Halloween is in the air. Falling leaves and pumpkins dot the landscape, and trick-or-treaters are preparing for their annual excursion. While I admit a bag full of candy is a wonderful thing, I have a slightly different selection of tricks and treats for you this Halloween. A bucket of choices that are calorie free, teeth-friendly and require no dressing up in a costume.
Here is my basket of organizing tricks, along with a few of the sweet treats that come from being organized. Reach in and pick out as many as you like!
(in no particular order)
» Put items away in the moment.
» Ask these questions when you are de-cluttering:
- Does it fit my life today?
- Would I buy it again today?
- Do I like it?
- Do I need it?
- Do I have space to keep it and/or display it?
- Do I have a positive reason for keeping it?
- Does it work?
- Do I have something else that is similar?
» Run the dishwasher ever night and empty it first thing every morning. This routine will provide you with an empty place to put dirty dishes all day long, freeing the sink and countertop.
» Put paperwork you need to file into a folder marked “To File”. Once a week, schedule 15 minutes to empty the folder into the appropriate hanging files.
» Set aside 5-10 minutes at the same time every day for planning.
» If you need to remember something, ask yourself, “How am I going to remember this?” Write it down, set an alarm, hang a post-it. Make a conscious plan not to forget.
» Set the ringer on your phone to different tunes for important contacts (e.g. spouse, children, school) so you will know instantly if you need to answer the call.
» When you put an appointment in your calendar, always include the person’s phone number so you can call/text if something comes up.
» Always end a meeting with a recap of who will be doing what, by when.
» Designate a place to capture random thoughts you want to remember (e.g. a note on your phone, note pad in your purse/briefcase, planner, etc.) Have this with you at all times.
» Write “reusable bags” at the top of your grocery list so you will remember to get them out of the car before you have a cart full of items.
» When you think you are out of space, look up. A couple of hooks or shelves can go a long way.
» “Lost and Found” isn’t just for commercial establishments; if you have a busy household, set up a basket.
» Store items in the first place you would think to look if you lost them.
» Pitch or donate supplies for hobbies you no longer pursue.
» A cutlery organizer, typically used in kitchen drawers, can be a great solution for bathroom drawers as well.
» Use a lazy susan under a sink, in the fridge or on a shelf to hold small supplies.
» Don’t store paperwork horizontally in a regular drawer. Paper is best stored in hanging files or binders.
» Unfold paperwork before filing it to minimize bulk.
» Set up a medical file for each family member, including one for each pet.
» Establish a change jar or bowl to keep coins from ending up on the kitchen counter or in the bottom of a drawer. Not sure where to put it? Try wherever family members empty their pockets.
» Keep a small screwdriver with your stash of batteries. You often need one when replacing batteries, so it is handy to have one close by.
» Keep a roll of tape and a dedicated pair of scissors with your wrapping supplies so you don’t have to go hunting them down when you want to wrap a gift.
» Store only the clothes that currently fit you in your main closet. If you want to hold onto clothes that are +/- one size, keep them in a less prominent location, such as the attic or a secondary closet.
» Pack a pop-up hamper for your next vacation to corral the laundry as it builds while you are away. If you are traveling by car, just toss it in full for the drive home and take it directly to your laundry room.
» Store these items in your suitcase:
- Deck of cards
- Safety pin
- Spare toothbrush and travel toothpaste
- Empty plastic bag (to hold wet clothes, dirty shoes, etc.)
- Travel umbrella
» When de-cluttering with kids, ask them what they want to keep, rather than what they want to get rid of.
» Want to get kids to put things away? Drop a hoola hoop over a pile and set a timer to see if they can put everything inside back before the buzzer rings.
» Establish one spot in your home where you will keep books that need to be returned to the library.
» Buy a large, plastic painter’s bucket with a lid to hold sand/ice melt. Works much better than a torn plastic bag.
» Establish a “giveaway” box. Fill the box with a clear plastic bag, label it and put it in a convenient location (e.g. garage, mudroom, hall closet). Instruct family members to put anything inside that they no longer want. When the bin is full, remove the bag and take it to your local donation center. Replace with a fresh bag and start over.
THE “TREATS” OF BEING ORGANIZED
(the sweet rewards)
» Finding an item exactly where you thought it would be.
» Arriving on time without having to rush.
» Sitting down to work at a clear desk.
» Remembering what you wanted to remember.
» Walking into an orderly, serene space.
» Having what you need, when you need it.
» Not worrying about important tasks that you have been avoiding.
» No longer feeling guilty about unsorted piles, boxes and bins of accumulated possessions.
» Having less to clean, move, store, insure, and manage.
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What organizing trick or treat would you add to this list?