Follow these 5 tips to organize a room which you can then replicate to bring order to most any room. There are good reasons to do so.
- According to the SDA, reducing clutter would eliminate up to 40 percent of housework in the average home. (The SDA is an 82 year-old national trade association made up of 100 plus companies who furnish the nation with general cleaning products and education).
- Your home should be your sanctuary. Is there anything more relaxing and peaceful than a clean and organized home? Clear spaces, prominently displayed family photos and elbow room are all important to your internal sense of well-being.
- Finally, studies about good and bad stress underline that an organized room or home promotes a sense of control and self-respect which in turn fuels creativity and a ‘can do’ spirit.
One reason many people rarely organize a room is because they don’t know where to begin. A good idea is to begin with a small area or site within a room, such as a desk, drawer, magazine rack or under the bed. Or if you want to tackle a bathroom, start with the medicine cabinet. Move the clutter in these areas to an open space where you can sort. Finish one area before you move to another.
One of the 5 top reasons people hire a professional to organize their house is that they have general “difficulty determining what to keep and what to discard.” [National Association of Professional Organizers Survey 6/2009]. Tip: But you can call in a good and candid friend to help you make decisions.
Label three or more bins or boxes for the sorting process: keep, throw away and donate. You will have to assess each item that is cluttering up your room and determine if you really want to keep it. Broken, soiled and otherwise useless items should go into the garbage.
Sorting also may be difficult with items that have sentimental value, but keep in mind the memories are the important thing. You could add a fourth box for temporarily packing items whose decision you’re not emotionally ready to make just yet. You could label it ‘don’t know.’
Once you have everything sorted take the next step immediately: throw away, donate and set up your items before they have time to migrate back out of the bins! Now what to do with some common items?
Do you have items lying around that you seldom if ever use? Institute a usage rule; pack away specific items, date and label the box and if you have not used it in six months either have a yard sale or donate the items to charity. This is a good rule of thumb for most things around the house including clothing, shoes, dishes, pans and much more.
Of course, there are the occasional seasonal items such as winter clothes, camping, swimming or fishing gear that are definitely the exception to this rule.
- If you are like a lot of people you have a lot of pictures, both in frames and out! Go through the pictures and determine which are most important.
- For annual family pictures, you may want to rotate and only display the most current images. Older Polaroid’s and snap shots should be stored away in picture albums.
- For others, a great organizing and storage principle is to scan them into your computer and save them digitally.
Books and Magazines
There are inexpensive bookshelves and magazine racks available at your local retailer. In addition, deep windowsills, mantles and even certain counter tops can become makeshift “bookshelves” with the addition of bookends. Hanging folder racks which are available at many dollar stores can make a handy organizational tool as well even for magazines.
During the winter months, coats and jackets which could become an eyesore can be easily organized. Install a few inexpensive hooks beside your back door and encourage everyone to make use of them! For homes or apartments where this is not possible consider investing in a coat rack, freestanding or wall mounted.
To store seasonal items, a portable closet makes a wonderful organizer, doesn’t take up too much space, and comes with colors that won’t be too obtrusive.
When you can replicate a plan to organize a room, surveys show you save up to 40% on housework. More importantly, you create a sanctuary for yourself and loose creative energy formerly drained off by clutter.
Steve B. Brown, Ph.D., is a retired research professor. Steve started ClutterControlGuide.com to be a free resource for others who wanted to feature speed and simplicity when decluttering and organizing their homes.
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