Over the past couple of years, my house has slowly become inundated with clutter and my primary goal for the next month is to focus on home organization. Let me just say flat out that I am NOT Martha Stewart. There are no labels on my cabinets or color coordinated storage boxes for each of my children. You will not find a magazine showcase when you browse through my house. For me, home organization means getting rid of stuff we don’t need and hiding all the things we DO need so I don’t have to look at it all. Of course, if I could afford one of those California Closet setups I would get one in a heartbeat but I am all about CHEAP home organization! So, if you want to tackle your own clutter, here are a few common sense home organization tips from a lazy mom to help you out!
Home Organization Tips from a Lazy Mom
1. Make a List: It is easy to just look at the whole house and say “I am going to organize everything in this house” but that doesn’t give you specific goals to work towards. Make a very detailed list of things you want at the top of your home organization list. You can put something big like ‘clean the garage’ or something small like ‘empty out the junk drawer’. Just write it down so you have something to check off as you go. Seeing what you have accomplished is a huge incentive to keep on working.
2. Be realistic about your time frame: If you only have an hour or two, don’t start tacking the garage. Major home organization chores are best left to a very wide open Saturday when maybe your kids or husband/wife are around to help you out. If you add all sorts of chores to your to do list from step one you will have options to choose from if you only have an hour. One hour is enough time to organize the Tupperware drawer or maybe sort through your kids video games and DVDs. Don’t cram too much into a small amount of time or you will end up leaving things half done which does not give you any satisfaction at the end of the day.
3. Use the pile system: I make piles in different rooms/locations in my house for different things that need to leave my home. I have piles for goodwill, the consignment store, my sister in law, the neighbor and even our local preschool program. Piles of kids books can go to the library, domestic violence shelters, or used book stores. Recycle or re-home everything you can but don’t be afraid to throw things away. As much as I hate filling up landfills, some things just have to go out to the curb. Try Freecycle if you want to find a new home for your stuff. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure!
4. Invest in storage containers: You can stock up on after Christmas sales at Target to find good storage bins to organize your stuff. Keeping your kid’s stuffed animals in a toy box that closes helps reduce the cluttered feel to a room. I do the same for matchbox cars that my teenager just can’t part with, plastic toys, Legos, and all the other junk kids accumulate over the years. Put a lid on it and stick it in the closet so you don’t see it all. Using clear bins lets you see what is inside each container. It also means I don’t have to get out the label maker so my kids can find their Littlest Pet Shop toys. Okay, I don’t even OWN a label maker but if I did I would not waste time labeling something when I could just buy a clear bin and actually SEE what is in it.
5. Find creative solutions to common household problems: I try hard to keep the house running smoothly but sometimes I hit a snag and have to ask myself ‘How do I fix this problem?’. Take, for example, the pile of saran wrap, foil, parchment paper, and plastic baggies that were littering the floor of my pantry. The scattered mess annoyed me to no end but I just didn’t know how to fix it. A trip to Target yielded an over the door shoe organizer. Instead of shoes I stuck all of my assorted rolls of wrap and boxes of bags in it. Neat, organized, and hanging on the back of my dining room door where no one will see it. On that same trip to Target I picked up new towels for my kids…blue for the boy and yellow for the girl. WHY? Because they are at the age where they think their sibling has cooties and if there is even the slightest chance that the other child has so much as BREATHED on their towel they won’t use it. I was washing way too many towels every week because of their cootie paranoia. Now, they will use a towel more than once knowing that their towel is safe from sibling germs. For the cost of a few more towels I save myself hours of laundry washing every month!