit. When we let them know, in a supportive and loving way, that we want to collect their best works within a folder, they quickly see that the folder is only so big. For larger projects that would not fit within the folder, take a picture of the artifact. Don’t forget to PRINT the picture and allow your child to place this image within his/her folder for the year.
If you’re collecting 5 pieces each week, your folder will quickly fill up. In this case, also go through the folder with your child as frequently as necessary. Compare items from earlier in the year to items they’ve just brought home.
It’s important during this process that YOU follow THEIR lead. If your kid loves a piece that you think is crap, let them keep the crap.
These life lessons aren’t about you.
Feel free to rescue the cast-offs for your own saving (and store them in that file folder after the year is through so that you can ask your child about keeping them at a later time). The point is to show your child that you trust their decisions and you support them in determining value and establishing boundaries in their own kid-realm.
Empower your kids with confidence as you tactfully teach them to live successfully.
Ever get in those organizing moods? Ya know, the ones where you see something on Pinterest or a magazine and you jump out of your chair and march authoritatively to the space you want to change. You pause at the door, hands on hips, reviewing the mess, and realize you have no idea what you’re doing.
As you enter the room, you randomly pull things out of piles and create new piles. Each pile brings about new ideas or old memories. The hours tick by and eventually you realize your space looks nothing like you thought it would and all your hard work has had little effect on the state of the space.
It’s hard to go from vision to reality without a plan.
Before your next spontaneous organizing mood erupts, let’s take some time to create a basic plan.
Good luck with your next organizing session! If you need help navigating these steps, just give us a call.
Welcome back DIY organizers! Before we dive into how to pick the perfect container, here's a quick review of the organizing process. Pay special attention to where containers come into the picture.
1. Get Messy. When you’re ready to get organized, you first have to make a fantastic mess. When working in kitchens, you’ve got to pull everything out. EVERYTHING. It’s impossible to see ALL that you actually have unless you pull it out. The same in your bedroom, office, or garage.
2. Sort Like With Like. As you’re emptying cabinets and drawers, begin sorting into piles of similar items. Pots got with pots. Hammers go with hammers. Scissors with other “cutting tools” and tape with other “adhesives.” Following me so far?
3. Edit Out The Things You No Longer Need, Use, or Love. I hope you’ve got a few extra boxes, trash bags, and recycle bins ready for this step. All the broken and stained items go in the trash. Anything still usable (but not personally useful to you on a regular basis of at least once a year) goes toward donations or resale. Go ahead and list each item that you’re tossing into the donate pile so that you’re ready for your tax-deductible receipt when you drop your donations off. If you’re feeling really ambitious, price the items that you’re tossing into the resale bin so you only have to think about it once.
4. Contain The Rest. This is the step you’re most excited about. It’s the step we often try to skip to without putting in any of the HARD WORK required in steps one through three. Trust me, skipping to this step won’t help you get organized. Seriously. You’ll just end up with lots of extra storage bins around your house that never get used. You know EXACTLY which ones I’m talking about. But that’s in the past! We’re going to put those bins to use AFTER steps 1-3.
5. Enjoy Your Organized Space. This is my favorite step. It should be the step that happens continuously, because good systems and easy to access containers create a system that is easy to maintain.
Now let’s go back to step 4.
Containers might be the most fun and creative part of getting organized. They enable you to make the space what you truly want it to be! Your kitchen, office, outdoor living space, fill in the blank can be just like your inspiration pics from Pinterest…..assuming budget and space restraints don’t interfere ;)
But how do you know WHICH containers to pick?
Always measure the piles that you’re KEEPING. The kept items will determine how much space you’ll need inside cabinets, drawers, bins, and closets to stay organized. Add an extra 25% to your “needed” space so that you’ll have room to grow (by 5% at most, because you should be subtracting each time you add) and space to be messy in the interim.
WHAT?! Messy in the interim?! Yes, it’s true.
We aren’t living in a magazine; we’re living in real life. Some spaces are BOUND to get messy in the interim. Pantries are a prime example of this. While we should keep them organized all the time, there will be a day when you’ve gone to the grocery store but you didn’t have time to put all the pantry items away. They will sit in bags in your extra 25% for a day maybe two while your crazy schedule calms down. But in the interim of that crazy time, the extra 25% space allows you to have a functional pantry. Laundry rooms also require this. As much as I wish everyone could run their clothes through the wash, dry them, fold them, and return them back to their closets on the same day, that’s just not real life. Real life requires that you’ve got a space open to catch that basket of clothes that you just couldn’t finish today. Get my drift? Cabinets that hold mugs should NEVER require any extra space because your mug stash will remain fairly unchanged; however, if you like your cabinets to appear balanced and airy, you’ll need a good amount of negative/unused space (like 25%) to achieve that feeling.
