10/01/2012

Organizing Tips for October

The weather is changing.  Fall is officially here.   In some parts of our country the weather may not show it, but it is time  to get moving towards the season filled with decorating and entertaining.   This month we will concentrate on getting the  dining room and/or eating areas organized and ready for holiday entertainment. 

  • If you have a dining room that is not used often, the table can become a dumping ground for items put there temporarily.  What starts out as the mail mutates into miscellaneous things  coming into the  house.  Start today to make it off limits for the temporary put down.
  • Inventory your linens and purge what you haven’t used in years.  If some hold sentimental value, see if someone in your family can use them and give them the honor they deserve.  If some are in need of repair, make the decision to take care of that or to move them on. Remember removing those that you do not use will make more space for those that you love and use.
  • Look over your dinnerware and remove pieces that cannot be used because of chips or other damage.  If there are odd pieces that cannot be used with other items, move them out, too.  Complete sets that are stored in boxes and never opened should be sold, donated or given to someone who wants them.   As with your linens, move on pieces that are simply taking up space.
  • Provide adequate seating for all those eating together.  Folding chairs can be used and stored in a closet or other storage area afterwards.  Wooden posts located on the wall of the garage can be used to hang them so they do not take up floor space.
  • Cloth or paper napkins can be placed in an attractive  basket, bowl or tray and serve as a centerpiece.
  • Placemats are more versatile to use than tablecloths and can be left on the table as decorations or stacked in the center with a napkin basket.
  • Dinnerware, flatware and serving pieces should be located in an area convenient to setting the table and replacing after cleaning the area.
  • Special occasion or seasonal dinnerware or silverware should be kept only if used and you have sufficient space for it.  .
  • Table cloths can be stored in shallow drawers or hung over a dowel or hanger covered with the empty roll from wrapping paper or paper towels.  Slit the roll on one side and slip it over the rod.  Then hang it in a closet.  This will prevent additional wrinkles.
  • Additional linens can be stored in the drawers or shelves of dining room furniture such as chests or buffets.  You may also use a linen closet if one exists.
  • Consider placing a clothing chest with drawers in the dining room if no longer needed for clothing.  It is ideal for linens.

Additional Activities to make the dining room more functional

  • The dining table may be a good choice for homework if the room is good for studying.  A tote with desk supplies may be used and then stored when the work is done.
  • It may also used for craft projects or other art activities.  Cover the table with a protective cloth, cutting board or plastic before using it. Portable storage for those supplies make it easier to clean the area when done.
  • If the family needs home office space, reserving a corner of the dining room for that activity is a good use of space.  Choose a table or desk that compliments the other furnishings.  Some items can be stored in the furniture already there or in rolling carts and file trolleys that can be moved to a nearby closet when not in use. 
  • If there is not space in the family room for board games and card playing, those items could be stored in the dining room for  use there..
  • When not used, keep the tops of buffets, chests and china cabinets clear and free of clutter..
  • Keep the table attractive when not used with a centerpiece and/or tablecloth.
  • Use washable decorative fabrics on surfaces to reduce the amount of dusting.

 The end of the month also brings Halloween and the Trick or Treat invaders.

  • You want to be sure the pathway to your door is safe. Remember to clean the driveway, sidewalk, steps and porch while it is still daylight. Fallen leaves can be slippery especially when wet so they should be removed as well as any toys, twigs, etc. Make sure this area is well lit by leaving your porch light and any other light fixtures on during the Trick or Treat hours.
  • It is recommended that you give only individually pre-wrapped candy. Since this is the beginning of flu season, you should not allow each child to reach into your container to get the candy since each one could be contaminating the other pieces with his hands. Rather, you should choose and drop the candy into each child's bag yourself.
  • As an extra precaution, you may want to use disinfecting wipes to clean your doorbell or door handles if you keep it closed between visitors. This can be done periodically during the evening or at the end when Trick or Treating is over. Keep hand sanitizer near the door and use it yourself as often as you think necessary.  It is a shame we need to be so careful, but it is always better to be safe than sorry and we want to do our part in keeping our homes and neighbors as healthy and safe as possible.

