Miscellaneous Organizing Tips
1. Make it a habit to put things away as soon as you are finished using them. Everything in it's place!
2. If you are on a tight time schedule, set your kitchen or cell phone timer and see what you are able to accomplish in 15 minutes!
3. In your closet, organize shoes heel to toe to maximize space.
4. Organize the miscellaneous cords in your power strip cords by putting labeled, plastic bread tags on each device.
5. There are three types of disorganization - object, data, and time. Three organizing activities to address disorganization include reducing (sorting, categorizing, removing), arranging (placement, storage, retrieval) and maintaining. There is no "right" way to organize. Simply get started, you can do it!
6. Do you have items being used to full potential? If not, perhaps you might chose to donate them.
7. When arranging objects think about your visual preference. Do you prefer to have objects out in plain sight or do you prefer to have objects out of sight? Sort, categorize, purge then store items in preferred open or closed containers.
8. Remember to use cubic footage and square footage when you are organizing! Think vertical and horizontal.
9. Data organization is much more time-consuming than object organization. One banker's box can hold 3,000 decisions to be made.
10. What should I do with all of my objects? Donate, recycle, store, trash!
11. When getting started with your organizational project, think about what it is that you want to achieve and what is getting in your way?
12. Think "zones" or "centers" when you are organizing. Store items in the area that you use them. (Think back to your Kindergarten and First Grade classrooms with the block corner, reading corner, writing table, science center, math table, geography center ... everything in it's place by categories, zones, centers.) For instance, your garage might have the following "zones": gardening, toys, tools, lawn furniture, trash/recycle, etc.
13. Reduce the amount of stuff that comes into your home and/or office. "One In, One Out" policy! When shopping ask yourself, "Is this a future garage sale item?"
14. If you are really undecided about purging, ask yourself, "What is the worst thing that will happen if I let it go?"
15. Backsliding is normal as people can easily fall back into old habits. Remember the first step in "stuff management" is sorting/categorizing. Go for it! Remember how good it feels to have a clutter free environment!
16. Take everything out of a space and sort through it. Otherwise you are cleaning, not organizing.
17. It's possible to turn your trash into cash! "If you have clutter, you're richer than you think! The average American has thousands of dollars worth of unused items that could be sold or donated to a charitable organization for a tax write-off."
Source: Donna Smallin Kuper
18. Create a family calendar (in addition to individual calendars) listing after school activities, medical appointments, meetings, parties, play dates, trips, work and/or school vacation days. Assign a color code for each family member for ease of use.
19. If an object is completely broken, rusted, stained, and/or mildewed, throw it away!
20. There are five zones of operation: Arm's Reach, Same Room (open storage), Same Room (closed storage), Same Building and Offsite. Determining what belongs in each zone are factors including frequency of use, urgency when access is needed, safety considerations and compatibility with visual preference.
Source: NAPO and Lorie Marrero's Clutter Diet book and online community at wwwclutterdiet.com
21. When organizing data, think alphabetical/numerical, chronological and or categorical.
22. There are many ways to think about forwarding objects including disposal, donation, gifting, partway gone box (haven't used it in 6-12 months, time to go), recycle, and resale.
23. When sorting papers to keep, create three categories.
Active: bills to pay, cards to mail, invitations to return, papers to sign ...
Reference: appliance manuals, car records, health history and proxy, insurance information, recent tax papers, will ...
Archive: birth certificate, death certificate, marriage certificate, old medical information, old tax information ...
24. Hang all of your clothes on the rod facing in the same direction. After you have worn and laundered an item, place the hangar in the opposite direction in your closet. Within a month or two you will know exactly what you really wear and what is simply filling up your closet.
25. When organizing your garage, remember to ...
a. Eliminate unneeded and unwanted items
b. Gather like items together into piles (tools, beach equipment, yard maintenance, sport equipment, etc.)
c. Containerize items by your organizing preference
*Open shelving (with clear, see-through containers and hanging systems) and/or
*Closed containers (labeled)
d. Place items in their garage "zones" or designated places
26. What to do with all of the beautiful artwork children bring home from school and camp?
Display It (frames, bulletin boards, refrigerators, etc.)
Stash It (portfolios, digital and/or paper albums)
Trash It (Of the three choices, this is the hardest action to take!)
Remember to always include the student artist in the decision making, sorting process.
27. Remember Andrew Mellen's Organizational Triangle ...
*One Home for Everything
*Like with Like
*Something in, Something Out
28. Before you begin sorting, purging and organizing, gather together trash bags and donation bags (different colors) and any boxes you may have at home. Make Keep, Donate, Recycle, Trash and Sell signs on blank sheets of paper and slide them into clear, plastic sleeves. Place the signs in different areas of the room for sorting ease of use and sort/purge items directly into the trash and/or donation bags and boxes.
29. Take before and after photos of your organizing work. Often organizing challenges represent 10, 20, 30 or more years of accumulated personal and family history. Just think of what you accomplished in just a few hours of hard work! Well done! :-)
What is your best organizing tip? :-)
Energize and Organize helps people and businesses get organized!