So trust me on that 25% thing, ok?
Now that you know what SIZE containers you need, assess what you’ve already got. In kitchens, you most likely have built-in cabinets and drawers. Use these to your advantage. But remember that zone (or point of use) always trumps size of space available.
Buy what you need based on the size of what you need to contain. For offices, bedrooms, closets, or pantries, you may need to add a few containers like a set of filing cabinets (or a crate that holds hanging files), bins for kids’ toys, baskets for cupcake and brownie mixes, etc. I know all the matching nesting containers at TJMaxx are gorgeous, but only buy that three-pack if you know EXACTLY what going inside the baskets when you get home.
Pay attention to style and functionality. Keep your containers similar in shape and color based on the room so that you can easily swap them if one set of items grows and another shrinks. A great example of a needed swap might be the bin that holds the toys (which will shrink over time) and the bin that contains school-work supplies (which will grow over time). One sure-fire way to help you stay organized is to use containers that you love to look at. An ugly space never helped anyone. Decide what your “beautiful” is and aim for that pattern and texture. My garage has a lot of white bins. My pantry has a lot of tan bins. My girls’ room has pink bins that match the playful patterns on the walls. Don’t settle for a container just because it fits your dimensions. If the dresser you found is the wrong color and one drawer short, pass on the purchase and keep looking.
Getting organized is about living simply. Living simply means eliminating distractions and creating easier solutions to the clutter attacks. Your life should function better and your space feel more welcoming when you’ve finished containing the items that you need, use, and love.
Got questions? Let me know in the comments below!
Being a professional organizer is a blast, but using fun tools to corral and cut the clutter is what motivates me to tackle the mess EVERY SINGLE DAY for my clients. Because I love my readers, I’m sharing some of my favorite tools of the trade! I want you to get as pumped up and prepared as I am to tackle your next pile. And guess what?! All my favs are under $16!
Number 6: Cast-Off Containers
Starting an organizing project usually requires at least one trash bag and possibly one box. As I work with clients, more boxes and bags become available as we begin sifting through the clutter. These cast-off containers may be plastic bins, old laundry baskets, small gift bags/boxes, even reusable shopping bags. Since they are no longer holding the stuff that was sitting in the garage, closet, or guest bedroom, these containers can be repurposed for organizing, donating, shredding, or discarding. Most clients have more than enough reusable shopping bags. The extra bags become the “bins” for future donations that can be stored in closets and laundry rooms, ready to catch the next cast-off item. Boxes, broken plastic containers, and bags are great for collecting trash, recycling, or shred items during a clean-up. As I help my clients, we create piles of empty containers ready for repurposing. It’s a FREE way to help you get the job done!
Number 5: Measuring Tape
This might seem like a no-brainer, but too many folks forget to measure while they organize. Measuring ensures the perfect fit for exactly what you need to store. It also helps you pick the perfect drawer, shelf, or container for your items. A 25’ tape is perfect for small organizing jobs.
Number 4: Straight Tab Files
There is nothing more beautiful than an easy-to-maintain filing system, unless you add straight tabs to the mix. In that case, the system just went from beautiful to DROP DEAD GORGEOUS! Straight (or single) tab folders have the tab for labeling only on one side instead of the left, middle, and right. Straight tabs allow you to add and delete without having to reset all the other tabs so that they appear “in order.” Hanging files that allow for different tab positions are great too. These can easily be converted into straight tab to line up neatly in the cabinet. “But isn’t it hard to see what the labels say since they’re all stacked one in front of the other?” you ask. Not in the least. Labels should be written in thick black ink with a Sharpie marker or label maker that allow for ease of reading. Additionally, files always hold more than ten documents, enabling the files to spread out a bit. (If a file has less than ten documents, you probably don’t need a separate file for those papers. Quality, not quantity, should be the determining factor when creating a filing system. Additionally, you should only keep the documents that you’ll need to retrieve, thus eliminating a big portion of file folders you may have in your current system.)
