Hello again and welcome to part 4 of our Beginner Series: Living on Your Own. To read Parts 1 to 3, click here.
This post is all about being organized.
Like many of you, I suspect, I usually have a limited amount of time in mornings to get myself up and out of the door in time for work. One of the reasons why I always seemed to be running late, was that I couldn’t find anything!! It drove me nuts! But, with a little bit of organization, it doesn’t have to be this way.
I know it can be very overwhelming to try and get it all in order, but if you attack one small area at a time and follow these simple steps, you really will start to see progress more quickly than you think.
SET ASIDE BLOCKS OF TIME
Begin one room at a time. Set aside a certain amount of time each day to get it done – it may be an afternoon, an hour or even 15 minutes. You’d be surprised how much you can get done in only 15 minutes. Or during the ads while watching your favourite TV show (yes, I’ve done that!)
START WITH YOUR CLOSET
Part of being on time for work has a great deal to do with whether you can find your clothes quickly and easily. If your closet is organized, that’s half the battle.
About a month ago, I organized my closet from this mess
It only took an hour or so. You can read about how I did this here.
1. Sort through your clothes and shoes for anything you don’t wear anymore, and donate to a local charity or toss if they are too far gone. This includes clothes that are no longer in fashion, no longer fit, or clothes you haven’t worn in a year. And some that were “seemed-like-a-good-idea-at-the-time” purchases! We all have those in our closets.
4. Hang scarves, belts and ties on a hanger or rack.
5. Use a shoe rack to keep shoes organized and throw out shoe boxes that clutter the floor or closet shelf.
Our bathroom countertops always seemed to be full of “stuff.” Hair spray, lotions, hair brushes, hair clips, perfume – you get the picture. The same with the drawers – things thrown in any old how.
So I went to the dollar store (my favourite store) and bought a few of these containers
and … now I can find everything quickly and easily
You can read more about this here
Other ways to organize your bathroom are:
1. Buy a plastic tub (or two), place all of your accessories in it and keep it under the counter. Take out the tub when you are ready to use it, and put it back again when you’re done!
2. Buy a Shower Caddy for your shower and place your soaps, shampoos, etc. in it.
3. Once a month, go through your drawers and medicine cabinet and throw away all items that are old or that you don’t use anymore, such as prescription and over-the-counter medicine, make up, lotions, etc.
5. Install hooks on the back of your bathroom door for towels and bathrobes, or buy one that hooks over the door.
1. Organize your cabinets into several categories. Place the plates in one section, the glasses in another, and so on.
2. Have your coffee and tea cups/mugs as close to the coffee maker/kettle as possible and store the tea, coffee, sugar bowl etc. near that also. That way, you’re not running from one end of the kitchen to the other in the mornings. My tea and coffee cups and coffee and tea are in the cupboard above the coffee maker and kettle. You can see that I have placed a tray on top of the microwave that houses sugar, coffee filters etc., so it’s all in one place and saves me loads of time in the mornings.
3. Have the kitchen utensils you use the most close to the stove as well as and your pots and pans. I use a big white jar to house mine as seen in the picture above.
4. Group your foods together in the pantry for easy access and to help you identify them when inventory is getting low. For example, group together your canned goods, cereals, pasta, etc. Place all packets (gravy, Jell-O, sauces) in a basket or plastic container.
5. Buy a Spice Rack and place it within easy access of where you cook/prep your food.
6. Dedicate one cabinet or drawer for all of your plastic containers and Tupperware items, and try to purchase stackable containers to maximize your space. I place all the lids in a large plastic container to keep them in one place.
7. Save your countertop space for items you use daily like the coffee maker, kettle, microwave. Store other items like your slow cooker or blender in a cupboard within easy reach. Only keep cookbooks that you really use. I store mine in a cupboard above the stove.
8. Place plastic grocery bags inside of 1 bag, or buy yourself a plastic bag dispenser and attach it to your back door or a wall. Take them with you next time you go to the grocery store to put your groceries in. Better yet, purchase some cloth, reusable grocery bags.
8. Get into the habit of cleaning out your refrigerator before you go grocery shopping. That way, you’ll avoid buying extra food. Dispose of any food that is no longer edible or your family is not going to eat. Click here for meal planning ideas.
Find a way to store your items neatly and where they are easily accessible. You don’t need to go out and buy a lot of expensive containers – you can utilize shoe boxes, cardboard boxes or baskets that you already have in your house. My half bathroom also doubles as a laundry room. I didn’t want my guests (or myself for that matter) to see this mess when they used the, er, facilities
So I repurposed two baskets that I had in the living room that were doing nothing. Now it looks not so bad and I can still find all my laundry and bathroom supplies!
HAVE A “LAUNCH PAD”
A launch pad is a designated area close to your front door, where you put everything that needs to go with you in the mornings. That could be keys, bus passes, sunglasses, purse or wallet. I have a little tray on the ledge just the other side of my sink that seemed to be where everybody dumped their stuff. It’s an easy place to pick up and drop off these items on our way in and out of the front door.
1. Make or pack your lunch the night before and place in in the same place every time so it’ll be easy to find.
2. Get into the habit of putting things back in their place. This is a challenge for me. I tend to leave materials from projects all over the place, and I have to work hard to clear it all away and put it back in it’s place. But I’ve worked hard to organize my house, and if I want to keep it that way, I need to make a conscious effort to put things back when I’m done with them.
2. Top up the gas tank so you don’t have to worry about getting gas if you’re running late.
3. Make a to do list for the next day.
Sometimes, a system just doesn’t work! Don’t be afraid to tweak it or reorganize it, until it works for you.
Leave me a comment with your ideas to organize your space.