Thursday, July 26, 2012

A Place for Everything, and Everything in It's Place

I love to organize.  In fact, there was a time in my life that I thought I might hang out my shingle as a professional organizer.  I came to organizing at an early age, it was not uncommon for me, even as a child, to go to my cousin's houses and clean their rooms, even if they weren't home. I have to admit that my house can get a bit messy/dirty at times, especially now that I have kids and am always on the go, but it's nothing that a couple of hours of picking up, vacuuming, dusting and floor washing won't fix.

I went through an organizing book reading binge and here is a compilation of suggestions that I took away from the many books on the subject.

When evaluating items during organizing, think of these four things to determine whether you should keep it or not:
  1. Does it have a current or specifically planned future use?
  2. Does it have value to me - sentimental, monetary or aesthetic?
  3. Would it be difficult or expensive to replace?
  4. Is it taking up space that could be better used?
During the organization process you should always remember to:
  1. Keep like with like.  (All your Christmas stuff should be together, all your craft supplies, linens in one place, etc.) Once you 've grouped all your like items together, you can see what you have and decide what to keep.
  2. Make sure that the most commonly used items are the most accessible.
  3. Keep items in the the room they are used in. The only exception to this is cleaning supplies, obviously keep all cleaning solutions out of reach of children.
  4. Make a master "Action Item" list of jobs that need doing or repairs to be made.
  5. Understand that the value of an item may have changed over time.  Just because it was important to you at some previous point, doesn't mean that you have to keep it if it no longer has the same value.
I also find it helpful to limit the rooms my children are allowed to have toys/books in to two rooms - their bedrooms and the playroom.  In your house it may be a playroom and living room, or bedrooms and basement, etc.  Whatever works for your family. Generally it works to have a room on each floor.  I find that this makes it easier and faster to clean up and prevents people from hurting themselves by stepping on stuff left all over the house.

In many ways I feel like owning things is a tremendous burden.  You have to take care of them, clean and repair them, insure them, etc.  Before you purchase a new item ask yourself these questions:

  1. Will I really use it?
  2. Do I want it badly enough to care for it?
  3. Am I prepared to get rid of something I already own in order to make room for it?
  4. Where exactly will I put it?
There are areas of life other than your home that may need organizing such as:
  • Purse/diaper bag
  • vehicle
  • garage
  • email accounts
  • address book/contact list
Try not to be overwhelmed, just pick a room or project and get to work!

I've included the cleaning schedule that I've developed for myself over the years.  It is very specific to my home and family, but can be modified to suit your family's needs.  I also like a flowchart that I pinned on Pinterest that I feel includes most of the important tasks to maintain a clean and comfortable home.

  • Make beds
  • Pick up rooms
  • Replace dish towels, dishclothes & hand towels
  • Sweep floors
  • Unload, load & run dishwasher
  • Wipe down table, counters and stove top
  • Feed & water cat
  • Empty garbages & replace bags
  • Fill soap dispensers
  • Water plants
  • Vacuum
  • Wash floors
  • Dust, including pictures on walls & clocks
  • Sort & file papers, bills, receipts
  • Ironing
  • Mending
  • Change & clean vacuum filter, empty canister
  • Discard spoiled/outdated food from fridge
  • Wash out microwave
  • Wipe down fridge, stove front, dishwasher front, hood range, backsplash and kitchen chairs
  • Use a scouring powder to clean kitchen sink - baking soda & dish soap works great.
  • Laundry: Sheets, all the towels & clothes
  • Clean bathroom: sink & countertop, toilet, bathtub & surround, mirror (I'm a firm believer in using bleach cleaners for bathrooms, just wear gloves & make sure to have the room well ventilated).
  • Change cat litter
  • Dust wooden slat blinds & ceiling fan blades
  • Wipe & condition leather furniture
  • Clean & organize cupboards, drawers & closets
  • Vacuum fridge coil
  • Clean out fridge, wash all trays & drawers
  • Clean out & organize deep freeze & fridge-freezer
  • Wipe down baseboards
  • Wash windows & window sills
  • Sort through kids clothes - mine go to one of three places: garage sale box, rubbermaid container marked by size for next kid, or if the youngest has outgrown it and I love it too much to part with it, it goes into a rubbermaid storage container of clothes I'm saving to give to them when they have their own kids.
  • Sort through kids toys - outgrown toys go to garage sale box or storage for their kids.
  • Clean oven (I know I don't do this enough, but I try really hard to keep food from spattering or overflowing, so it seems to be fine.)
  • Vacuum & wipe out the stove storage drawer
  • Defrost deep freeze
  • Clean inside & outside of light fixtures
  • Wash kitchen & bathroom cabinet doors
  • Wash walls
  • Hose off screens and wash outside of windows
As Needed
  • Change furnace filter
  • Vacuum under the cushions on the couch
  • Disinfect light switches & door knobs (especially if someone in the family is sick).
  • Laundry: Shower curtains, furniture slipcovers, throws/blankets, bathrobes
  • Every couple of weeks I do a "deep clean" of the kids bedrooms & playroom where I go through all their stuff, throw out the broken toys and random paper junk they've collected and sort the rest back into their proper places.
I would love to hear your cleaning and organizing tips, please leave them in the comments section below.


  1. I wish I was that organized....& work towards that...& in some areas I am!!! :) A work in progress...slowly!!

  2. I love that flowchart!