You Are At: AllSands Home > Lifestyles > How to get organized and stay that way
It's been said that the main reason people don't begin or can't stay organized is because they feel overwhelmed with the chore. Utilizing these simple steps will help to keep both you and your family in order, saving you time and the need for weekend cleaning projects.

BEGIN WITH A LIST Things often seem less overwhelming if you put them in their proper perspective. Make a list of what you'd like to organize and break it down into manageable tasks.

GET YOUR EQUIPMENT IN ORDER Well labeled boxes, address books, Dayplanners, family calendars, old plastic storage containers, and more can be used to store and help establish a routine in your household. Be creative. Can you use an old flowerpot to store miscellaneous pencils and pens by the phone? Can you stash old checkbooks in a labeled shoebox and store them in the closet instead of your desk drawer? There are an abundance of inexpensive organizers on the market today. If you find yourself lacking the proper equipment at home, make a list of your needs and shop around. Having the proper equipment for the job will make less work for you in the long run.

CREATE A PLAN Now that you have a list and all the tools you'll need, create a plan of action. Make a priorities list. You don't have to do it all in one weekend. Make a plan and stick to it.

GET RID OF THE JUNK Remember that the more things you have, the more you have to take care of. Is your closet filled with clothes that never leave the hanger? Maybe now is a good time to make a donation to your local Salvation Army. Do you have a storage area packed with boxes that you haven't seen in years? If you haven't used something in over a year, you probably never will. Hold a thrift sale. Give it away. Junk it.

MAKE A PLACE FOR EVERYTHING If you're not really sure where batteries go, how will you put them away? In the junk drawer again? Make certain that everything has a place to be stored. Lose the junk drawer and use boxes and labeled envelopes to store miscellaneous items. You'll eliminate clutter if you make space now for everything.

STAY WITHIN YOUR TIME FRAME Look at the things around you. Do you have expensive woods that constantly require dusting and special care that you don't have time for? Is your carpeting too high maintenance? Before you purchase something new, ask yourself if you have time necessary to care for it, and consider retiring older pieces of furniture and household items that don't fit into your time schedule.

TRY A HELPER BASKET It's not realistic to assume that you (and especially your children) will put away everything the moment it's no longer in use. Set a helper basket in kid's rooms (and any other room that collects miscellaneous items) and use it as temporary storage. Let one of your children be the helper each day, putting things back where they belong.

ONCE YOU'RE ORGANIZED and feel as though you have a manageable setup in your home, make a schedule. If you have kids, sit down and create a colorful calendar together as to when things need to be done. It's not necessary to spend every weekend cleaning if you can take care of simple chores regularly. Do a quick pickup everyday. Is your kitchen table piled high with today's mail, kids homework, and miscellaneous items? Make it a rule that the table gets cleaned off every night before bedtime. Take fifteen minutes somewhere in the day to just put things away. Don't make a chore of it. Fifteen minutes will give you enough time to remove clutter before it gets out of hand.

DO A LITTLE EACH DAY Make a list of daily chores that you can do each day. Is the Laundromat packed on weekends? Why not go for an hour on Monday night instead? Do you spend more time than necessary waiting in line shopping for groceries before the weekend? Pick a different day. Stores are less busy during early weekday evenings. By doing one task a day, rather than trying to accomplish them all in one weekend, cleanup and organization isn't as painful.

TAKE TIME TO RELAX Once cleaning up is a chore, it often gets put off until it's a huge project. Do a little each day and then, stop. Rest, relax, and enjoy your clutterfree home.