09/01/2012

Organizing Tips for September

Illustration from The Container Store

This month marks a shift in the thinking and planning for many of us.  Summer vacations are behind us, we look forward to cooler temperatures and we plan for the upcoming holidays.  Below are some strategies to help us make in organizing clothing and closets.

Most of us have attachments to our clothing, especially those that were expensive.  I have had great success with a local consignment store and recommend them.  It is less hassle than a yard sale and you will get some return on your financial investment. 

Of course, I also recommend donating to worthy charities.  Not only will you make your space more livable, but you will be helping those who simply cannot afford purchasing clothing otherwise.  It will be a double blessing!

  • In the closet, remove all empty hangers first. 
    Look at each piece of clothing and make a decision to sort as follows:
  • It fits, I wear it—leave it in the closet
  • It does not fit—donate/sell pile.  It will probably be out of style when it does fit.
  • It needs repair--if it is useful, place in a repair pile.  If not repaired in one month, remove it.
  • I do not wear it or like it—donate/sell pile
  • I am not sure--place in separate pile to store elsewhere, label and date.  If not worn in one year, donate/sell.
    • Clean the closet area, and reconfigure the rods, shelves if needed or desired.
    • Additional hanging space can be made by installing an adjustable hanging rod.
    • Replace wire hangers with more suitable ones but save a few if needed in garment bags
      when traveling.  Orderly Places has a tip sheet on types of closet hangers.
    • On closet shelves, clamp on dividers can be used to separate clothing or they can
      be placed in suitable containers.
    • Use hanging racks for the backs of doors or on rods to store bulky or specialty
      items.
    • As you return items, sort the clothes you will wear and keep by type-blouses,
      pants, dresses, skirts, etc. Sub sort these by colors as much as possible.  Place items worn together with each other.  This makes it easier to know what you have
      and find items easier.
    • Look at what you have and make a list of items you really need but are not there for
      future purchases.  Determine to buy only what is on your list.  One suggestion is to limit the number of prints and multi color designs and use mainly solids.  This allows more flexibility in creating outfits and using accessories.
    • Clothing in drawers or chests or on shelving should be organized with the same process as with closets.  Use dividers or containers to separate categories, colors, etc. in the drawers.
    • Some clothing can be rolled rather than folded to make sorting and access easier.
    • Shoes can be stored on hanging sorters or under shorter clothing in racks or
      shelves.  If they are stored in boxes, use clear plastic or label with pictures or descriptions.  I also recommend sturdy under the bed containers for off season shoes.
    • Evaluate the accessories you have to determine if they are still usable.  I had quite a collection of scarves back when Oprah made them popular and finally gave them up after taking my own advice.  They still have not made a comeback and if
      they do, they will be different, I am sure.

Additional unrelated tips:

In the next month or so, stock up on cold and flu products.  It is often difficult to find those you prefer when they are needed most.

 As much as I hate it, now is the time to plan for the holidays.  Pencil in some activities, gifts, meals, etc. in your planner.  More tips will follow in the months to come.

For more organizing tips and information, check out our website:  www.OrderlyPlaces.com

 

 

08/02/2012

Organizing Tips for August

 

Illustration from marthastewart.com

There are two areas that benefit from organizing in August: school and office.


Many states have a weekend of freedom from sales tax to help with school supplies.  Many office and stationery supplies are covered, too.  These stores will identify covered items for you. In Virginiathe tax holiday is the first weekend in August. What's Exempt: During this three-day period, in general purchases of qualifying school supplies selling for $20 or less per item, and purchases of qualifying clothing and footwear selling for $100 or less per item will be exempt from sales tax.


