Do you ever go through a box of items or through a closet and find something you have not used in a while but you swear you will still use it? Even better, do you tell yourself that this object has an important function? I have several experiences like that a day when working with a client. Often times this new found treasure displays some tell tale sign of not being used or handled for a long period of time. At that moment I often challenge my clients to think about whether or not they really use this item or if they simply think they use it.
Janine Cavinaugh, Certified Professional Organizer and NAPO-NE member, offers three of her favorite tips for keeping holiday decorations organized.
Learn more about Janine at www.helpfulorganizer.com.
When taking on the task of decluttering and possibly rearranging a space, don’t forget the impact your changes may have on your pets. You may laugh, but animals, much like humans, are creatures of habit, and when we change their world it can be a little unsettling. I was pleasantly surprised when a client of mine told me that a cat stand that was in a room had to stay in the room and had to stay in front of a window. Everything else in the room was up for negotiation, but the cat stand had to stay put. My client’s cats enjoyed sitting in the window, checking out the view and catching some rays. Why would we deprive the kitties of that!
This is true for everything from kitchen gadgets to computer gadgets, paper plates to paperwork, and craft supplies to first aid supplies. Here are four questions to help you think through where to “assign homes” for all your stuff.
- “Where are its friends?” Items that are similar or are used together are friends. For example, a hammer is friends with a screwdriver but not with your extra paper towels. Postage stamps are friends with envelopes and matches are friends with candles. When you keep all the friends together, it’s easier and quicker to find them.
- “Do I use it often or infrequently?” Not everything needs to be kept within arm’s reach. Items you use frequently need to be accessible, but seldom-used items can be put away in a less convenient place. Save your prime real estate storage space for the things you use the most.
- “Where do I use it?” For those things that you use frequently, keep it near where you use it. Keep the dog leash near the door, the recycling bin near where you open the mail, and the ironing board near where you like to iron.
- “When it’s time to use it, where will I think to look for it?” Our brains are wired in such a way that we actually have different neuropaths for where to “put” and where to “find.” Since what really counts is finding what we want when we want it, it’s best to store things according to where you will look for them.
When the above questions don’t help, think about where you would first look for something. There’s no right or wrong place. It just needs to make sense to YOU.
Have you seen the television show on TLC called “Extreme Couponing“? The show follows people who use massive quantities of coupons to get rediculous volumes of products. Honestly, is it necessary to keep 100+ tubes of toothpaste in your home at one time? I do give these people credit for the time and effort put into the planning of their shopping trips, but you have to consider what you will do with the product when you get it home. Some of the featured couponers (I think I may be coining a new term here!) have created storage systems in their basements or garages. Others have taken over their homes with excessive product. I am all for saving money with the use of coupons, but I have to draw the line when the volume being purchased is frivilous.
After many years of entertaining for Thanksgiving, baking thousands of Christmas cookies, tons of family birthdays, and impromptu gatherings, the family cookbook needs an update. Cooking is a huge event in my family, and we often gather ’round the cookbook to plan shopping and prepare meals together. The intention of this organizational project is to create a simple and functional system that is easy to maintain and evolve as it is passed down for generations to come. I’ve created a list of criteria that you can apply to your own DIY family cookbook project.