Wednesdays are simplicity days at SimpleProductivity blog.
During the past two weeks and this week, I’ve decided to offer a sampling of my tips on how to simplify and organize your home.
- Purge what you aren’t going to read. Be honest. If you have had a book for a while, are you really going to read it? You might find that getting rid of things you really have no intention of reading may lighten your load a bit.
- Purge what you’ve already read. I re-read books. Yet I have gotten rid of many books that I will probably re-read in the future.
- Group books in a way that makes sense to you. If you group by subject, author or series, do so. Don’t worry about having the perfect filing system.
- Get rid of old textbooks. If you’re no longer in school, you probably don’t need your textbooks anymore. Most people (myself included) have hung on to textbooks and notes for far too long. Purge what you can. I have a basic statistics book, my trig book, and two algorithm books. All of which I have referenced in the last five years.
- Keep software media in binders. This is a bit trickier than with DVDs or CDs, because often you will need some sort of code on the package casing. Keep that code with the media, or write the code on the media itself.
- Purge media you can’t read. It does no good to hang onto floppies or zip discs that you cannot read. Get rid of them.
- Clean off your computer. Needs change. Get rid of software you no longer use. Clean out old versions of software. Defragment.
- Get rid of bad pictures. It seems that people keep digital pictures of a quality they never would have tolerated on developed film. Remove poor pictures from your hard drive.
- Keep supplies where they are used. Even if this means duplicates. Keep bathroom cleaning supplies in the bathroom, kitchen supplies in the kitchen, garbage bags near the garbage can. You get the idea.
- Purge things that didn’t work. If you tried a cleaner and it didn’t work, get rid of it. (If it’s hazardous, dispose of it properly!) Just because you bought it doesn’t mean you have to keep it — especially if it doesn’t work well for you.
- Use old toothbrushes for detailed cleaning. An old toothbrush takes up very little room, and is great for cleaning small spaces.
- Keep like items together. Keep your spices together (out of the light, please!) Same with oils, baking ingredients, cereals, etc. This makes it easier to find, and also to know what you have.
- Use baskets and boxes to group. Keep all your pasta in one box. That way you can find what you need quickly, and also prevent spills. I use baskets for pasta, baking chips, spices, snacks, bread “products” (crumbs, croutons, etc), and individual portions of fruit.
- Prevent orphaned canned goods. Put a system in place to make sure you use the oldest food first. It may be putting the new cans behind the old (my favorite) or writing the month and year on the can (my mother’s system).
- Don’t buy what you won’t use. Sure, the pickled whatsits may be on sale, but if no one in your house will eat them, there is no point in buying them. If you’d like to try something, buy one. If it’s a hit, you can stock up then. And don’t buy things because you “should” eat them.
- Use toothbrush holders to store things around sinks. I have a toothbrush holder in my kitchen that stores my veggie brush, my dish brush and the kitchen-cleaning toothbrush. There is one in my bathroom holding makeup brushes. My husband keeps one to hold drying paintbrushes.
- Re-purpose old boxes for grouping items. This isn’t just for pantries. Drawers can be organized with old jewelry boxes. Under-sink spaces can be organized using old dishpans.
- Fold towels to fit. Fold towels and other cloths in a way to fit into your space. My mother taught me to fold in a certain way. But my first home after marriage had a triangular linen closet (don’t ask, it was a weird place). Folding the way I was taught made the space unusable and likely to avalanche. Adapt to what you have.
- Use shoe holders to organize small stuff. I have a shoe organizer in our coat closet to hold hats and mittens. I also have one in my daughter’s room to hold small toys and stuffed animals.