Are you one of those people who spend hours looking for an item, wasting precious time and energy? Do you get frustrated when you can’t locate an item and find yourself at the store spending money to buy something you know you already possess? Are you ready to take that first step to organize your life and world? If so, below are some helpful tips that I use and that you can start using today!
1. Take an inventory of everything you want or need to organize (e.g., clothes, shoes, kitchen gadgets, tools, books, pictures, documents, bills, office supplies, etc.).
2. From your inventory, you should get a clear idea of what types of storage units you need to purchase, unless you already have boxes or storage units lying around the house. Storage units may include, but are not limited to, storage boxes/bins, garment bags, drawers, filing boxes/cabinets, other home/garage cabinets, cupboards, sheds, and storage company units. Whenever possible, purchase storage units that you can see through.
3. If you don’t already possess one, purchase a fire-proof filing cabinet, with legal size drawers for legal documents. Filing cabinets store your most important documents, such as birth certificates, account information, titles, deeds, warranties, receipts, and tax-related information.
4. Use existing shelves or build new shelves in your house, basement, or garage. Shelves can hold a lot of objects, boxes, and storage units.
5. Give serious thought as to where you want to store each group of items. Should the items go in your house, basement, garage, or shed? Items you use most often should probably be stored in your house. Conversely, items that you don’t use as often should be moved to the basement, garage, or shed.
6. When you are ready to start organizing, commit to organizing one room at a time. Don’t move to another room until the first one is organized exactly the way you had planned. This will result in less stress, as you won’t feel so overwhelmed by the huge project ahead of you.
7. As you sort through items, consider which items you want to retain or toss. Do you really need that old baseball glove or prom dress? Get rid of the items that you don’t need. You can always pass them on to a family member or friend, or donate them to a worthy cause. If you haven’t used an item in at least three years, and you don’t foresee using it in the future, part with it to clear space for those items you do use. The fewer items you retain, the easier your organizational efforts will be.
8. As mentioned above, it is best to purchase transparent storage bins, as it is easier to identify the content of the unit. However, whether or not the unit is transparent, always label it so there is no confusion as to what is contained within the unit. I recommend using some type of smudge/water proof pen/marker and large, sticky labels. As you may not be able to list every item on a label, you might want to develop a separate itemized list for each unit. You can either tape this list to the inside of the storage unit cover or put a number on the storage unit label that corresponds to the respective unit’s item list. Each unit’s list could then be placed in one folder, so access to all lists is easily retrievable.
9. Make an effort to put things back where they belong once you’ve used them. If this isn’t possible at the time, make sure you do so at the end of the day. For some people, this may take practice. When you put items away as soon as you’ve used them, it’ll be easier to find them the next time around, and you’ll spend less time doing so.
10. As simplistic as it sounds, make lists for anything important (e.g., groceries, errands). Lists keep you organized. They can also save you time, as they eliminate running to and from the store for items you neglected to put on your list. It is important to keep your lists visible, preferably in a location you visit daily (e.g., on the refrigerator in your kitchen, on your mirror in the bathroom).
11. If organizing your home (or office) is too overwhelming, you can always hire a professional organizer. There are people who organize homes and offices for a living. If hiring a professional organizer is the best option for you, then hire one today.