Number 3: Multitool
Remember your dad’s Swiss Army Knife? The one with 16 different features? Yep, that’s the one. I keep my multitool in my apron, ready to cut, screw, slice, and nail whenever I need it. The one I love isn’t fancy or big, but it gets the job done. It also keeps me from having to run back and forth to the garage or utility room for the tools I need.
Number 2: Wire Shelves
Almost everyone has at least one in their home, or they are guilty of recently giving one away because they just couldn’t see a good use for it. The truth is that these buddies rock! I recommend them for EVERY kitchen project because they double your cabinet space. These shelves are perfect for stacking plates, mugs, and glasses. I also like to use them where the breads are stored since breads are impossible to stack without squishing. The key for a wire shelf is to make sure you have a purpose for the shelf before you buy. They come in standard sizes, so check your cabinet dimensions too. When it comes to color, I prefer white because it seems to create the cleanest look. Bed, Bath, & Beyond is my go-to store for picking these up in a pinch! Amazon, Walmart, Old Time Pottery, and TJ Maxx also carry these.
Number 1: Painter’s Tape
You weren’t expecting that were you? Does it seem anticlimactic? Well it shouldn’t. You see, painter’s tape (or any colored masking tape for that matter) is PERFECT for tackling EVERY job. In the beginning stages of organizing a space, I use the tape to identify locations of items that need to be contained. It’s always best to plan first and act second. The tape allows me to see EVERYTHING that requires a home in the space and allows for easy swapping BEFORE any of the items get involved. Kitchens and bedrooms are notorious for being covered in my lime green tape! The painter’s tape also prevents any damage to finishes as it moves around.
I also use my tape to create temporary labels before printing them on my label maker (which is a bit more than $16). “Why not just skip the temporary and print the final?” Simple. Everything deserves a rough draft. Sometimes, while categorizing, the names of the categories might change and it takes less time to cross out a word on tape than to set up the label maker. At other times, the temporary labels are affixed to temporary storage containers. I always recommend shopping for containers LAST so that clients know exactly what size and how many containers they’ll need. In the meantime, it helps to have the mismatched bins and recycled shoe boxes clearly labeled.
A bright roll of painter’s tape also makes for a fabulous bangle. It never hurts to look good while getting organized!
What are your favorite tools?
We'd love to hear about your tools and answer any questions you might have in the comments below!
A client recently asked me, “What’s the right amount of _______? When is enough enough?”
The question spurred a trail of thoughts a mile long. Every person is going to have a different answer for every area of life. The avid cyclist will have more accessories that I can count, while the once-a-year cyclist may just have the bike. The answer to the question lies in your love, need for, and use of all the things available within a given category. No matter the level of enthusiasm, there is wisdom in establishing healthy limits.
Here are your top 3 guidelines to help you discover when your enough is enough:
Each item in your home is used at least once a year.
This may sound like a tall order, but it’s easy to achieve if you give yourself the time to tackle each category and make decisions. Clothing is the best category to begin with and laundry is your easiest way to measure frequency of use. Runners who run 7 days a week and only do laundry once will require 7 outfits. Employees who work in an office (with no uniform) or teachers will most likely do laundry at least once a week, but may require 10 outfits so that they don’t feel like they’re repeating themselves every week. Instead, 10 outfits allow for a potential repeat only once every two weeks. Some folks like to have even MORE variety in their wardrobes. (I highly caution more than 3 weeks’ worth of outfits.) The Pareto Principle attests that we’re only using 20% of our stuff 80% of the time, so to help you identify what you’re actually wearing (all the time AND at least once a year), try this little experiment.
Dust is at a minimum.
When you are actively using everything in your home, those items will be touched, moved, or laundered on a regular basis. Have you ever seen a pair of shoes tucked in the back of your closet covered in dust? You know why they’re dusty and your other shoes aren’t? I bet it’s NOT because you only dusted the other pairs. Who dusts shoes?! No, that one pair is dusty because they haven’t been moved in months. But what about snow boots? Well of course, those will probably get dusty --- that’s an expected casualty of the seasons. Don’t play hardball --- you know exactly which shoes I’m talking about --- the ones that you know won’t pass the “worn in a year” test. The point is, when the things in our home have a purpose, less dust will settle. You’ll still need to vacuum, mop, and dust, but your work will be cut in half because ….. (wait for it…..)
Your closets, drawers, cabinets, and other storage areas are at least 25% empty.