Most stores have increased their inventory of school and office supplies.  You can find a better selection and better prices this month. Make a list and try to find those things you need while there are good choices.   Plan ahead for consumable items like printer paper, notepads, etc.  Be sure you have room to store these items.  For children, check the supply list created by the specific school or teacher. 

 

Clean out stationery and office items that are no longer useful or in disrepair. Organizing your files is a great indoor activity when the weather is too hot for outside work.  Look for free shredding events in your area to dispose of confidential papers without burning up your shredder.  We have personal experience in that activity!

 

Think ahead in purchasing children’s clothing. My oldest child grew 3” the first two months of his 9th grade year. The clothes I purchased early in August to get the best selection were too small in October. (This was before long baggie pants were acceptable.) 

If you plan on having a yard sale in the fall, begin planning now. Start gathering items that you need to move on, clean and price them. Young children have probably outgrown last year’s school attire. Take an inventory to see what you can sell or donate now. As colder weather and winter approach, you may need to take another look at heavier clothing to see what can be eliminated.

Go to Craig’s list or EBay to determine a reasonable price for selling your items. In fact, you may want to put some of the items up for sale on those sites now so they won’t take up storage space in your home. If you want to join with others in a sale, pick a date now that is good for everyone.  Remember, you can always donate items to a local thrift store or charity and possibly bless someone less fortunate.  It is good to pay forward.

07/01/2012

Organizing Tips for July

Elfa Over Door Media Storage, The Container Store

It is hot and humid for most of us in July.  I wonder if we spend as much time in air conditioning in the summer as we do the heated rooms in the winter.  Since we are enjoying the cooling in our living rooms, family rooms or dens, let’s get them organized this month.  Here are some tips that might be helpful to you.

  • Arrange electronic items such as televisions, CD and DVD players and video games
         in one area so the wires and cables can be contained together.   Label
         each end of cables and wires related to the computer and other electronic
         equipment.  It will save much time in connecting or reconnecting
  • Use wire baskets that can be mounted under shelves or cable ties to contain wires.
  • Purge videos, CDs and DVDs that are no longer used.  Sell or donate them to a local charity,
         nursing home or hospital.  If you want to locate one again, they can be rented or    borrowed from local libraries.
  • Renting or borrowing movies and games is an excellent organizational choice and
         sets a good example for your children in managing finances and spaces.
  • Store CDs and DVDs in their case vertically on shallow shelves, or if space is
         limited they can be removed from the case and placed in notebooks or cases with plastic sleeves.  Sort and arrange by category.
  • Videos can be stored vertically on shelves or in shoe box type containers.  Do not stack flat as accessing those on the bottom is more difficult.
  • Remotes and game joysticks should be contained in a basket, decorative box or
         container designed specifically for them.  Keep them within easy reach of the chair or sofa.
  • Place a table or shelf near every seating area.  Large coffee tables can take the place of several small end tables.  Choose one with storage shelves, cabinet doors or drawers.
  • Provide an area for playing with toys if you allow that activity.  A lower cabinet can be used to store those items or they can be taken back to the bedroom in a tote box or rolling crate.
  • Fo  reading areas be sure to have a comfortable chair with adequate lighting and a place to store books, magazines, newspapers, etc.
  • Books should be purged from bookcases.   Keeping fiction books that you have read serves no purpose except to prove you own them.  Sell or donate them knowing you can borrow it from the library if you have time to read it again.
  • Non-fiction books should be grouped by category.  Since information is always changing, using older books as reference many not provide recent findings.  Let them go and use the Internet to find the latest information.  The books are not your brain and letting them go will not cause you to forget what you have learned.  (Old age, however, may cause you to forget.  I
         speak from experience once again.)
  • Sets of encyclopedias are dated the moment you get them.  Use the Internet or library for
         research.  Use their encyclopedias if you want to teach your children how to use them.
  • Make friends with the library.  It is a wonderful place of knowledge and entertainment for your children and  prevents book clutter from residing in your house.  Most offer excellent programs for adults and children.
  • Mix books, plants, attractive storage containers or photographs on bookshelves
         for more interesting arrangements.
  • Upper bookcase shelves and over the window shelving can be used to display
         collectables and photographs.
  • Collections of similar items are more attractive when grouped together in displays.
  • Keep an attractive container with pens, pencils, note pad and scissors in a
         convenient location in case they are needed.
  • Card  tables can be used for board games, craft activities or other projects.  When you are finished it can be folded and stored under the sofa, behind large furniture or in a
    nearby closet.
  • If the family office is located in this room, reserve a space for a table or desk.  A drawer or attractive  containers can hold desk supplies. 
  • If a computer will be located in this room, consider placing a wireless system in your home to eliminate having to connect all of the components with cables.

