The kids are enjoying the last weeks before school starts, a vacation may still be on the horizon and the weather beckons you outside. Getting organized is the last thing on your mind. But the piles of mail on the kitchen counter, the stack of books by your bedside and the toy debris in the family room all call out to you for relief. What’s a mom to do? In The 8-Minute Organizer I sugest short projects that make a difference in the environment yet take almost no time or energy. You’ll make an impact on the space and be done in a flash.
Here’s a sample:
Make your bed every single day. Hang up your clothing when you take it off or toss it in the hamper. Wash dishes after a meal or load the dishwasher. In other words make ‘completion’ a part of your life. When you complete simple tasks around your home you’ll find yourself completing everything in your life. Remember the old Zen proverb: ‘The way a man does one thing is how he does everything.’
Remove all dry cleaner plastic bags from your closet. Dry cleaner plastic bags are notorious space hogs. In addition they seal in potentially carcinogenic cleaning agents. Use natural cotton garment bags for items that need to be covered. If you spy any empty wire hangars collect them for return to your dry-cleaner. Wire hangars were designed to get your items home in pristine condition. They were never meant to be permanent additions to your closet.
Invest in a cross cut shredder. Make it a daily ritual to open your mail in the same place at roughly the same time. Recycle as much as you can and shred any piece of paper with your name, address or an account number that isn’t destined for your files. A cross cut shredder is your ally in the war on Identity Theft. Call 1-888-567-8688 to remove your name from pre-approved credit card offers. Identity thieves love those offers!
Check your kitchen cupboards for broken equipment. It’s time to make a decision about their fate. Get the equipment repaired or donate it to Goodwill or the charity of your choice. Let them repair and sell these items. You need the space.
Go through your linen closet. Is it time to replace any blankets, towels or sheets? Your local animal shelter or animal hospital would be delighted to have your castoffs. You won’t get a credit for your taxes but you will be helping animals in need.
Is there a pile of books around your bed creating an obstacle course for you or your partner? Invest in an inexpensive bookcase and give your books a real home. Your local home store or consignment shop will have a bookcase that’s inexpensive. Before you go shopping or repurpose a bookcase from another room, weed through your collection. I don’t believe in tossing books but they can be traded or sold on line; given to a friend or donated to your local library or charity. You enjoyed the read now pass the fun on to someone else! You’ll be setting a great example for your children to do the same with their books.
Look into your medicine cabinet and toss expired medications. Mix them with coffee grounds and you can put them into the trash. Never flush prescription meds down the toilet or drain.
Sift through old toys to see what can be donated, passed down to a family friend or relative or be sold on a site like Craig’s List. Do this before you invest in organizing tools: you may not need as many as you think! Perhaps you can convince a group of moms to host a yard sale that benefits your school or favorite charity? There’s power in numbers! A mere 8 minutes a day for a solid week will yield amazing results.
Check the family room and your child’s room to be sure you have provided adequate storage for the toys, CD’s and DVD’s that everyone has these days. The directive ‘Clean up your room!’ is going to be possible only if there is a rhyme and a reason to where everything goes. Baskets are great because they teach the concept of creating categories; if you don’t have all of your media stored on the Cloud divide your CD’s and DVD’s by category and store them in a binder or container made for that purpose. If your children are very young use a toy hammock to hold their stuffed animal collection. You can put one up in the bathroom for bath time treasures!
Small actions create momentum and build our self-esteem especially if getting and staying organized have never been your strong suit. You’ll be so relieved you made this effort when Fall comes and the pace of life quickens. Don’t forget to factor in a reward for a job well done. It is vacation time after all!