The emptiness not only creates ease of accessibility, but it also allows the air to flow properly through your house. Proper air flow equals less dust. If your storage areas are always jammed full, then you’ve simply got to ask yourself if all the items within them passed the first test. If they did and you’re still overflowing, then you might be one of the VERY few people in the world who NEED more space. Just a warning, parenting during the infant stage will create a very FULL home. There are a TON of things you need for such a small person, that the hoard is almost laughable. But take heart --- you won’t need all these things for more than each little person’s first year of life. You might feel the need to store and reuse for the next child (thus “breaking” the Twelve Month Use Rule), and that’s normal. Choose an area that is out of the way and not easily accessible like an attic, basement, or someone else’s extra storage space during the “waiting for baby” period.
Ready to find out if you have enough already? I bet you are and I bet you do. When you follow these three guidelines, the items that are more than enough can be released to make way for space, freedom, and even newer/more useful things. Some clients realize at the end of their edits that there are items missing; items not previously owned but needed. Clothing staples and capsule wardrobes provide great examples of how to purchase more after eliminating the excess.
Share your experience below!!!
Are you the person tasked with managing all the family “stuff”? The antique rocker used by your great grandmother for your grandfather as a baby or the rare China that was handpicked by your great aunt for your parents as a surprise on their wedding day? Maybe you’re the keeper of the photos, framed and loose.
If you’re THAT person, you’ve got a lot of STUFF to manage.
Hidden within each piece are fantastic tales, stories of sacrifice, and maybe even great financial investment….it’s not like you can just give it away.
We’re ripping the bandaid off of a pretty touchy subject. Stick with us as we remove the cloud of confusion with this step-by-step guide for all those treasured (and no so treasured) things.
Decide What to Keep & Who Gets It
We know you’re the keeper, but that doesn’t mean you have to keep everything or that your home should act as a free storage unit for those who want stuff but have no intention of picking it up. If the heirloom isn’t desirable today, it most likely won’t be 20 years from now. Young children are the only ones who get a pass on making that decision. If the choice is theirs but they aren’t ready to make it, store the item with an expiration date; preferably no more than 20 years from now.
The family member (close, extended, or pseudo) that appreciates the item most, gets it.
Appreciation can be determined by how often the member will display, reflect on, or use a given piece. Saying that you care about an item but never sharing its unique story or using it, isn’t caring about anything; that’s just keeping or storing. The exception to this is when a legal request is set forth in a will. Legal always wins.
If the heirlooms are on display in your home (as the keeper), simply record the name of the next keeper on the back or bottom of the piece. My family LOVES masking tape! My sister has had her name on my grandparents’ candy dish since she was 10. No one is going to argue with appreciation on that one.
If the heirlooms are not on display because you personally don’t appreciate them all that much, deliver those items to the person who wants them ASAP. You’re wasting the memory when you keep the treasure hidden.
If the heirlooms are collections, don't be afraid to pare it down. Keep only the best baseball cards, not all 635. Reserve one tea cup instead of the set of twelve. Heirlooms can still maintain their sentimental value as a portion of the whole.
Decide What To Release & Where It Goes
No doubt that in your “keeping” stash you’ve got a few heirlooms that just look like plates, framed photos, and knickknacks. No one wants them and you honestly can’t remember why they were important.
In fact, the only reason they’ve remained in your stash is because of two (misguided) beliefs: guilt and presumed monetary value.
Am I right?
Go ahead and nod; no one’s watching you.
Let’s talk guilt first.
The problem with keeping things out of guilt is that this was NEVER the intention of the family member that passed the item on to you. Never. The item was passed on because the giver (or previous keeper) thought it would bring you joy.
But it’s okay if it doesn’t bring you joy. Their memory may not be your memory. Just because your mother remembered using the old leather reins for her horse doesn’t mean that her granddaughter will bat an eye at them; and she shouldn’t be expected to.
The beauty of heirlooms is the love and memories attached to them --- not necessarily the heirlooms themselves. In most cases, your heirlooms look like ordinary, old stuff to outsiders. If the item is truly just a “thing” that you think may have been special at one time, don’t feel guilty about letting it go.
To combat guilt, try these strategies:
Now the elephant in the room: presumed monetary value.
If you’ve been told that your grandparents’ antique furniture was worth hundreds of dollars or that the vase purchased overseas during an Asian war tour is priceless, you’ve been duped.
For many years, antiques were worth something. It was a generally accepted fact that anything old, particularly if it had been well-cared for, was valuable and could be sold if money was tight.
