I’m not sure if I should be proud of my organizing obsession or not. On one hand, I get frazzled when things aren’t put back in their dedicated spots. On the other, my organization obsession hasn’t let me down because I can usually find almost everything in the house. Since each item I own has a specific spot, it’s easy to find again. Nine times out of ten, I can locate exactly what I need. For me, organization just seems to make life easier and less stressful.
If less stress sounds good to you, start taking notes! I’m going to give you some of my best tips so you can get organized in 2013.
Don’t think that you have to buy a stereotypical gray office filing cabinet. With a little creativity, you can make something that fits your home’s decor. You can create a simple file holder from a wicker basket. Even things like photos boxes can help. For a complete tutorial on how, visit The Complete Guide to Imperfect Homemaking.
Once you have a space to file papers, create separate sections or boxes to keep tax documents, mortgage paperwork, bank statements, credit card information and receipts. With tax season coming up, organizing all your info now will save you time later.
Computer files and documents
Set up your computer just as you would a filing cabinet to keep your desktop from becoming overwhelmed with icons.
I like to separate my files into different folders like Documents, Photos, Budgets, etc. Within those folders, I create subfolders. For example, in my Photo folder, I’ll name each album after whatever event it contains photos of.
After you organize all your computer files, back them on an external hard drive. You never know when your computer might crash from a virus, and you don’t want to lose important documents or family photos.
How many times have you looked in your pantry only to say, “There’s nothing to eat in here”?
I did until I organized my pantry. I had way more food than I thought, so I pulled everything out and put items together that would make a meal. For example, I had a few cans of beans so I put them together for chili. Now it’s super easy to put a weeknight dinner together. All the ingredients I need for a meal are in one spot.
We also now have an inventory list taped inside each food cabinet. This helps us stay organized and save money by keeping track of the food we have.
My medicine cabinet is a big mess in a small space. It’s not just an eyesore; it can create a huge problem. Having a messy, unorganized medicine cabinet may actually put you and your family in danger.
Pull all of your medicines out and check their expiration dates. The FDA says, “Expired medical products can be less effective or risky due to a change in chemical composition or decrease in potency.” But don’t just throw expired ones in the trash; this adds toxic chemicals to landfills. Recycle old medicine at your local pharmacy.
My most important organizing tip for your medicine cabinet is to put nighttime medicine as far away from the daytime stuff as possible. I can’t tell you how many times I accidently took nighttime stuff during the day because they were mixed together.
I keep my car relatively clean, but I neglected my glove box and center console for too long. I discovered CDs that I’d been looking for, keys to who-knows-what, and a bottle of Tylenol that expired in 2011.
After I cleaned out these spaces, I dedicated my glove box for all my car-related documents, like the owner’s manual, insurance papers, registration, etc. With the extra room in my console, I put a few emergency items in it, which is much more useful than a two year old bottle of pain reliever.
I finally cleaned out my overstuffed wallet before Christmas and found receipts in it from my summer vacation. The sad part was I found expired Kohl’s cash and $5 in the heaping pile of recipes.
More importantly, having old receipts could put your identity at risk if you lose your wallet. Shred old receipts weekly or file away ones that you might need for rebates or taxes.
Lastly, I like to organize my wallet into three sections. The first are things I must have on me at all times, like my driver’s license, ATM card, and $20 in emergency cash. The second I reserve for things I use daily but don’t need, like credit cards. The third is for things I don’t need at all but carry anyways, like museum memberships, library cards and gift cards.
Need more help with organizing your home? Check out some of these other Zing articles:
Organization Tips for Your Laundry Room
6 Mudroom Organization Essentials
Hoarding Baby Stuff in an Organized Fashion
Organizing Your Home Office
Steps to Organize Your Garage
Organizing Your Closet
Organizing Your Kitchen
Get rid of the old and start out fresh this year by de-cluttering and organizing your home, car, computer and wallet. The hardest part is getting started, but once you do, your life will get a little easier.
Do you have any organizing tips? Share them with other Zing readers!