Remember When You Organize
Make sure everything in your house has a place. Teach all family members to mind their own messes. For example, if you take it out, put it back; if you open it, close it; if you throw it down, pick it up; if you make a mess, clean it up; and so on.
Put wastebaskets in every room and place several unused trash bags in the bottom of each one. This will eliminate countless trips to retrieve new trash bags and give all family members a place to throw away their trash.
Place a decorative basket on the coffee table in which to keep remote controls.
Use a plastic caddy (instead of shelf space) to store cleaning supplies, and simply tote it from room to room.
Keep baskets or tubs in every room for fast toy pickup. For kids’ outdoor toys, purchase a weatherproof, bench-style storage box. Gather all outdoor balls and store in the garage in a large, mesh drawstring bag.
Each night before bedtime, have all family members pick up clutter for 10 to 15 minutes. Make a game out of it and see who can pick up the most things in the shortest amount of time.
Create a family message center on the refrigerator or other prominent place and use it for shopping lists, reminders, calendars and phone messages.
Make a master grocery list on your computer from a spreadsheet or Word document. Categorize the groceries into sections such as frozen, dairy and so on. In each category, list the items you buy most frequently. Organize the grocery list according to the way your favorite grocery store’s aisles are set up.
Print copies and keep one handy for the current week. When you see you are low on a product or when you’re preparing your grocery list for the week, simply highlight the items you need. Keep the document current by adding new items and/or deleting items you no longer buy. Create a space on the page for miscellaneous items where your family members can write down what they need that are not on your regular list.
Shopping the Web beats hitting the brick-and-mortar stores, even for groceries. You’ll avoid lines, traffic and lugging stuff home, and you can shop anytime you like.
Create an inbox on your desk for papers (bills, permission slips etc.) that need your attention. Clear it out daily.
Use one power strip (many can be mounted on a wall) as home base for all of your rechargeable goodies: Cell phone, Blackberry/iPhone, camera, iPod, handheld video games, etc. You’ll never have to hunt for an outlet or ask someone to call your phone to see where you left it.
Have a lot of visually indistinct items, such as chargers for electronic items? Label them! You won’t waste time looking for the right cord to charge the video camera, and when the scissors are left out on the table, you’ll know who they belong to.
The goal of organizing isn’t to make your home pristine, but rather to make your life more calm and functional. Work with the above ideas and you will end up with less clutter, a neater home, improved productivity and — most important of all — more quality time for yourself and your family.