Unfortunately, times have changed. With so many Baby Boomers downsizing, antiques and heirlooms have flooded the market. The previous value of an item was higher in large part because the supply was seemingly low. Now with Facebook, Craigslist, and other FREE and far-reaching forms of consignment, heirlooms and antiques JUST LIKE YOURS are everywhere. Less than 10 years ago, my husband and I purchased a dining room suite on consignment. It had scratches, but overall we got a steal. Of course, that’s when dining room chairs were worth around $100 a piece. Now I see sets like mine all the time selling for a quarter of what we paid.
The heirlooms you’re “keeping” to trade in for dough on a tight day won’t get you far. Read more here, here, and here about it if you’re not convinced.
There is the RARE exception of a truly valuable item. If you think you’ve got one, ask an Estate Sales Appraiser for a general opinion. They might be able to find a market for your item, but then again, they might not. Antiques Road Show used to be cool, until we all realized that to get that kind of money out of the one random thing you found, you’d have to find someone to buy it.
Here’s The Bottom Line
Keep what you enjoy. Part with the heirlooms that have no meaning, no stories, and no one to appreciate them. In fact, when you make the decisions NOW rather than waiting for someone else to decide AFTER you die (sorry, but it's going to happen), you spare your heirs a load of heartache and headache. Don't let the guilt of keeping stuff pass to the next generation --- if it's valuable to you, share the stories while you have the opportunity.
Don’t hoard the stuff you aren’t using or loving. Let those things serve and bless those around you instead. Be encouraged that when you offer up the unwanted items, you bless others. Look for family, friends, neighbors, coworkers, or charities that NEED your things and give with abandon.
Your generosity will not return void.
It’s difficult to know HOW to get your home organized when you don’t know WHAT to organize. Today we’re talking about bare minimums.
Sure, I want you to go full out and organize EVERYTHING, but let’s be realistic.
We know that an organized space can save us time and bring happiness. I’ve got the solution for the greatest impact on your time and sanity when your schedule is insane: bare minimum weekly organizing schedule.
These are the areas you HAVE to tidy up AT LEAST once a week. You can move them around and work on the weekends if you like. I hate work on the weekends, so I cram in all my tidying and cleaning during the week.
Let’s break down each day.
Monday – Trash & Floors
If you miss the Monday activities, that’s not going to kill you because Monday will come around again in 7 days. However, you might have a LOT of trash stinking up your house if you neglect to take it out of the house and into the dumpster. Trash collection day is Tuesday for us, so on Mondays I round up all the trash and then roll the dumpster to the curb. I usually have to take out the kitchen trash more than once a week, but if I do it at least once a week, I’m in a much better position to keep the house uncluttered and so are you.
Floors are another biggie. Go around with a basket and collect all the things on the floors that don’t belong there: trash, dirty laundry, games, legos (you know why!), bags, and books to name a few. All of these items should ideally have homes that they can be returned to, but if you’re just trying to establish a bare minimum survival edit then putting the items in a basket and placing the basket in a central location is better than nothing. (Except for the trash, but you figured that one out, right? It gets returned to its rightful home in the wastebasket.) You can’t mop or vacuum your floors when there’s clutter all around, so set yourself up for the possibility of cleanliness by making your floors accessible and safe to walk on at least once a week.
Tuesday – Meal Plan & Bills
I hate meal planning. Really, you can read about it here. However, meal planning can save you time and money at the grocery store, eliminate the number of random trips you’re making to pick up ingredients you forgotten, and save you TONS of energy when it comes to actually preparing your meals. I use a 4-week list, but even if you can get a 7-day list set up, you’re in for earned time, energy, and sanity.
Bills and paperwork can add up even after just a few days. The best way to stay on top of bills and paperwork is to deal with it daily. But, remember, this isn’t the best-case-scenario. This is how to survive when life is crazy and pulling you in a thousand directions. Give yourself a break by collecting all your mail in a “mail basket” that you’ll only touch once a week. At the minimum, grab the bills and pay them. If you have time, toss the junk mail, file the necessary paperwork, and begin the next 7-day collection with an empty bin.
Wednesday – Entryway & Shoes
No matter how old your family is, the entryway can make or break your entrance and exit of a home. If you can’t find your keys, your wallet, or your volleyball uniform, panic ensues and all-out riffling occurs. Don’t get caught in that drama. Declutter your main entrance/exit once a week to ensure speedy and easy passage.
