Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Spring Cleaning, Organization and a Giveaway

I am posting late today. I have been knee deep, ok, neck deep in attempting to get my home better organized. Spring Cleaning, if you will. The biggest obstacle to organization: getting started, so the way I see it, I am halfway there (LOL). Despite my tidiest intentions, though, life — and clutter — always seems to get in the way. Are you in the midst of Spring Cleaning? Need some Help? These tips I found on HGTV for getting your home organized.

1.Designate a space for everything in your home. If you are putting things away or looking for something, you'll know right where to go.

2. Set Goals for Rooms
Make a room-by-room list of what you want to accomplish in the next eight weeks. A list for your family room, for example, could include alphabetizing video tapes, corralling magazines and designating a space for the remote. By jotting down goals for each room, you'll alleviate some of the pressure of accomplishing the tasks all at once. Plus, you'll have the satisfaction of checking off tasks as you complete them, a great motivator to keep going.

3. Define "Organization"
Ask yourself the following questions and put the answers in writing:
What works in the room?
What doesn't work in the room?
What items are essential?
Why do I want to get organized?
What's the cause of my clutter?
Also, take a minute to sit down with other members of your household to find out what organization means to them. Discussing with your spouse and/or children will mean everybody gets to voice how they want the home to be collectively organized.

4. Find What Works for You
One of the biggest organizing mistakes is committing to a system that isn’t second nature to you. That's not to say you should continue with your messy, throwing clothes on the floor ways; rather, find ways to make your tendencies less messy. Stick with simple solutions you know you can commit to: throwing clothes in a readily available hamper, for example. Think through what you want to accomplish, then keep it simple and doable according to your habits

5. Start Small
analyze and strategize before you attack you'll be less overwhelmed.

6. Determine Where to Donate
Identify where you should donate all those clothes and unwanted items you'll be purging. Besides widely known charities, check local churches or consignment stores.Make some calls to find out where your items are most needed. Knowing they're off to a better place will help you to purge with a free conscious.

7. Uncover Your Fridge
Do you really need 15 magnets, or will five suffice? Unless your refrigerator is a design statement, it usually becomes a catch-all for mismatched magnets, emergency phone numbers and take-out menus. Clear everything off your fridge's fa├žade and organize it by stacking ads, coupons and scraps of related papers in piles. If you keep phone numbers on your fridge, type or neatly print them on a single sheet. Things like doctor's appointment reminders should go in your planner, while coupons can be stored in a coupon book.

8. Toss Old Medicines
Take 10 minutes to sort through your over-the-counter and prescription medicines, throwing away any that are expired.

9. Practice Early Morning Organization
If you dread organizing and have a hard time committing to it, try doing your organizing projects early in the morning. By spending just 30 minutes on a project before you go to work or drop the kids off at school, you'll be free to do things you really enjoy later in the day. It's also great for those days where everything seems to get in the way of your carefully scheduled plans.

10. Go On Receipt Duty
Receipts — what to do with them? This is one of my biggest issues. They find their way in your wallet, your check book and your piles of bills stacking up on the kitchen counter. Gather them up and make a quick pass through, noting which payments have cleared and which are still pending. Get organized fast: Check ATM and bank receipts against your monthly bank statement; Purge grocery and clothing receipts if you have no problems with the products; Make a pact from now on to retain credit card receipts in an envelope until you pay that month's bill. Shred all receipts rather than tossing them.

11. Never Run Out of Milk, or Mayo
Designate a space for the grocery list in your kitchen (not your bottomless purse!). Keep an index card or notepad handy on the refrigerator or at the kitchen office. When you run out of an ingredient, write it down immediately. Gone will be the days of getting half-through your tuna casserole and realizing you forgot the mayo.

12. Consider Creative Containers
Aesthetics and function are important when choosing containers for your things. You want to make sure you know exactly what you're going to put in the container before you go shopping for it. Make things as much fun to put away as they are to take out by using sleek, classy storage that matches the decor of your room or home. Instead of several shopping trips, reuse items you have lying around your house: Baskets, boxes or shelves can be repurposed with a new coat of fabric or paint. Often, this is less expensive than buying a specialty container and can be just as effective for organizing. The key is to buy containers last, not first, so you know they'll be effective.

