Organizing clutter: It's the secret to an organized home.
an orderly approach - pruning away the excess, stowing what's left in logical
places, and resolving to keep it from building up again - it's hard not
to succeed at the organizing game.
Like any game worth playing, however, there are rules. Yes, I know - rules are made to be broken.
When it comes to controlling clutter, these are four rules you won't want to break.
1. Decide what to keep.
To decide what to keep, ask yourself the following questions:
- Have I used or enjoyed this recently?
- Does someone in the family value this?
- Would I save it if the house was on fire?
If you said yes to one or more of the above questios, keep it.
If not, congratulations! You've identified an item you can place into storage or get rid of entirely.
2. Decide where keepers go.
Place articles in five bags or boxes labeled:
3. Organize the keepers.
Use these organizing principles for stashing the stuff you're keeping:
- Create a place for every item.
- Store things near where you'll be using them.
- Place your least-used items on top or out-of-the-way shelves.
- Keep like items together.
- Corral small objects in baskets.
- Stack stored items in similar-size boxes to maximize space.
- Label each storage container.
4. Control future clutter.
- Place a catchall basket in your home's busiest rooms. Here, you'll stash keys, receipts, mail, and other items until you can find the time to organize them.
- Place baskets at the bottom and top of the stairs to hold things that belong on another floor. Take one or more items with you when going up or down.
- When you bring home a new item, send an old one out the door. Resolve to store, recycle, give away, or toss another item that's past its prime.
- Make putting away playthings a part of your child's nightly bedtime ritual. If toys, clothes and other items are regularly put away each evening, there's less to organize the next day.
- Set aside 15 minutes each day to get organized. This is when you return mislaid books, magazines, cups, etc. to their rightful homes.
- Take a minute. Each night, to hang up your coat, fold your T-shirt or sweater, put away your pants, and stow your sneaks in the closet.
Tara Aronson is a native Californian. Having grown up in San Diego, she studied journalism and Spanish to pursue a career in newspaper writing. Tara, whose three children - Chris, Lyndsay, and Payne - are the light of her life, now lives and writes in Los Angeles. She also regularly appears on television news programs throughout the U.S.