An organized closet not only makes you feel good every time you open the door (what a joy to behold!), but it saves you so much precious time. (It also makes your house just feel cleaner). But where to start?
- If your budget permits, buy a set or two of new hangers first off. Best bet? The “velvet” hangers at Costco (also at Amazon). They are $19.95 for 40 regular and 10 pants hangers. They have a “velvet” finish on them which prevents clothing from slipping off. There’s just something about having a matched set of hangers that really motivates you to spruce up your closet!
- Next decide on 2-4 major clothing groups. For instance, tops, bottoms, jackets.
- Hang each group together separated by extra hangers.
- Now when you remove an item from your closet, put its hanger with the extra hangers. This not only serves as a divider for your clothing but is a great help on laundry day.
- When you are doing laundry, take a handful of the hangers to the laundry room so you can hang your clothes as they come out of the dryer and put them back in the closet.
- After you get accustomed to keeping everything in its proper group, you may want to further break down each group by type (short sleeves, long sleeves, tees, blouses, etc.) or style (long pants, cropped, short, etc.)
- Browse Amazon.com, ContainerStore.com, or other web sites for products to keep your shoes, handbags and jewelry organized. There’s so much good stuff to choose from.
This is really a bare bones organization technique, but it works and–perhaps more importantly–it’s easy to maintain. So try it and let us know what you think!
Now, Organized Reader, what do you have to share on this topic? We’d love to hear from you!
Unless your weekly maintenance cleaning is exceptionally thorough, there will come a time when a real honest-to-goodness deep cleaning is in order. In other words, a Spring Cleaning!
This is probably not your favorite topic. In truth, it’s way down on our list too. But with housing costs what they are today, it’s impractical for most of us to just move every few years rather than tackle a really, really thorough house cleaning.
With a little planning and organization however, Spring Cleaning can at least be made tolerable. Just be sure that you make the leap from conceptualization (the planning) to realization (the doing)!
Organizing a Spring Clean
- Decide what you’re going to do. List the tasks by room and or/ type. (See our check list in next post).
- Set priorities. If spring should turn into fall and you’re still not finished, what tasks do you want to have accomplished?
- Write a tentative schedule of when you can do what. Be realistic in allotting time for each task. Don’t try to accomplish everything in one or two exhausting days. Spread it over a longer period of time with enjoyable diversions between jobs.
- Decide whether or not you will can do everything yourself. If not, plan how you will get help, either professional or familial.
- Start with a fairly short, satisfying task to get yourself in the proper frame of mind.
- Finish each room or task on your list before moving to the next one.
- Keep focused on the end result: a fresh orderly home that will be a pleasure for you and your family.
One note: if ever you’re going to hire professional cleaning help, this is the time to do it. Iit’s amazing how much can be accomplished in 8 hours or so of concentrated, organized cleaning. The following post gives you the spring cleaning checklist that we at The Clean Sweep give to our clients. You may want to work right along with the housekeepers. If so, be sure you each have a list of well defined tasks. It’s best if you work in separate rooms. Be sure you have duplicate supplies if necessary. Let your helpers work without interruption as much as possible and you both will get more accomplished.
What tips can you add to the above? Do you have any Spring Clean experiences–good or bad–that you’d like to share?
If this program (see previous posts) is new for you children, it is especially important that you start out slowly. Do not overwhelm the poor kid with demands. Add responsibilities slowly, one at a time.
- You both will be a lot happier if you make the room as easy as possible to keep neat and orderly. Get down on your knees–c’mon it won’ t hurt you–and look at the world from a child’s-eye view. There’s a lot you can do to make cleanup and maintenance easier. For starters, you can:
- Lower the clothes rack in the closets.
- Put in plenty of large hooks for play clothes, night-clothes, backpack, etc.
- Put dividers in drawers.
- Label drawers with words or pictures so things get put away where they belong. This is also great pre-reading instruction.
- Use several smaller toy containers rather than one large one. With luck, only 20 rather than 50 toys will be dumped on the floor.
- To minimize bed making use a duvet and fitted bottom sheet. But remember even with this simplification it’s difficult for little people to make a bed!
- Designate one drawer for junk. Bet you have one!
- A clear plastic shoe bag hung over a door is a great place to store craft supplies, small toys, rolled up underwear, hair ribbons and other small things.
- Use sturdy clear plastic storage containers in several sizes for toys, art supplies, etc. Stackable, covered ones are best. Label them (see #4). What can be seen won’t be dumped–maybe.
- Put a bed on stilts or hang it from the ceiling to give him a generous play and storage space underneath.
- Consider rotating toys occasionally. This cuts down on the number to be put away and gives your little ones “new” ones to play with when they’re brought out of hiding.
Some Words of Caution
What do you mean when you say, “Clean up your room”? Now, that may sound like a dumb question, but your concept of a clean room is probably completely different from your child’s idea. Too often we ask a child to do something–put the dirty dishes in the dishwasher, mow the lawn, dust the living room–and then get angry because the finished product doesn’t match our mental image of what it should look like. Spend time demonstrating specifically what needs to be done and how to do it. Babies do not come into this world with an instinctive knowledge of how to make a bed. Teach necessary skills. Assume nothing.
