Getting Yourself Organized

Tips and easy do-it-yourself projects that will get you and your family on the road to organization.

After a long day of work, dinner, homework and family fun, few people want to sit down and organize themselves or pick up after everyone else. With a few simple and inexpensive changes to your everyday life and routine, an organized and neat household can be achieved. Of course, success won't come overnight but stress the importance to yourself and your family and within a few weeks, things can change.

Start your organizational goal with the most commonly used entrance. Hang hooks to grab coats, scarves, umbrellas and backpacks upon entry. Remember to hang hooks at various heights so all family members can utilize them. Place a small wooden bench in the area, if space allows, so people can sit, take off wet boots or roller blades, and get themselves situated. Under the bench or on a shelf, place plastic containers for mittens, balls, helmets or shoes. Color code the containers so everyone has their individual space and knows where to find things. As an incentive and special touch, place a pair of inexpensive slippers in containers used for shoes so a comfortable welcome awaits. Baskets can be used instead of containers if the style fits - be certain to wash or shake out any container regularly to keep things clean.

If the container or cubbyhole organizational system works for the family, try using it in the laundry room, game room, living room or bathroom.

Utilize the inside of regularly used cabinets either in an office, kitchen or laundry room by adding a corkboard. Rolls of cork with a self-sticking backing can be found at craft stores. Measure, cut and press onto the inside of a cabinet. Utilize this space to hang keys, dry cleaning tickets, permission slips or simply notes that will brighten someone's day.

If a chalkboard will fit into your style, purchase chalkboard spray at a craft or hardware store and make the front of a cabinet work for you. List the menu for the day or week to avoid the "what's for dinner" question, create a grocery list or reminder of a special event. Creating a chalkboard at a lower level enables young artists a place to play and experiment while remaining supervised. If defacing a cabinet doesn't work for you, simply create a blackboard from a blank picture frame and hang in a designated location.

Clean out one of the lower cabinets in the kitchen and make it a kid's station. Place plastic utensils, bowls, cups and plates, snacks and cereal, lunch bags, and a few craft supplies so kids can make their own snacks or breakfast, or simply keep them occupied when the adults are busy. This is a wonderful place to keep a chore chart or surprise someone with a special thank you for a job well done.

Create a family coin drop from a basket, jar or can. Everyday empty pockets of change into the coin drop and save for something special. Let the youngest of the family count and/or wrap the coins and update the family at dinner. Be certain that everyone has the goal in mind and celebrate when it is achieved.

Don't throw away those gifted or free, extra calendars you may receive. Consider utilizing one for special occasion purposes. Write in birthdays, anniversaries and other events to celebrate at the beginning of the year or month. As you see cards on sale or find that perfect one, purchase and paperclip to the calendar. No more last minute e-cards or belated wishes - you'll always be ready.

Don't forget Max, Spot or Grover! Create a pet station near their favorite place or entrance. Designate a hook, container or shelf to keep leashes, collars, treats and toys at hand. Though you probably can't get Max to drop his toys in the right container, it will make it easier on you during clean up.

Try one or two of these organizational ideas and see how they are adapted. Keep in mind that not everything will work but give it time.

© High Speed Ventures 2011