“A place for everything, and everything in its place.” Words to live by, right? Organization is the key to a well-run home. You will always know where everything is if you put it in the same place every time.
Heck, I even put the ketchup in the same exact place in the door of the fridge every time. But why? Well, if I need the ketchup, I can open the fridge and grab it with my eyes closed. It is always there, and if it is NOT there, I know where the next bottle sits in the pantry — because I also keep that in the same location time after time. If it isn’t there, I know we are out (which rarely ever happens).
So why do I go to such great lengths to organize the little things? Because organizing the little things makes organizing the big things much easier! If you can keep track of small items, the big items pretty much take care of themselves. If you organize your home like this, your life is sure to operate at maximum efficiency. You will get things done in a timely manner, leaving you with much more spare time to do other things.
But organization is much more than putting the ketchup in the same spot every time. Organizing extends to your entire home. With a well organized home, you will surely be better prepared for any disaster that comes your way!
Why Should You Organize Your Home?
Picture this: you are sitting in your living room watching television. It’s raining, thundering and lightning outside. The wind is whipping through the trees with powerful force. Suddenly, you hear a loud BOOM outside — a transformer was struck by lightning and your power goes out! What do you do? Scramble for candles, lighters, flashlights and batteries? …or do you already know where all of it is?
If you have been organizing your home, you know where everything is. Your home is stocked up, and this storm becomes a minor setback instead of a major emergency.
Let’s say, for example, there are some intense thunderstorms bordering on tornadoes. It’s summertime, it’s night time, and the power goes out. How do you react?
If your home is cluttered, you have to hunt for the flashlights and pray the batteries aren’t dead. If the batteries are dead, you have to figure out where the new ones are… if there are any new ones in the house. You’re already starting to get hot, and you most likely don’t have battery operated fans to keep yourself and your family somewhat content…and this is only the beginning.
However, if your family is organized, the minute the power goes out everybody knows where their flashlight is. They know the batteries work, but if by chance they’re dead, they know exactly where in the house the new batteries are located. This battery organizer with removable charger will help with that. They also know right where the candles and matches are to make sure the house has ample lighting so as not to run down the flashlight batteries… they are set and ready for anything.
If your family is more like the first example, don’t worry — you are definitely reading the right post. I am going to help you become more like the second family.
Step One: Declutter Your Home – Use It or Lose It!
You know that box of clothes you have in the attic that you haven’t been able to fit into in 15 years? You just keep thinking, “one day, I’ll be able to get back into my favorite pants!” Guess what. If you could get back into them today, they would probably be out of style. The harsh reality is that if you have not used the stuff in your attic, basement, closets or storage sheds in 10 years or more, there is no need to hold onto them any more.
Organizing Tip: Put all of your clothes on the same color hanger, and turn them backwards on the rod so the open part of the hook is facing out. As you wear the garments and hang them back up, hang them the correct way (with the open part of the hook facing the back of the closet). After a year, if you still have hooks facing outward, get rid of those clothes — if you haven’t worn them in the last 12 months, you don’t need them.
Don’t be a pack rat or a hoarder. Learn to let go of things you don’t use. A box of sentimental items and your seasonal decorations can be salvaged, but the other clutter that resides in your home should go. A basic rule of thumb for items in storage should be if you haven’t used it in 5 years, find a way to repurpose it, or put it into a yard sale. At least if you make a few bucks off that stuff, you’ll have more money to stockpile the things you actually need.
Another example is your kitchen. Open those cabinets and take a good hard look under there. How many chip-and-dip platters do you really need? How often do you use all 12 of those lunch-box coolers? Get rid of (or replace) the non-stick pans with the Teflon coming off of them (that’s bad for your health, anyway).
Organizing Tip: Here’s one that may be hard to deal with — coffee mugs. I know you probably have 20-30 coffee mugs in your cupboard. Get them out of there. You probably use the same 2 or 3 every day anyway, right? If you want to keep a “full set”, use one of these under-cabinet cup racks to hang them, or find another creative way to display them — like hanging them on a display rack.
Step Two: Consolidate and Condense Your Stuff
Look under your sinks, in your garage, and in your cleaning closets. There are bound to be numerous bottles of the same cleaner in different locations, and all of them are probably open. Pour all of the open cleaners (that are exactly the same) into one bottle. There’s no need to be cluttered with 4 or 5 bottles that are only 1/3 full. Keep them all in a centralized location. If you still want to keep them in a location closer to where you will be using them the most (kitchen cleaners under the kitchen sink, for example), that’s fine, too. Just be sure you’re not opening 3 bottles of glass cleaner in the same location. In fact, you could always keep your spare bottles in a centralized location and refill the others when they need to be filled.
Organizing Tip: Get yourself a cleaning caddy to keep bottles, scrub brushes and cleaning rags in — get more than one if you need them. Use one for bathroom cleaners, one for kitchen cleaners, one for automotive cleaners, and one for general purpose cleaners.
The same thing can be done with a lot of things in your house, I’m sure. Have more than one bottle of mustard open? Multiple bags of the same kind of chips? 2 or 3 boxes of the same kind of cereal? Pour them together! The cereal, for example — if one is getting close to being empty and just starting to go stale, mix it with a new box and eat the stale with the fresh! You won’t waste the food, and you will be consolidating where you would typically be having multiple boxes open. Utilize things like these airtight containers to help keep the food in open bags and boxes fresher for longer.
Step Three: Get It Together
I am very OCD when it comes to certain things — organization is one of them. I have to keep “like things” together. Junk drawers annoy me to no end! Here is a drawer full of things that already have a place in your home. Why not just empty that drawer, put the things where they belong, and reclaim that drawer for something else? If you have to have a “junk drawer, use a drawer organizer to help keep things straight.
I like to be prepared and stockpile a few things here and there (like toilet paper, for example), but if they won’t fit where they belong, it usually means I’m stocking way too much. There is a huge difference in prepping and over-prepping.
While we may not have a spare room for all of our overstock stuff, we can assign certain areas for specific things. We have a front closet where we keep our tool kits, spare batteries, light bulbs, extra flashlights, and battery operated fans. Under each bathroom sink, we have containers with lids that hold emergency candles, lighters and matches, and also the first aid kits that we made ourselves.
I could give you loads of examples of where to keep certain things, but you have to do whatever works best for your family. Be creative. Get some under-the-bed storage containers, and some shelving set up over your toilets, over your doors and under your cabinets — anywhere you might have some unused space. You will be surprised at how creatively you can store things when you realize just how much unused space there is in your house!
Step Four: Keep It Together
So you’ve gotten rid of what you don’t need, combined the remaining things, and organized it all. Now for the hard part — maintaining the organization. This is the key to your sanity.
When you get new things, put them where they belong right away — where they make the most sense. Train your children (and your spouse) to do this, too. Not only will it help your family now, it will help your children be more organized when they move out, get married and have children of their own. I promise, you’ll feel better at the end of the day sitting back and seeing organization.
OCD? Maybe a little, but it’s good housekeeping that keeps you calm in the face of a disaster. I even go so far as to make checklists. When something gets used, I check it on the list. On some items, I even go so far as to list how many we need to keep “in stock”. That way, when we go shopping again, we can easily pick up exactly the amount of what we need without wracking our brains. If you run your home like a business, you will never run out of things.
This all might sound like a daunting task to undertake, but you (and your family) will thank yourself when you’re done. You will also feel more confident the next time you need something – you will know exactly where it is!
How has organizing your home helped you to stay better prepared for disaster?