Although there’s nothing I love more than spending an entire day blissfully organizing my home, I recognize that this is not everyone’s idea of nirvana. If the thought of spending the day organizing is daunting, I recommend spending a few minutes every day to keep clutter at bay. This way, you can maintain organization without putting in a lot of time or energy. So, in addition to NOT creating a mess each day, here are some ways you can proactively avoid clutter build up.
1. Make your bed as soon as you wake up every morning. There are few things that take less than 5 minutes that give you as many organizing points as this one. Not only does this start your day in the right mindset, but don’t underestimate how happy you’ll be to see it neat and orderly when you come home later in the day.
2. When you’re getting dressed in a hurry, you may change outfits a few times. If this is the case, Do NOT discard clothing on your bed or closet floor. After you try something on, it takes literally seconds to hang it back on the hanger. Also, if you find that every time you try something on, you opt not to wear it, consider donating it. Whenever you take something off a hanger, move the empty hanger to the front of your closet. This saves time when you need a hanger, and it allows you to accurately see how much space your actual clothes (not empty hangers) take up.
3. Wash your dishes as you use them, and empty the dishwasher when the dishes inside are clean. This avoids a dirty pile accumulating in the sink. When you prepare meals or snacks, make extra, so there’s some available for another day.
4. After showering, hang up your towel. Quickly wipe down the counters and mirror to keep surfaces clean.
5. Sort your mail every day. Throw away junk mail, catalogs, and solicitations immediately. Put bills and anything that needs to be processed in a designated in-box.
6. When you walk into your home, hang up your coat and bag. Charge your phone in the same place every day, so you don’t have to run around looking for it.
7. If you can, multitask. Phone calls can be made while doing light exercise or straightening up the living room. If you commute to an office, capitalize on this time to answer emails or catch up on news on your phone.
8. Follow the “one thing” rule. Whenever you leave a room, bring one thing in the room to its rightful place elsewhere in the house. Try not to leave a room without SOMETHING in your hand, unless, of course, everything in the room is in its proper place.
There’s nothing worse than rummaging through your purse, looking for your cell phone, while someone watches, witness to your disorganization, as you miss a phone call. When your purse is organized, you’ll feel in control and more powerful. So, here are some tips for organizing your purse:
• Never buy a bag that doesn’t have at least two internal pockets. You need one for your cell phone, and one for keys and other items that you reach for often.
• Avoid bags with dark linings. It’s very difficult to find things when they’re inside a dark bag.
• Use brightly colored cosmetic bags for smaller items such as lip gloss, band aids, and ibuprofen.
• Carry only what you truly need. Bags get heavy, so eliminate what’s unnecessary. You don’t need 5 pens, 2 phone chargers, or 6 packs of gum.
• Don’t save unimportant receipts. Don’t clutter your bag with Starbucks receipts and the receipts from the dry cleaner.
• Carry store credits in your bag. You can’t use them if they’re home in your night table drawer.
• Make a photocopy of everything in your wallet (front and back). In the unfortunate event that your wallet is stolen, you’ll have a record of what you’re missing and which credit card companies you need to call.
You know the saying, “Out with the old, in with the new?” Well, it doesn’t always apply, especially when it comes to household appliances. It’s tough enough to keep up with the latest high-tech versions of everything from your television to your toothbrush, but sometimes, the vintage pieces you’ve had since you moved into your first home turn out to be the ones that are most useful. While I’m often a little ruthless in my quest for clean counters and a clutter-free home, here are a few items I’d suggest you treasure, not toss.
You might be tempted to give in to a shiny, sleek electric sharpener, but I find that a manual sharpener is generally your best bet to give #2 pencils a crisp point. Timeless and reliable, old-fashioned pencil sharpeners also lend aesthetic appeal to your desk, imparting a charming, vintage feel to your office.
Sure, the latest Nespresso commercials feature actors who are tall, dark and handsome, but that shouldn’t be incentive enough to toss your trusty old coffee pot. The best brews often come from your reliable, no-frills Mr. Coffee machine, and all that high-tech gadgetry just can’t cut it when it comes to delivering a classic cup of joe that’s good to the last drop.
Today’s multi-tasking toasters are just trying too hard. Make a pizza, roast a turkey – they claim to do everything with delicious results. But what about when you want a simple piece of perfectly-toasted bread for breakfast? These new toasters have so many buttons, dials, and knobs, that it’s unclear what to press when you just want toast. That’s why you ‘ll be happy to have your simple, two-slot, pop-up toaster. When you hear that familiar sounding “ding,” you can be sure you’re about to enjoy a tasty treat.
Just like the toaster, today’s blenders have gone too far. I don’t need my blender to bake cookies or prep a meal. I just need it to make smoothies and milk shakes. A few years ago, I decided my very old blender that blended to perfection no longer looked cool on my counter. Big mistake. I still haven’t found a blender that looks good that’s worthy of the space it occupies.
So, readers, what old products do you still own? Let me know: I’d love to hear from you!