often think of January or spring as high seasons for
home organization. But for those of us with school-age
kids, late summer is prime time to clear excess and
create a better system to handle whatís left and whatís
on the way.
if you declutter before classes resume, you could plan a
garage or yard sale that could fund a school-supply
shopping trip or last-minute visit to the zoo or water
an easy way to approach reorganizing any area of your
house. Itís a shorthand version of tips from top-rated
professional organizers that you could call the 2-D
Pick a room or even just part of one. Quickly, without
allowing time for second thoughts, sort everything into
three piles or containers: Toss, Keep and Donate/Sell.
Find a place for everything that stays, storing things
near where theyíre used and putting like items
together. For example, keep school supplies where
homework is done, and sneakers, boots, umbrellas and
coats near the door you use most often. Designate a
place for each item, at appropriately accessible heights
of you will be fine with the 2-D method alone. But here
are additional pro-organizer tips for tackling specific
artwork: Aim to keep work that reflects special moments,
such as self-portraits or the first time a child writes
his or her name. One mom I know has an inbox for all
school and art papers. She sorts it quarterly, or when
it gets too high. Some things she keeps, some things she
photographs. The key is to periodically edit, with the
goal of keeping just a handful of art examples per year,
per child. Store "keepers" in a large,
under-bed storage box. When thatís full, sort again.
And as your child matures and understands that not
everything can be kept, he or she can help with sorting.
desk or personal work area: For some of us, itís the
kitchen counter or dining room table. Wherever it is,
keep the surface clear of what isnít used often.
Create a filing system that lets you quickly find what
you need. Set up an "inbox" for new
bills/fliers/mail and an "outbox" for
completed items. File finished work as itís done, or
on a regular schedule.
Plan to set aside several hours per closet. Remove
everything. Sort into categories by type ó pants,
skirts, tops, shoes, etc. Evaluate each item, separating
out what you want to donate, sell or have repaired.
Organize the rest by category, color and season.
In a central area, designate a bin for each family
member, into which you place stray items that loved ones
put away weekly. To keep housework manageable, focus on
one task per day. For example, designate one day for
dusting, another for vacuuming, etc.
Discard or recycle mismatched storage containers. Store
lids in the largest container; stack the rest inside
each other. Increase storage space by extending kitchen
cabinets to the ceiling, hanging pots from a rack, and
adding partitions, turntables or stacking platforms to
drawers and cabinets.
With sidewalk chalk, section off your driveway into
Toss, Keep and Donate/Sell areas. Break the Keep area
into subcategories, such as tools, pet supplies, yard
care, sports items and paint supplies. When putting
things back, store like items together.
your home can be a rewarding do-it-yourself project that
you can accomplish over weeks or months. But if you lack
time, ability or desire, consider hiring a top-rated
organizer to advise you or take on the project. Other
service providers who can help include trash haulers and
estate sale experts.