We usually don’t pay attention to FB ISO’s (“In Search Of” requests) because we’re not looking to acquire items…but this one from a friend caught our eye:
To paraphrase, she’s looking for top 10 to-do’s to maintain household order so her family can live in a place that keeps them sane and makes them happy. We put our organizer hats on and revised her list:
1. A place for everything and everything in its place
Items left out are usually there because they’re homeless. This is especially true on kitchen countertops, foyers, deep windowsills, and hallway steps.
• Do an evening sweep of these areas every night. Each person should collect their own items from the “hot” areas in the home.
2. Create Activity Zones
Before you can maintain order, you may have to build some in. Look at any processes that are multi-stepped and occur once a week (or more frequently). Decide – depending on the frequency of the activity – how much time to dedicate to making “it” work smoothly.
• This means creating a zone for the activity (like packing out lunches, recycling paper and plastics, caring for pets)
• have all of the tools necessary at the ready, within reach
• Items you use only monthly can require a step stool but daily and weekly tools should be easily accessible.
3. In One Out One
To maintain order follow 1 In – 1 Out…to catch up to calm, follow 1 In – 3 Out. Most people ignore this rule when it comes to newspapers, magazines, and books which tend to pile up the quickest.
• Get in the habit of thinking: “Will I re-read this article, journal, book?” If not, give it to a friend with permission for them to pass it along (or promptly recycle).
4. Give Away and Donate Often
Designate a common area where items to be returned or gifted to friends “sit” till they leave. One cubby in the mudroom, a crate in the garage, a hook on the door to the basement…you get the idea. Otherwise, the item will collect dust.
• One area where we recommend duplication is inside wardrobe closets: every household member should have their own spot for outgrown/unwanted clothes. When the bin, bag, or container fills, it’s time to donate.
5. Add “clean-out” habits to existing routines
Trash day is usually a well-established routine in each household. Use the night before to encourage household members to clean their wallets, backpacks, and briefcases.
6. Snapshot rather than Save
Real estate is precious. Memories can take up less space when they’re stored digitally. A photo of a bulky craft project, favorite jacket from college, or beloved stuffed animal often allows you to let go of the object and maintain the memory.
7. Limit Treasures
Unless your collection is absolute eye candy, cull knick-knacks to represent just the current loves of your life. Most people have too many reminders of the same era (often extinct), or memorabilia of the same cherished person.
• You don’t have to keep everything of Grandma Helen’s out on display…one unique conversation piece is enough to spark her spirit and keep her dear to your heart.
8. Cull Collections
We collect over time:
• trinkets from conferences
• give-aways from workshops
• favors from Bar Mitzvah’s
• handouts from school fairs
Stuff flows in with little attention to why we’re keeping it.
• Set aside time, each month, to review your keepers.
9. Where will it live?
Shopping is necessary for nourishing our families and clothing our growing children…always consider where something will live.
• Costco runs or BJ’s trips can send an organized household into a tizzy unless you have a dedicated overflow area.
• Same goes for kids’ clothes awaiting the proper season or fit. Have a closed container in a designated spot to hold items until use.
10. Invite company and often!
This is one of our favorite “tricks” for keeping clutter at bay. Host friends or family, especially overnight, so you have to tackle your piles. (DO NOT sweep everything into a bag and hide it in the closet.)
• Set a timer for 20 minutes and really put things away so you can be proud of your surroundings.
Share one of your family’s routines that adds JOY in your life?