For more organizing information or to contact us, check out our website:  www.OrderlyPlaces.com

 

 

 

05/31/2012

Organizing Tips for June

(Illustration from RealSimple.com) 

 June is the busy month of weddings, graduations and outdoor activities.   The best organizing approach is to work in the areas that are already requiring time.  Since it is the end of the school year and the children or grandchildren will be around, one subject to consider is their spaces and the keepsakes you have been saving for them.  Of course travel is on the mind of most of us, too.

An avalanche of school papers may be arriving for you to handle this month.  My best advice is to
let the child decide which to keep.  Keepsake boxes or binders can be used for these.  Give
one to each child and let it be the only place for special saved items.  If it gets too full, let the child decide what to keep and what can go.  Resist the urge to get more or bigger boxes.  Think
about how many things you really need from your childhood to remember the good times.  Of course there are items they have made that you will store with your keepsakes, but be selective. 

Children now have time to go through their rooms and eliminate items they have not used or no longer want or like.  Clothing that no longer fits can be sorted for sale or donation.  Children grow
quickly and by fall most of what they wore during the past year will not fit.  Thankfully not much variety in clothing is need for the summer months.  If you are storing them for younger siblings, remember to label them as to sex, size and season.

Children need limits on everything except love and affection.  They should not be allowed to
collect an unlimited amount of matchbox cars, Barbie clothes, t-shirts, flip-flops or anything else.  Let the space determine how much can be easily organized in the given space and draw the line
there.  You will be teaching them good organizing habits and a lesson that there are limits in life.  Should they want a new item, remind them something they already have must go.  This is the “one in—one out” rule that we all should follow.

Too many of anything means none of them are special.  This includes collections such as china,
dolls, salt and pepper shakers, stamps, etc.  If space is limited and many of these items are stored in the attic or closets, consider saving only those that have special meaning and letting the
remainder go to other family members or donate or sell them to anyone else who will appreciate them and has room for them.  Storing keepsakes out of site does not honor or respect the memories that go with them.  Put those that you choose to keep in a place where they can be enjoyed and given the honor and respect they deserve.

Photographs are another source of keepsake clutter.  Save only the best from each activity.  No one needs 100 pictures of the beach vacation.  A few special pictures are all that is needed to capture that special time.  There are lots of ways to sort and save them in colorful scrapbooks and online in creative formats.  I am not a scrapbooker, but I do admire the projects and products available from Creative Memories and other sources.

Make a point of enjoying the outdoors while the weather is nice.  Keep outdoor umbrellas closed when not in use.  It will extend their usefulness and prevent damage during high winds or thunderstorms.  I have personal experience with this one.

And speaking of storms, this is the beginning of hurricane season.  If you live in an area affected
by hurricanes, high winds or rising waters, you should review the list of necessary emergency items and secure those now.  Be sure to update your household inventory.  More information on it can be found on a previous Blog I posted:  http://organizingtipsfromorderlyplaces.blogspot.com/2009/06/pictures-for-inventory.html

If you will be traveling this summer, create a permanent travel kit with activities for yourself and family.  If it is only used for travel, the items will appear to be almost new and more interesting. 

