I know lots of organized people who have various strategies for keeping up with laundry, but the one thing they all have in common is that they don’t let it sit around. Once the dryer cycle is done, they fold it and put it away all in a single session.
You know how work swells to fit the time you give it but if you give yourself a deadline you manage to get it done faster? It’s the same with laundry. Give yourself a deadline (try using a timer or stopwatch) and plan your time so that you’ll be able to put it all away in the same day that it comes out of the dryer. Otherwise, you’ll wind up with piles of laundry sitting around your folding area for days!
Here are some strategies:
Apply one of these strategies and stick with it for at least a month to give it time to become a new habit.
Banish those piles of clothes!
P.S. If putting clothes away is a bigger problem for you than getting them washed, then you won't want to miss my next post!
This month, I'm partnering with the Gloria Gemma Breast Cancer Research Foundation's Knowledge is Power campaign to help people get organized and reduce stress.
The short month of February is more than half over, but there’s still time to clear the clutter and get more organized.
According to an article in Psychology Today, “Messy homes and work spaces leave us feeling anxious, helpless, and overwhelmed.” So true!
But where do you start? This quick 1-2-3 will make your space more serene.
1. Grab a laundry basket, tote bag, or trash bag and zoom around your house picking up all the “strays” – things that belong elsewhere. This will fill more than just one bag, you say? Then start with your most-visible or most-used room (maybe your kitchen, living room, or bedroom). For a fun challenge, play your favorite upbeat music and see how many songs it takes you to gather everything.
2. Find homes for all those strays. If the item doesn’t already have a designated place in your house consider the following.
3. Going forward, find a mantra that works for you so you don’t end up with so many strays again. Repeating a saying such as “put it away right away” or “don’t put it down, put it away” can help break the habit of not putting things back, dramatically reducing future clutter.
Now, sit down with a good book and a cup of tea and enjoy a few minutes of peace in your newly-cleared space.
Are you hosting Thanksgiving and planning to do a quick cleanup of the main areas of your house before guests arrive? Hosting is a great motivator to sweep through your house, gathering everything that’s out of place (Hello, kids’ toys and husband’s shoes!) and returning them to their rightful homes.
What if there’s kind of a lot of stuff out of place and you don’t have time to put it all away before Thanksgiving? Do you use the “throw it all into a hamper and hide it in a closet” method?
That’s not a terrible method as long as you remember to include putting everything away in your post-Thanksgiving clean up. A messy pile loves company (chaos begets chaos) so the longer you leave things in that basket, the more likely other things are to pile up around the house and in the basket.
After you’ve finished the Thanksgiving dishes, grab that basket and get to it!
You might find you need to assign new homes to some of the things so they’re easier to put away in the future. You might also find that the new home is in someone else’s house, in which case you can put those things right into your car and drive them over to the donation center the next time you’re out!
Yesterday, I did a spot for our local NBC-10 station about the latest organizing craze, Swedish Death Cleaning. Click here to read the article and click below to watch the video!
Here in New England, the weather is starting to change from summer to fall (even though Thursday's forecast is 78 degrees!). One quick thing to take care of right now is to put away the summer sunblock, bug spray, and other summer cosmetics.
Round up the all the sunblocks in the house and check them all, tossing any that are nearly gone, nearly expired (or will be by next summer), or just gross from beach sand and grime.
Do the same with the bug sprays. While you're at it, test the sprayers and toss any that are malfunctioning (sprays a little trickle or has to be pumped 10 times before it will spray).
Gather any other summer cosmetics such as those bottles of ear drying liquid, mosquito bite spray, aloe vera, etc. Check these too to make sure they are full-ish, not expired, and in good condition.
Put everything worth keeping into gallon-size plastic freezer bags. If you don't have much, put it all in one bag. If you have a lot, sort it by type and use one bag per type. Store the bags near your summer accessories (beach towels, bathing suits) or near your luggage so it'll be handy when you pack for that beach vacation you're taking this winter. (You're taking me with you, right?)
Stainless steel appliances are great looking, except when they get all those smudges and fingerprints on them. Instead of buying expensive cleaning products with harsh chemicals, try this easy recipe: mix equal parts rubbing alcohol and baby oil (mineral oil). If you can find it, try lavender scented baby oil for a lovely, fresh fragrance. Each time you use it, shake it up to mix it and then dab it onto a microfiber or other soft cloth and swipe it across your stainless steel surfaces for an instant clean!
“Put it away right away.”
That sounds annoyingly goody two-shoes, doesn’t it? Well, never mind that. This little mantra works for me!
I say it to myself to get me through those moments when I just “don’t wanna.” (Can you hear the whine in my voice?)
I say it when…
I’m tempted to dump the mail on the kitchen counter instead of taking, seriously, one minute to sort it into recycling, action, and filing.
I’m tempted to drop the action and filing items onto my desk instead of just slipping them into the appropriate files. Why? To save 20 seconds?
I’m tempted to leave the clean dishes in the dishwasher or the sink full of dirty dishes, when really I can have those dishes put away in about three minutes.
I’m tempted to toss a pen onto my desk instead of putting it back in the drawer. (Later, when I can’t find the pen in the drawer, I accuse all of my family members of stealing my favorite pen!)
I’m tempted to leave the folded laundry in the basket because haven’t I done enough already by washing it, drying it, and folding it? But if I leave it in the basket tonight, it’ll still be there waiting for me in the morning – so just put it away right away!
Every time you’re tempted just to be lazy and drop whatever it is wherever you are, say to yourself, "Put it away right away!"
Your home, office, or room (Hello, my teenage daughter!) will stay so much tidier and putting things away will become an ingrained habit, making it easier to maintain a less-cluttered environment.
Yes, you read that right. I'm not telling you to reach for the stars or aim for the highest peak, I'm saying your goal is to be average…at least when it comes to your housekeeping, and probably more than a few other things too.
Are you struggling with clutter and disorganization? Do you feel as if dealing with your stuff rules your life? You might think that, as an organizer, the goal I would set for you would be to get rid of it all and be a minimalist. Absolutely not!
Think of it this way, would a doctor tell an obese patient that her goal is to become anorexic? No way! Being excessively underweight is just as unhealthy as being overweight. The goal is to attain and maintain an average, healthy weight.
This is the same with your housekeeping and decluttering. While a few people today are embracing a minimalist lifestyle, that's not for everyone and can be just as burdensome as having too much. For example, some minimalists keep a list of their possessions and restrict them to a specific number. Doesn't that seem a bit obsessive? Isn't stuff still ruling their lives?
The goal for your home should be to create a comfortable, livable space that contains the things you need and love, expresses your (or your family's) unique personality, and is easy to maintain.
In other words, an average home.
Sounds like home sweet home to me.