Home Organization (Making the Most of Your Workday, Organize your Closet on a Tight Budget, …)


1- Making the Most of Your Workday

2- Optimize your Kitchen Organization and Simplify your Life

3- Organize your Bill Paying to Avoid Stress and Worry

4- Organize your Closet on a Tight Budget

5- Organize your Clothes Shopping Trips to Make the Most of Your Budget

6- Organize your Family to Become Better Organized

7- Organize your Finances and Save Your Money

8- Organize Your Holiday and Bring Joy to Your World

9- Organize Your Home Business and Reap the Rewards of Success

10- Organize your Move and Reduce your Stress

11- Organizing and Planning a Successful Family Vacation

12- Organizing your Child’s Bedroom Can Be Fun

13- Plan and Budget for a Successful Party

1- Making the Most of Your Workday Chaos and a hectic pace seem to be par for the course in most anyone's workday, and it can turn your workday upside down if you let it.  However, with some careful planning, efficient scheduling, and well-developed work habits, your workday can smoothly sail along.

Planning your workday starts the previous evening.  Take a few moments before you leave work to jot down important meetings, phone calls that need to be made or returned, ideas or concerns that need to be discussed with your supervisors or co-workers, or other notes to yourself about projects you're working on or clients you're currently working with.  That way, it'll be right there for you to see the next morning, and it'll make getting into the swing of things much easier.

 You should stay on top of both your desktop and electronic inboxes. Check e-mail when you arrive, and immediately sort each message into an appropriate folder. Even if you don't have time to deal with the contents of a message or even read it fully, sort it for later action.  Sort through and organize regular mail and correspondence as well, and organize into piles for later action if necessary.  Make sure you come back to these at the end of the day and take any appropriate action or you can at that time.  Try to make it a habit of responding promptly to all mail requesting a timely response.  Check through these inboxes during the workday as well.  

Return or make your most urgent and important phone calls early in the day.  Like you, most people are more likely to be at their desks during this time.

Get in tune with your energy level and schedule.  If you have more energy at the beginning of the day, tackle your toughest projects then.  If your energy level dips after lunch, take care of filing, e-mailing, or other general tasks at this time.

At the end of the day, return to your checklist and prepare for tomorrow. Review your checklist and cross off completed items. Move any pending items to tomorrow’s to-do list.

Utilize both an electronic and wall or desk calendar to keep track of deadlines, meetings, and appointments.    If your day allows, try to work on those long-term projects a bit so that as their deadlines approach you won’t feel so pressured or rushed.

 Most importantly, take a break.  Don’t get into the habit of having your lunch at your desk or cutting your breaks short.  A walk during your break and time away from your desk to recharge are probably the most important things you can do for yourself to recharge your battery, clear your mind and prepare to tackle the tasks at hand more productively and efficiently.

2- Optimize your Kitchen Organization and Simplify your Life Our kitchens are easily the busiest room in our homes. From cooking and entertaining to a place for your kids to do their homework, play board games, or work on their arts and crafts projects, it can be easily overrun with art supplies, outdated spices, and unused or damaged utensils.

Go through your kitchen and discard anything you don't use, along with any food, spices, or medicines kept in the kitchen that are beyond their expiration dates. Then take everything out of your cupboards and drawers, and wash the insides with warm soapy water. Rinse, let dry and replace cupboard and drawer liners with fresh, new ones.

Store pots, pans, and cooking utensils near the stove nesting the pots and pans together to conserve space.  Make sure each one you choose to keep has a matching lid.  This is also a good time to make sure handles are securely fastened, so keep a screwdriver handy to tighten down skillet handles or pot lids if necessary.  Keep your dishes and silverware near your eating area or your dishwasher to shorten meal preparation or cleanup time.  Plastic storage containers should be inventoried to ensure each has a matching lid and that they are free from cracks or other damage.  Store them near your refrigerator to ease meal cleanup time.

Alphabetize your spices and keep them near the stove on a spice rack or in a nearby cupboard on a revolving rack.  Store food items that you use on a daily in a place you can easily grab them when needed.  Organize your pantry so that similar canned goods are in the same place and can be found easily when it's time to cook meals. Make sure your children easily reach items they use regularly and make sure items such as knives, scissors, and household chemicals are out of reach and secured in a locked cabinet.  Utilize airtight food storage containers to lengthen the shelf life of your foods.

If you have small appliances on your kitchen a countertop that you don't use regularly, remove them and store them there in a nearby cupboard or pantry. A countertop storage cabinet for those appliances that are used regularly keeps them out of sight and helps reduce the countertop clutter.

