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Keys to Organizing

Start Small, Think Big

Small jobs are easier and quicker than large ones. Wipe up spills right away, recycle junk mail as soon as it comes in the door, do one load of laundry per day and the dishes every night. Molehills don't turn into mountains this way and sap hours from your weekend. A place for every thing and everything in its place is easier said than done, but you'll be amazed at what you can accomplish in a concentrated 15-minute decluttering race. Tidying up small spaces of your home or performing a minor chore helps motivate you for a bigger cleaning job. For instance, if you make up your bed in the morning but have clothes and shoes on the bedroom floor, you'll be more inclined to put these items in the closet so that the room can match the neat appearance of the made bed. When you set the table in the formal dining room with your best dishes and an attractive centerpiece, this may prompt you to dust the furniture or vacuum the floors in the living room. If the dining room looks orderly and polished, you'll want the adjacent room to look the same.

Color Coding and Labels

To reduce clutter in your closets, attic and garage, use containers of different colors or create labels for containers. For instance, if you store some of your children's toys in the garage, place them only in the yellow bin and mark the bin "kids' toys" so you'll remember what's inside. When your children play in the garage, remind them to put their toys away in the yellow bin so they can help you stay organized. Don't let anyone in the family puts things other than toys in the yellow bin to keep the bin orderly. Another way to stay organized is to clean out your closets each season, and remove the clothes that you're not going to wear in the upcoming season. So if it's almost summer and you still have heavy coats and sweaters in your closet, take these items from your closet, place them in a bin the color of your choice, and label it "winter clothing," so you'll know where to find your cold weather clothes next year. Donate what you haven't worn in a couple of years and anything that no longer fits. Don't think about "getting back into it someday." If your closets are just jammed, institute a trade-off rule. For every new piece of clothing that comes in, an old one must go.

Planning Meals

Keeping your daily meal schedule organized is another key to an organized home. If you plan your meals ahead of time, you'll likely have more time after the meal to clean the kitchen. For instance, planning breakfast the night before and planning dinner in the morning after eating breakfast allots you time to clean the kitchen after dinner the night before so that you're preparing breakfast in a clean kitchen the next day. This plan also allows you to create a more orderly grocery list so that you won't buy double items or purchase things you don't need.

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