Organization Tips

Read these 22 Organization Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Home Organization tips and hundreds of other topics.

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What is the best way to organize a laundry room?

Quick Tips for Organizing a Laundry Room

1. Corral all-weather gear
2. Contain your cleaning supplies
3. Create a pet zone
4. Go vertical to dry clothes
5. Pre-sort dirty clothes in hampers
6. Create a laundry room "Lost and Found"


The Versatility of Home Organization Products

When it comes to the use of home organization products, it is helpful to think outside of the proverbial box. After all, you don't always have to use a product for the purpose that it was intended for and sometimes you can think of a better use for something than the original inventor had in mind. Here are some perfect examples...

Many stores sell spice organizers that are made to fit in your kitchen drawers. While every kitchen can certainly benefit from having spices well-organized and easily accessible, you aren't limited to using a spice organizer for spices alone. If you plan on buying a spice organizer, pick up two instead. Put one in the kitchen and one in the bathroom. This type of organizer can be used to effectively organize nail polish in a vanity drawer. Nail polish has a tendency to get misplaced and the majority of people would appreciate a great way to store it. An in-drawer spice rack can be the perfect solution.

Another kitchen item that can serve a dual purpose in a different room is the ice cube tray. You can use ice cube trays to line a shallow dresser drawer and put individual pairs of earrings in each of the compartments of the tray. This will give you plenty of space for all of your earrings and you won't be digging through an unorganized mess to find the perfect pair.

Your necklaces can also benefit from a common kitchen item. Thread your necklaces through plastic straws so they no longer become tangled with each other.

Do you feel overwhelmed when you walk into your house?

Don't do it Today

Do you say 'I have to get organized,' every day—it's no wonder you are freaking out! This statement usually results in an overwhelmed, 'I don't know where to start' feeling.

So, right now promise me you will banish those words from your vocabulary. It's more important to define exactly what you want to organize, than say you want to just get organized.

First I want you to make a list of the specific things you'd like to organize, your bedroom closet, your kitchen cupboards, or your work filing cabinets .

Then, prioritize your list. The tasks closest to the top should be those that are currently causing you the most stress. Once you prioritize your list, choose one or two of those tasks to work on. Once you choose your one or two tasks, break them down into smaller mini goals. If you'd like to organize your closet, you may break it down into top shelf, middle shelf and lower shelf. Tackle tasks that can easily be completed, in small brackets of time.


Have You Created Your Home Manual?

If your household is in complete disarray and you and your family just can't seem to hold it together, you may want to consider the creation of a home manual. Some of the most disorganized families have been able to get their households on track with this simple, easy-to-use tool.

When creating a household manual, you'll want to buy a binder and divide it into three different sections. One section will contain important phone numbers (the beauty salon, the doctor's office, the vet).

The second section of the home manual is going to list out the items in your home that no one can ever seem to find. You'll name a "home" for each item in this list and everyone must be agree to keep each item in its home.

For instance, if you're constantly losing scissors, the "home" could be the kitchen drawer and everyone would agree that they would return the scissors to their home whenever they were taken out.

The last section of the manual will be home to your family's schedule. Swimming lessons, doctor's appointments and everything else the family needs to do will be detailed in the binder's schedule section. This will ensure that everyone stays on track and that the family doesn't become over-scheduled.

While it may take a bit of time to get the manual put together and organized, the benefits you'll receive from throwing some effort into the project will be well worth it in the long run.

Stacks of magazines getting your crazy?

Are you using your stacks of magazines as other things than reading material?

Do you have stacks of magazines dating back to, to when you were dating? If you are like a lot of people, including my mother, you have stacks of magazines you want to read, but just don't have the time right now to do it. Well, my dears I have the solutions. I want you to plop yourself on the couch with a stack of these magazines and thumb through the magazines, stopping at anything you might be interested in. Don't read it. I just want you to tear the article out. Do this with all of the magazines you have. When you are done tearing out all the articles put them in a folder marked Reading Material. Take the magazines you have just gone through, and toss them. Now, don't you feel better? You don't have to stare at all of the magazines and feel bad. Now, you will look at the small folder and read when you have a moment. Oh, and when you finish the article you can do one of two things. File the article away or throw it out.

What do I buy to get myself organized?