3- Organize your Bill Paying to Avoid Stress and Worry Bills can create headaches and cause stress for all of us.  They all seem to come due at the same time, and there never seems to be enough money to make ends meet. Factor in the time involves writing checks, addressing envelopes, and hunting down postage stamps, and it's a chore many of us would gladly relinquish.  But with some simple planning and organization, it's a task that can become easier and less stressful.  

The first step is to establish a central location in your home.  Make sure all the tools you need are in the same location: an inbox or folder to store incoming bills, pens, postage stamps, envelopes, your checkbook, a calculator, and your computer if you use financial software or online banking services.  Then when the time comes to sit down and pay the bills, you're not left hunting and searching for that lost light bill.

Develop a list of your bills that includes the type, the average amount, how you're billed (online, through the mail, or by automatic deduction from your bank account), and the due date.  If your utility bill tends to stay the same from month to month, notate that on your list so you can easily determine how much to budget. File this list with your other tools.

During this process, you might have discovered that your due dates are scattered all over the calendar, which can make paying bills in a timely fashion difficult at best.  Contact the companies and see if they'd be willing to change your due date to more closely adhere to your payment schedule and to more closely coincide with the due dates of other bills.

Online bill paying is a great way to not only save money on postage. If you choose to be billed electronically, it can reduce the amount of mail you receive and have to file.  Since most payments post to your account quicker than a bill paid traditionally, it also allows you to correct a bill-paying mistake quicker and avoid problems as a result.  Most banks offer online bill-paying services, and many companies have bill paying options online.

It’s probably a good idea to consider paying bills twice a month, or each time you receive your paycheck.  Scheduling bill paying as a regular task will make it easier to deal with and will decrease the chances of missed or late bills.

4- Organize your Closet on a Tight Budget You don't have to spend a fortune on fancy closet organizing systems to organize your closet, but it does require taking an honest look at your belongings and your habits.  With some creativity and some planning, you can create a closet that's organized and easy to maintain.

First of all, you must take a look at what's currently in your closet before you can begin to organize it.  If there are clothes that haven't been worn in six months or more, worn-out shoes, outdated handbags, and accessories that you no longer use, get rid of them.  They are only taking up your valuable space.  You'll be pleasantly surprised just how much space you can free up by purging beforehand, and it also means less to contend with during the organization process.

Next, take a look at what you’re left with.  Try to organize your clothes based on what groups together well as outfits.  Try to group like colors together, and organize shoes and accessories into the casual, sport, professional, and formal/dressy categories.

Now that you know what you’re left with, it’s time to place it back into your closet in a neat and organized fashion.  Look around your home for unused baskets and bins.  Consider installing a couple of extra shelves if the need warrants.  Affordable shelving units and brackets can be found in more home organization sections of your favorite hardware or discount store. 

You can also make great use of your space simply by using lengths of chain to hang items in your closet.  You can purchase plastic or metal chain in different lengths depending on your needs. Links should be large enough to accommodate your style of hanger – whether metal or plastic. Hardware or do-it-yourself stores will cut the chain the length that you request. Attach the chain to your closet rod with a hook; these can also be found at the hardware or do-it-yourself store.  Or you can simply loop the chain over the hook of a sturdy coat hanger.  Hang clothing items, one hanger per link.  This simple, inexpensive method can help you store several items in the space of just one.

With a little discipline, some creativity, and a free afternoon, your closet will soon be organized, easy to use, and simple to maintain.

5- Organize your Clothes Shopping Trips to Make the Most of Your Budget Some of us love it, some of us hate it.  Regardless, clothes shopping can be an expensive venture, and without proper planning and careful consideration of certain factors, it can well turn into an exercise in futility, resulting in wasted time and money.  To make your clothing budget stretch as far as possible, consider a few of these points before making your shopping list.

Probably the most important thing to consider when purchasing your wardrobe is to find pieces that work for you.  A warehouse job does not dictate a three-piece suit, just as an office job does not dictate work boots or gloves.  Since you spend 1/3 of your day at work and sometimes more, it’s important to have practical items in your closet that work for your job. 

Make sure you try things on and buy the size that is right for you. You might be required to go down a size for some clothing lines, and up for others.  Pay attention to the way it looks and the way it fits, not what the sizing tag says.  Proper fitting clothes help you look better, and feel better as a result.  They’ll also last longer if there are no stressed seams or are the correct length.

