Friday, November 21, 2014

Day 5 In the Bedrooms - 7 Days to an Organized Home

It took me several days to get through all my closets and drawers. Now that I am done it is time to move on to the next step. Today's focus is on the bedrooms.

Start in the master bedroom. I always leave my own room for last and it is a mistake that I continually repeat. Somehow when my own space is clean I am better able to focus on getting the other bedrooms clean quickly.

This should be simple now that the closets are de-junked and cleaned out and the bed side tables no longer have piles on them. I have a pattern to bedroom cleaning that I will outline here.

1. Grab sheets off of all the beds and start washing before you begin cleaning. Change the loads as needed throughout the day.
2. Open windows to air out the room.
3. Time to dust. Start at the top and work your way down. Don't forget the tops of dressers and tables, light fixtures, around the ceiling corners and around the windows. Don't forget the master bath. Move from bedroom to bedroom to get this done quickly and efficiently. I purchased a long handles duster for my high ceilings.
4. Clothes are next. Dirty clothing to the laundry, clean laundry on the floor needs to be hung up or put into a dresser (my kids are famous for putting their clean laundry on the floor so I started putting everything possible on hangers as it came out of the dryer and they have to hang it seems to help them put it where it needs to go), make sure the closet is still nice and tidy.
5. When cleaning kids rooms this is where I take time to pick up toys. I find a medium basket in the closet is an easy way to quickly gather toys and store them. I try to keep most toys in the basement toy closet and they have only their most special things in the bedrooms. Less is often more.
5. Make master bed with clean sheets.
6. With a damp rag wipe down baseboards, wood work, bed, bedroom door and handles.
7. Master bath -
    -clean off counters putting things where they go in your newly organized drawers,
    -change any lightbulbs that are out,
    -clean mirrors and windows,
    -spray shower and toilet and let them sit a few minutes,
    -scour the tub,
    -finish shower and toilet,
    -wipe down baseboards
8. Vacuum and or sweep master bed and bath

Repeat this process for each bedroom and voila!, you have made tons of progress today.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Day 4 In the Drawers, On the Tables - 7 Days to an Organized Home

Day 4 is here. Today it's time to go through your drawers. The bathroom drawers should have been done with the bathroom cabinets. We are focusing on junk drawers, kitchen drawers, office drawers, end table drawers, side tables drawers. Open them up and start throwing away everything you don't need. I found old receipts, boxes for electronics I no longer needed, etc. After throwing away everything you don't need take 5 minutes to quickly organize the remaining things and move to the next drawer. When you get to the kitchen be sure to take time to take everything out, vacuum out and wipe down then organize everything.

Another huge job done today!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Day 3 In the Closets - 7 Days to an Organized Home

Today we are going to start in all the closets that aren't clothing closets. Linen closets, toy closets, hallway closets, craft closets, mud room closets/lockers.

1. Gather supplies - garbage bags and donation bags
2. Throw out
3. De-junk/Donate
4. Organize

Grab several big black garbage bags. One for donating and one for throwing away.
This is how I go about starting. I begin with closets at one end of my house (with my craft closet) and move towards the other end of the house. I begin by throwing away anything that is broken, too old to be of use, worn out, etc. Then I gather up as much as I can to donate. Be sure these items are in good repair and that someone might actually need or want. This is the hard step....getting rid of stuff. The good news is I find the more I get rid of the more I use what I have left.

For example, my craft closet was a mess before this challenge. I had so much stuff and sometimes I couldn't find what I needed. After doing the steps above I have one full garbage bag of stuff to give away. I purchased an over the door organizer and was able to make my own wrapping station on the back of the door that fits my needs perfectly. (In my next post I will show you how simple it is) My closet is now clutter free and I can find everything easier. I don't even miss the things I got rid of.

My advice is to just do it. Get rid of what you don't use no matter what it cost. (You can also sell the things you no longer use for a bit of money).

Linen closet tips: Keep an extra set of sheets in the closets of each room instead of in the linen closet. This frees up some room in the linen closet and reduces time spent searching for the correct size sheets. The sheets are easily accessible this way and my kids can't say they don't know where their extra set of sheets are :) At the bottom of my linen closet I have a nice wicker bin that I keep extra blankets in. It looks nice and my kids are less likely to pull them our of the bin than off the shelf.

Mud room: I got rid of our cupboard storage and hung lots of hooks for coats. I have 2 bins for shoes. The reality is that my kids aren't going to open their cute cupboard, hang their coat and backpack and put their shoes neatly in pairs in the designated spot. I am actually laughing at this point. I had to make it easier. They now come in, throw their shoes into one of the bins and quickly hang backpacks and coats on the hangers. It looks tidy and they are still able to find their things when needed. Not Pottery Barn, but functional and organized....good enough for me.