Shoes go hand-in-hand with entryways. This is typically where most shoes get dropped and left for dead. If you can drop them in a basket or bin, you’re already 1000x better off than the person who lets them flop around as trip hazards. If you’ve got kids, tripping is the least of your worries. The separated pair of cherished glitter shoes can generate a massive meltdown. Put shoes (with their mates) in a designated area. Only keep shoes worn 5x a week hanging out near an entryway (if you must). All other shoes need to go back to the closets they came from, or at least to the owner’s bedroom.
Thursday – Laundry & Dishes
Laundry is the bane of our existence. No one really LIKES to do laundry. Ok, maybe some people. But for the most part, laundry is a stinky task that requires lifting, shifting, and folding stretched out over 45 minute segments. It’s hard to manage your time and REMEMBER to come back to swap loads, unless you’re sitting on top of the machine like you did in college with your econ book and highlighter in hand. To top it off, once the cleaning part is finished, the folding part looks just too hard. It’s a mountain that we just don’t want to climb. I totally hear ya.
But you have to do it. At least once a week. Probably more like two to three times a week if you want it to be EASIER. The biggest problem with laundry today is that people have too much of it – clean AND dirty. When you have enough outfits to get you through two to four weeks between laundering, you have a problem. You’re making laundry impossible. Dealing with the dirty clothes, washing and drying them, and then folding and returning to closets or drawers is a MUST. You’ll save a hunk of time daily when you know exactly what clothes you own and where they are (ready to wear vs. in the hamper). Clothes that get stuck in the Bermuda Triangle of clean clothes piles are worthless. They require additional ironing and a treasure map just to locate.
Dishes are another beast. Can I be brutally honest? If you want to avoid bug infestations, you’ve got to do this more often than once a week. Food is a magnet for mice and roaches. Do you really want them hanging out where you cook? Probably not. Clean up all food items within 24 hours of getting them out if not sooner. If dishes must sit on the counters or in the sink for over 24 hours, make sure they’re rinsed off very well. But I should tell you, you aren’t really saving time by avoiding the soapy part. When you’re living alone, you may only run the dishwasher once or twice a week. I’ve been there. But don’t forget to empty the clean dishes once the load is finished.
Friday – Counters & Tabletops.
Counters and tabletops are also magnets for clutter: snacks, stacks of mail, kids’ school projects, shopping bags, sewing projects, you name it. Clutter sticks to flat surfaces like white on rice. This is your BIGGEST battle --- even more than floors. If you clear your counters and tabletops WEEKLY, your space will have a dramatic improvement! Stress levels are most easily affected by piles and editing these items weekly will combat your stress levels like none other. In all fairness, the task of making decisions about all the random stuff you might find on counters and tabletops will be the hardest. So here’s your bare minimum plan: start with just one counter or tabletop a week until you can get through all of them in your home. Then when you’ve become a counter, tabletop ninja, work to clear ALL of them once a week.
Do you have any bare minimums already in place? If you’ve mastered the clearing, do you have a bare minimum schedule for cleaning? Let us know in the comments below!
Summer is just around the corner – are you ready for it? For beach towels and sunscreens? For doubled laundry piles because of heat-activated sweat? For cookouts and late nights? For laughter, joy, and carefree moments?
Is your home running as efficiently as possible so that you’re able to enjoy all the laughter, Frisbee, and hotdogs coming your way without fretting over the clutter?
Not as much as you’d like? No problem!
We’ve got just what you need to motivate your spirit and prepare your space.
Introducing our Instagram challenge of #5ADayEdit!
As we approach the official first day of summer, June 21st, join us as we edit just 5 things a day. We’ll be posting themes, but feel free to capture your edit not matter what it is. Share your successes and spread the excitement!
Why just 5? Simple. When you start small, the process snowballs. When you start big, the process sits at a standstill. We promise that as you edit (return, discard, donate, or recycle) just 5 things a day, that you’ll actually end up with 7 or 8. Maybe even 50. Don’t think it’s possible?
Transforming chaos into categories, leaning towers into stable storage solutions, and anxiety into peace.
Want to Become An Organizer?
Upstate Clutter Coach LLC is your licensed and insured professional home decluttering and organizing service based in Greenville, SC.
Upstate Clutter Coach, Lauren Flinte is a TOP Greenville, SC Professional Organizer on FindMyOrganizer.com!