Build your wardrobe around basic elements.  Suits and separates can form the foundation of a great working wardrobe. Single and double-breasted long-sleeved blazers with matching skirts for women or pants for men or women are essential basics. Avoid using trendy clothes as building blocks for your wardrobe foundation, because once they become dated, it will cause the rest of your wardrobe to crumble as a result. Purchase basic building pieces in two or three colors that best complement your color and personal style to build your wardrobe.  You'll then be able to mix and match pieces to create various looks quite simply and affordably.

After you've obtained the basics in the colors and fit that's best for you, work on sorting your closet to make your morning routine simple and quick. Organize and categorize your clothing for easy selection and wearing. Hang jackets by sleeve length, color, and garment length, or place near coordinating items to make finding a workable outfit easy.

6- Organize your Family to Become Better Organized As you begin the process of organizing your household, you may ask yourself what the best way is to motivate your family members to become and stay actively involved in the process. Each family member is unique and so is their method for organizing and prioritizing.  But if you approach it from a coaching standpoint, it is possible to motivate your family to get on the organizational bandwagon. 

First of all, remember that your family will get involved in the process for their reasons, not necessarily just to please you.   Help each family member pinpoint their motivations for wanting to get organized.  Maybe they are feeling less productive in school or at work, or they never seem to have enough social time because their time

Each of us has a strong suit when it comes to being organized.  Find that about each family member and emphasize it. Take the opportunity to share your organizational strengths and tips, and ask them to do the same.  Offer praise, not criticism.

Organizing isn't about getting rid of things at all. It is about identifying what's important to you and giving those things a reliable, consistent home. Don't try to force your family member to get rid of their things, but to prioritize which things holds the most important and to focus their organizational goals around that.

Finally, being organized is about being responsible. If your child or a family member has worked hard to get organized and stay organized, recognize this feat and reward it.  Perhaps you can come up with a family reward such as new croquet set for the backyard that everyone can play, or purchasing three or four new board games the family can play together.  And remember, the best teacher for your family is you, so lead by example.  Maintain your organization systems and consistently strive to improve and find new ways to keep on top of the clutter so chaos doesn't overrun your life.  They'll learn by your example.

7- Organize your Finances and Save Your Money You carefully plan how to spend your money.  But you may have never organized a plan on how to best save your hard-earned money.  Shopping the sales, cut corners,  conserve energy, and clip coupons are all positive steps in the right direction, but with some careful planning and organized thought, you can make your dollar stretch even further. 

First of all, pay yourself first.  Bill yourself if you have to as a way to keep track.  You can even have a portion of your check directly deposited into your savings account so you'll never even miss it.  Put part of it into savings for shorter-term goals and some into a retirement plan.  Compare interest rates at different financial institutions to get the most bang for your saved buck.

Pay close attention to where your money is going.  Develop a spreadsheet or other method so you can visibly track where your money is going each month.  You probably easily remember the bigger bills like the mortgage or the car payment, but it's easy to lose track of the incidental spending you do.  You'd probably be surprised how much you spend each month on movies, eating out, video rentals, and a little spending money for the kids. This will help you find ways of saving a few dollars here and there, which can quickly add up to significant savings each month.

Set a realistic budget and stick to it. Once you've paid close attention to where your money is going, it will be easy to find where to cut corners and adjust your budget accordingly.  With some commitment and a few lifestyle adjustments, it's quite simple to live within the parameters of a well-planned budget.

Look for fun, inexpensive ways to entertain your family.  You can usually borrow videos from your local library at little or no cost, and outdoor activities not only promote family togetherness but the fresh air and exercise are good for all involved. 

8- Organize Your Holiday and Bring Joy to Your World The holiday season can be a stressful and chaotic time.  Between attending holiday parties, shopping, meal planning, baking, gift wrapping, and entertaining, there never seems to be enough time.  But if you organize, schedule, and plan properly, you might find you even have a little extra time to relax and recharge.

The should first sit down with your family at a meeting and find out what activities and parties they are involved in during the season.  If there are rehearsals for the church pageant, choir practice, or volunteer work activities, make sure you incorporate them all into your family schedule.  Be sure to factor in time off that you’ve taken during the holiday season so that if they need an extra set of hands to help out at the church’s bake sale, you’ll know at a glance whether or not you can help out. 

That being said, the next step is to ensure you're not spreading yourself or your family too thin.  Don't commit to more parties than you can attend, or be coaxed into hosting your holiday event if you simply don't have the time.  Once you've established your schedule with your family, do not make any changes, additions, or revisions to it without consulting them first.  If you're stretched too thin, chances are they will be as well since you'll be unavailable to them.