Don't YOU BUY, until your Organize

Don't buy until you organize: What does that mean you may ask? Well, in a nutshell: Don't buy any type of organizational equipment until you know what you need. This one rule will save you lots of unnecessary trips back to the store, and of course money. Once, you know—Hey, I need shelves and a few baskets on this shelf, or I need a large cupboard for all of my treasures that I am keeping –then that is the time to go shopping. OH, and when you go, make sure you have your measurements…and a color patch of the wall where it is going…there is nothing worse than buying something, having it delivered and then not liking how the two colors work together…So, please before you buy; you need to get organized. Remember, Do I love it? Keep It. Do I hate it, but it's still in great condition. Donate it. Do you hate it, and it's junk---Trash it!

Now, you will have the space to make decisions about what you need for your possessions. You will be organized, clutter-free and maybe even ready for your shoot in Home and Gardens. Have an Organized Day!

How heavy is your purse?

Pursing Around?

If you are like most women, we carry around far too much identifying information. Please do not carry your passport unless you are going on a trip. You do not need to carry your birth certificate, or credit cards you're not using. (In fact, if you haven't used them in some time, close the accounts. Don't carry around your Social Security card. Why? Your Social Security number is key for an identify thief because it can be used to apply for credit or other loans in your name.

You do not need to carry the entire make-up counter at Sax's. Just a few basics are all you need. Lipstick, mascara, blush…and maybe one more. Keep it simple. And those should be stored in it's own case. Empty your wallet of receipts every night, and please, please please carry those coupons with you in your car, not in your purse. You never know when you need to stop by the grocery store, and if it's in your car, you will always have them with you—but your purse will be lighter!


Making Time to Organize

If I were to ask you why your home wasn't organized, what answer would you give me? If I had to guess, I'd say it would have something to do with not having enough time. The sad fact is that most of us don't have the time we'd like to in order to keep our homes in order. Fortunately, finding time doesn't have to be like searching for a needle in a million haystacks. It's just a matter of being creative about it.

If you're like most people, you watch at least one or two television shows each week. If you do, what do you do when the commercials come on? Unless you're a TIVO fanatic and you fast-forward away from the commercials like they're contaminated with the plague, you probably waste at least twenty minutes each and every week on the marketing ploys of television advertising.

Instead of sitting through the commercials that come on during your favorite show, get up off the couch and do some quick organizing while the commercials are running. Then when the show comes back on, go ahead and sit down and relax. You'll have earned it.

What is the most efficient way to organize piles of clothing in the laundry room?

Keeping The Laundry Room Organized

There are a couple of key strategies for keeping your laundry room neat even when faced with several piles of clothes.

* Keep at least three baskets in your laundry room to separate clothes. You can either buy a pre-sectioned laundry sorter or use a few wicker baskets for this purpose. This is a way to sort clothes into piles for washing while still maintaining order and organization in your laundry room.

*To keep your laundry under control, try to do one pile from your laundry sorter each day to keep the piles from becoming an overwhelming and daunting task.

*Designate a space to keep your detergents and other cleaning products in your laundry room. Most people have shelving of some sort, but a bin with separate compartments a basket will also do the trick. The object of laundry room organization is to keep products and clothing in one place so that you can have easy access to it.

*Clean hoses and vents in your laundry room regularly to keep dust from building up. A dryer vent cleaning brush is particularly important as dryers let off extreme amounts of dry heat, so you don't want buildup in your dryer vents from lint, dust, etc.


Hiring a Professional Home Organizer

If you're having difficulty getting your home organized, you're not alone. Thousands of people feel as though their drowning in a sea of daily responsibilities, and home organization isn't always top on the list of priorities. If your home is in desperate need of organization and you just don't have the time to do it yourself, you might want to consider the services of a professional home organizer.

The services of professional organizers can priceless to individuals who are having difficulty getting their homes or apartments organized. If you have tried unsuccessfully to make a place for everything and to put everything in its place, a professional may be just what the doctor ordered. The best part is, you don't have to pay an arm and a leg. Some home organizers are willing to work for right around $10 an hour, and once your home is organized it's much easier to keep it up yourself.

How do I start my home organization project?

Start With a Clean Out

Rule number one of home organization is that you can't organize until you get rid of your clutter. If you have too much stuff for your space, no matter how well you use bins and shelving, you will never really be organized.

