In January we were talking (and thinking) about what resolutions we could make for the new year. I get asked by newspapers all over the country to talk about those resolutions – particularly those that involve getting organized. Well, I’ve discovered over the years that most of us are really determined for a little while, then we wave our dishcloths in the air and admit defeat. We are just too busy to stick to a major improvement program. It’s too overwhelming.
I’ve developed a list of simple things that can make a huge impact on the quality of a household’s organization. Just choosing one of these things will make a noticeable difference – as long as you choose something that you need to work on.
1. Make a solemn promise to yourself that you won’t bring anything home unless you know exactly where you’ll put it. Also, know what it will be used for and if it will accommodate what you want it to hold.
2. Don’t start tomorrow with yesterday’s work. Don’t wake up to a full dishwasher or a vacuum that needs to be emptied before you can use it, or clothes in the washer or dryer. If you’re working on a project and need to stop for a while, note what you’re doing and what you were going to do next. That will expedite a quicker re-start and avoid some procrastination.
3. Be aware of every time you say the words, ‘for now.’ “I’ll just put his here for now and put it away alter.” Do it now. If you don’t have to do it right, when will you have time to do it over? Other red flags words to watch out for: “It might come in handy someday.”
4. Go through clothes at least once a year. Put them in three piles: yes, no, maybe. Go through the maybe pile and cut it in half. Why are you keeping it? (i.e. You’re going to lose weight. It has a button missing. I’m keeping it because Aunt Gladys gave it to me, etc.) It’s selfish to keep clothes you’re not wearing because there are so many people who need them. Women in battered women’s shelters have only those clothes they had on when they walked in the front door.
5. Plan menus. Know in the morning what will be for dinner that night. Defrost, start prep or make a list for delegation. (My books Confessions of An Organized Housewife and Kitchen Organization Tips and Secrets have a lot of menu planning ideas.)
6. Would you let someone walk through your home unattended? what would you be embarrassed for them to see? Anything that is a time waster or speed bump in your life should be dealt with.
7. Chose a flat surface (table, counter, dresser, etc.) and keep it clear.
Here’s one of the best ideas I’ve heard for keeping the dining room table clear of stuff. One woman told me that she sets the table as if she’s having company. With all that stuff on the table, people didn’t toss the mail, homework, or miscellaneous debris on the table.And, if someone comes over – it looks nice. There’s no embarrassment.
So, you can sneak up on those resolutions and get organized in spite of yourself!