Successful holiday shopping involves careful and methodical planning.  A concise and specific list can save you both time and money.  Remember too, the season is about togetherness and the spirit of the season, and not about how much you maxed out your credit cards by.  Stick to your list and you’ll stick within your budget guidelines as well. 

Keep your holiday decorating simple and minimal.  Ornate displays can quickly consume your valuable time.  If you do choose to decorate big this season, make sure you've planned for it in advance and completed it before things kick into high gear such as parties, caroling, and shopping.

Santa’s got his list of who’s naughty and who’s nice. Organize and plan wisely so that you won’t become stressed and end up on the wrong side of Santa’s list this year.   

9- Organize Your Home Business and Reap the Rewards of Success The time to realize how important home business organization is to your overall success is not when you need to find important tax papers or income statements quickly.  To avoid problems in the long run, take some time and devise a workable organization and filing system now.

Get a sturdy lockable file cabinet and durable hanging folders.  Buy manila folders to tuck inside the hanging folders, and make sure you’ve also got several manila envelopes on hand that you can tuck receipts into and label easily.   

Organize your financial papers chronologically, and divide them by types.  Sort all your financial papers into piles and stack them chronologically.  Be sure you have folders for

bank statements, credit information, bill stubs, paycheck stubs, receipts, tax information, real estate papers, investment papers, insurance policies and statements, loan agreements, and any other financial papers in separate hanging folders.  Further, divide your tax information by year. Include tax returns, receipts, copies of W-2s, 1099s, and other pertinent tax information.  Divide the bill stubs by the companies they represent and divide real estate papers by mortgage documents, home improvement receipts, second mortgages, and so forth.

Important documents such as savings and certificate of deposit passbooks, car titles, stock certificates, and yearly Individual Retirement Account, pension, and profit-sharing statements should be kept in a safe deposit box, along with any vital records and valuables.

Make sure to keep on top of your inbox, especially your bills that need to be paid.  Put them in a separate place where they are easily seen and handy.

When purging documents from your filing system, be sure to hang on to tax paperwork for at least seven years, and other financial documents for three years. 

Financial planning software for your computer is available, and most are very user-friendly.  Some include online banking functions.  If you decide to utilize this, be sure to back up your data regularly.

If you commit to keeping on top of your filing and organization system continually, you'll benefit when the time comes to locate those important documents necessary for your continued success. If you don't, the paperwork monster will easily overwhelm you again and could mean trouble for your business.

10- Organize your Move and Reduce your Stress Moving can be a very stressful and nerve-wracking experience.  But with some careful planning and by thinking ahead a little, you can make the process go a bit smoother.

Create a simple record-keeping system. Whether it's computer-generated or handwritten, be very specific when recording things on this list.

You'll probably need many more boxes thank you think, and having enough boxes will make your life easier.  If you go through a moving company, keep in mind that any boxes you purchase but don't use can be returned for a credit or refund. Have at least ten boxes set aside to use for last-minute items on moving day, such as bedding, clothing, and cleaning supplies. You'll need strong plastic packing tape to close up the boxes securely. Use unprinted newsprint or packing paper or bubble wrap to wrap and cushion household goods. Again, you'll need lots more supplies than you think, so get extra. Moving companies will be happy to deliver boxes ahead of your moving day.

Designate a color for each room in the new home, such as yellow for the kitchen, orange for the dining room, and so forth. Apply colored stickers on the box near the box number. In your new home, place a matching sticker on the door to each room. This is a simple way for the movers to know where to put everything when they arrive.

Insist on keeping things together when you or the movers are packing boxes. Keep bookends with books, light bulbs with lamps, and extension cords with appliances. Small, loose parts can be attached to the item they belong to with tape or placed in small envelopes -- to keep picture hooks with pictures, shelf brackets with a bookcase, a special wrench, and bolts with the wall unit.

Anything you can pack ahead will save you time on moving day. If it's summer, get your winter clothes out of the way. If you must clean your old place after moving out, put together a kit of basic cleaning supplies and rags.  Moving companies will not move cleaning chemicals, so plan to transport those with you in your vehicle or give them to a neighbor or friend. 

11- Organizing and Planning a Successful Family Vacation can be tricky when you're trying to work around your family member's busy schedules.  Coordinating requested time off from work with school vacations and summertime activities can be a daunting task.

Get your family actively involved in the vacation planning process.  Everyone wants a trip to remember, and by obtaining input from each family member as to what they enjoy, what they'd like to do, and where they'd like to go, it can be successfully planned.

