Establish a place for everything in your house or apartment -- this could mean in a basket, on a shelf, inside drawer or on top of a rack . It doesn't have to be fancy: even just a nail in the wall is enough to hang a broom or dustpan.
Don't go hunting every time you need something -- keep things where you use them! Put extra paper and ink cartridges near the printer, place a key rack and other hanging hooks by the door you most often use to enter/exit the house, and drop all the remote controls in a basket next to the TV/stereo. Add small trash and recycling bins to any room where you will use them to save you from making repeated trips to the kitchen or garage.
Keep similar items together. Here are a few examples:
Find two boxes of the same kind of cereal -- and both are open? Take the bag from the first box and tuck it into the second. Same goes for all kinds of dry goods: tea bags, potato chips, bandages, etc.
If you're not obsessive about lining up your jewel cases all in a row, take your discs out of their cases and instead sort them in a CD/DVD binder or wallet. (Some even have space for the CD booklet.) You will save lots of space, and taking them in and out will be a breeze.
Make frequently-used items easily accessible, and store away the things you need only rarely. For instance, if you use your crock pot daily or several times a week, keep it on the counter -- but if you only use that slow cooker once a month, instead store it in the back of a low cabinet. (And if you use it once or twice a year... are you sure it's even worth having?)
If you don't use it, get rid of it. Unless it's a beautiful decorative item or a cherished memento, why are you keeping it? Pass it on to someone who really wants or needs it -- either to somebody you know personally or a local charity.
Do what you can to make tidying up as simple as possible. For example, use hooks instead of hangers for coats, take the lids off storage bins and hampers so toys and clothes can just be dropped inside, and choose cabinetry with roll-out shelves or drawers instead of doors.
Make one simple rule: "If you get it out, always put it back right where it belongs after you use it." It's usually pretty quick and painless, and will keep clutter from getting out of control. Soon, you won't have to waste precious minutes trying to find the missing flashlight or dog's leash or tape measure -- and you can spend your time instead doing something you love.
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