When it comes to New Year’s resolutions, “getting organized” is right up there with “losing weight” and “getting more exercise.” It’s one of those resolutions that comes back to haunt us, year after year. The Soap and Detergent Association offers some easy-to-implement ideas for getting and staying organized around the home.
Clutter makes an otherwise spotless home look less than clean. If cleaning house isn’t your strong point, clutter only makes it more difficult to get the job done. Here are some tips to control clutter and help lighten your cleaning load:
Manage the Mail
- Open the mail over a wastebasket or recycle bin. That way, anything you don’t need will never even hit the countertop.
- Sort the remainder of the mail so it’s easier to handle. A sturdy, accordion-style file box is a useful way to store the sorted mail until you’re ready to tackle it.
- Keep catalogs under control. Throw out the ones you don’t need and put the rest in a storage basket. If you’re unsure about some of them, remember that you can always consult the online version. If necessary, save the front or back cover (the one with the website) and store it in a section of your file box labeled “catalogs.”
Lasso the Laundry
- If space allows, replace the conventional laundry hamper with one that has three sections. Presort wash loads before heading for the washing machine.
- Get each family member his or her own laundry basket. Color-code the baskets or clearly label each basket with the name. The laundry can go from the dryer into the appropriate basket. The basket gets deposited in its owner’s bedroom.
Help the Helpers
- Clutter is easier to control when everyone pitches in. To get younger family members more involved, some adjustments may be in order.
- Be sure coat racks and pegs are within easy reach.
- Get rid of fussy bedspreads. Bed making is easier if all they have to do is smooth the sheets and pull up a comforter.
- Want older children to help with the laundry and the dishes? Laundry and dishwasher tablets mean they don’t have to guess how much product to use.
- A hand-held cordless vacuum is easy for small hands to use. With it, little ones can easily take on the job of vacuuming up crumbs after meals and food preparation.
- “Sweep” the house before bedtime. Put newspapers in the recycle bin, toss out the junk mail, return food to the cupboards, put dirty dishes in the dishwasher, hang up coats, mitten, sweaters, towels, etc.
- Hot, steamy water helps loosen bathroom grime – so the best time to clean the shower or tub is right after you’ve used it. Choose a shower cleaner that will help prevent mold and mildew growth.
- Choose a dusting product or special cloth that attracts dust, rather than a dry or untreated cloth that just spreads dust around.