Getting Organized: Your Home is Your Business

Just about everybody loves Amazon.com. Most households have a great deal in common with Amazon… like having a lot of stuff. However, the comparison usually stops there.

The one big difference between the internet giant and the typical home is that Amazon has systems in place to instantly find what they are looking for on any given day, at any given moment and over and over again without fail. That cannot be said about the average homeowner.

While you may not need a sophisticated computer program to run a home, you do need a system that works for you. Like any business, the less “inventory” on hand translates into a less complicated setup.

A good system means higher efficiency. Less time is wasted looking for things. Money is saved by actually knowing what you do have on hand in the house. Thinking twice becomes second nature on any given shopping expedition.

Logic is always a sound place to start when deciding what works for you. First and foremost, bid a fond farewell to all of the things that are not used and be honest with yourself as to the likelihood of them ever being utilized in the future.

Once the clutter is identified and handled, it is time to get down to business and get organized. The end goal is for everything in your home to have a home. Look around, assess the damage and dig in. As a general rule, storage spaces are often a good jumping off point.

Successful businesses go to great lengths to optimize their inventory levels and so should you. By doing so, you can reap the rewards and maximize the return on living a more simplified lifestyle. While you may not be an industry giant, your home is important and most certainly your business.

Advertisements

Organizing the Never-ending Paper Chase

While we are all living large in the Computer Age, we still somehow bury ourselves in paper. While technology has helped, effectively managing the rest of it and being smart about is the only way to go. The most important step is to be clear from the start as to what to keep and what to let go.

Our homes get deluged with magazines, junk mail and everything in between. Magazines can inspire us but the reality is that we will never have a house like the pictures in them  if we keep all of those magazines. Choose carefully and keep only what really moves you. Holding onto things that will never be found again without massive effort defeats the purpose.

Junk mail is another heavy hitter in the world of clutter. Keeping it corralled in a reasonably sized basket helps if you are short on time on any given day or days. Stick with the golden rule. When the basket is full, the time has come to go through it and purge.

Monthly bills and other important papers should be separated from all of the rest. When bills get lost in the chaos, then bills are often forgotten and paid late. They need their own special place or if you are so inclined, go paperless.

Establish a sensible time frame for all of the paperwork that should be kept for some period. Fear of the world ending if you throw something away just complicates the process. Set up a file system that works for you and one that will give you the greatest chance of maintaining it.

Paper clutter has a way of going forth and multiplying without being too fruitful. It is much easier to deal with a little pile of paper than a mountain of it. A system that personally works for you will make the whole process seem a bit more effortless. The trick is to stay somewhat on top of it. Ignoring it does not make it magically disappear. If you can conquer the great paper chase in your house, it might just get down to a leisurely walk in the park.

Clutter: It is Never Really About the Stuff

Everyone does it. We all hold on to too many things for way too long. The reasons for doing it are endless but it all comes back to you.

The truth may surprise you but it is never really about the stuff. Find the underlying cause as to why you are possessed by your possessions and the clutter problem can be solved. The hard part is looking inside of yourself for the answers rather than outside at the chaotic mess in front of you.

One common theme that repeats itself time and time again about clutter is sentimentality. Every object that you own tells a story. The fear of losing the memory of those stories and therefore, a little bit of yourself, is paralyzing.

Pick your stories wisely. Life experiences do not always require a tangible reminder. Keeping a balance allows for the important ones to shine through and leaves room for new ones.

Step back and be honest. Assess the damage and look for solutions. Photos can be a useful tool. After all, a picture tells a thousands words. For example, there is no point hanging on to the prom dress taking up space in the back of the closet when it is captured in a photo. At the end of the day, it is just an old, out-dated dress that once served its purpose.

Clutter just gets in the way and buries you along with the things that you really want to treasure most. If everything has equal importance, then nothing is really important.

While it may be easier, a clutter problem will never be truly solved by thinking that it is all about the stuff. It is all about you.

Break the Chains by Eliminating the Clutter

Charles Dickens was really on to something when he created the character of Jacob Marley in A Christmas Carol. As you may recall, Marley was dead and condemned to walk the earth shackled in heavy chains and never able to find rest or peace for all eternity.

