"Organizing" may make for fun Pinterest fodder, but for us folks back here in the real world, it's pretty much a four-letter word. Organizing sounds like a great idea in theory — especially while browsing hacks on the internet with a full glass of wine in hand. But without a solid plan in place — one made up of simplified organizing tips that can be used IRL — you're probably going to throw in the towel before the towel organizing is done.
We promise we've made this whole organizing thing easy on you. By using just one of these tips a week (just one!), you can keep your humble home de-cluttered for 52 weeks of the year. Doing the math, that means we've put together 52 real-world and real easy organizing tips to get you started.
Let's do this:
- Make lunches, set out clothes and put everything you need for the next day in a designated area the night before. Have kids pack homework and books in their backpacks to be ready for the next day.
- Place your purse, briefcase, cellphone and keys in a designated area every day so you always know where they are.
- Decide on a breakfast menu the night before. If the family is to have cereal, set out the cereal boxes, bowls and spoons.
- Make a to-do list for the next day and prioritize the tasks. Be sure to refer to it regularly.
- Fill the gas tank the day before so you won't have to worry about getting gas if you are running late the next morning.
- Create a morning family schedule and stick with it — no matter how much the kids and spouse complain. Having bathroom times for each family member or roommate can save you a good half hour of chaos each morning. Bonus points for laminating the schedule and posting it to the fridge.
- If you just can't get it together in the early hours, set all of the clocks 10 minutes ahead. This old-school trick really works.
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- To organize countertop clutter, purchase a plastic tub with a handle on top. Place all of your accessories (such as hair spray and lotion) in the tub and place it under the counter. Take the tub out when you are ready to use it, and put it back under the counter when you are finished with it.
- To organize your bathtub/shower, place your soaps, body wash, shampoos and conditioners in shower caddies. Many different kinds of organizers are available at both discount and department stores — including those that hang from the shower head pipe and others that have several shelves attached to a long pole you put in the corner of the tub.
- To help keep your shower doors clean, buy a water squeegee (like you use on your windows) and keep it in the shower. When you are done taking a shower, just wipe down the doors with the squeegee for a clean and dry shower door. Many of the squeegees come with a hole in the handle, which is convenient for hanging it up in the shower with a suction cup.
- Install a simple magnetic strip in your medicine cabinet and hang tweezers, nail clippers and scissors from it.
- Store reading material in a decorative magazine rack. As you add new magazines, recycle or give away the older ones to keep the magazine rack from overflowing.
- Throw away old or unused items in your bathroom: makeup, lotions, old razors, sunscreen and perfume. Return old medications (including prescriptions) to your local pharmacy for safe disposal.
- If you are out of space in your bathroom cabinets for towels, roll them up and display them in a decorative basket next to the shower or bathtub.
- Install hooks on a wall or the back of your bathroom door for towels and robes.
- Use drawer organizers for makeup, jewelry, ponytail holders and other loose items. (Plastic silverware trays found in the kitchen aisle are inexpensive and fit the bill.)
- Place a shelving unit or étagère above the toilet for storing extra towels, washcloths and other accessories.
- Put a clock in each bathroom so there are no excuses for being late.
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- Sort through, bag and donate anything you don't wear anymore to a local charity. This includes clothes that are no longer in fashion, no longer fit or you haven't worn in over a year. Also get rid of those worn-out and/or uncomfortable shoes you no longer wear.
- Separate your clothes by season. If you have a tall closet with several rows of hanging rods, place the current season's clothes on the lowest level, and move out-of-season clothes up to the tallest rods.
- Categorize your clothes by purpose: work, casual, cold- or hot-weather wear and formal.
- Gather all of your unused wire hangers (remember Joan Crawford!) and take them to the dry cleaners to recycle.
- Hang scarves on a hanger or scarf rack and belts and ties on hangers or racks.
- Use a shoe rack to keep shoes organized. Recycle old shoeboxes that clutter the floor. (If your closet is small, you don't need to keep every pair of shoes in your closet all year long either.)
- Install hooks on the closet wall to hang up hats, handbags and totes.
- Store clothes that you want to save in a vacuum-sealed plastic bag. These bags compress the clothing, making it much easier to fit under the bed or in a closet. Save only the clothes that you think will be worn.
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