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Get Organized in 2014

Picture this: You come home at the end of a long day. Maybe you’ve been at the office or shuttling children from one activity to another or volunteering at your favorite charity. But now you are home. Ah, home. Doesn’t the word just make you relax?

No? Well, I suppose it is dinner time. The dog needs to be fed. There is homework to do, mail to be read. And at my house, we seem to have stuff everywhere—paperwork, athletic equipment, shoes, books, coats.

While many start the New Year with exercise or diet plans, organization has become a practical goal for lots of folks, including me.
Thankfully, I have several friends who are talented home organizers. Over the years, these are some suggestions they have made that have worked for me.

• Don’t fight your nature. If paperwork tends to pile up on the kitchen table, put storage space for these items nearby. If everyone in your house dumps shoes, backpacks and gym bags in the entrance hall, create storage for these things where they naturally land.

• When you start to de-clutter, focus on one room or area at a time. I’m in a continuing battle with clutter on my home desk. It is a place that is a catch-all for everything from stationary and cards to bills and insurance policies. Now I have a file folder system that alleviates the disorganization and it doesn’t take me as long to clean it up.

• Another suggestion a friend had was planning space in three or four zones. For a closet, this might mean putting work clothes together, special occasion clothes together and casual clothes together. For the family room, you might have areas for music, another for games and conversation, and another for reading.

• Finally, it is important to get buy-in from other family members who share the space. If everyone doesn’t understand it or doesn’t think it’s a good idea, it will be difficult to get your efforts to work.

For me, getting things under control in my house means being able to find things quickly when I need them, not necessarily having everything
look perfect. It requires effort and commitment—but everything does that is worthwhile.


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