Organizing your New Home – A Place for Everything…

18055461_SSo, did you envision your new Fulton home as an organized paradise? With all the extra space, closets and storage, maybe you had hopes that you would finally be able to create order.

Well, if that hasn’t happened, don’t blame the house or yourself for that matter. Organizational experts use a selection of tools and tricks to get and stay organized. Here are a few of their ideas to help you reach your goals.

Use the right kind of storage: Is it easy to get things out when you need them and put them away when you’re done? For frequently-used items, make sure they’re one-step away. For example, pens and scissors can be in an open container on a desk or counter rather than in a drawer that has to be opened and closed. Laundry hampers should be open so dirty clothes can just be chucked in without bothering with a lid. The easier the system, the more likely it will work.

17461493_SDuplicate: Do you need scissors regularly in the kitchen and your office? Have two pair so they don’t have to travel back and forth, increasing the likelihood of their disappearance.

Use containers and dividers: Baskets and boxes will hold underwear or socks if you can’t get your children to fold things. Drawers with dividers are more likely to stay tidy. Peg boards and hooks separate different tools without hiding them.

Keep experimenting: If one system doesn’t work, try another and another until you discover what works best for you.

Getting organized is not a one-time effort. It’s a constant, steady plan to head in a better direction. You won’t reach organizational nirvana in a week, or possibly ever. Just work toward a better level of organization over time, and you may be surprised at the results.

Organizing your New Home – Unpacking Strategies

19123362_SSo now that you’ve moved into your new Fulton home, you can unpack easily because every box is labeled and you have an inventory of everything. On top of that, you have been planning where everything will go in your new home. All you have to do is open the boxes with the Swiss Army Knife you always carry in your pocket and put everything away – right?

If, instead, you only have about half the boxes labeled, you’re not sure what’s in most of them and they’re all in the wrong rooms because the movers didn’t pay attention to the few labels you did have, perhaps you could use a bit of unpacking advice. Here are some tips for creating order out of box-laden chaos.

Unpack the obvious: Did you label your kitchen boxes? Start putting things in order there. Grab kitchen boxes from all over the house and bring them along, unpacking as you go. The nice thing about unpacking the kitchen is all the cabinets and drawers just waiting for your stuff. Don’t worry about getting everything perfect – you’ll probably move a few things around until you’re settled.

Get rid of empty boxes A.S.A.P.: Nothing defeats the purpose of unpacking quite as much as having empty boxes and loose packing materials hanging around the house. Break them down and toss in recycling, give them to someone you know who will be moving soon, or put them on the back patio for the moment. Just get them out of your way.

Tackle one box at a time: You’ll be tempted to jump from box to box just to find out what’s in them, but the only thing worse than a lot of boxes around are a lot of open boxes around. Empty one box; get rid of it, and then move on to the next. When you have to stop, all the other boxes are still sealed.

Set unpacking priorities: Is it impossible to sleep with all those boxes in the bedroom? Start there. Are you tired of walking around those boxes by the garage door every time you leave the house? Move them or empty them. You can’t finish all the unpacking at once, so start with the most irritating areas.

Above all, realize your limitations. It would be nice to be completely unpacked over a weekend, but remember that it took you a lot longer than a couple of days to pack everything, so give yourself a break. Set realistic goals, and then when you reach them take the time to relax and enjoy the areas of your lovely new home that are unpacked and settled. After all, you always have tomorrow.

Help your Child Redecorate – Sort and Purge

7899250_SBefore you get to the fun part of redecorating, the first step is getting rid of those things that no longer belong in your child’s room. Old clothes, toys, papers, and other items that your child has outgrown need to leave in order to clear the way for the new space you and your child are designing. There are many ways to approach this – here are a few suggestions.

Empty the closet: Chances are that there are scary things toward the back of your child’s closet. The best way to start over is to empty the closet and determine what will go back in piece by piece.

Sort into categories: Label one box give away and one throw away. If there are younger siblings, add a box for toys, books and clothes that can be passed down. One more box is a good idea – things that are no longer used but that your child is not ready to give up. Put the box away for six months or a year, and then revisit it.

Organize what’s left: Is your child growing out of shoes or clothes? Make a list of things to shop for as you discover them. Sort the clothes into like piles and plan to organize the closet around these categories. Take the time to determine any containers or organizing tools that will help that closet stay in shape.

Continue with shelves and drawers: Use this same strategy to clear out the rest of the bedroom. You and your child may even decide to eliminate or replace a piece of furniture.

This can be a tough process, but it’s a good life lesson for your child and a helpful approach for you. If you repeat this once a year, it will get easier and easier over time. And by the way, how is your closet looking?

Post-Holiday Organizing

You can make next year’s holiday season easier if you think through the process of clearing up after this year. Here are a few organizing ideas for this week.

Put next year’s holiday card list together: Go through all of those envelopes to make sure no one has changed their address in the past year, and see who you may need to add or subtract from your mailing list. You may also want to pick up some cards on sale so you’re ahead next year. If you’re not up for the post-holiday sales, check online for discounts on holiday products.

Let go of unused holiday items: Are you finding that some things in those holiday boxes never get out? If you are not using some of your holiday finery – whether it is home decorations or that snowman sweater that makes you feel stupid every time you wear it – get rid of it rather than packing it up for another year.

Consider a light upgrade: LED lights are safer, very pretty, and use much less energy. On top of that you can string many of them together without creating a fire hazard. It may be time to move on to this newer light technology. The cost of these lights keeps dropping, which means that there’s a good chance that the warehouse and discount stores will have even more reasonably-priced options next year. You may even be able to pick up some that change color – quite a sparky option for your front yard!

Pack and label holiday items: Do you have to sort through the ornaments to get to your holiday plates? Is it a struggle to untangle your favorite bead garlands every year? It may be time for a holiday intervention. Consider containers, packaging and effective arranging to bring you holiday cheer next year when you unpack everything again.

Make next year’s holiday a little bit easier by planning ahead this year, creating a merrier season for you in 2013.