Last year I read one of the latest books published on the topic of organisation, Organized Enough, by Amanda Sullivan, and I loved it! I completely agree with the author, a professional organiser herself, that the quest for perfectionism can be a barrier to getting and staying organised (I see it in some of my clients too) and that an organised enough home allows you to “take control of your life, so you don’t fritter it away managing your possessions.”
Sullivan also stresses the importance of setting up simple systems supported by habits as the key to staying organised, a philosophy I put at the core of my work with my clients too.
She’s developed her own approach to getting organised going by the acronym FLOW which stands for Forgive yourself, Let stuff go, Organize what’s left, and Weed constantly. I’m not going to detail her approach here this time around as I’d rather share some of her recommendations to have an organized enough home.
THE ORGANIZED ENOUGH CLOTHING CABINET
- Get rid of hangers and plastic from dry cleaners. [Note: I’m also in favour of removing the plastic from dry cleaners because it takes up space, prevents you from seeing clearly what’s inside, and in our Singapore climate, also traps humidity underneath. However, I like to use the plastic hangers from the dry cleaners as they are usually sturdy and don’t take much space, and would rather suggest getting rid of all the wire ones that get easily entangled.]
- Group items by category (types) and sort them by colour within each category (typically light to dark). Hang them in length order and use the space underneath the “shortest” items to store other items.
- As you remove items to wear, always place the empty hanger at the far end of the cabinet. [Note: I personally remove the hanger from the cabinet and place it in a basket in the laundry area so it can be used to hang clothes to dry before it finds its way back in the wardrobe after being ironed.]
Check out my blog post on wardrobe organisation.
THE ORGANIZED ENOUGH KID’S ROOM
- Make sure kids can reach what they use most. [Note: This statement is valid for adults too.]
- Keep storage simple. They won’t put it away if it is too complicated. [Note: Ditto.]
- Use bins on a regular bookshelf so that as kids grow, you won’t have to replace the furniture.
- Label: from clothing drawers to toy bins, labelling helps kids know where things go.
- Set up a binder for report cards and keepsakes to be kept by year.
- Purchase a basic, inexpensive portfolio to keep the best of their elementary school art
Check out my blog post on schoolwork organisation.
THE ORGANIZED ENOUGH LIVING ROOM
- Have a designated spot for remotes.
- Practice a last sweep before bedtime so that things go back to their proper rooms.
THE ORGANIZED ENOUGH KITCHEN
- Store everyday glasses close to the fridge or sink, preferably in a cabinet that can be accessed without disturbing the cook.
- Put everyday dishes close to the stove for easy serving and use high cabinets for less often used and specialty items.
- Group your cookware into sections: cooking, baking, and prep.
- Organize pantry items into a few general categories.
Check out my blog post on kitchen organisation.
THE ORGANIZED ENOUGH MEDICINE [AND TOILETRIES] CABINET
- Be honest with yourself. Either throw stuff out or commit to finishing it up before you buy new.
- If the cabinet starts looking cluttered, check expiration dates and see what can go.
Check out my blog post on medicine organisation.
THE ORGANIZED ENOUGH PAPERS
- Have a designated area where you deal with paper.
- Have a recycling bin and shredder in this area. [Note: I’d say the minimum is a waste basket.]
- Make a point of discarding something anytime you pull out a file. It won’t always be possible, but get in the mindset of always looking for the opportunity.
- When your file cabinet is full, look to weed rather than buy another file cabinet. [Note: In fact, this rule can apply to any cabinet, drawer, or container in your home.]
Check out my blog post on paper filing.
THE ORGANIZED ENOUGH PHOTOS AND MEMORABILIA
- Keep it all in one location. A box is fine, just have one spot.
- Date your items as you go. If you ever do get around to making that album or scrapbook, it will be far easier if you dated them along the way.
- If you have multiple children and are storing their drawings and projects, make sure you put their initials on each item, so you can remember who they belong to.
Check out my blog posts on photo organisation.
THE ORGANIZED ENOUGH CRAFT AND HOBBY STORAGE
- Consolidate your craft items in one place.
- Invest in accessible storage. If you can’t get at it, you’ll never use it.
- Be honest about how much you really need. Better to have less and use it more.
ORGANIZED ENOUGH BAGS, BRIEFCASES AND TOTES
- Choose a place your purse or briefcase lives – it is up to you but be consistent.
- Recurring-use bags, like children’s knapsacks, gym bags, or swim bags, should have a dedicated home.
- Bags that aren’t frequently used should be emptied and put away immediately after use.
A book that’s worth a read in my opinion. But if you don’t have the time to read the book, or need some form of support, let’s have a chat as there are various ways we could be working together to help you get, and stay, organised.
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