Whether it’s the desk, drawer or dorm room, there is probably an accouterment designed to help people organize it. Simplemost has gift ideas to help organize tea bags, box lunches, batteries, toys, scarves, closets and more. The Container Store offers every kind of bin and box imaginable for room-by-room organization. But the last word on keeping one’s home organized, however, must be Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, which will encourage giftees to slash their inventories of worthless stuff and embrace a new, clutter-free lifestyle.
Half of staying organized is knowing where everything is supposed to go. To that end, blogger Abby Lawson suggests getting a labelmaker (or two) to print labels for stacking bins, kitchen canisters, file folders and other dedicated spaces. For small labels, Dymo and Brother make a number of easy-to-use, inexpensive sticky-tape systems, while larger printers offer the ability to print on clear plastic or vinyl. They make a great holiday gift for the accomplished neat freak — or anyone who aspires to get their stuff more organized in the new year.
Things that exist to contain other things make great gifts for people who like to stay — or need to get — organized. The Cheapism blog suggests giving organizers to help friends and family members better sort and store their electronics, jewelry, cosmetics, purses and papers. Bins and baskets provide catch-all storage for like items and make great gifts, too. And while smartphones now offer numerous calendaring apps and pop-up reminders, sometimes there is no substitute for a paper planner or calendar where one can enter appointments and review them without a single mouse click.
Schools across the country are reopening their doors this month, and no matter where you live, it will be back-to-school time in a matter of weeks. Parents know that organization is often the key to effectiveness at school, at home and in the career world, and there’s no better time to encourage your kids to develop good organizational skills.
Young children are bound to be a bit scattered, but you can inspire them to stay organized by making it fun to put things in their proper places. Populate your home with interactive chore boards, chalkboard bins, colorful clocks and other accessories to help kids manage time and clutter, Parents.com says. Designated reading nooks and homework “organizers” can also make learning more fun.
Middle school may be a bigger challenge. “Middle school often comes as a shock to the system, and it’s the wise parent who is prepared and ready to guide their kid through the transition from the relative stability and security of grade school to the somewhat chaotic environment found in many of our middle schools,” Ruth A. Peters, Ph.D. wrote on the Today blog.
A daily assignment sheet will help provide a framework for keeping track of academic activities, she says; the middle-schooler should record homework assignments and test dates in a day planner or notebook in every class. Establish set study times to encourage good habits, and load backpacks the night before to prevent morning headaches.
Maintaining order in the home helps, says GreatSchools; bins, folders and filing cabinets aren’t just for adult offices. Use a bulletin board and sticky notes to furnish reminders of the most pressing projects, and install a shelf, bin or cabinet dedicated to each kid’s school day near the front door for grab-and-go convenience.
By the time children get to high school, they’ll even have more books, sports equipment, musical instruments and junk to keep track of — and if they can’t yet manage their stuff and schedules themselves, the Spruce says, it’s time for them to start. Day planners, binders, weekly meetings, whiteboards and clear expectations are a few of the tools you can use to help your child conquer the chaos.
As you get ready for the school year, don’t forget to check out the local thrift store. Many are supplied by donations to ClothingDonations.org, and can help you save money on clothing and supplies while helping fund veterans’ programs. And if you happen to be cleaning out the things your kids haven’t worn or used lately as you send them back to school, schedule a pickup or find a dropoff location for your used goods.
With a little planning and organization, you and your kids can reduce the stress of the back-to-school season. And that, hopefully, will help them succeed in school!
Now that the holidays are over, we’re left to face the rest of winter. With how cold it’s gotten, it’s easy to neglect chores and curl up in front of the fireplace for the rest of the season. Tempting as this is, it’s the season for wet boot prints, cold days, and numerous coats, scarves, and gloves. If left untended, your home could accumulate dirt and clutter before you know it!
With this in mind, we’re here to help you stay motivated in your journey to a cleaner home. We checked out Martha Stewart’s “Winter Homekeeping Tips, ” to figure out how to fight off dirt and disarray this winter.
One idea Stewart offers up is to “winterize” your home’s entryway. This means having a welcome mat at the door where your visitors can remove their shoes upon entering the house. Not only does a rubber or carpeted mat prevent slush and salt residue from entering into your home, but it also signifies to guests that they should take off their shoes, which leaves dirt and grime at the front door.
Another tip for winter housekeeping is to rotate or turn the mattresses in your house. While this doesn’t exactly keep your home clean, it will help your mattress last a long time. Plus, it will help you sleep better, which will give you more energy to organize your house! Stewart recommends flipping your mattress every quarter for even wear.
One more idea that Stewart offers is to reorganize your kitchen. For some this might mean buying a spice rack so you know what spices you have on hand. For others, it means reorganizing your entire kitchen now that the holidays are over. While you’re cleaning and organizing your kitchen, remember to keep an eye out for pots, pans, utensils, and baking equipment that you no longer use.
If they’re in good shape, and you’re ready to part with them, donate them to us! Fill out our online donation pick-up form, and place your donation items in a box marked with “for donation.” Then, set the box out by your mailbox. We’ll come and pick it up for you!
What tips do you have for keeping your home organized and clean during winter? Share them with us!