Your children may surprise you with some of the things they suggest to do on vacation.

Once you've got your plan mapped out, keep your kids involved by putting them in charge of at least one aspect of the trip. They may be good with landmarks and directions.  If that's the case, have them be your navigator. Maybe they love to take pictures and would love to be the official vacation photographer.  You'll feel less overwhelmed by everything that needs to be covered during the trip,  and they’ll feel a great sense of accomplishment in tackling their assigned project.

It’s highly unlikely that your time or monetary budget will allow you to do every single thing that everyone wants to do on the trip.  Work together to narrow the list, and place those things that everyone would like to do toward the top. 

After the location, time frame, and activities have been settled, it’s time to make the to-do list.  Figure out what clothes need to be packed, which neighbor or friend is going to check your mail and water your houseplants, and what bills need to be paid before you leave.  Put your children in charge of figuring out things like how much dog food you need to bring along for a vacation that will last for ten days, and make them responsible for locating their swim trunks, travel games, favorite books, and music CDs.

With a little forethought and some careful planning, you can have the family vacation of a lifetime and live to tell the tale.

12- Organizing your Child’s Bedroom Can Be Fun If you have a child, you know how easily their bedrooms can get out of control. Toys are strewn about, clothes out of drawers, books on the floor; it can almost be a hazard sometimes just to enter.  But getting your child's room organized can be rewarding and fun, especially if your child is actively involved in the process.

Never attempt it without their permission, input, and most importantly their active participation.  Don't surprise your child and go ahead and organize their room for them.  Just as you expect your privacy and possessions to be respected, so should theirs.

Teach your child as soon as possible the importance of keeping their room tidy and orderly, so they’ll have a strong appreciation for neatness and order as they grow.  With a little patience and cooperation, even the youngest can be taught this habit early on, simply by learning how to put toys and other belongings like books and art supplies away after use.

When organizing your child’s room, make sure it’s fun and creative, so they are interested in maintaining it.  And as we all know, children grow and change rapidly, so their rooms should have the room to grow with them.  Make sure your organizational method has room to grow and change as well.  And above all, make sure you get their ideas about what they think will work the best for them.  Make sure that all their favorites are well within reach and easy to put away. 

Place things that they use on an infrequent basis on the top shelves in their closet, and devise a workable system for hanging and organizing clothes and grouping favorite outfits together.  When it comes time to put laundry away, ask if they need your help, but try to give them space when possible to do it themselves, and it will grow into a good habit as they grow older.   Hanging storage closet systems are ideal for kids. They are bright and colorful and can contain closet items in a way that enhances visibility for a child. Designed with roomy pockets they hold an array of shoes, toys, and clothes, and hangover any standard closet rod.  Their front openings make it simple and quick for any child to use.

Also, consider a desk with drawers or another filing system for your child's schoolwork, artwork, awards, report cards, and other papers.  There are many brightly-colored and durable storage bins, desks, and organizers available for your child's room, so take them shopping with you so you can both select the best option.

And most importantly, keep your room neat and organized, and maintain it daily.  Don't expect your child to maintain a nice, tidy room if you’re not doing the same. The best teacher is your example.

13-Plan and Budget for a Successful Party You want to plan a great party, but you don’t want to break the bank to do it.  Don’t worry. The most successful parties are well planned, not the most expensive.

You probably remember a great party you attended at one time or another.  Though they are a great place to glean ideas, don't try to duplicate a party you've already attended.  You want your party to be remembered for the fun and the festivities, not because it was just like someone else's.

First, set a reasonable budget and stick to it.  Ask your friends to help in the planning process. Perhaps your friend who's a great artist can help you design some affordable and creative invitations.  Maybe another friend has an incredible music collection or a karaoke system.  Borrow and barter with your friends and family members as much as possible to keep your costs down.

Another good tip, when you plan a birthday party on a budget, is to limit the amount you will have to spend on food. This is easily accomplished with careful planning and thought.  Choose to have your party at a time of day when people have already eaten, such as shortly after lunchtime. That way you’ll only have to provide simple snacks. Plan on making most of the food yourself to keep the costs down. 

To create a good mix, and keep a birthday party on a budget, use your imagination and make substitutions where possible. Choose a theme for your party, but don't spend your entire budget on decorating.  Focus on a couple of key elements and accent with simple items such as balloons and streamers.

The most important part is to have fun. With some fresh ideas and careful planning and organization, you can stay within your budget yet throw a party that all the attendees will enjoy and remember for a long time to come.

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