By Carmen Coker
Are you ready to get your life more organized? To help you get a jump start, I’ve put together a list of 51 easy and quick ways to get organized and feel more balanced today.
Please don’t let this number overwhelm you – you don’t have to do all 51 at once! Read through the list, prioritize the ones that will give you the best benefit and tackle a handful of those to begin with. In no time at all, you’ll find that your life is much more organized and stress-free!
1. Store take-out menus by using a 3-hole punch and a simple binder for easy access.
2. Organize loose recipes and torn-out magazine pages with a 3-ring binder and clear plastic sleeves
3. Make a meal or two ahead of time. Freeze and have it ready for those crazy days when you have no time – or energy – to cook.
4. Create a laundry-room “Lost and Found.” Designate a box or basket to hold items found in pockets and lonely single socks.
5. Organize clothing into four categories: formal, work, casual and sport and store in separate areas of the closet for quick and easy access.
6. Keep cleaning supplies together in a plastic bin to keep them organized in a single space easy to find and easy to access for all types of chores around the house.
7. Place your purse, briefcase and keys in a designated area every day so you always know where they are.
8. Create a garage sale box and keep items you plan on selling in one location.
9. Take 30 minutes as you watch a favorite TV show and finish the mending pile you have on your sewing machine.
10. Sort your mail over your garbage can or recycle bin. Junk mail will never make it into your home or on your counter tops!
11. Don’t answer the phone for a few hours. You’ll be surprised at how much more productive you will be.
Stress Relief & Peace of Mind
12. Keep labeled folders to store warranties and operating manuals together for appliances and household items.
13. Buy a label maker. Use it!
14. Create a gift bin or shelf/storage area. Keep gifts bought ahead of time there, labeled and ready to go.
15. Computer and electronics cables: untwist, label, straighten each and every line, then plug them all back in bundled neatly together.
16. Unsubscribe to unwanted email newsletters or updates from companies that you no longer want. Use the “unsubscribe” link usually found at the bottom of the emails.
17. Delete as least 25 old email messages from your Inbox that you don’t need any more. Then empty the Trash or Deleted Items folders in your email system.
18. Check your candle supply to be ready for potential power outages. Make sure all flashlights in the house have fresh batteries in them.
19. Place risers under your bed frame to lift and add storage area.
20. Position hooks or organizers behind doors to corral your stuff, there are all kinds of holders for hats, purses, shoes, coats and belts that fit standard door frames.
21. Use old muffin pans to sort nails, screws, and other hardware in garage.
22. Empty tissue boxes make great plastic grocery bag dispensers.
23. Hang a rack above a kitchen island to hold pots and pans, freeing up cabinet space.
24. Those empty holiday card boxes are also great to use as drawer organizers.
25. Organize your battery stash by implementing a storage solution such as bags, containers or drawer dividers. Organize by battery type and size.
26. Gather up all the loose change from your purse, house, car and laundry room. Bag it up and take it to the bank or one of those coin sorting machines at the local grocery store.
27. Organize your coupons. Use a small accordion folder made for such a purpose or a system that works for you.
28. Gardening tools can be stored vertically on simple hooks attached to the walls so they’re easy to get to when you need them and they’re out of the way when you don’t.
29. Use a bead-storage craft box with a clear lid to store jewelry in various compartments.
30. Use decorative votive candle holders to organize small desk items such as tacks, rubber bands, binder clips, business cards, etc.
Declutter Your Space
31. Purge your sock drawer – toss any that have holes, are worn out, faded or have no match.
32. Gather post-it notes and scraps of paper with names, addresses and phone numbers on them and record them in a central address book.
33. Go through your DVD or CD collection. Organize by donating or tossing outdated ones, uploading music to your iPod and destroying old software ones.
34. Tackle receipt clutter. Take 15 minutes and search out pesky unwanted receipts throughout the house, car and your pocketbook. Toss the ones you don’t need, file the good ones.
35. Clean out your wallet – toss out receipts, extra change, expired coupons and ID cards, etc.
36. Go through your kitchen spices. Throw out expired ones and make a list of what you need to replenish your store.
37. Clean and organize the surface of your office desk. Tackle the drawers if you have the time.
38. Tackle the medicine cabinet. Throw out old, expired items. Make a note for what you need to restock.
39. Restock or purchase your home’s first aid kit.
40. Make your bed first thing in the morning to start the day off right.
41. Create a pet zone. Keeping Fifi’s crate, leashes and collars, food dishes and toys all together frees up space and helps keep mess to a minimum.
42. Recycle an old paper towel holder to organize girl’s headbands and elastic hair accessories.
43. Hang a fish net from the ceiling to store stuffed animals, dolls, or action figures.
44. Situate a charity box in your home where items to be donated can be stored.
45. Dedicate a day to “being nice.” You’ll find that emotional clutter gets cleared away quickly by a positive attitude and “pay-it-forward” actions.
46. Make an appointment for yourself that you’ve been putting off: Hair, dentist, manicure, massage, dermatologist, etc. Take care of yourself and you’ll take better care of your life.
47. Estate planning. Review your preparations and update where needed. Tackle one task you’ve been putting off for this.
48. Gather all unused wire hangers and take them to the dry cleaners to recycle.
49. Before the kids go to bed, have a 10-minute race to see who can pick up the most stuff.
50. Hide a quarter in a stack of clean clothes to be put into drawers and tell the kids whoever finds it gets to keep it.
51. Install a basketball hoop over a laundry basket for slam-dunking dirty clothes.
Carmen Coker is a former US Air Force officer turned professional organizer. Thousands of busy people have benefited from her expertise featured by CBS, NBC, and Real Simple magazine – now it’s your turn! If you want to get organized and calm the chaos in your life, go to CarmenCoker.com for her free video how-to called the Secrets of the Super Organized™.