Coat closet: Get rid of those coats you have been saving. If no one uses them donate them to a homeless shelter. They will get some great use and by giving them away you create more open space. Let this closet be nothing but a coat closet. Get rid of everything except coats, hats and umbrellas. Maybe rain boots can find a home in the bottom of this closet.

Now it's time for the bedroom closets.

This is one of the hardest steps for me to the closets. What if I need that thing I haven't worn in 2 years one day? What if I lose or gain 10 pounds? I need all these clothes....don't I? The answer is no.

My child might wear that, I should save it for the next one, It is just too cute! These are all thoughts I have had when going about this task. One of my friends will employ the help of a friend so that she can have two sets of eyes and one that has no sentimental attachment to her kids stuff :)

Start by getting rid of anything that is ripped, stained, or unusable. Next grab (as fast as you can) anything your child won't wear, anything that is too small, etc. These things go straight into the donate bag. Don't look into the bag at any is easier this way :) If you are saving clothes for you child to grow into, grab a storage bin, label it with what's inside and when it's filled put it in the storage room for later. Just don't forget you have it (yes I have done this several times). I now only keep the very best of the hand me downs and get rid of the rest. My children's tastes are different and I can save lots of clothes just to have them never worn again.

Shoes. Keep the ones they/you wear and donate the rest. At one point I had hundreds of pairs of shoes. I love shoes. The reality is that I don't need that many and it causes an organization nightmare. I donated several large moving boxes of shoes and haven't missed them a bit.

This step may take a full day or several. Be patient and get it done. You will feel great when you know all those closets are organized.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Day 2 Under the Sinks - 7 Days to an Organized Home

These tasks are meant for you to take on as you can. If you need to go every other day, once a week or 7 days straight it is up to you. We all work differently and have different responsibilities and time commitments to work around. The goal here is not to make anyone feel bad about what they did not accomplish, but to focus on all that we do accomplish.

Now that all our papers and piles of papers are organized into appropriate folders or filing systems it is time to move to our next task.

Under sink cabinets
Start in the bathrooms. Take everything out and wipe the cabinet out. Here is the hard part. Throw away anything you don't need. I found I had extra bottles of conditioner that I didn't love, half used bottles of lotion I don't use, little hotel bottles that I saved from traveling. The truth is that these things can be better used donated to a women's shelter or homeless shelter. If you don't use or love the product it may sit under your sink for years adding to the disorganization and chaos. Be brave and get rid of these things.

Now that you have de-junked the cabinets it is time to organize them. This is the fun part and I feel great because I have what I need under my sink and room to spare, not to mention that it looks orderly.

Things I keep under my bathroom sinks:
Toilet paper
Paper towels
Extra Hand soap
One extra bottle of lotion
Cleaning caddy with cleaning supplies

My cleaning caddy is one of my favorite things. It is so easy to grab and holds all my supplies to clean the bathroom. I have one in an upstairs bathroom and one in the downstairs bathroom. This saves me time and allows me to tidy up and quickly clean between deeper cleanings. I know where my supplies are without searching through the house. It makes it easier for my kids to learn to clean the bathroom as well.

My caddy was purchased at Wal-Mart. I filled it with all my preferred cleaning supplies such as:
Lysol Toilet Bowl Cleaner
Scrub Brush
Lysol Bathroom Cleaner
Lysol Natural Cleaner

Take time to empty out the bathroom drawers, wipe them down, put only those things you need and use back in. I like to use a container to hold toothpaste and toothbrushes.

As I opened my kitchen sink cabinet I realized that the empty egg cartons and 2 L pop bottles (all for scouting activities) needed to go. The ones I "had" to keep went down on a shelf in my storage room and all the others went straight into the trash. I have a wire stand that allows me to add a shelf under the sink that helps with organization. I make sure that my dish soap, dish wash detergent and granite cleaners are all readily accessible and easy to grab. The stove top cleaner, jet dry and other less used cleaners sit behind.

My last sink cabinet is in my laundry room. This cabinet contains my cleaning buckets, rags and scrub brushes. Material should have it's own spot. For me it is in my storage room. While you are at it you might as well check off another to do by mating socks and getting rid of any with holes or lost mates.

This task shouldn't take more than an hour or two if you are focused and have no distractions. Dig in and get it done and feel how much better it is to know your cabinets are cleaned out, de-junked and organized. Happy organizing!