Home organization: Just get started

By Tom Phelan - ReminderNews
Featured Article - posted Wed., Apr. 3, 2013
Get your home organized this spring. Courtesy photo. - Contributed Photo

In this column we have talked a few times about getting your home organized.  But recently I have found new ideas that might help you rejuvenate the effort, or get it going if you never started.

There are lots of tactics to break away from the old and get into a new way of managing your home. Chances are if you are still living in a disorganized home, you never gave it a shot because you couldn't figure out where to start. Starting can be the biggest hurdle. Basically, you just need to pick some starting point, and go. Here are some ideas that might get you to jump that hurdle.

Learn some things about yourself, then fix some of the problem habits that feed the disorganization.

Do you collect and shop with coupons? Do you launch an all-out assault on the "can-can" sale and stock the shelves of your house? Are you the king or queen of the BOGO deal? If any or all of these apply to you, then you almost certainly have grocery bags full of items that will not fit on the spare shelves in the basement and garage, much less in your pantry. Try developing new shopping habits that will only fill your pantry to capacity, and stop buying at that point. Decide which items you need to have this week, then clip coupons to match the list. If you shop with an expanding folder of coupons, it says you expect to bring most of those items to the checkout counter. Toss leftover circulars in the recycle bin.

Are you someone who buys not only for yourself, but also for others? I personally know someone who must be the world champion of this competition. This person still has things in his house he bought years ago, but the people he bought them for have long since moved away.

Do you let others store their things at your house? Are you involved in organizations that have things stored at your house? Replace this bad habit with a good one. Instead of letting people come over to your house and leave things with you, don't let them leave before you find something of theirs, and send it home with them.

Remember while you are fighting these battles for success to keep practicing the good habits you identified and adopted early on. Put at least one box of your children's clothes, trophies, sports paraphernalia, etc. in their car before they leave. Don't even let them throw it out in your trash barrel.

You can't do this all by yourself. Get at least one other family member, or all of them, on board with the home organization crusade. If you live by yourself, invite someone you know who runs an organized house to join your crusade.

Start with a small project, and work it hard until it is completed. Take “before” and “after” photos, then “visit” it every day, and revel in its glory and success. Work to keep it the way it was when you finally got it organized. When you have managed to hold the line, and keep it clutter-free for 30 days, move on to another project of the same size or slightly larger.

If you prefer the "planning" approach, here are a couple of other ideas.

Get on an Internet bookstore site. Shop for and buy a used copy of a good book on organizing there. Let the feeling of anticipation simmer in you until it arrives. When it is delivered to your house, it will be a reminder that you ARE going to read it and put some things in practice. Start the day the book arrives, or you risk never starting at all.

Finally, you might hire a professional organizer, someone else will do the job for you, and it will cost you money. But beware! The minute your hired help tells you "you're done!" might be the first minute of your relapse. Hiring someone to organize your home for you will only work well if you first convert yourself to maintaining an organized home. So pick one or more times in the day to do some organizing maintenance, and stay with it.

Let us know what you think!
Please be as specific as possible.
Include your name and email if you would like a response back.
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
Enter the code without spaces and pay attention to upper/lower case.