5 Easy Steps to Get Organized in 2017

The beginning of the year is an especially inspiring time to get organized. Layne Brookshire of Ms. Placed always has good ideas to keep us tidy and neat…she stopped by to help us start 2017 on the right foot. There are 5 steps to getting yourself organized:

Step 1: Clear the Clutter—Start with the trash

Remove everything that is 100% trash—this includes items beyond repair. This quick step will instantly alleviate the visual clutter and give you the first of many “small victory moments” along your journey to getting organized.

*PRO TIP* Get rid of as much product packaging as you can.

Pantry + Kitchen: Toss the cereal boxes. Pour the contents into clear containers to create uniformity in the space. Create “snack bins” and other categories for dry-goods that you regularly replenish. Swap the produce bags for clear acrylic bins to keep refrigerated produce contained and visible—eye level is best as it spoils quickly. Seeing it easily serves as a friendly reminder to use it before you lose it.

Office + Electronics: Toss the printer paper sleeve. Find a paper tray to neatly stack your paper supply. When it comes to keeping boxes for large electronics in case a return is needed, break down the box for easy handling and space saving storage. Tape the instructions/warranty to the inside of the box where it will be protected and easy to find if you need it.

Toys + Games: Toss the bulky packaging to save space and transfer pieces to clear zip lock baggies.

Step 2: Sort it Out—Create Categories

Organizing is all about grouping like items, by function, and sorting them together. Household manuals with household manuals, remotes with remotes, passports with passports. Life, in general, becomes so much easier when you are able to find items when you need them, no search party required.

Use boxes and baskets you already have while you organize. WAIT to buy containers for your space until after you’ve finished sorting. Sorting allows you to make informed choices about the sizes you need rather than buying a 5 pack of giant bins because they were on sale at Costco.

Sorting categories into piles makes you (sometimes painfully) aware of how much you actually have. 20 hats that were under the bed but you don’t wear hats? Time to donate. Keep only the favorites and feel great about donating the rest.

When it comes to placement think about how you would find items at a store. Items are grouped together by category, which makes it easy to see what is available, and equally important, what is missing.

Toilet paper basket running low? It’s nice to notice before it’s too late! You may not always be able to find something right away, but you will know where to go to find it!

Step 3: Prepare for No Hesitation Donation

Do your homework beforehand when it comes to donation centers and acceptable items in your area so you can make appropriate piles while you organize—don’t create more work for yourself later! Always be conscious of hazardous waste items and dispose of them responsibly.

Visit AustinTexas.gov  Household Hazardous Waste Removal or Round Rock, TX Household Hazardous Waste Removal for information on approved donation locations for the following items: flammable, corrosive, toxic, poisonous, reactive, or explosive materials (including paint and batteries).

The city of Austin recently introduced Simple Recycling—a simple, easy, and free curbside pick-up service (in addition to your current recycling program) to recycle your clothing, shoes, accessories and other items such as kitchenware, tools, toys, housewares, and books. http://simplerecycling.com/

National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO) Celebrates Get Organized Month (GO Month) in January. The NAPO Austin Chapter invites you to Clear Your Cutter Day (CYCD), Saturday, January 28th, 2017, 10:00 am – 2:00 pm at 10010 Anderson Mill Road, Austin, TX 78750 (the parking lot at Bethany United Methodist Church). http://www.napoaustin.com/CYCD_2017

The public is invited to drive by and drop off for free one carload per household of:

  • American Textile Recycling Service (ATRS)  will accept any and all clothing (regardless of size), shoes (even singles), toys and household textiles like bedding, curtains, or towels. This includes new and gently used items as well as those with small imperfections like stains, tears or are outdated, worn or unwanted for any other reason. ATRS is your one-stop donation location for all unwanted textile items.
  • Austin Diaper Bank will accept unused diapers for children or adults. New packages not necessary; they will accept partial packages too.
  • AGE of Central TX will accept mobility assistance devices for their Health Equipment Lending Program, including wheelchairs, walkers, crutches, shower chairs, etc.
  • Balcones Shred will take your paper (up to five boxes) to be shredded ON SITE (no need to remove staples or clips).
  • Dress For Success will accept professional interview-ready clothing in good condition, including suits, blouses, dresses, handbags and dress shoes.
  • Habitat for Humanity ReStore will accept home remodeling/repair items such as working appliances, plumbing and lighting fixtures, tile, flooring, bricks and clean lumber.
  • Texas Data Center will take used and broken computer parts, components, and other electronics to be recycled in an environmentally sustainable manner.
  • Settlement Home will accept usable unwanted items including furniture, art, books, clothes, home decor and holiday decorations, sporting goods, kitchen items, and small working appliances.
  • Square Cow Movers will take flattened moving boxes.
  • College Hunks Hauling Junk will take the rest of your non-usable unwanted items (aka junk)!

Step 4: Keep it Separate—Contain it All

Keep items divided for simplified use and clean up. Choose containers with ample space for the selected items—avoid packing containers too tight. Whenever possible use clear containers that can easily be transported from room-to-room if needed.

Be mindful of how heavy you pack containers, distribute the weight to keep it light for easy use and access.

Step 5: Keep the Peace—Label Everything 

Labels are like silent accountability partners encouraging you to maintain routines. When used correctly they create and sustain fail-proof systems to keep you and your family organized.

If you share your space with roommates or family, labels help to define and direct the use of shared spaces.

*PRO TIP* Making your shopping list just got easier! The use of labels for items that are routinely purchased helps you SEE the empty space to KNOW what you are out of. No more forgotten items!
You can get organized with Ms. Placed and Layne’s expert tips by checking out msplaced.com or call 512-987-8303 or find her on social media @ms.placed.organize.

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