If you travel often and if you have storage space, create a permanent supply box or bag with items you always need.  Some of these may be duplicates of items you use everyday at home but you will not need to disturb those.

A permanent travel checklist that you keep on your computer or in a convenient notebook is a great strategy to prevent forgetting items you always need.  I keep one just for quilt retreats, my favorite travel experience! 

For information on organizing your suitcase, check out this article I posted last summer  http://hrblogs.typepad.com/homeandgarden/2011/05/organizing-your-suitcase.html

 If you have questions or suggestions, please feel free to contact us through our website:  www.OrderlyPlaces.com

 

05/12/2012

Organizing Your Car

The family automobile has become an integral part of our lives.

Sell Car Organizer, Trunk Organizer, Car Accessory
Some of us would argue we live in our cars.  And it appears the more space it has, the more stuff we carry in it.  If you transport young children, then the amount grows exponentially. 

With the recent empahsis on organizing, I have found there is a plethora of products to help us keep order within our vehicles.  The pictures above are some of those I found online but any automotive parts store or section in local box stores has them, too.  While I am all about using products designed for specific tasks, I think some everyday products we already have could be useful in containing and separating car stuff. 

One problem I have is keeping food from rolling out of the plastic or cloth grocery bags as I drive from the store.  Most are too full  or awkward to tie up and it seems every stop and go releases at least one item from those bags.  Some vehicles have hooks installed on the back of seats to hang bags, but since many do not, I am recommending using totes, boxes or bins with firm sides to hold those flimsy bags.  The totes that fold down flat when not in use are especially convenient.  One large plastic bin would keep several bags secure and can be used for sporting equipment, emergency supplies, etc.

For items you like to have handy while you are on the road, there are organizers that fit on the seats, between the seats and hang over the seats.  The style that hangs on the back of the seat in from of children seem to be popular for storing items children can access to keep them occupied and happy. I am certainly in favor of those.  I use a dishpan between the front seats in my van to hold a box of tissues, pens, paper, a toiletries bag (be prepared is my motto, too) and a water bottle.  It is waterproof and easy to move in and out.  Other specifically designed products have dividers to help keep items organized.  I recommend any of them, too. 

If attractiveness is a high priority or if your car is used for business and you want to apprear more professional, there are product lines that have matching sets of totes, boxes and bins.  These are good investments if you plan to keep and use them for longer periods of time. 

This discussion could not be complete, however, without mentioning the importance of maintenance.  Like any other space, it is important to continually monitor the amount and types of things in the car.  Clean out items you no longer need or use, eliminate trash that may collect in the containers and wipe up any spills before stains become a problem.  Even grit and dirt can accumulate causing wear and tear. 

Items that roll around in the car as you drive can be a distraction and even worse dangerous.  Containers are a great way to keep the interior and trunk of the car in order.  Find some that work for your situation and put them to use.   For more information or to contact us, visit our web page:  www.OrderlyPlaces.com

05/05/2012

Hot in Style Spring 2012

Are you wondering what is hot in style right now, well we have found the answer...Birds! Home accents are paying homage to our fine feathered friends. You can find them on Rugs, Lamps, Pillows, Bowls, Ceramic Pieces and atop mirrors. So go out and get your bird on people!

Here are a few examples where you will see the bird trend at its finest.

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Dec-shop-bird2-435

04/30/2012

Organizing Tips for May

No one wants to be inside in the month of May.  Flowers have been blooming, the weather is
mostly nice and we are tired of being in the house.  This is a good time to work on organizing the
garage and getting the outdoors ready for summer activities. 

Since the Garage is
never first on our list of projects, let’s begin there.  During the winter it often becomes a temporary dumping ground for items.  If this is the spouse’s territory, be sure to work together as a team.  God forbid that you should purge or arrange items that were “special”.  I have found the most effective way to motivate a spouse is to begin purging and organizing your things.  Sometimes the guilt factor is motivating.  Sometimes.  Regardless, you never really can win a battle with a spouse.

