Sunday, March 8, 2015

How To Get Organized

How To: Get Organized

Getting organized is a challenge everyone faces from day to day. Whether it be organizing your house, your closet, your office- something is always in need of a little help. I have been tackling the task of organizing my house, and it's been a long process. I've gathered some tips that may help you get organized once and for all.

Organizing The Closet

This has always been my biggest challenge. I can never find what I am looking for, and often arrive late and disheveled after a frantic search to find the right outfit. I have since re-configured my closet to better suit my needs.

Tip #1 - Assess your space. Do you share a closet or are you blessed with a walk-in all your own? Do you have shoes laying all over the floor with no home, or hundreds of empty hangers with clothes scattered around the room? Once you know what the problem is you are better equipped to fix it. If you have an undying love of shoes, invest in a sturdy shoe rack large enough to hold your current stash, with room to grow for your next great find. If you have thousands of t-shirts and only three nice blouses, a hanging organizer may better suit your needs. If you keep all accessories, such as belts, scarves, handbags and jewelry in your closet, consider building a shelf for the handbags, and hanging hooks for belts and scarves. Once you have a basic plan laid out, you can pay more attention to details. Do you want your clothes sorted by season, or perhaps colors? Do you plan in entire outfits or separate pant from tops? If you like to plan in terms of outfits, a few pant hangers will do wonders for your morning routine. Pair the top and pants together, and just grab-and-go in the morning. If you have a varying work schedule, you may want to plan according to the day. You can find closet rod organizers at any mass retailer. See how to make your own simple closet dividers.

easy diy closet dividers adultIf Friday is "Jeans Day" at work, put your favorite pair behind the Friday tag. If you know you have an interview on Tuesday, place your suit behind the Tuesday tag. Whatever system you choose, make sure it works for you. If you know you won't sort through colors when putting laundry away, a color-coded closet won't stay neat for long. If you like to options, chances are a weekly plan of outfits will fall through. See how we organize outfits for the week here.

Tip # 2- Take it all out! Once you've decided on a system and bought the necessary supplies, take everything out of the closet. Things are going to get a lot worse before they get better.
Take this opportunity to go through your clothes. If you haven't worn it in a year, get rid of it. I make 3 piles, with three labeled bins. Charity, Trash, Keep. If it's in decent shape, but you just don't love it, put it in the charity bin. There's no need to keep things you won't wear, it's only taking up space. That holey pair of underwear, on the other hand, can go straight into the trash. Only put back in your closet what you know you will wear. If it doesn't fit, and hasn't for a while, toss it.
You don't need a daily reminder of any weight lost or gained. The only things that should be in your closet are clothes you fit and love. Donate everything else (except for those underwear!)

Tip #3- Have your organization system installed before you put anything away. Don't hang up all the clothes then attempt to rearrange the outfits. It will only stress you out and cause more work. Once your system, whether it be daily outfits, types of clothing, or business/casual wear is in place- you're ready to put it all back.



Tip #4- Re-assess. Once everything is put away, take another long look at your closet. Is everything easy to reach? Do you like the organization system and can keep it up? Be proud of your work. You have just tackled the black hole of bedrooms, and streamlined your morning routine.


Organizing the Kids' Rooms


This was a daily issue at my house. It took three times as long to get the kids ready. Digging through drawers to find clothes that fit, rummaging through the toy box for a lost shoe, and, my personal favorite, tearing a room apart to find the lost sippy cup or teddy bear. I needed the space to be workable. My kids needed to be able to find their socks and shoes, have a place for all the toys, and for me not to stub my toe every night at bedtime. Here's how we handle shoes.
The task seemed daunting, and as much as I wanted it done, I continued putting it off. Where should I start? How can I make the most of my space? I made countless drawings of room layouts, toy box placement, and clothing arrangement. I finally devised a plan, and got it all done in a few short hours. The first step was to once again, remove everything. I pulled all the furniture, toys, and clothes out of the room. I needed to start from scratch. The dressers were the easy part. I went to the dollar store and picked up several clear plastic bins.
I designated two drawers to hold all the socks, shoes, underwear, burp rags, bibs and hats. Each bin was labeled and placed in the drawer. I began sorting the mountain of clothes. I had a different bin for each child's socks, all bibs and hats were in one bin, and my burp cloths were neatly folded and easily accessible. It was a dream come true. No more searching for matching socks in the right size. That would cut 10 minutes from day right there!
Then came the toys. I went through all the toy boxes, throwing away anything broken and donating anything the kids didn't play with anymore. You'd be surprised how many toys kids have! All the cheap kids meal toys-gone. Those stuffed animals from three years ago? Gone. I reduced it from 3 toy boxes to 1. This alone would cut clean up time in half. Then it was time for the rest of the clothes. If it didn't fit it went in the donation bin. I had a drawer for pajamas, a drawer for pants/shorts, a drawer for shirts/dresses, and the bottom drawer was things that were still too big but would fit soon. This made my life a lot easier. On to the furniture. All bedding was washed and carefully re-assembled into the masterpiece pictured on the original packaging. I knew it wouldn't stay that way long, but it looked so much better.All furniture was wiped down with disinfecting wipes. I has a small set of plastic drawers on top of the dressers. This held lotions, diaper creams, thermometers, hair bows, and band-aids for easy access. No more hunting down a matching bow or scrambling for a band-aid with a screaming child. My life was getting better by the second. A few decorative pictures and strategically placed stuffed animal and voila! A new clean room for the kids.
You can see our updated toy storage here. 


Organizing The Bathroom


 This is where things got tricky. I had to make sure everything was withing my reach, but all cleaning supplies and medicines were safely tucked away. I went back to the dollar store for more bins. This time I opted for mesh and plastic bins with holes. I needed a way to store the bath products and a bin that could still get air, to avoid mold. I got bright colors to match the decor. The first bin held all 600 bottles (or so it seemed) of bubble bath, foam soap, shampoo and shaving creams. The second bin was for bath toys and sponges. We seem to have a growing collection of these. Having them all in one place made bath time easier. The kids could each pick out a toy, or I could dump the entire contents in the tub. After the bath, they would help put them back in the bin and make clean up easier.
Next up was the cabinet space. In our bathroom, we had only a small medicine cabinet behind the mirror. Simply not enough space for a family of five. We got a tall, thin set of Rubbermaid drawers to go next to the sink. Again, safety was the top priority. All razors, medications and other sharp objects went in the highest drawer. In the middle went the hairdryer and other appliances. The bottom drawers were make-up (not what I want the kids playing with, but at least it wouldn't hurt them) and extra soaps, toothpaste/toothbrushes, and hair brushes. On the top "shelf" we had a cup that held everyone's toothbrush and the bottle of toothpaste. We like to have these sitting out as a constant reminder for good oral hygiene. All surfaces were wiped with disinfecting wipes and a few candles made it an inviting space. Everything had a place, and we all knew where to find it. This made mornings and bedtimes slightly easier. As long as you have 5 people and 1 sink, things are always going to be a little crazy.
Our bathroom closet in our new house

It make take a day of work, but organizing your house is well worth it. Think about how much time you waste now looking for things and scrambling to get it all together in the morning. Once you've learned the basic steps, you can apply them to any space. Assess the needs of the space, devise a plan and organization system, pull it all out, then only put back what is needed. You can have your home cleaned up and working like it should in no time!