Tour your home with a notebook in hand to jot down the problem areas in each room. Write down or mark with brightly colored sticky sheets the parts of the room that really bug you, or that your family finds impossible to keep neat -- for example, piles of shoes, mail or coats in your entryway. As you do your survey, don't forget about dreaded areas such as junk drawers, closets, storage spaces and the garage. After you're done, create a schedule.
Don't overwhelm yourself and your family by trying to organize the entire house in one day or afternoon. Set smaller goals and give the family time to get used to the new system. Start with the biggest area first for the most impact; you'll feel like you've started something good, and this will push you to keep going!
Keep like items in the same area. For example, teach the kids to keep school papers in one designated spot to cut down on clutter and keep their homework where they can find it. Similarly, keep toys and sporting equipment together in labeled plastic containers or baskets.
Get creative as you find a home for the clutter. Keep a small, decorative basket or container of some sort at the bottom of the stairs to house things that need to be returned upstairs. Find brightly colored boxes to store your child's "keepers" from school -- one color for each child. Maximize storage space by using vertical bookshelves, wall shelves and wall hooks.
Find 10 minutes each day to walk through your house de-cluttering as you go. Carry a laundry basket or bag with you to transport misplaced items back to their rightful places. Keep all those to-do lists, important mail, receipts and papers in one place -- a designated basket or notebook -- until you can deal with them, which should be at least once a week to avoid a messy pileup and late payments.
While it may seem like a monumental task at first, making a plan and implementing simple changes now eliminates stress of home organization and makes it a very attainable goal.
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