Organize Your Stuff!

giftThe gifting season is about to begin. What a lovely time of year. Although, looking around my house, I can see where there may be a problem finding a place for anything new.

Through the years, I have accumulated a lot of stuff. Having two kids did not help, it seems I’ve now accumulated their stuff. They get organizedmoved out of the house, their stuff did not. To compound the issue, I live in a small house, with even smaller closets. What to do?  How to keep it all organized and tidy?

First thing is to clear out all items that have expired. Next, clear out anything no longer used, you don’t like, don’t want. If it is something that someone else can use, give it away trashor sell it. If, you’re like me, and there are items you don’t use, but for whatever reason you can’t let it go, store it in a container that is completely opaque. Put this container in a dry, dark spot. Visit your container every six months to see if you still feel the need to keep these items.storage boxes

Now you’re ready to organize what is left. My number one stop for organizational and storage containers is the office products shop, such as Staples, Office Depot or even Amazon (Office Product section). Look for the storage and organization category. If you’re looking to add storage to your bathroom, plastic storagechild’s room, sewing or hobby room, look at the plastic rolling carts at Staples. I recommend the plastic style over the wooden style for the bathroom, it’s easier to maintain with all of the steam and damp heat that collects in the bathroom.

Go to the Container Store website for items that will give you options for your cosmetics and skin care products. I like to keep my everyday, twice a day, necessaries handy. The acrylic section of acrylic container 2makeup organizers should have an option that will fit in your bathroom. If you sign up for the e-mail option, you will get periodic e-mails with discount coupons. Or, you may find similar items at Amazon.

While we’re in the bathroom, if you’re like me, there’s a bit too much “stuff” in your shower. I can never decide which shampoo, conditioner, shower gel, facial cleanser, etc., that I want. simplehuman So, I tend to keep a lot of options in the shower. This can get a bit dicey and scary (picture items falling off the little sides of the tub and dancing around my feet while showering). I have found a safer and better alternative to storing my shower goodies on the little (too little) sides of the tub. I found the Simplehuman Shower Caddy. These come in several options, big, bigger and biggest. I love the Simplehuman brand, very clean lines, very functional brand.wooden rolling cart

Moving into the kitchen, if you’re looking for something to store your kitchen items in, look for a rolling wooden cart. You may want deeper drawers for the kitchen to hold those appliances that need a home away from your counter top. Appliances such as the electric hand mixer, coffee bean grinder, food scale, juicer, need a place away from the counter to clear the clutter and to keep them clean. I like the rolling carts, they are effortless to move which makes cleaning easier. kitchen caddyWhile you are in the office store, look at the acrylic containers for holding your small kitchen items (long handled spoons, whisks, spatulas, clips, pins, etc.). You will find these items in the desk top organizer section.

Are you ready to tackle the garage, basement, cellar, attic or your storage unit? First rule: get it off the floor! Depending on the weight of your stuff, whitmorget some metal shelving that you can stack your possessions on. I like Whitmor Shelving. You can find these at Amazon. Each shelf holds 350 pounds, and these shelves have a ten year warranty. And, I have found the Sterilite 106 Qt. Latch Box (sold at Home Depot) fits perfectly on the Whitmor 4 or 3 shelf unit. Using a plastic box sterliteto store your belongings will protect them from water, rodents, insects and any other little nasties that you find in garages, basements, attics, or storage units. These Sterilite boxes are semi-transparent making it possible to see what is inside. However, I also color-code labels on the outside, making it easier for trouble-free retrieval. I color code each box according to season (for clothing), purpose (holiday, cleaning, yard) or person. Each garage storageson and daughter-in-law has a color assigned to him or her. I use different colored index cards to simplify this task.

Last stop is the home office. This is a very important room to organize. The best way to get rid of paper clutter is to scan any paper you will need to access in the future. This makes it super simple to locate documents. You need to set up file folders on your computer first. Then, as you scan the documents, save each one to the assigned file folder on your computer. If you don’t have a scanner, I highly recommend getting one. Most printers come with a form of a scanner, but if you don’t want to get a new printer, a hand-held scanner is an option. Even if you have a scanner in your printer, you may want to invest in a hand-held scscanneranner for those items that do not fit on a printer scanner. You can, and should, also scan all of your photos that you want to keep forever. Again, set up several file folders on your computer, and as you scan the photos, save them in the assigned file folder for effortless retrieval in the future.  Be sure to name the documents and photos with a name you can easily remember for searching purposes.  I always save my photos with the name(s) of the individuals or the location of the picture as part of the file name, dates are helpful too. shred

The next thing to do in your home office is to shred any documents which you no longer need. If in doubt, scan the documents first. Please note:  If you have original estate planning documents, please put these into a fireproof box for safe keeping. Never shred original legal documents, keep these in a safe, fireproof box.

For all of your important papers that you need to keep, and need easy access to, you will need fireproof boxa file cabinet. File cabinets come in all sizes and materials. If you do not have a lot of papers, you can get away with a file box. If you’re further along in your life experience, think file boxabout getting two, three or two-drawer file cabinets. If you purchase two of the same units, you can lay an acrylic or wood top over the two file cabinets and make a desk. Determine how high you want your desk and get two file cabinets that will work accordingly. The file cabinets will provide you with drawers and the top will give you a home officesurface to work on. One more rolling cart for your home office to store your small bits and pieces and you should be all set.

Now that you’re all set to organize your space, why not get everything in place beforerunning the gifting begins?

Hmm…sounds good to me.

****runs off to clean up kitchen clutter****

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