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THE EXTENSION CORNER — Let’s get organized

If getting your home organized seems impossible, don’t fret. Following a few simple steps can help you to be on your way to a more organized lifestyle.

Lori Ivey

One of the first steps is to make a commitment to get organized. Most folks that want a tidy home, lose hope over time because it seems overwhelming.
Having a plan in place is a must. First, imagine your ideal organized home. What does it look like?
Once you’ve got that ideal picture and plan in place, you’ll be on your way to success.
Most of us begin by organizing by location — our closet, bathroom, playroom, etc. An easy way to get organized is to tidy by category.
Organize “like” things such as books, paperwork, toys, bathroom toiletries, clothing, etc. Before organizing you must discard or donate what you don’t need or want.
Organize those “like” things into three categories: 1) Keep; 2) Discard; or 3) Donate. If organizing clothes, you might start with something simple such as your sock drawer or T-shirts.
Don’t try to do everything at once. Often folks get overwhelmed and quit before the job is done.
If organizing something such as paperwork, you will want to go throughout your home and collect all paperwork. Determine what you will keep and what should be discarded.
I usually have two piles of paper for discarded. One that needs shredding because of confidential information and one that can simply be recycled or thrown out.
Once you’ve determined what you are going to keep, you might organize in labeled file folders or another system that works for you. Keep in mind that tidying is an on-going process. You’re never really done because we will always accumulate more paperwork, books, clothes, etc.
Making sure everything has its’ place is important to maintaining an organized lifestyle.
Taking time at the end of each day to pick up and organize will also save you time in the long-run.
In addition to having a tidier home, it gives you a sense of accomplishment and will probably save you time and money. You are not always looking for something or purchasing more batteries because you can’t find the ones you have.
Remember when organizing, save sentimental items such as photos, artwork, etc., until last because they will consume the most time.
Organizing can also help free up needed space. When hanging clothes in the closet, organize so that they rise (shorter in length items) to the right. Utilize space under shorter hanging items for storage. You might use a small chest of drawers, shelves or other storage crates.
Utilize the top shelf in your closet for items such as handbags, luggage, hats, etc. If organizing books, keep only the ones that you might read again or use. For keepers, sort by categories – General (reading), practical (reference or cookbooks), visual (coffee- table books), and magazines.
The biggest step in getting organized is making a commitment to just do it. Once you’ve made a commitment, tackle like-things and develop a plan that doesn’t overwhelm you.
Best of luck as you get organized.

Lori S. Ivey is the county extension director with the Stanly County office of N.C. Cooperative Extension. Call 704-983-3897 or email lori_ivey@ncsu.edu.