Have a place for everything. Every item should have a consistent, assigned home. Personally, I am a BIG fan of baskets - we have them all over the house. Blanket basket. Yarn basket. Keys, phones, wallet basket. Daily toiletries basket. Toilet paper basket. Baskets are my way of keeping the chaos organized.
Put things back. Whenever an item has been removed from its assigned home, it should be used for whatever reason and then immediately returned to its home when no longer in use. There are no temporary holding places. It's just put back where it belongs, right away.
Write things down. Make lists and notes, and keep these in one consistent place such as a planner, notebook or calendar. They don't try to remember things in your head. I make lists for my lists. There's nothing better than crossing things off the lists!!
Don't allow papers to pile up. Papers to file are filed each day, not left to grow into mountains. Mail should be opened over the recycle container and/or shredder so papers not needed don't even have a chance to multiply. Bills are tucked into a bill paying system until bill paying day, and then paid bill statements are filed away that day. Keep a small file cabinet for this very purpose. You can buy one at Wal-Mart for pretty cheap. Magazines are read within a week or two and then recycled or donated.
Don't procrastinate. When something has to be done, schedule a time to do it and then keep that scheduled appointment. This one seems like a no brainer to me. If you're procrastinating a particular chore (for me, it's cleaning bathrooms), then do that chore first! Get it out of the way and move on to more enjoyable activities.
Set goals and assign deadlines. If you want to get things done, you need to know exactly what you want the end result to be, and by what date. Review these goals often, and set aside time each day to work on achieving them. A little bit of work each day will prevent you from having to work extra hard near the deadline.
Only keep what you use and/or enjoy. Purge! Purge! Purge! I am notorious for being an anti-pack rat. I can't stand anything taking up space that doesn't have a useful or pleasurable purpose in my home. This helps me keep life simple. It's why I don't have a lot of clothes, shoes or a super full pantry. I have what I use, and nothing more. Nothing makes me more anxious or claustrophobic than a cluttered house!
A few quick tips:
- After grocery shopping, come home and do some prep work. Wash and dry veggies before putting them away. If you can, cut them up before you put them away as well. Package meat in individual serving sizes before freezing (if you have a small family). A couple of hours of prep work in the kitchen on a Sunday afternoon will save you hours in the kitchen later in the week.
- Keep toiletries that you use on a daily basis in a shallow basket or container. Keep them in it, even after you use them. This will free up counter space and keep the clutter to a minimum.
- Create sections in your cabinets or pantry based on food groups. Keep canned fruits and veggies in one area; soups in another; rice and pasta in another; oils and vinegars in another; baking goods in another - you get the idea.
- If possible, keep ample paper products in EACH bathroom. Stack a few rolls of TP under each sink to keep you from running out.
- If you buy TP and paper towels in bulk (who doesn't?), CUT the top off the outer plastic wrap instead of punching a whole through it with your finger and ripping it off! Who wants plastic hanging all over the place? Keep it neat!
- Did I mention baskets? Seriously, you guys. I don't care if a basket is full to the brim - as long as all the contents stay inside, I'm good. Get some of those plastic baskets to store plastic ware (Gladware, Tupperware, etc.) in your pantry so they're not loose all over the place. It will help make you feel much more organized!
- If you have linen closets in your bathroom, roll the towels for storage. It looks cool, and you can store more stuff that way.