So take the first step, purge!

If you have a big house this may seem like a daunting process, but you just need to go one room at a time and one step at a time. A great purging tip: choose a staging area! It may be your living room, your garage or your playroom. You should choose a space that has a clear floor and an area where you can spread out. You may want a sound system or a TV (depending on your productivity) but the key is that you can bring stuff in that room, spread it out, identify what you can get rid of, and then clean it up!


Creative Uses for Shoe Organizers

There are a number of cute shoe organizers on the market and their uses go far beyond storing shoes. Today's colorful and decorative shoe storage solutions can be put to use in almost any room of the house.

Shoe storage cabinets, for instance, are great for reining in the chaos of your crafting corner. Items can be easily organized in the cabinets' multiple cubby holes. Tiny items such as jars of glitter or crystals can be stowed in a basket before sliding inside the shoe cabinet. Even if you aren't an organizational wizard, your craft room can still look attractive and well put together.

Make the task of getting everyone off to school and work that much easier by using a hanging shoe organizer specifically for mudroom storage. When family members enter the house, they can stash mittens, hats and scarves in their personal clear vinyl pouches. The next morning, the items are right there, saving everyone time that might otherwise be spent searching all over the house for a missing glove during the morning rush. If need be, you can label each pouch in the organizer with a family member's name, and the item they should store there.

Hanging shoe organizers are also great in the bathroom. Hair brushes, bottles of lotion, barrettes and beauty items can hang neatly on the back of the bathroom door instead of getting tossed in drawers and cabinets.

By thinking beyond the intended use of storage objects, you can bring more order to your home, with decorative flair.

Can I use a wire storage rack instead of a wood storage rack?

Home Organization on a Budget

We don't all have the money to invest in gorgeous wood storage units, high end pot racks or wood racks for the outdoors, but that doesn't mean you have to be disorganized. Wire rack shelving is a great way to implement home storage without breaking the bank.

You can use wire racks or metal racks in the living room, bathroom, and kitchen and everywhere in between. The cool part about inexpensive metal shelving is that you can customize it to your decor. Just sand it down and choose a spray paint that can be used on metal. You can get creative with glitter, stencils and all kinds of other fun stuff depending on the room and the use of the rack. Just because it's inexpensive doesn't mean it has to be boring.

How can home care help home organization?

Time and Organization

Home organization and home care go hand in hand. If you can keep your things organized and stored, you'll be able to clean, maintain and care for your home more effectively.

Just think if you didn't have to think about tidying toys, folding or refolding clean laundry and everything in between, you'd be able to dust, clean fans and corners and make the most of your free time to enjoy yourself.

A great example of organization leading to great home care - gutter guards. How many times do you have to clean out your gutter and waste that precious time before you come up with a better solution? Gutter screens fit over your gutters and hold all the leaves, pine needles and other debris while allowing water to pass through. A quick swipe every six months cleans them off, but you never have to worry about clogs in your downspout. Organizing your time and using technology effectively is one of the best ways to use organization to make your life better.

How do I effectively hold a yard sale?

Yard Sales 101

When you are finally ready to purge, you should consider making a profit from all of your hard work and hold a yard sale. All you need to do is set aside a set of bins or boxes for the things you decide you can do without.

  • Set a date for your yard sale by looking for local events that may bring in extra people to your town.
  • Assess the best traffic area for signage.
  • Run on over to your town hall and get a permit if you need to think about renting tables if you don't have enough in your house.
  • The week before, take a bin into your TV room each night and gradually price all of your items. (You may think just having a $1.00 table would be easier, but folks are less apt to buy when items aren't individually priced.)
  • Schedule an early morning for your sale day - post your signs and set up your tables.

Remember - if you put an ad in the paper, expect early birds - the most avid yard-sailors always hit the sales early looking for the best bargains!

How can I make sure I am making the most of my home?

Organizing Your Home is Not Just About Where Stuff Goes

When you are deciding what room serves what purpose in your home, you shouldn't jump to conclusions. You really need to assess your needs. Whether you are just moving into your home, or you are deciding how to organize your home after being there for years, think hard. You do have that extra room for use, not just for looking pretty.

Maybe your extra room is an office - ask yourselves the following questions:

  • Do you use it?
  • Is it efficient?
  • Do you have a guest room you never use?

