Ready, Set, Organize!

”Spring Cleaning" is SO overrated. The fall season is the time to get organized! The kids are back in school so you can finally get your house in order after the insanity of a busy summer. There is still a lot of time before the holiday season begins. I find that if my home is somewhat organized, it helps me think better and focus on other aspects of my life with a little more clarity. I can check that one BIG thing off my "to-do" list and can concentrate on the million other things that need to get done on a daily basis.

Bins and under-the-bed storage containers are my definite go-to in order to keep things contained and out of the way. I keep a couple of bins under each child's bed. My youngest son has two big canvas bins of Lego blocks alongside the different boxed Lego sets (Harry Potter and Justice League) that just cannot be mixed in with other Legos! Another bin contains all his toy cars and trucks. They slide right out from under his bed and provide easy storage as well as quick clean up when he is done playing with everything. Another way these canvas bins are used in my home is standing upright next to their gaming system. The different games are stacked neatly right inside the bins. My oldest son has a huge under-the-bed storage box that solely holds SAT PREP books and the like.
This brings me to the bookshelves. Straighten up the shelves by grouping authors and series together. This makes it easier to find the books that go together. Get rid of any books that the kids have outgrown. I am personally not looking forward to getting rid of all our Disney and Dr. Seuss books but I know that they will find a good home with my baby niece or nephew. Any other books in good condition can be donated to your local—and very lovable—library!

Some summer days are so busy that the daily mail sometimes remains on a counter top or table until it piles up and falls over. After a few days, it becomes too daunting of a task to sort through such a huge stack of mail. So I suggest setting up a recycling bucket with a paper shredder on top (most models are inexpensive and fit right over the top of a small trash bin)....sort everything out, keeping what is important and shredding anything with personal information immediately into the trash bin. Restaurant take-out menus, schedules, etc. can go right into a folder taped on the inside of a kitchen cabinet.

As for the refrigerator, remove and discard expired condiments. Make a list of what you need to replace and post it on the refrigerator door for the next shopping trip.
Containers
In my kitchen, there is this one cabinet that is overflowing with tons of plastic food storage containers. Every so often, it is impossible to find either the container or its corresponding lid. Empty the cabinet and match each top to its corresponding base; recycle or toss anything that ends up without a mate. About to toss a large container? Consider using it to hold all of the lids for the same kind of base. When you are in a hurry to pack school lunches and need a small container for snack items, they are all sorted and ready to use!

When school begins, there is less time for doing all the messy crafts that are so much fun to do. Rarely used craft items can be stored out of sight. An over-the-door shoe organizer is perfect to store these kinds of craft items. Each pocket can hold multiple items in an organized fashion. I put all the kids' action figures in the one on their door. This idea also works really well with Barbie dolls and the tons of accessories and shoes they accumulate. Everything stays together and off the floor. I have one on the laundry room door that holds different cleaning products, rubber gloves, anti-bacterial wipes, dryer sheets, etc. Everything is easy to store, and saves shelf space.
Rolled Towels
Now is also the time to organize the linen closet and sort out and inspect each towel, washcloth and sheet-set component for tears and general wear. I set aside worn-out pieces to use as cleaning rags or give to a local animal shelter. A great tip is to put the tightly folded sheet sets together in their pillow case to keep the set together. Instead of folding and stacking towels, I fold and roll them tightly. It is much easier to pull one out without worrying that the entire stack will fall over.

These are just some of the ideas that I frequently use in my own home to make it less chaotic. Many great ways to organize your space can be found in the following books:
Secrets of an Organized Mom by Barbara Reich; Simply Clean: The Proven Method for Keeping Your Home Organized, Clean, and Beautiful in Just 10 Minutes a Day by Becky Rapinchuk
Secrets of an Organized Mom by Barbara Reich

Simply Clean: The Proven Method for Keeping Your Home Organized, Clean, and Beautiful in Just 10 Minutes a Day by Becky Rapinchuk
How to Conquer Clutter by Stephanie Culp; Cut the Clutter: A Simple Organization Plan for a Clean and Tidy Home by Cynthia Townley Ewer

How to Conquer Clutter by Stephanie Culp

Cut the Clutter: A Simple Organization Plan for a Clean and Tidy Home by Cynthia Townley Ewer

In addition to books, many branches in the library system offer programs on organizing or decluttering your home and life. Check our online programming calendar or contact your local branch to find out when the next one will be.

So many tips, so little time! So what are you waiting for? Ready, set, ORGANIZE!

—Kaneeze, Hightstown Branch

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