If one of your new year’s resolutions was to get organized, here are ways to do so that aren’t as daunting as the chores or to-do list may seem. According to organizing expert Jill Pollack, doing these simple tasks will prevent you from taking on too much at once and might even make you feel differently about maintaining order at home.
“Making your bed every day will prevent the area from becoming a magnet for books, clothes and other tossable items,” said Pollack.
“Get into a routine and it will become second nature like brushing your teeth.”
Open your doorway
The most important thing to start is to create order at the doorway as it’s the first place you come in and last place you leave.
“It’s a place for your keys, a coat that is easy to access, so create that system,” said Pollack, adding that double hooks for hats, bags and backpacks is a great idea.
Sort your mail
The first step to sorting your junk mail is to unsubscribe, Pollack recommends stopping and unsubscribing from as much mail as you can before it gets to your door to avoid clutter in the mailbox area.
“Create a life surgery drawer,” said Pollack of organizing the junk drawer. “You know you need paper clips, hairbands, a section for gum or mints. When you need it, you need it.”
Clean out your closet
“If you didn’t wear something last spring or summer, chances are you’re not going to wear it, so get rid of it,” said Pollack, who recommends investing in felt covered hangars so nothing slips off. “The linen closet is one of the most non-emotional places to do. You need two sets of sheets for every bed, not five. Get rid of old or excess towels and washcloths (have a nice set of everything and upgrade once in a while) and donate them to dog shelters and homeless shelters.”
Pollack recommends going through old files and tossing out anything out of date that you don’t think you’ll need to refer to.
“Receipts for purchases or anything that pertains to the school year for the kids or any of their activities, ballet schedules and baseball games, permission slips, all of that should be kept until the year is over,” said Pollack. “Files should be really simple. Always shred personal information and bank information.”
It’s time to clean out the fridge. Read expiration dates, check for freshness, clean the shelves and start fresh.
“The kitchen is the stomach of the house. Anything you don’t need but is still good, donate,” said Pollack. “Keep the cheeses, meats, dairy and fruit and vegetables in a designated spot for easy access.”
Stock up your garbage
Pollack noted that putting a roll or stack of clean garbage bags in the bottom of the bin will avoid the Jenga routine of piling garbage. And, a new bag is right there after you take out the old one.
Manage your time
Don’t wait until spring cleaning to purge. Pollack recommends getting your cleaning done early so when springtime comes, you don’t waste a beautiful day.
Know your storage options
“Bed Bath and Beyond has everything, it’s a one stop shop and they also give you coupons all the time,” said Pollack of where to buy your storage and organizing needs. “The Container Store is a little fancier, but Target, Home Depot, Lowes work as well.”
Pollack noted that teacups can be used as jewelry holders and colanders can be used to scoop up kids’ bath toys.
“There’s so many organization hacks, so assess what your needs are before you buy a bunch of supplies,” she said, emphasizing to go sturdy for storage devices. “You can measure dimensions so you know what will fit and what you need before you go looking for it and don’t waste time.”