So, you can imagine that I have my work ahead of me! All my running around a couple weeks ago has only got me further behind. Isn't that the way it always goes? Just when you think you have gotten caught up, you realize your behind? It's like shoveling snow in a snowstorm, or at least that is the case in my home.

I have to mention that I got past the biggest yet smallest messy problem. My junk drawer in my kitchen. True, its small, but the beast that lurked inside was frightful. I slayed that beast with an easy solution. I went to Wal-mart and purchased an inexpensive flatware organizer tray, one that would fit into my drawer. Now all of my pens, pencils, safety pins, etc. are contained. I can actually identify the contents of the drawer.
Another solution, I wanted to wrangle my tween daughter's costume jewelry. Easy fix and something I already had, a tackle box. It's small, slides easily under her bed but can also fit into a drawer or closet. It is perfect because all the small spaces-perfect for keeping earrings in their place! I was quite pleased with myself.

Before I go onto more spring cleaning and tossing, I wanted to mention a giveaway! My friend Karen is celebrating her 200th post and has a great gift basket that she is going to give away. Be sure and stop by her blog, Karen's Korner, to register. Please tell her that Leigh sent you.

Thanks for stopping by! I really appreciate it! Leave me a "roadmap". (wink.)


Songbirdtiff said...

These are great tips. I don't do spring cleaning, though. I work on a project each month. (one month is cleaning all windows and treatments, the next deep cleaning the floors, etc) Even though I don't do "spring cleaning" these are certainly tips that I could incorporate into my way.

susan said...

Leigh-Love that new picture! I guess I am still in the "denial" stage about spring clleaning, but these are helpful hints!...I hate receipts too. Love the one about not running out of milk. My husband has threatened to leave me if we run out of ketchup--I buy the 3-pk at Costco! :)

LauraBeth said...

Great tips! We have been slowly, but surely, organizing and sprucing up the house this spring. Good stuff to know - thanks!

Mari said...

Great tips! I like the one about setting goals for rooms. We have a stainless steel frig so I've been forced to deal with things on it, since magnets don't stick to it! Good luck with your cleaning.

KBeau said...

I'm tackling the fridge today--not the outside but the inside. I have a stainless steel fridge, so I was forced to give up the refrigerator magnets. But the inside is gross. Not telling what I'll find.

Chandy said...

Hi Leigh, I'm in the middle of my own dining area redesign so I like the tips you have here. I think I'm almost done... I started last Friday and look, it's Tuesday now, LOL!

marty39 said...

What a great group of tips. I do some of these, but sure need to do more. Hugs, Marty

Kirby3131 said...

Here in Florida we've already passed Spring - does this mean I get to wait until next year? LOL

One thing that we all must do when cleaning or organizing is not to think we are behind. Once you feel behind, it is really hard to ever feel caught up. Just start where you are and go from there. :)

Those tips you posted are fantastic!! Thanks Leigh

Gina @ The Shabby Chic Cottage said...

Could I please copy and paste it into a word document so I can print it off to refer back to when I am in the middle of cleaning? This was soooo helpful!


Thanks for the jump start on organizing. I have been procrastinating...and therefore have nothing done....of course the fact that my parents are with me slows me down a bit too....but I copied your list off...and starting this evening...I am going to begin....one room at a time. I have a booth at an Antique store...adn it will be a good way to get rid of things that have long since outworn their welcome in my house. Thanks for the mention too.

Sarah @ Thrifty Decor Chick said...

These are great! Receipts are my nemesis. I can't get them under control!!

jennifer said...

Oh Leigh, I can't even imagine what it would take to get my home organized. I pointed out to Bryan yesterday that we moved out of our house and left a couple of junk drawers FULL. I have junk drawers in two locations - YIKES!

Good luck with the spring cleaning.