Are there homeless items living in your home? If you’re like most families, you have countless bits and pieces lacking designated spaces, so the homeless items are left lying on the nearest shelf or countertop.
After awhile all the little items without a home begin to accumulate, causing clutter and chaos in your household. Without a specific place for everything, your level of discomfort may increase because when you need one of these floating items you will not know exactly where to go to find it. Talk about stressful!
How do you combat the urge to throw your stuff on the kitchen table and decide to put it away later? First of all, stop telling yourself that you’ll ‘Get to it later.’ For most people, later means ‘When I can no longer see the table top and have to eat dinner on top of a pile of newspapers.’ Unless you’re one of the blessed few who weren’t born with the ‘do it later gene’ you know how quickly the mess can pile up and how uncomfortable the resulting feeling can be. Your home becomes a cluttered mess, less than welcoming place to hang out.
When was the last time you were searching frantically for your checkbook only to find it well hidden underneath a stack of junk mail? What about the universal search for the illusive car keys? How many jobs were ultimately lost because the key search went on for thirty minutes or more on a daily basis? The solution is simple really. Every item in your home needs its own ‘place to be.’
Items like Junk mail and newspapers should be thrown out daily. Or, if reading the newspaper is becoming just another chore, cancel your newspaper subscription, and, instead read your news online!
So what do you do about those items that you can’t quite figure out where to store? Items like odd batteries and eye glass cleaner. I’ll tell you what not to do. Don’t buy a large rubber container and label it ‘miscellaneous.’ Obviously, if you don’t know exactly what’s in your miscellaneous bin, you’re only containing chaos in a smaller space.
Instead, purchase a set of multiple storage bins. Each bin can store one type of otherwise homeless stuff. Give each bin its own ‘address’ or label and put in the matching contents. Just remember to avoid the ‘get to it later’ trap when you initially bring the item into your home.
So start with small steps:
1) Can you see the floor? No? Then pick up what’s on the floor and put it in laundry baskets. If you don’t have enough laundry baskets to accomplish this, then just sort the things in to piles outside the laundry room. Make piles of light clothes, whites, darks, and towels/rags.
2) Can you see the top of the dryer? If not, put the excess clothes in the aforementioned piles. Grab one rag to dust and have two plastic grocery bags, one to collect junk, and the other for later. Dust the dryer from the lint leftovers and use a little window cleaner if it doesn’t come off readily.
3) Can you see the top of the washer? If not, repeat the steps in #2, using the window cleaner if necessary.
4) Now take a critical look at your supply shelves. Do you have empty bottles or boxes lying around from spent detergent and/or fabric softener? Clean those out. Use that grocery bag that you’ve put excess dryer lint in and pitch those empties. Then organize what’s left. If you need to add things to your shopping list, now is the time. You know what you’ve got and what you need to buy. When you organize your supplies, put the detergent and any liquid softener above the washer. Make it easy to reach.
Put the dryer sheets over the dryer. Why reach more than you have to? If your shelves are higher than you’d like, use the top ledge of your washer & dryer to hold supplies! Put the detergent box or bottle on the top of the washer, along with whatever other washing supplementals you have. Put the dryer sheets on the top of the dryer so you don’t forget and end up with a load of static cling!
5) If you have wire shelves above your washer & dryer, you’ve got a built-in place to hang a trash bag. Use that extra grocery sack and cut one of the handles in half. Then tie those two ends around some of the wire-shelf and use the bag to collect dryer lint and empty containers from your emptied laundry supplies. When it’s full, cut it down and put it in the trash and put up a new one.
6) Now look at your floor. Does it need sweeping? If so, grab a broom and sweep. It won’t take you more than 5 minutes and you’ll feel much better about your room and your work, especially if something you’ve just washed falls on the floor as you’re transferring stuff to the dryer.
7) Congratulations! You’ve done the preliminary work of organizing your home. You won the battle in your laundry room! Take a 15 minute break and enjoy this victory. Then start the task of doing the excess laundry that you’ve been collecting, one pile at a time. When the first is done, swap it out immediately to your dryer or to hangers, if that’s more appropriate. Take it one pile at a time, in other words, small steps! Soon, you’ll find that it really only takes 5-10 minutes to fold warm clothes from the dryer and put them in laundry baskets, ready to transfer to the appropriate rooms, closets, and drawers.