Your Life A to Z

Spring Organization

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Great Get Organized Tips for Spring Cleaning
By:  Rachel Harris, Managedmoms.com 
Not only am I working on spring cleaning, but I have also begun to tackle the mountains of stuff I have from raising kids for 20 years.  It does pile up!  Here are some tips, tricks and tools that I have discovered that work well to cut down on the clutter and up the organization, which I believe, results in less stress.
One thing to ask yourself as you tackle the piles is if you are an internal or external organizer.  If you are an internal organizer, then you like your get organized gadgets stored out of sight like a pot lid holder attached to the inside of a kitchen cabinet.  External organizers like the cool gadgets displayed like a jewelry holder placed on the bathroom counter. Figuring that out is a good place to start.  Then look into getting some get organized tools to help you streamline the process and store the goods. Here are some of my favorite tools followed by time tested tips and tricks, too…
My Favorite Tried & True Tools
*Container Store Best Box - Every single year I buy the attractive Best Box year box that The Container Store sells that prominently displays the year all over the box and it looks nice.  No more looking for a label as this box is easy to spot.  It holds plenty of letter and legal-size folders, documents or books for filing, storage or moving. It's also perfect for storing children's artwork and photos by year. When not in use, it can be stored flat to save space.  I have one for the last three years and it has really helped me to clear out and organize the important papers from the previous year.  I buy mine every year for $3.99 at The Container Store. 
*Tabletop Shredder – I use the SimplyShred brand and I am sure that there are similar models at office supply stores.  I like this one because it sits neatly on my desk, so I can shred unwanted mail, paid bills and more the moment I am finished with it since the shredder is so handy.  It is also easy to empty.  
*Lakeshore Keepsake Portfolio – This handy portfolio makes it easy to organize kids’ artwork, writing samples, projects and other keepsakes, while keeping them in great condition.  The super-sturdy cardboard portfolio features nine big, expandable storage pockets that hold paper up to 12" x 18”, which is large enough even for oversized artwork. Plus, each pocket has a tab on top for easy labeling.  This cool organization tool can also be personalized with the child’s name on front.  Love this item! I bought mine at Lakeshore Learning Store for $19.99. 
*Container Store Elfa Set – Several years ago we purchased the Elfa closet set from The Container Store.  We decided on this because the organized closet set can move with us when we move out someday. I had been under the impression that the big get organized closet makeovers were permanent pieces, so this is good option.  At a little over a whopping $1,000, was this new closet system worth it?  That is an awful lot to spend on my girl’s closet, but again, we can take it with us when we move in the future.  My answer is yes.  For us, it is worth it.  I will tell you that money can be saved by ordering a similar online kit and doing the measuring and installing yourself.  With our busy schedule, it was worth it for us to have it professionally done.  Units sold by this reputable store are good quality and the design team, personal consultant and installation person were all professional and good to work with from start to finish.  So, I do recommend it, if you can stomach the cost.  The Container Store Elfa set we selected gives her five shelves, eight drawers, a hanging area and four racks for shoes that hold 16 pairs.  We continue to love it! 

*Sock Bag/Box – My drawers in my bedroom were getting too full, so I decided to empty my sock drawer, which freed up one full drawer for me.  I moved my socks into these cute crinkly bag/box storage bins I found at Container Store.  It is called the White Krinkle Bag and they sell for $13.99 each and look like gift bags, but they are firm like a box.  They come in different sizes and I think they look cool in my closet, so I store my socks in those and I find that I get ready faster in the morning since my socks are placed right by where I store my shoes.  I also purchased the white Krinkle Boxes, too.  The storage boxes and bags come in different colors as well. 
My Favorite Get & Stay Organized Tips
*Touch A Paper Once Rule -- A friend of mine lives by the touch a paper once rule.  This means that whatever letter, note, bill, etc. that she was holding at the moment, she would immediately perform the action that was required with that paper (like pay the bill right away as an example) and then discard or file it away.  She did this instead of laying it in a pile to get to later.  
*One Thing In, One Thing Out Rule - If you bring a new blouse in, then immediately remove a top that you no longer wear and donate it.  Do the same thing with kitchen items, toys and more.  
*Mail Rules – When I get the mail, I follow my three mail rules.  Open it right away, deal with it right away and open it by the recycling bin and the shredder.  So, when I get the mail, I reserve 30 minutes of mail response time, as I call it.  First, I always open my stack of mail by the recycling bin and by the shredder, so I can discard and recycle what I don’t need right then and there instead of putting it in yet another pile that I must get to later.  I also deal with it immediately like pay the bill if I can, call to schedule the appointment if it is an appointment reminder, etc.  You get the idea.  It not only reduces clutter, but I also don’t lose bills or forget to make appointments, etc. 
*Box In, Box Out Rule – This is a new one that I just thought of and started implementing last month and it works great!  We receive the dinner meal kits weekly, so I was always either letting the boxes stack up or flattening them for the recycle bin.  Once I got tired of the flattening process, they started piling up in the garage and my family complained.  I didn’t blame them.  So, I had an idea.  Each week right after I empty the food box, I take the empty cardboard box to a room and look for items that can be donated.  Then I fill it, put in my trunk and drop it off at Goodwill the next time I go out.  Just yesterday I cleaned out a bookshelf filled with parenting books about babies and small children.  Since we are well past these years, this was a perfect group of items to donate.  Try it the next time you empty a box that has been shipped to you.  
What great get organized tips and tricks do you have?  Share in the comments section and be sure to check out my blog at managedmoms.com for more home and garden articles, recipes, beauty news and more.  Happy organizing and spring cleaning! It feels great once it is done! 

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