woman organizing closetBy Greta Jenkins

1.Vow to stop cluttering your life deal with mail, dishes after a meal, hang up your coat and clothes, put it away as it arises.

2.Design a place for all things – follow the month by month or if you are really ambition week by week room by room organizing plan and tips. Set time aside for example, one week end a month, every Tuesday night this month to work on a room.

3.Clear out the things you don’t use recycle, reuse, donate or trash

Month/Week 1

Files and Paperwork

1.Get ready for taxes see Four Reasons to Keep Your Receipts.

2. Accordion Files for bills, open and separate at they arrive. Add labels: pay, read, answer, pending, hold

3. Managing the mail open as it arrives, put away or throw away.

4. Organize your files set up a drawer or another accordion file, label: Insurance, Auto, Bank Statements, credit cards, escrow, IRS, donation, social                 Security, etc.

5. Use your files, after you pay bills file away the ones that need to be saved, throw away others.

6. Go through all your save paperwork form 2012 and organize into categories, save what you need for taxes and get rid of the rest. Afraid to throw things out due to privacy issues? Consider using a shredder. Afraid to part with them because you might someday need it? Scanning documents onto a DXD  allows you to have a record of it without taking up too much space.  Scanning the documents is job that teens or other family member can do to help you.  Be sure to set a deadline to get all the scanning done! Reward your self and your helpers when the task is completed!

7. Record storage: Put deeds, insurance policies, car titles in a metal fire proof box.  Place other financial files in plastic containers to protect from water leaks and flooding.

Month/Week 2

Kitchen Organizing tips:

1.Set up a family communication system on the refrigerator door or in the kitchen or back door entrance area. This can be a simple as a blackboard or whiteboard with a calendar drawn on it and the number changed each month to be on the correct days. Or you can buy many ready-made systems that can be customized to your family.  Also see our family scheduling apps article for more ways to keep a busy family on the go all “on the same page”.

2.Organize the cupboards:

a. Set up a spice drawer or spice holder. Get rid of old spices and those you don’t use.  Whole spices last 3 years and ground spices last one year.

b. Clear out broken dishes, move rarely used dishes to basement or a storage area. Set up your cupboard in a system that makes more often used easiest to         reach.  Use a rack, place plates on the bottom, bowls on top.

c. Empty every cupboard, clean and re-arrange.

d. Place cups on hooks above other dishes to save space

3.  Small appliances:

a. Coffee makers, toasters and microwaves can stay on the counter but consider placing microwave up off the counter under a cabinet.

b. Put mixers away in a cabinet, consider pullout shelves for items like the blender, and hand mixer.

4.  Drawers:

a.  Use dividers for silverware and utensils. Only put frequently used utensils in a on the counter container

b. Set up a junk drawer for all those things that the family needs but you can never find when you need them, tape, scissors, glue, screw driver.

5. Pantry:

a. Make sure your family has enough food for at least three days in case of an emergency, power outage, snow storm, hurricane, tornado. If you don’t have pantry in your kitchen create on in a closet or basement.

b.  Organize dry good in one section, canned goods in another. Put frequently used foods in the easiest to reach spots and your emergency supplies towards the back.  However remember to rate your canned goods so that when and if an emergency arises you have canned goods that are usable not too old.

6. Plastic ware:

a. Storing plastic storage containers can be a real mess. How many do you really need, match lids and containers. Get rid of extra lids or at least store away in the basement or garage.  Consider switching to the new containers that have attached lids.

7. Paper bags, plastic bags, newspaper, bottle and cans:

a.  Use your own shopping bags as often as possible to stop the accumulation of bags!!

b. There are many types of wall storage units or fabric storage containers for plastic bag storage.  At some grocery store you can return plastic bags for recycling.

c. Set up recycle bin or trashcan in the kitchen for recyclables so those bottles and cans don’t pileup.  Keep a recycle large bin near your trashcan for putting to the curb on recycle day or for when you take to the recycle center

8. Freezer:

a. Place a date and name of all freezer items.

b. Use the oldest items first to avoid having to throw out items because they have freezer burn.

Month/Week 3

Bathrooms. Linen Closet and Laundry Rooms (Can be divided into more months/weeks if needed)

1. Cabinets Use dividers for drawers, clear out unused cosmetics, hair products, skin creams. Organize items by placing most often used in easy to reach           places.  Add shelves or a cabinet an over the toilet if you don’t have enough cabinet space.  Or if you have room, add a chest of drawers for cosmetics,           towels, feminine hygiene products, etc.

2. Towel racks:  Do you have enough, so that each person had a place to hang up their towel?? Add some hooks or a stand along towel rack. If you have           space a wooden clothes dryer can be put into service so everyone has a place to hang up their towel.

3. Medicine Cabinet:

a. Get rid of out medicine safely don’t flush down the toilet, be green and dispose of as suggested by your refuse collection service.

b. Be selective about what you keep in you medicine cabinet

4.  Linen Closet

a. Is your linen closet over flowing?  Move linens rarely used into plastic containers and store away until needed

b. Time to toss those frayed, faded and torn towels, thy make great rages for cleaning.

c. Organize washcloths, hand towels and bath towel into speared piles of shelves if possible.

d. Still need more space? Hang up table clothes and other linens. For example, I keep my best table closet on hangers in the guest closet and every day table clothes in the china hutch.

e. How much space is taken up by toilet paper, beauty products, cosmetics, and feminine hygiene product?  Can you more them into the bathroom?

5. Laundry Room

a. Shelves /Cabinet can really make a big difference in the laundry are for storage in detergent, fabric softener, bleach, stain removers, etc.  Shelves or cupboard above the washer and dryer are perfect for this! If you use wire shelves with space between the wires you can also have an area to hang items  such as shirts and blouses as you take them out of the dryer. It really helps avoid wrinkles.

b. In wall ironing board make sit east to use and fold ups into wall

c. Folding table (or laundry basket)  – At able can be great unless it just create a space you fill with unfolded clothes it might be better to fold clothes directly in laundry baskets for each family member that can then be carried to the room when they can easily be put away.

d. Put away laundry system:  Get the kids and spouse to help- make is part of allowance or other reward system. If each person is responsible to carry their laundry out the laundry room and put it away it is less work for everyone!

e. Getting dirty laundry to the laundry room If you don’t have clothes shoot in your house, make if a game to gather all the dirty clothes and get them to the laundry before____ dinner on Monday or before dessert is served on Tuesday or _______


What are your best organizing tips?

Month/Week 4 Organizing Kids Rooms

Month/week 5 Organizing Closets

Month/week 6 Organizing Your Office

Month/Week 7 Organize Your Garage

Bonus: Organizing Your Drom Room



Sonya Weiss

About Our Interior Decorating Columnist Sonya Weiss:

From the time she was a child, Sonya spun stories to entertain herself and her siblings. Once she graduated from high school, she put her writing aside and attended college where she studied Secondary Education, majoring in English. She's represented by literary agent Nicole Resciniti. 

Sonya's website can be found at https://sonyaweiss.com/
https://imgsub.familiesonlinemagazine.com/uploads/2013/01/organizing2.jpghttps://imgsub.familiesonlinemagazine.com/uploads/2013/01/organizing2-150x150.jpgSonya WeissHome & GardenHome Decorating,Home ImprovementBy Greta Jenkins 1.Vow to stop cluttering your life deal with mail, dishes after a meal, hang up your coat and clothes, put it away as it arises. 2.Design a place for all things - follow the month by month or if...Parenting Advice| Family Fun Activities for Kids