Posted by Mary-Lou McDonough on 4/23/2018

Household clutter is an insidious problem in many homes because it happens gradually and you may not notice it until it actually infringes on your living space and begins degrading your quality of life. As is the case with many problems, the first step to solving it is to recognize that you need to do something about it.

Clutter can assume many different forms in your house, but the effects are always negative. Whether you need to eliminate clutter in one room or your entire house, tackling the problem always results in a feeling of relief and accomplishment. By taking it one step at a time and focusing on the benefits of reducing clutter, you'll be able to create a positive "ripple effect" in your mind, your family relationships, personal productivity, and other aspects of your life.

Improved efficiency: Everyone knows the frustration of not being able to find something you're looking for. It's problem that may happen with increasing frequency when you're surrounded by clutter. By taking the time to sort through a cluttered closet, cabinet, garage, basement, or bedroom, you'll be able to eliminate junk, regain lost storage space, and find useful things that you forgot you even owned! When you discover belongings that your family has outgrown or stopped using, you can free up valuable space by either selling, donating, or throwing away unwanted items.

Psychological benefits: A room or home that feels cramped, cluttered, or disorganized is not at all conducive to relaxation, smooth family relationships, and feelings of contentment. If you're even a little embarrassed about the way your home looks, for example, you'll be less likely to invite family and friends over to your house. One of the benefits of actually planning a family gathering or dinner party at your home is that you'll be motivated to organize, clean, and straighten up many areas of your home -- everything from your kitchen and bathrooms to your living room and family room. Also on the plus side: Having a feeling of pride about the appearance and decor of your home is not only personally satisfying, but it can also benefit your social life!

Inspiration: Once you've reorganized your furniture, where needed, and created a more spacious feeling in your home, you'll often feel more motivated to apply a fresh coat of paint to scuffed walls, organize bookshelves, or replace old draperies with new window treatments. One thing leads to another. When you see what a difference a few household improvements can make to the look and feel of your home, you'll be inspired to find more ways to enhance your living space. With any luck, other members of your family will also be inspired to help keep the house looking neat, well organized, and clutter free. While you shouldn't expect any miracles or sudden transformations, remember: Rome wasn't built in a day!





Posted by Mary-Lou McDonough on 1/1/2018

Imagine an area of your home that's particularly cluttered now, and then picture in your mind's eye how nice it would look if it was cleaned and organized. If you take a few seconds to visualize this scenario, it will feel like a breath of fresh air! For many people, a cluttered, disorganized living space or working environment tends to create mental clutter -- and that makes it nearly impossible to be at your best. On the other hand, when you create a plan to organize your storage space and get rid of household clutter, you're taking a major step toward enhancing your home and the way you feel about it. Although you may have a dozen or more areas that need to be organized, if you create a methodical plan to tackle one small area at a time, then the project is much more achievable and less overwhelming. The Outcome Is Worth The Effort If you've ever undertaken a task like this, you know how rewarding it can be to see the results. You'll also enjoy the feeling of pride that accompanies improving the look and feel of your home. When you've transformed chaos into a semblance of order, it can have a positive effect on your attitude and your self esteem. Although taking charge of household clutter is not a panacea for stress, it can be one of several improvements that make a big difference. Where to Begin You can infuse a feeling of fresh energy into your home by organizing and cleaning the following ten areas:

  1. Closets: Most homes have a ton of them and they're probably in a major state of disarray!
  2. Book shelves: If you have a library of books, then organizing them can dramatically improve the appearance of any room -- from living rooms and family rooms to bedrooms and home offices.
  3. Kitchen cabinets (Check expiration dates while you're organizing.)
  4. Bathroom cabinets and drawers (Refer to note in item #3.)
  5. Junk drawers: Virtually every home has them, and they usually consist of a combination of junk and treasures. In most cases, it's obvious what should be thrown away and what's worth saving.
  6. Garage and tool sheds: These areas are typically in desperate need of cleaning and organizing.
  7. Work bench: If tools, hardware, and supplies are haphazardly piled on top of each other or randomly strewn on your work bench, then finding what you need when you need it becomes increasingly frustrating and time consuming. Taking an hour or so to organize your work bench can make life a lot simpler and more productive.
  8. Spare bedrooms: In many people's homes, that area tends to become a repository for things that either need to be put away, given away, or thrown away.
  9. File cabinets: Being able to find important documents, information, and receipts depends on well organized and clearly labeled files. Ideally, that takes place on an ongoing basis, but if that's not happening, a semi-annual review of your filing system can help keep things in good order.
  10. Basements: Depending on how long you've lived in your house, this might be a project that needs to be spread out over a few days!
Involving members of your family in the cleanup plan can also make it move along faster and feel more like a team effort, rather than a solo undertaking. To avoid procrastination, start small and branch out from there. As the ancient Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu once said: "A journey of a thousand miles begins with one step."





Posted by Mary-Lou McDonough on 7/24/2017

Do you have countless pairs of pants, shirts and shoes? Do you ever wonder where you put that favorite top? Or why all of your pants fit in a certain space last month but they donít now? Closet struggles are common but there are ways to fix those problems. Here are a few favorite tips for making the most of your closet: Donate, Sell or Toss: First and foremost, go through everything in your closet. A good rule to live by is to get rid of anything you havenít worn in the last year (unless itís a specialty item such as a dress for a wedding). We tend to hold onto things that we hope one day will fit again or will come back into style but those are not wise ways to think when you are trying to optimize space in your closet. From there it is up to you what to donate, sell or toss. Organize: Next is to organize. Make piles of whatís left based on clothing type and then organize by color. This will make your life so much easier when it comes to looking for clothes. Youíll know exactly where each type of clothing is if you put them all together and if you categorize by color youíll always be able to find what youíre looking for. Systems & Layout: If your current layout isnít working for you then maybe itís time to reassess and purchase a new closet system. Simple systems can be found at many retailers such as Wal-Mart and Home Depot. If you are looking for more intricate pieces and systems that arenít too costly then your best bet is IKEA. Consider adding a wardrobe or additional closet to your space if everything wonít fit in your current closet. IKEAís closets and closet systems are fairly customizable so you can choose for what works for you. Best practices: For drawers, fold clothing and stack vertically so that they are stacked from the front of your drawer to the back. This will allow you to see each piece of clothing in your drawers so youíll never need to dig through to find what youíre looking for. Clear storage boxes are perfect for shoes, belts and accessories. Youíll be able to see inside and wonít lose track of your stuff. Itís important to take into account the size of your closet, if you have additional space to add in other furniture for storage, and the type of system/storage that will work best for you and your wardrobe. If you have a lot of items that need to be hung or you just prefer to hang your clothes then you will want to go with a system that has more hanging space than drawer space and vice versa if you like to fold your clothes and store in drawers. Be mindful of your space and your stuff and youíre on you way to an organized closet.