April 25, 2010

Group It!

It's almost the end of April--I hope you've started your Spring Cleaning for 2010. Although the weather has turned cool today, you're going to want those sandals, sports equipment and other 'summer fun' items at arm's reach very soon.

So far, I've given you four basic organizing principles--here's number five--the last one you'll need for Spring Cleaning and Anytime of the Year Cleaning.

Basic Organizing Principle #5:

Group 'Like with Like.'

Grouping 'like with like' helps you to find what you need when you need it. For instance, if all of your daughter's hair clips were to be grouped together all in one place it would be easier to find the pink Hello Kitty barrette that matches her pink Hello Kitty T-shirt. If her hair clips were dumped in a drawer with a bunch of crayons and a few beanie babies, they would be much harder to locate quickly.

Another example: All that 'tupperware' we talked about in Basic Organizing Principle #4--how many times have you cursed under your breath because you couldn't find a square-shaped lid to match it's bottom part? Grouping 'like with like' is the key to finding that bottom part in a matter of seconds.

To achieve optimal container storage, take all of your storage containers out of your cabinet and place them on the dining room table. Sort them by category--group all circle and oval shaped containers and then the squares and rectangles. Do the same with the lids. Then match up lids with bottoms. If you have any missing bottoms or lids, consider recycling or repurposing the other mate-less piece.

Grouping 'like with like' will save you:

Time - no long and tiresome searches for what you need
Money - no more spending $$$ on items you already have but just can't find
Stress--self explanatory...

Even if you haven't started your Spring Cleaning yet, start grouping 'like with like.' It will make you feel like you've taken a huge step towards organizing your home.

April 19, 2010

Take a Moment

Remember the last organizing principle we discussed?

This one piggy-backs on the last one...

Basic Organizing Principle #4:

Take the Time to Put Things Away Properly
You've created a home for your stuff. You've used it and now it's time to put it back in it's home.

If you take a few seconds or minutes to put something away properly (as opposed to haphazardly or next to/on top of where it should be), you'll be able to find it next time you need it. And, the next time you need it, it will be easier to retrieve.

For example, if you usually take your tupperware out of the dishwasher and jut toss it into your cabinet, you'll have difficulty retrieving a matching top and bottom the next time you need it.

I often advise people that spending a few minutes putting items 'back in their home' will save them time when they need to revisit that area in the future.

Spending time NOW will save you time LATER.

Keep on doing that Spring cleaning!

April 13, 2010

Just like Amazon!

Just wanted to let you know that The Container Store has just introduced 'Ratings and Reviews' for their thousands of products. So, if you've bought from The Container Store in the past, go ahead and write a review for that product. If you do it by May 31, 2010 you'll be entered to win a $500 gift card.

Go to containerstore.com/reviews to submit an online review. It's just like Amazon, only for organizing products!

April 9, 2010

"Honey, Where's the...?"

Did you do your taxes yet? If not, stop reading this entry and go straight to your accountant's office. If your taxes are done and you're ready to tackle another part of Spring Cleaning then read on...

I'd like to share with you another basic organizing principle--one that is so basic, we don't even realize half the time that we're doing it.

Basic Organizing Principle #3:

Designate a logical and specific 'home' to put your belongings

Also known as:

“A Place for Everything and Everything in It’s Place”

First example: the toothbrush.

How many of you keep your toothbrush in the living room or the bedroom? Where do most people keep it? Right—in the bathroom—in a holder or drawer or medicine cabinet. Why do we keep it there? Because it’s logical to keep it in the place that we use it. And it’s most likely that when we need it, we’ll find it right there in the bathroom.

Whenever I give a talk, I like to tell people the story of when my hubby and I were first married. We used to go shopping for items for the house and we would bring the tape measure with us. When we came back it would be put down—we hadn’t established a home for it. After one too many, ‘Honey, have you seen the tape measure?’ We decided to designate a home for it in one of our kitchen drawers and now, nine years later, we always know where to find it…

This doesn't need to be complicated. When figuring out a 'home' for an object, ask yourself,

• Where would i use this most often (toothbrush = bathroom)

• If this object leaves the house with me often, where should I create a spot for it? (near the front door? hall closet? mudroom? On a hook/shelf/in a tote bag?

• If I don't use this item often, what is the most logical spot for it?

If you think finding a home for every itty bitty thing in your home is going to be overwhelming--don't panic! You've already made a logical home for most of your belongings (clothes in the drawers/closet, food in the fridge/pantry,and let's not forget your toothbrush...). By designating a logical and specific place to put your belongings, it will enable you to find what you need when you need it--and that's REALLY what being organized is all about.