Take advantage of systems that will allow you to organize your items off the floor.  It is much
easier and faster to clean with fewer items on it.   For pennies or hundreds of dollars, you can invest in organizing solutions that will work for you.  Check out the home improvement stores for hooks, peg boards or shelving units to hold items that are now stacked on the floor. Be sure to label bins and cardboard boxes used for storage. 

Move out items you no longer need.  Only things you continually use should be kept.  Boxes of old magazines, newspapers, etc. should be recycled. 
Let’s face it.  You didn’t have time to read them before and you won’t later on.  There are too many new ideas coming at us everyday and those articles are outdated.

Review the sporting equipment to see if it is still needed.  Move on any you no longer use.  For those you save, look for specialty hooks, bags and shelves to store those.  Be sure to keep children’s things at lower levels so they can access them without your help.

A great plan would be to make room for the car if you have not already done this.  Your automobile
is probably the second most expensive investment you have made so take care of it.  Mark off a space for it on the floor.  Identify a wall item or hang a string or chain from the ceiling as a marker for how far you should pull forward.

If outdoor, yard or garden items are kept in the garage, garden tools and accessories, look over each one.  Remove rusted, broken or stained plant containers, stepping stones and other garden fixtures.  Create racks or hooks for the tools and locate them together in one area.  Specialty items are also available to hang rakes, shovels, etc. so they do not get tangled together or take up floor
space.

Outdoor furniture may need to be cleaned before using, so check over each piece.  Toys that are
outgrown or no longer needed can be moved on.  If you have water sports equipment or pool accessories, try to store those in good condition in their own area for convenience when they are
needed. 

Yard art is becoming very popular but be careful you do not allow it to take over.  It can become
clutter just like anything else.  There is nothing more beautiful then flowering or luscious plants, shrubs and trees, so make them your focal point.  Adding hanging baskets or a border of blooming flowers can make a significant impact.

Once your garage is cleaned, you may consider a Garage or Yard Sale.  Here are some reminders.

**Collect, clean and repair items weeks ahead as you purge spaces. 

**Check prices of similar items.  Put on price tags and store in a common area.  (Preprinted price tags can be found in some stationery stores, dollar stores, etc.)

**Choose a sale date.  Join with neighbors if possible for a common date.

**Check community rules and get permits if necessary.

**Arrange for charity pickup or make plans for items not sold.

**Write ad for newspaper, Craig’s List, newsletters, etc.

**Make signs and flyers for bulletin boards and curbs where allowed.

**Obtain sufficient tables, racks, etc. for items to be displayed.

**Get change for large bills and newspaper, bags, etc. for fragile items or large sales.

**Use extension cords for testing electrical items.

**Place pens, paper, calculator, extra price tags, tape, and stapler at check out table.

**After sale, remove signs, clean area and dispose of unsold items as planned earlier.

A few other reminders for May:

Change the a/c filter and have a routine inspection of all its components before the scorching days of summer arrive. Clean ceiling fan blades and give other fans an inspection.

Clean the carpets and floors.  They were used and abused all winter and deserve a thorough cleaning.  If piles of clutter or stacks of items are on them, consider moving the items to shelving, cabinets or tables.  Floors are easier to keep clean when only furniture is on them.  

For more information or questions, you may contact us through our website:  www.OrderlyPlaces.com 

 

 

04/17/2012

Hidden Storage Spaces

If your space seems just too small for the things you need, then using hidden spaces is one way to stretch the storage or display space you already have in your home.

Many organizers do not support the use of under the bed storage, but I consider it one of those great hidden spaces. It is ideal for storing off-season clothing and other items that are not needed frequently. Currently there are many types of containers designed specifically for storing items under the bed and it is a good choice to use them. Most are wide, flat and covered and are usually made of fabric or plastic. Choosing one that is sturdy and slides in and out easily is important. If your bed is too clse to the floor for storage, bed lifts can be purchased to raise it up.

