Do you live in the Celebration area? If so, consider signing up for my class at Stetson University Lifelong Learning. Find out tips to get and stay organized!

According to Organzing U, where Professional Organizers many times turn for new ideas to share, the following are suggestions to stay organized throughout 2017, with comments from me in italics.  See if you can adopt these and get some results!

1. Create a routine.
Include organizing in your daily routine and soon enough keeping things neat will become a habit.  (Note from Steph:  Put it on your calendar!  That way you will have the time, even if it is only in small chunks of time--15 minutes can give you good results.)

2. Clean up as you go.
When you leave an area, or finish a project or task, clean up everything you’ve just used.

3. Make it easy to prevent clutter.
Keep boxes in the garage marked “give away” and “sell” that you can easily drop things into. (Note from Steph:  I like to keep a "give away" shopping bag right in my closet so if I put something on that doesn't fit any longer or just doesn't look great, I can drop in in my bag right there and then!)  Have numbers for charities that will pick up from your home in your contacts. Be sure every room has a trash can, including the laundry room and the garage.

4. Have systems to receive and corral the clutter that accumulates daily.
This includes folders or baskets where you open your mail and receive paperwork for: Financial- bills, receipts, account statements, paycheck stubs, etc. Children- permission slips, game schedules, notes, etc.
To File- if you are certain you will need a paper again  (Note from Steph:  Make time to file every few days so these don't just pile up and create more clutter!)
To Do- for mail that needs a response, bills to pay, questionnaires, invitations, etc. (Make sure you tackle the To Do basket every few days).

5. Sort mail directly over the trash or recycle bin.
Get rid of junk mail immediately.  (Note from Steph: You have heard this one from me before more than once!)

6. Deal with sentimental clutter.
Rotate photos on display periodically. Pack things away carefully to keep for posterity. If a sentimental item is large or bulky, consider taking a picture of it and saving the photo instead of the item.  (Note from Steph: Or, if it really no longer brings you great joy, small or large items, get rid of it.  It has served its purpose in the past and now you can make room for new memories!)

7. If something is broken, take it to be repaired, fix it yourself, or dispose of it.
Give it a month. It you don’t need it in that time, get rid of it. Be realistic.  (Note from Steph:  I put a post-it note on it with the date so I am sure when I have given myself the month.)

8. Do the dishes before you go to bed.

9. Have a place for everything.
Put things away when you first get home. Don’t let stuff accumulate in entryways and on kitchen counters.

10. One in, one out.
Make it a rule: when something new comes in, something has to go out.

11. Make the bed every morning.
This doesn’t really have anything to do with organizing, but it will make your space look neater.

12. File, don’t pile.
Take that extra few minutes to put those papers into their files or proper place and you won’t have a pile waiting for you next time.

13. Create an organizing playlist
Choose a few songs that will get and keep you motivated.

14. Take 15 minutes a day.
Once you get organized, maintaining it should be quick and easy. Carve out 15 minutes a day to maintain your systems and you’ll stay organized and clutter-free!

15. Set a timer.
It’s easy to get distracted when you’re organizing. Set a time for your 15 minutes – or even 5! You’ll get a lot more done when you’re focused.

16. Reward yourself.
Don’t forget to carve out some time for you. Do something you enjoy, or sit back and relax in your organized space.

17. Get some help.
If you’re having trouble maintaining your organized systems, you may just be too busy. There are only so many hours in the day, after all. Enlist other family members, delegate tasks, or contact us. We can help with maintenance, too.

Sometimes we women (and maybe even some of you men!) buy clothing that we actually never end up wearing.  Why do we do that?

Many times it was because it was such a great sale we couldn't pass up a terrific buy.  In the end, that turned out to be a money WASTER!

If you find shortly after the purchase you really don't LOVE it, take it back.  But be careful...may stores have a no return policy on sale merchandise.  It is best not to buy it in the first place, so remember that in the future.  Have some sitting in your closet now?  Time to donate those!  Maybe there is someone out there that would truly LOVE it!  And--shop smarter in the future. 
Having extra batteries around is a great idea.  But you need to stored them correctly in order to be sure they are ready for use when you are ready for them!  According to the experts, do NOT keep them in the refrigerator, as condensation can cause damage.  Instead, keep them in their original container or rubber banded with all positive ends pointing the same way.  Or put them in a plastic bag and keep them away from metal objects like your keys, which could cause electrical shorting.  

An organized freezer is a big help! And, here's the thing, the longer you leave your freezer open looking for something, the more cold you are letting out and therefore the more energy you are wasting.  A disorganized freezer can require that it stay open a long time as you look for what your need!

My freezer, as well as many others, has bins sectioning off areas to make it easy to find things...once organized.  I like clear containers, so I can easily identify what is inside each one.  I make up categories, and keep like items together.  (Remember the instructions on getting that junk drawer organized--same process.)  Take everything out of the freezer and place it on the counter.  Get rid of anything you and your family will never use or is clearly way out of date.  I then put all bread items together--frozen waffles my husband has made, loaves of bread from Costco, hot dog buns etc.  All veggies are in another area, and all desserts in a third, etc.  I then reload the freezer, putting on the bottom those items used least frequently and the most used items at the top and in the front.  I then take a quick peek inside the freezer before grocery shopping to be sure we are well stocked on veggies and other items we use regularly.  Try it at your house and see if it doesn't make life a lot easier.