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home Organizing Tips

Home organizing basically boils down to regularly doing three things:

  • grouping similar things together, 
  • storing things in logical, convenient, accessible places; and
  • labeling everything.

In a very organized fashion, let's go over each one in turn.

start organizing your home by grouping similar things together.

It's so much easier to find things if they are in groups, not spread out all over the house. At least you'll know the general location to start looking for something.

I know one woman who keeps some food in her kitchen, more in her coat closet, and still more in the basement. When she's looking for a box of rice, she has to search in three places!

Instead, put all food in one area of your kitchen, pots and pans in one cabinet, towels in one closet, and all luggage together - you get the idea!

store items in logical, convenient, and accessible places.

Often, the reason things can't be found or are found but then aren't put away in the right place is that they are in the wrong place to begin with. Offensive home organizing can correct this.

If an item (say, a toilet cleaner) was where it was needed (say, by the toilet in a bathroom cabinet) it would be easy to know where to find it. But if the toilet cleaner is stored underneath the kitchen sink with other household cleaners, it's easy to forget its location because it's not logical.

If things aren't located logically, you will forget where you put them. Your kids, bless their sweet little hearts, will surely blame it on your age. And who needs them to bring that up again!

store items in the area where you use them most.

Here's the secret to finding a logical storing place for any item - put it where you use it!

For example, store your keys by the door, keep your lint brush near your clothes, and stash your vases under the sink. Another way to look at this is to do your home organizing in terms of activity centers.

For example, if the kids always do their homework on the kitchen table, then keep a file, drawer, or basket nearby with all the supplies that they need to get the job done.

If you like to read in bed, keep reading materials, eyeglasses, and a reading light in a basket by your bed. Try to arrange your life so that your necessities are at your fingertips and you don't have to spend what little free time you have jumping up and down to find things.

A challenge can arise when you have one item that is used in several locations. The solution? Buy two, three, or four of them.

If you only have one pair of scissors and it's stored in the sewing basket in the upstairs closet, kids have to go get it for each art project and then walk back upstairs to return it. Oh, sure, that will happen!

The scissors will never be returned. If you frequently use scissors in every room of the house, consider buying a pair of scissors for every room in the house. Such a purchase is well worth the expense if it saves you hours of time looking for the *&###!! scissors. Time is money.

consider organizing activity areas for your items.

Along with storing things in logical places, they also need to be in convenient places.

For example, put things you use often on eye-level shelves and in handy cabinets. Put things you rarely use on top shelves and in the back of closets. I know this sounds like a no-brainer, but before you laugh, think about where you put things.

If your favorite spatula is thrown in a drawer with 23 other kitchen utensils, move it onto the counter, right next to the stove, perhaps in a pretty crock. (And resist the temptation to move the other 23 less-useful tools along with it!)

If things aren't located conveniently, you aren't going to return them to their proper resting places, and neither will the kids. It's just too inconvenient.

storage places should be accessible for frequently used items.

And lastly, storage places must be accessible, both to you and to your kids. If things aren't readily accessible, kids are going to use inappropriate things to do the job, such as a table knife for a screwdriver, and foul things up royally.

For example, if you expect the kids to feed the dog, put the dog food on a shelf where they can reach it (preferably somewhere near the dish, but out of the dog's reach). You owe it to yourself to make putting stuff away easy for your family.

label everything.

If everything is clearly marked, there are no excuses for not knowing where to find it and where to return it to. Inexpensive, portable electronic labelers are an organized mom's dream. What bears marking?

Label the locations for everything, including boxes, closet shelves, drawers, spare keys, the fuse box, and virtually anything else that someone might not immediately be able to figure out on their own, such as which switch is "on" and where you put the guest hand towels.

That way everyone in the home, including visiting friends, relatives, and babysitters, know exactly where things are and where to return them. 

Visit the Clean Organized Home Store for the organizing tools and supplies you'll need to streamline your home.

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› Home Organizing Tips


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About the Author

Tara Aronson

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.