Here is how you begin: what do you spend time doing that you never have space for? Crafts? Guests? Office stuff? Consider converting your unused guest room into an office and keep an air mattress in the closet for your guests. Or take your cluttered office and create a craft room with a more usable office station for you and your kids. When you need to organize your home, the first step is to get uncluttered, step number two is to go back to basics and really think about how you are using your space.

How can I maintain my appliances to ensure their efficiency?

Maintaining Your Appliances

Once your home organization is complete you can focus on home care, maintenance and even keeping your appliances in better condition. For instance, if you are well organized in your kitchen, you won't waste as much food and you'll be able to take time to maintain and clean your refrigerator regularly.

Another way to improve your overall home and bedroom organization is to make sure your laundry is getting done which means maintaining your washer and dryer.

  • To clean your washer, use bleach, hot water (more bleach than water), and a lot of elbow grease. In some cases, the "basket" of your washer will be removable so you want to make sure you clean the entire interior.
  • Don't leave your dryer out in the cold! Make sure your lint area is always cleaned out and use a dryer vent cleaning brush to ensure maximum efficiency in your dryer.

How can I keep my home care supplies better organized?

Home Repair

Ever moved something through your house and caught a corner with furniture (or anything for that matter) and not been able to touch up the chipped paint because you can't find the right supplies? If you are a fan of color, don't trust the old paint cans you may or may not have stored in the garage. They are likely separated, dried out and dead. A great home care *and* home organization tip: keep the paint cards (with number of color) in a folder in your filing system. This will allow you to pull out the right color if you have to get a match down the line. It will also be very helpful if you decide to change up one room in your home. By having the remaining color palette of your house easily accessible, you won't have to bring paint samples or be stuck with a color that doesn't look quite right next to and existing shade.

Once I get organized, how can I stay organized?

Home Organization Behaviors

Are you a pack rat?

One of the most important aspects of organizing your home is making sure you are changing the behaviors that got you into trouble in the first place. You may have sixty different collections of things that have caught your eye; you may just hate throwing things away, or shipping your unused things off to the goodwill, but its time to face the truth.

If you want to get organized, you can and will, but if you want to stay organized, look at yourself and figure out your pack rat triggers. Choose one or two collections that are the most important to you - if you buy a new thing, force yourself to get rid of something you have and don't use. If you want to get rid of the clutter, make sure you don't start gathering it as soon as you have extra space!

How can I get the most money for my clutter?

Getting the Most $ for Your Clutter

If you have several collections you have decided you can do without, you should seriously think about going on EBay to see what your items are worth. Sometimes the market value of your stuff is higher than you may think. Try not to let this be a factor in keeping the stuff around, but rather for making some nice money off your clean and empty space!

Vintage toys are often worth some decent money, as well as some vintage clothing and board games. EBay is very user friendly, but here's a tip - get a user account and check "completed auctions" when you are looking up values. This is the best way to see what things are actually selling for. If the item sells for very little money, just sell them at your yard sale - chances are the fees from EBay will not make selling them there worthwhile.

Are there any time saving tools that will help me be more efficient with hard home jobs?

Home Care the Easy Way

When you have a tough to clean location, you may make excuses for yourself to avoid completing the job. Whether this is changing a light bulb in a high ceiling or dusting your sky lights you need to get this done. That doesn't mean you need to sink a ton of time into the project.

There are a variety of telescoping pole products that can help you achieve your goals with minimal effort. Save time and feel that sense of accomplishment by getting those tough jobs that really bug you done in a flash.

How can I keep my extension cords organized and protected?

End Entangled Extension Cords

Do you find yourself spending more time looking for and untangling an extension cord than it takes to use it? Do your extension cords fray and wear out from improper storage? Can you never remember which cord works best for which appliance? Do you try three different cords before finding the right length for your need?

The end to this problem is in a simple toilet paper roll! Simply loop the cord back and forth, slip into the tube, and voila! Your cord stays together and doesn't tangle with other cords. If you have special cords for special appliances, simply label the extension cord on the cardboard tube with a sharpie, and that cord is identified. Extension cord length can also be written, thus ending the search for a nine-foot cord amongst all the six-foot ones!

AND, if you put them all in the same drawer, you'll never have to hunt for an extension cord again!

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Guru Spotlight
Sherril Steele-Carlin