Are you ready to get organized today? (I know you are!) Now that we've stopped procrastinating (right?), the first thing we've got to get under control is the clutter. . . and there's no other way to do than to scoot on up and do it. However, anything you can do to stop the clutter before it starts will help make your life so much easier! Here are a few habits that have worked lately for me:
1. Before the mail even hits the kitchen counter, sort through it and throw out junk mail immediately. If you have a free sample (or two ~ lucky you!), go ahead and get rid of the paper clutter, put any coupons in your coupon binder or organizer, and throw out any cards as soon as you've read them (unless they're especially sentimental for you, but I mean really special!)
2. Assign a specific place for any bills that don't get paid right away. I use a simple clip shown in the picture above to keep bills for my husband that need to be paid. (Right now he pays most of the bills for our family, so I try to keep them in a specific spot so I don't get in trouble if they get lost . . . not that that's ever happened before . . . )
3.Don't sign up for freebies (or even free magazine subscriptions. . .) that you won't use or can't donate. I post a lot of freebies here, but don't always get them myself if I know they won't get used or I don't have a specific place to donate them to. While I love a freebie as much as any good penny pincher, if I can't really use it I don't want the extra “stuff” to make it's way through my door!
4. Keep a box for mail that needs to be shredded close to where the mail comes in at. Your shredding box doesn't have to be anything fancy (mine is just in a cardboard box), but you do need a place to keep junk mail that has personal information included on it until you can shred it. For years we've had our shredding box as far away as possible from our kitchen (where the mail always comes in at our house.) Over the holidays I simply moved the box downstairs, and it has been so nice not to have a pile of junk that constantly needed to go up or down the steps. (Why didn't I think of that one sooner?)
5. Come up with a daily plan to deal with kids papers that come home from school. This one has been huge for our family! If your kids bring home a permission slip that needs to be filled out, fill it out immediately and put it back in their backpack (don't waste time with it sitting on the counter ~ it'll just drive you crazy!) If you have to write a check for a specific trip or activity (and can afford it. . . ) don't wait to write the check ~ just get it done the minute they get home from school so that it's off your to-do list. We do have some papers that my kids bring home which can't be dealt with immediately, so I have a magnetic clip like this one that hangs on my fridge for those items ~ it keeps my countertops cleared off, but the information is easily accessible when I need it.
And here are a few specific items to work on today:
- Do a ten minute walk through of your kitchen and main living area. If there is anything there you can donate or throw away right now, get rid of it. If your family isn't really using it, it's not worth keeping, and it might just bless someone else.
- Come up with a plan for any piece of paper that comes in your home. If it's something you need to hang onto, give it a specific home as soon as it comes in the door until it can be dealt with, but if at all possible, take care of it and mark it off your to-do list.