Organizing Tips

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January- Do you ever save a coupon and forget to use it? Times are a bit tougher
these days and every buck counts.  Use a check file (these are found at office
supply stores like Officemax and Staples).  It looks like an accordion file but is the
size of a business envelope.  Keep it in your car!  Bring your clipped coupons to the
car and add them.  Purge the file every so often when waiting for someone or in the
drive thru.  Now your coupons will be as close as your car.

February- Two pocket folders are one of my favorite organizing products. These
inexpensive gems are great for take-out menus and coupons by the phone.  They
are better than file folders for color coding and holding papers that belong
together.  For example, car pool lists, sorting papers by child, travel planning, and
papers for church, clubs or sport teams.  Stock up in the fall when they are on sale
for pennies.

March- Over the door clear pocket shoe organizers are really a multi-functional
tool for those who are visual learners, that is if you find it difficult to find a particular
item if it is boxed away.  On the back of a hall closet you can add gloves, and
hats-even very little ones can follow this system.  The pockets can also hold small
toys stuffed animals, toiletries, spices, office supplies, craft items and, of course,
shoes.  


April- Cha-ching!  According to Coinstar, the average household has about $90.00
in change sitting in jars and banks. They estimate an 8 ounce container holds about
$14.27. As an organizer, I see lots of homes with coin clutter in drawers and jars.
Time to cash in and make that money work for you in a savings account or treat
yourself to dinner.



May- Vases seem to accumulate under sinks and in cupboards, because we
treasure the gift of flowers.  Donate unused vases after selecting a few basic types
to keep on hand, a bud vase, a wide mouth vase, and a few different heights.  Keep
them scrubbed clean to prolong flower life.  


June- Cleaning out your medicine cabinet- the blanket advice is to toss expired
medicines so I searched on-line to find a definitive answer to the expiration date
debate.  Harvard Medical School had a posting that said it was probably safe
beyond the date on the label. When in doubt check with your medical professional
or pharmacist about your medications and their longevity.  Medical advice changes
over time, as in physicians no longer recommending cough medicines for children
under six.  As for organizing them, group items by pain relief, cough and cold,
supplements, children's meds, first aid and so on use small plastic bins to allow you
to keep groups together. The plastic bins also easy to clean if something spills or
leaks.

July- Is your email account inbox and desktop screen cluttered with jokes you've
already read ( and had the chuckle), events that have long past, or photos of
someone else's child's prom photos?  Hit the delete.  Once you have processed the
information either delegate it to email files for longer term storage or save to your
computer.  For example, I have an email files for recipes, photos, and one for
specific groups I belong to so I can retrieve them later.  About every three months, I
do a big delete of invitations and dated information.  It makes it much easier to find
what I need when I need it.

August- Got piles of CDs and the DVD's and software here and there? Herd them
together in a basket, plop down by the TV gather the family and voila!-- a new
matching game.  Sell or donate old music or movies that you no longer enjoy.  Take
the match cases and discs to the shelf or basket where they belong.

September- Get your phone, call an old friend (speaker mode) then pull over the
trash can and go through your junk drawer.  Occasional maintainance of "catch-all"
areas is essential.  Toss the extra packets of ketchup, the expired coupons, old
cough drops and crumbs.  Make sure the tape, screwdrivers, menus, and batteries
are right at hand.  

October- Grocery shopping can be streamlined if you make your list in roughly
the order of the aisles at your favorite store.  For example, the first department I go
to is the Dairy so at the top of the list I write my cheese, milk and yogurt, then the
next aisle is cleaners, laundry then paper products and so on.  By writing the list in
the order of the aisles-mentally going throught the store, I don't have to back track
for something when I notice it on the list.

November- Organize you pet. Gather all the collars, leashes, medicines, coats,
and grooming items  and store them in a bin in a cupboard or closet.  If you have
room on the back of mudroom door, use a clear door the door shoe pockets for
easy access.

December- Now is an ideal time to go through the toy box with your children and
toss broken pieces, incomplete puzzles, and toys that are no longer age
appropriate.  Teaching children to let go, learning to donate and blessing others are
great life skills.  What to keep?  A few well loved toys are fun to look back on.
Keeping  every toy they have ever had prevents children from having space to
physically play and will not going to be welcomed by your future son or daughter
in-law.
Melanie Dennis, CPO®
614-975-8655
melanie@neatstreak.com