Most people agree that the most important commodity in their lives is time. No matter how hard we work or how much education we have, we cannot create more time. There are ways, however, to make it seem like we have more time. When we are able to get the time consuming tasks that we would rather not have to do (housework, paying bills, etc) out of the way, we have time left to do the things we really love. These tips will help you to organize you life and leave ever-so-precious time at your disposal.
Get a basket for the stairs. If you have stairs in your house, either leading to the basement or to a second floor, place a large basket at the top and bottom. Each time you find something that needs to be taken upstairs or to the basement, put it in the basket. The next time you use the stairs, take the basket with you. This simple step will help keep clutter from piling up.
Take care of mail immediately. As soon as you go get your mail, sort through it. Throw away the junk mail, put catalogs and magazines in a rack or basket, read personal letters and cards (and either discard or put away), and place bills in an organizer or desk. Throw away the outer envelopes of the bills. Papers and other junk from the mailbox can make a huge mess in just a few short days. Take 3-4 minutes to control the paper flow before it becomes a problem.
Have a place to stash stuff. This doesn’t mean you need to have a place to throw whatever you don’t feel like putting away. This place is for items that don’t have a “home.” For instance, purchases that are waiting to be returned, upcoming birthday gifts to be given, etc. These items can cause clutter. Having one specific place for everything will keep the mess nicely contained.
Wrangle coats, bags, etc. When you come home from work or when your kids get home from school have a specific place for coats, hats, gloves, backpacks, purses and other items that are worn or taken out every day. Get into the habit of dropping these items where they actually belong, rather than just dropping them on the floor or kitchen counter.
Save steps. Every time you leave the living room to use the bathroom, make a phone call, etc, take something with you. Maybe there is a dirty glass on the end table. Perhaps yesterday’s newspaper is still crumpled on the couch. Never leave without something in your hand to put away. It will eventually become a habit!
Put a garbage can next to your car. Why do we leave bags from fast food places, empty pop cans, and gasoline receipts in our cars all the time? Because we just don’t think to take it with us when we get out! If you have a garage, put a garbage can right next to the driver’s side door of your car. It will remind you to get the junk out of there.
Purchase a filing cabinet. If you don’t already have a filing cabinet, get one. You need somewhere to keep all of the important paperwork you accumulate through the years. Items such as your mortgage papers, insurance policy, pay stubs, and account statements all need to be kept. Having a place for them to go will keep your house from being taken over by papers.
Get a toy box for the living area. If you have children, particularly young children, consider getting a toy box for the living or family room. As much as you would like to keep your children’s toys in their own rooms, they are inevitably going to end up where the family spends the most time. Keep a toy box – anything from a wooden trunk to a plastic tote, something that blends into the living area – to harness toys from day to day. Once the toy box is full, the child has to take some back to his or her room.
Try these steps to start reducing the clutter, and the time spent managing the clutter so you can reclaim some of life’s most precious commodity: time!