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Declutter and Organize Your Home

It's time to clean your house

Sometimes you know it's time to organize your home. The new year is the perfect time for cleansing and renewal, and that includes your home. Consider if any of the following has happened to you:

  • Do you friends suggest you should be on Hoarders?
  • Did you once buy a book on how to organize your home and you misplaced it and can't find it?
  • When you try to open a drawer, are there papers that are stuck in the back that prevent you from fully opening the drawer?
  • Are your shoes and boots in danger of falling out of your closet when you open the door?

If any of the above apply, then read on for tips on how to organize your home.

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Declutter and Organize Your Home

Get organized

If you want to gain more hours, become more productive and have more peace of mind, then getting organized in 2015 needs to be your number one
priority. But how to keep this resolution? Janet Bernstein, board certified professional organizer and owner of Philadelphia-based Janet Bernstein Organizers, shared her best tips:

  • Start by making a list of areas in need of organizing. Note, I wrote areas, not rooms. If you have several messy rooms you may need to break it up into small manageable pieces.
  • Now that you have your list, you need to schedule your "organizing sessions." You're more likely to accomplish a task and feel accountable if you write it on your calendar.
  • Start with an easier area. For example, the messy drawer (or drawers) in your kitchen. This will give you a feeling of accomplishment and the motivation to continue. Do not, I repeat, do not start by attempting to organize your garage or basement.
  • Have a goal to work slowly and methodically through your home throughout the year. If you only carve out two hours for organizing each week, that adds up to eight hours a month, which totals 96 hours (more than two work weeks) for the year. Keep that in mind and you'll have the motivation to keep up your organizing throughout the year.
Declutter and Organize Your Home

Start fresh

Jordan Bloom, an associate at Rachel and Company, a
professional organizing company in the Washington, D.C. metro area, shared her tips:

  • Start fresh by clearing out what you no longer need from the past year. Go room by room with a laundry basket or box and try to clear out at least one box of clutter from each room. Things to get rid of are papers you no longer need, clothes that you no longer wear or linens you no longer use, unfinished craft projects. In the kitchen donate any food you know you're not going to eat. Donate unused bathroom products you won't use.
  • Make room for what came in over the holidays by getting rid of duplicates and using the one in one out rule. If you got a new baking dish but already have 5, get rid of an older one to make space. Same goes for other categories like perfumes, sweaters, books, etc.
  • Go one room at a time, one cabinet at a time, one drawer at a time, one shelf at a time. Don't try to organize an entire room at one time or you'll end up with a huge mess, give up halfway through and be worse off then when you started. Just start with small manageable areas that you can accomplish in one organizing session. For instance, pick one kitchen drawer, or one closet shelf, take everything out, put things that don't belong there back in their homes, make everything neat again and re-organize. Try just doing one or two small areas a day.
  • Use decorative baskets as "temporary" storage to make things look more organized and feel less cluttered. Take note of where you see the small messes piling up and then use this tip in those areas. For example, if you bring in your mail and don't get to look at it right away, leave a small tray or basket near the door to place it in, it will be contained and neat until you are ready to look at it. If you do a lot of activities in the family room and things end up getting left out on the coffee table a lot, make them easier to put away. Use a basket to hold "in process" crafts and other items that get left out. When you're done put your project, book, remotes or anything else in the basket to contain everything until you are ready to use it again.

Labels matter

Leslie Josel, owner of Order out of Chaos, shared her best tips:

  • Put labels on everything. The best way to maintain a home is to label everything. Don't forget to organize by use and not by fit. It can be as easy as storing all your baking supplies together. Don't forget to tuck a pack of batteries where you store the flashlights.
  • Think airspace. Space is a hot commodity in a home so think vertical space when organizing. Also things that are hung vertically are visual. Clear shoe bags are an easy and fun way to get organized. Fill one with snacks and hang behind the pantry door. Or use one in the bedroom for jewelry and accessories or store electric cords and wires for instant organization.
  • Get one, toss two. By the end of the holiday season we are inundated with gifts. As you begin to put them away, take time to make extra room throughout the house to accommodate them. For example, for every new toy or game about to take up residence on the shelves, remove two older ones and add them to the donation bag. And whether you decide to recycle, donate or sell, if you stick to the "get one-toss two" rule, then each new gift should actually reduce the clutter in your home.

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