Another hidden space is behind entry doors to rooms. Most doors are placed in the corners of walls, but the door frame itself provides a narrow storage area when the door is open and a very accessible space when the door is closed. Racks can be placed on the wall itself or on the back of the door to hang many types of items. If you do not want to attach anything directly to the door, there are over-the-door style racks and hooks for nearly every type of item that needs organizing.

For those that have collectible items that are for display only, placing shelving above the windows is an option to expand display areas. Other spaces can be found on the tops of kitchen and bathroom cabinets that do not reach the ceiling and the tops of tall bookcases or chests.

Functional pieces of furniture can offer additonal storage space, too. Window seats and ottomans with storage under the cushions are a good choice as are coffee tables, end tables and night stands with shelving or drawers. Adding fabric skirts to sofas and chairs or hanging linens to the floor over tables also provides hidden space for storage. Board games, videos and other entertainment items can be kept there.

If you have adjustable shelving, you can reduce the wasted space above items by lowering the shelf above and adding a new shelf. Wire shelf racks and two tiered turntables are also options for adding space between shelves. Don't forget the space above the top shelf in closets. An additonal shelve can often be added above it to expand storage possibilities.

Some furniture can serve more than one purpose when moved to another room. Bedroom chests can hold linens when moved to the dining room, desks can be used as vanity dressers and china cabinets can become bookcases.

Let your creativity come forth as you organize, and let us hear about your innovative solutions. You can contact us through our website: www.OrderlyPlaces.com.

04/01/2012

Organizing Tips for April


April cannot decide if it will be warm or cool. Our area has the last day of potential frost as April 15th but that has not always proved to be true. It is also the month of spring rain as in “April showers bring May flowers”. On the cool or rainy days, take some time to organize your linens and bathroom(s).

If space is limited in linen closets, consider placing extra sheet sets in the bedroom where they are used. They can be stored in closets, inside under the bed containers or even under the mattress of that bed.


Replace heavier bedding with lighter weight items. Some quilts or comforters need only to be put through the “air” cycle on the dryer to remove dust. Store them in pillow cases or the large plastic bags now available to keep them clean. Vacuum bags can also be used but be aware they will gradually allow air to return.

Remove sheets, blankets, etc. that are torn or in disrepair. If they can be fixed, find someone to do it, otherwise, recycle them to local pet shelters or other appropriate places.

 

We often collect pillows and other bedding to have on hand in case guests stay overnight. Evaluate what you have that has rarely or never been used. Perhaps some of them can replace those you have removed, or they can be donated or sold to allow room for better organization of the space.

 

Make similar decisions about your bathroom linens. Towels and wash cloths that are in disrepair should be removed and replaced with those you have been saving for a special occasion or purchase additional items on sale. Most department stores have linen sales throughout the year and discount or outlet stores also offer good savings.

 

Many cotton items will dry rot if not used over a period of time. This often occurs on the folded edges so check those that have been sitting on the shelf for a longer period of time.

 

Clear the bathroom counters and contain any times that must remain there. Use trays, baskets, bins, etc. to make clean up easier there. Be diligent in removing old or expired products and store duplicates of items in another area.

 

Be sure all products in the bathroom have a label. This is especially important with medicines. You may check out taking expired medicines to your local pharmacy or ask them the best way to dispose of them. Flushing in the toilet or garbage disposal is no longer recommended because of contamination of local waters.

 

If the bathroom needs updating, consider using hooks rather than bars for towels. Children find them much easier to use so be sure to put those lower on the wall or door. Consider using dark or disposable towels for removing make-up

 

Placing a magnifying mirror on the wall saves space and is more convenient that a portable model. Using pull out shelves or wire baskets under the sink will make access much easier to items stored in the back of those cabinets.

 

Keeping these areas organized requires daily maintenance because of daily use. Setting up a schedule and requiring participation of all the family members can help keep them clean and neat.