Every time I walk through my front door to find my house immaculately clean I find myself automatically distressed, content and happy.
Now, don't get me wrong, my house is usually clean. However, we have so much “family traffic” that unless you have someone cleaning up through out the day every day, it's impossible to have it always looking spotless.
We usually have at least 10 people at our dinner table, and at least that many teenagers in and out of the house on a daily basis. With access to a cleaning lady only once a week, this system is imperative in up keeping a clean and vibrant household.
That's where my “Get Organized System” comes in.
Follow these simple steps only 15 minutes a day to have your house organized in 20 days or less. No one plans to fail, we just fail to plan.
1.Make a plan of what needs to be done for the next 14 days.
Write down what supplies you will need such as boxes, containers, trash bags.
2. Start with the highest trafficking area such as your kitchen counter.
Most of the stuff on the counters gets there because we are too lazy to put it in the proper place to begin with.
For the next 15 minutes examine your counters and see if anything can be put away or tossed, such as junk mail, or stuff you no longer need. Don't save it,
If you can make your counters clutter free, every time you walk into the kitchen you'll have a feeling of accomplishment.
If your counters are clean, skip to the next day.
3. The Hidden Drawer.
We all have them and they are usually filled with mostly junk that we haven't used and need to toss.
For the next 15 minutes go through each drawer and after you are done tossing all the junk, arrange everything neatly.
Continue to the next drawer until every drawer in your kitchen has been done.
This is a great exercise to do with your teenage kids. I remember once I had three of them doing different drawers, and we were actually done with all of them in half in a hour.
4. Don't forget the cupboards.
Your cabinets need order too.
It's always a good idea to keep your shelves organized by a certain product.
For instance you should have shelves separately for:
Pasta and Rice.
Cereals and Breakfast Products
Oils and Spices
Keep in mind that you need to organize your shelves in the order
you use them. Place the most frequently used items in the most conveniently used shelf.
5.Now it's time for your Fridge Door.
I love my kids too, but enough with their projects, notes, and all kinds of phone numbers plastered all over the fridge door.
Strip everything from your fridge door and watch your kitchen shine.
This is also a good time to check your freezer and throw away old frozen meats, poultry, etc.
Inside the fridge you should have everything that you will use. Get rid of anything that has been there for over two or three weeks that haven't been used.
6.Your Medicine Cabinet requires attention.
I keep my meds in the kitchen; so I'm attributing this task to go along with my kitchen chores. If your med. cabinet is in your bathroom, skip to the day that we are focusing on the bathroom cabinets.
Going over your medicine requires attention. Check all of the expiration dates on each bottle, and toss the ones that expired.
Check to see that your first aid kit is in tack and make sure you have enough band aids, Neosporin and sun screen on your shelf.
I'm not sure why, but my kids just love to throw things in the laundry room and shut the door.
Laundry Room is your next destination.
Buy different color bins that stack on top of each other and can be easily pulled out. Store things neatly inside them, such as detergents, rags, and soaps.
Pretty bins and neatly stored items make your laundry room a place you actually want to visit.
8.Your Front Entry.
When my children were small, they would come through the door and throw their back packs all over the front entrance, immediately making the house look like a mess.
It took me a while to find out how I can prevent this from happening, the following method works really well.
Make your child feel special, assign a color to each family member
Buy Nice Looking Bins to place by the door. That way when they get back from school everything going inside their bin.
At this point I would recommend buying everything for that child that has to do with school in the same color. If you find a green notebook laying around the kitchen table, you no longer have to ask everyone who's it is. It can now go back to that green bin by the door.
The best thing about these bins is that they are light, and can be picked up and moved out of site during a dinner party or if you are expecting guests.
This drill has to be applied in every bathroom of your home.
Go through drawers and toss everything that's old and spoiled, or not going to be used.
Wiping shelves with baby wipes always makes my cabinets smell fresh.
Your make up drawer needs your attention. Many make up products such lipstick, mascara and liquid foundation go bad quickly and need to be changed frequently to maintain healthy skin.
10. Bills, Holliday Cards and & Reminders.
With on line banking available by every bank, it has never been easier to pay your bills and keep track of everything that's going on with your finances. If you haven't done so already set up your on line banking account today.
- Buy an expandable filing folder from Staples with dividers for every month. (This is where you keep your paid bills, so when the tax season comes around all the bills are sorted by month and are very easily tracked) Buy another folder, and every time you get a bill in the mail, it goes inside that folder.
- Every month on the 1st and the 15th, pay all the bills from the bill folder, and file them in the other folder under the appropriate month. Simple enough, right?
- Birthday's, Anniversaries and Special Occasions. Let's Face it, everyone likes to feel special-it's part of our human nature! Why not develop a personal system that remembers birthdays, family and friends wedding anniversaries and a schedule that sends
- I have a special folder that is dedicated to all of the warranties for appliances in our home. Within that folder is a calendar that outlines annual check ups, filter replacements, batteries, etc. It also has all of the phone numbers of the people I use to service my appliances, plumbing and repairs.
11. Now you are ready for every room in your home. Remember it should only take you 15 minutes a day to access and re-organize. If it cannot be done in fifteen minutes break it up in a few days.
Don't go to the next room until the room that you initially started is done.
I would imagine that by now you have a pile of “stuff” that you don't know what to do with. This is the time you separate this “stuff” into three piles. Give away to charity, to someone you know can use this, or simply trash the pile. Package accordingly and MOVE IT OUT, remember to always have MOVEMENT; you need to clean it up and take it out.
Time to declutter your bedside tables and everything that's on top of them. Are you really reading these three books at the same time?
Do you really need two bottles of lotion on your bedside table?
Choose only what's necessary and put the rest away in the appropriate cabinet, drawer in your bathroom, or hide it in the lower shelf in your nightstand.
Remember not to clutter.
- Begin with your closet, and do not get overwhelmed.
- One area of the closet at a time. Start with the shirts, progress to pants, then jackets, etc.
- Set aside clothes that you haven't worn in two or more years, because chances are that you are not going to wear them. And about these jeans…if you haven't been able to get into them for the last 5 years, give them away or throw them out. If you happen to loose that weight again, you will reward yourself with a new, in style pair. You deserve it.
- If you are planning to have more kids and would like to store kids clothing, make a box with a label on it describing for example, Girls Clothes ages 7 to 8. That way when you need to locate a box you don't have to go through all of them.
14. Family Room. The coffee table is not a storage space for your old magazines. Leave one or two on the table, and take the rest to your car to read while your kids are playing soccer, or while you are waiting for an appointment. After you read a magazine, discard appropriately.
This whole process should not take more than two weeks, but should organize your house and put you in a better mood.
This is also a great way to engage your children to help you with keeping the house neat. If you follow this method several times a year, you'll never have to blush again by opening a messy drawer.
Yana Berlin is the founder and CEO of http://www.fabulously40.com , devoted to the celebration of all things, primarily women and the challenges and joys they face juggling their careers, children, relationships, and life's other issues. Fabulously40.com is a social network for women that catalyzes its members to celebrate and embrace their life. Since launching the site Mrs. Berlin has been connecting, and supporting women all over the world.