Just one final word” Try to keep things in perspective. Junior’s room may look like the aftermath of Hurricane Hilda, but how much is it really going to matter ten years from now?
And now, our Savvy Reader, what ideas do you have? Won’t you share them with our readers?
In many homes there is a mysterious, potentially dangerous, looks-like-a-cyclone-struck-it nether world inhabited by the small people of the family. And the condition of this room(s) can be a major source of…hmmm…shall we say, disharmony.
There are of course two schools of thought here. If you don’t firmly subscribe to one or the other, perhaps now is the time to think things through.
Some parents consider their child’s room as their own private space to be kept to his own standards. They usually would prefer a picture perfect room, but they know they have to pick their battles. If this is you l, simply shut the door and, more important, “zip you lips.” Depending on their age and temperament, natural consequences will usually force them to take some action periodically.
On the other hand, you may feel that since the bedroom is a part of the family home it should be kept up to family standards.
No right or wrong here. But the more resolute your viewpoint, the more successful you will be either in enforcing order or ignoring the whole mess.
Bringing Order Out of Chaos
- If you’ve decided the kid’s room has to be brought up to family standards, here’s some suggestions for making the job easier for both of you.
- Insist that the room is cleaned up before dinner, screen time, story time, weekend activities or whatever else works.
- Reward a job well done with a star on the chart, a small treat, or with points towards something she wants. This can be done on a regular basis or by surprise inspections.
- If you have professional housekeeping help–and we hope you do!–make it the rule that the room must be straightened or it doesn’t get cleaned. This can work wonders especially if Occupant is then responsible to clean everything himself!
- Emphasize they must feel to have everything orderly, be able to find everything, etc. Acknowledge that this is no easy task, but it sure does help out the family, makes you proud, keeps the health inspector from the door…you get the picture.
Be sure to read our next post, “This Kid Has It Easy” for suggestions to make it easier for kids to keep things (reasonably) neat and orderly.
Hey, Savvy Reader! Do you have something to add to the list above? We love your ideas.
So you’ve weeded out all those excess belongings. (You have followed our previous posts, haven’t you)? How now to organize the everyday essentials.
You can gain a whole new perspective on clutter by examining your house as a stranger might. Go out the front door and come in again, this time as a first time visitor.
Look at all the items on table tops, counters, shelves and the like. Is each one either decorative or used on a regular basis? If not, put away as many things as you’re comfortable with. (You should have lots of storage space now)! Immediately, your house will look cleaner and your cleaning time may be reduced by as much as 30%.
Can you believe the amount of potential clutter that enters your home each day? Stay on top of it or you’ll soon be buried. Your de-clutter goal: handle each item only one time.
- Sort through mail daily. Junk the junk mail, file the bills to pay. Designate a file or container for “will read” items.
- Stash the newspapers daily; magazines every few weeks. If there’s an article you want to read, or pictures you want to save, cut them out and throw the magazine away.
- Use a big calendar to record all duties, family activites, appointments, club dates, calls to make, birthdays and anniversaries. As soon as you receive a schedule, invitation or appointment, record all pertinent information onthe calendar and throw away the paperwork.
- If you have children, designate a box, drawer, file folder, etc. for their papers and artwork you want to keep. Sort through at least once a year and keep only those pieces that will be meaningful ten years from now.
- Invest in a filing cabinet and put it where it’s easily accessible to everyone. You may even have a kitchen drawer or two that can accommodate file folders. Now go the the stationery or office supply store and get some pretty hanging file folders.
- Think of all the important papers you now have scattered around the house: bank statements, insurance policies, bills to pay, store receipts, product warranties, tax records, school booklets and papers. Make a file for each. This is also a good place to put magazine articles you have cut out, recipes to file, letters to answer, gift ideas, vacation destinations–the list is endless.
- Imagine all the time and mental energy you will save by having all these important papers in one place. Whatever will you do with all your newfound leisure time?
So what do you do to control the inevitable household clutter? Won’t you take a minute to share your tips?
If you’re unmoved by our previous post, you surely area hoarder of the first order, a hard-core clutter collector–try saying that three times fast. It would seem a bit more mental motivation is in order. So here are some nitty gritty reasons to clear out the clutter.
Money in your pocket. Hold a garage sale, sell your clothing or furniture at the local consignment shop or newspaper or supermarket ad or sell stuff on E-Bay. It all adds up to money in your pocket.
More money in your pocket. Most people are unaware of how much money the IRS allows you to deduct for itemized charitable contributions. For instance, you can claim $15-85.00 for a woman’s suit, $6-50.00 for a bicycle, $75-225.00 for a color TV. (You can see your donations can add up pretty quickly if you itemize). There are any number of web sites that will help you calculate. One is www.bankrate.com. Or ask your tax accountant. Keep in mind that all donated items must be in good or better condition.
Save valuable time. Consider all the hours of frustration you will save when you don’t have to sort through ten items for every one you want to find. Ah, sweet order.
Save cleaning time and money. Once you gain control over your clutter you can clean your house in half the time. If you use professional housekeepers, they will be much happier cleaning your house and do it in far less time. That saves you money or gives them time to do extra things for you.
So spend some time imagining your life in a fresh, organized home with extra money in your pocket and time in your week. You could get used to that.
Next post: seven practical suggestions for proceeding from here.