If you work out of your car, commute long distances or your kids are in a lot of activities and sports, your car or minivan is bound to reflect it. Some of us feel like we spend more time in our car than our home. Books, water bottles, leftover wrappers, toys, things to return to stores, paper, coins, and other random stuff accumulates on the floor when we are driving from one activity or appointment to the next. The best organizing advice I can give you is only one piece of advice. Every time you get out of your car, whether you’re entering a store, work, the gym or your home, check the front or back seat by glancing if there’s anything you should be taking with you. If it’s a piece of garbage throw it out. If it belongs in the house, carry it in. If it doesn’t permanently live in the car, keep taking random things with you as you get out of the car all day long, and put the things back where they belong. Do this on a regular basis and your car should never get way out of control.
Kitchen Table and Kitchen Countertops
These places are pretty synonymous. The kitchen is the main hub in the home so everyone’s things accumulate here. Your family is no different than the rest of the families on your block. The kitchen is a problem area for all of us. We spend the most time in the kitchen area whether it is cooking, using laptops, opening or leaving mail, or your kids doing homework or craft projects here. Designate one time of day when you’ll sift through the things and clear off these surfaces. It could be before dinner or each morning after breakfast. Enlist family members for help. Assign them baskets or bins on a nearby shelf to collect their knick knacks or return their things to bedrooms to dump there instead of the kitchen. Designate a basket to collect unopened mail instead of it collecting all over the first floor. Empty or go through the basket at least weekly, if not daily.
This is a common catch all. If we don’t know where to keep it, the answer is often “Just put it in the basement.”….. I loathe those words. I’m a bit joking but mostly serious. The more you put in the basement the more readily stuff is forgotten, piles up and takes up space. Then organizing the basement is a huge undertaking on a future date because a third of its contents shouldn’t be there. Be selective what you store down there. As you put things down in the basement consider if their use or length of usable time will expire. Also consider how heavy and cumbersome the item is. Do you want to have to move it twice or three times?
Tops of Dressers
The surfaces of bedroom dressers always take a beating with everything we dump out onto them. From Pokémon cards, trophies, piggy banks to business cards, coins, perfume, golf tees, everything in our pockets or things we love land here. As kids, we display our prized possessions and everything is usually important if it’s on the top of the dresser. As adults it is where we empty our pockets or set things down. Rarely are these surfaces defined. I’d encourage you to create specific places to catch items such as a business card or receipt collector. Have an intentional coin dumping spot. Get rid of old, expired perfumes or smelly lotions that really don’t smell good anymore and are just getting a layer of dust on them. Put pens and pencils in a pencil cup, mug or vase. Be intentional about the small things and it will be able to be maintained. Another option is to display beautiful things or decorative items so it prevents you from dumping on the surface. For our kids, limit what they can display and use narrow shelves instead to display things higher up on walls. Everything doesn’t have to take up space on the dresser. Create hair and jewelry stations if you have girls and Legos, playing cards and gadgets stations if you have boys. Containerize and group as much as possible.
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