It is not too different when people decide to shackle themselves to all of their belongings. They carry the weight, burden and guilt of too much excess and it haunts them much like Marley’s ghost. It takes time and energy away from living a fuller life and gets in the way of relationships with others on many levels.

Opportunities are missed when you cringe at the thought of opening the door to a neighbor or throwing an impromptu get-together with friends. There can just be too much embarrassment and shame and way too much effort on your part to break through the barriers.

Whatever the reason is for hanging on to things, you can live and actually thrive without a lot of it. If something does not bring you a sense of well-being, then let it go. Holding on out of a sense of duty, fear, perceived expectations or plain old habit, will never result in a happy ending. They are just more links in the chain that get dragged around each and every day.

Start tossing out the back door. Throw open the front door and welcome family, friends and neighbors back into your home. Ditch the chains and take a page out of Dickens’ book when Marley says, “Humanity is my business.” It is a lesson for all of us as well so try not to let the stuff haunt you and prevent you from taking care of business.

Organizing and Storing the Holiday Decor

With the holidays becoming a distant memory and the January doldrums now upon us, it is an opportune time to make good on that old and familiar resolution of getting organized and following through with it.

At this point in the year, a good place to start is with all of the holiday decorations that are ready to be put away. Take a good hard look at what was used and especially what was not used this season. Whatever brings you joy and fond memories is a keeper as well as things that might spark your creative juices at some time in the foreseeable future. Items that you are tired of, dated or just there out of a sense of duty are good candidates for retirement.

Once it is decided  what will remain, think about a system for packing it away that is logical and efficient for next year. Shortage of time during the holidays is as certain as death and taxes so being prepared early has its advantages.

Choose a game plan that will work for you. Putting similar things together or packing all items for one room in one container usually works. Keep in mind that the size of the container should be reasonable and not too heavy or bulky especially if stairs or the attic are involved. Most, if not all, of the holiday decor should be stored in one place to avoid the frantic treasure hunt for it next year.

Once the job is done, bask in the glory for a moment then start thinking about what to tackle next.  Before long, you will be keeping your resolution and be on your way to a simpler and more organized lifestyle.

Getting Organized: A Resolution for the New Year

There is nothing better than ringing in the New Year with a new attitude. Out with the old and in with the new and improved. Old habits die hard but one resolution worth trying out is to get yourself and your home organized.

Imagine walking into a home without an obstacle course running through it. Think of all the time saved when you can find what you are looking for in a New York minute. Consider what you could do with more money in your pocket by just getting organized. Dare to dream of a lifestyle that involves less chaos.

The upside potential is endless. A clutter-free home is much easier to clean and maintain. Less stress and more time does wonders for a person’s mental well-being and disposition. An uncluttered home leads to an uncluttered mind.

Once you cast off the excess stuff and the guilt that comes with it, open up the windows and let the world back inside. When opportunity knocks, the path to the door will be easy to find. Throw a party and really celebrate a new year, a new you and a new beginning.

Organizing the Pantry

The pantry as well as other food storage areas like the freezer are a continuous balancing act if you want them to be efficient. We all want to have enough staples at our finger tips and save money as well.

Issues usually arise when we have too much of a good thing. The space gets too crammed making it difficult to find anything or it sits around way past its expiration date. Having a grasp on what is there makes the balancing act a little easier.

Weekly circulars, coupons and even warehouse club stores can be valuable if kept in perspective. Only buy what you will use and in amounts that will be consumed within a reasonable amount of time. As hard as it is to believe sometimes, there most likely will be another incredible sale before the decade runs out.

Allot a defined amount of space to each general product category so as not to get too carried away and to help remember what is already on hand. The space should be big enough to hold what you need and also allow you to see what you have.

Pantries are all about space, time and money. They are an integral part of any kitchen. Used efficiently, there will be enough space to be sufficiently stocked which will save time and help maximize those shopping dollars. Keep in mind that nothing is ever a bargain while it is sitting, getting dusty, taking up space and too often forgotten.