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A Place For Everything And Everything In Its Place

Tax season is over...The spring holidays have passed... Hopefully by now you have sent your taxes in and recovered from your spring holiday preparation. You can RELAX! Sit back, get excited for summer.

Just don't let things slide too much. In order for you to be able to take the break you deserve, there are a few VITAL organizing systems you need to have in place so clutter doesn't take over.

1. Mail-establish a place for incoming mail and outgoing mail. I like to keep a picture box with my stamps, envelopes, tape, scissors, a couple of pens, and whatever else I need to send letters.

For incoming mail, you can keep a tiered tray with different categories to look at a later date-bills, medical reimbursements, to file. Frequently check the tray to see when anything is due.

Keeping your mail in one location prevents paper pileup.

2. Receipts and coupons- establish a system for receipts. You can use an expandable check file and label each section according to store, credit card, or type of purchase. Think about where you would look to find it if you needed it.

3. Library books/movies-keep anything you can incur a fine for in one location.

4. Magazine basket-keep magazines in a basket and when it gets too full, sort and purge.

5. Keys-keep your keys in one place! It may sound obvious to you but do you waste time desperately searching for your keys?

6. Birthdays-read more about keeping a birthday tracking system at

7. Gifts-I like keeping extra gifts on hand for those last minute necessities. This may sound terrible- but I also keep gifts that I receive (that I don't particularly like) in this location. I do not allow my home to become cluttered with gifts I did not like and the guilt that goes along with not using them!

8. CDs/DVDs-believe it or not, I have seen media take OVER much floor space and counter space when no specific place is designated for it. Devote one piece of furniture with drawers to contain all of your media.

9. Lists- This is my favorite! You do not need to have any fancy software or device for this. I open up a plain Microsoft word document for any list I think of-tax deductions for next year, things I have borrowed or lent out, people to send holiday cards to, holiday inventory (for instance, I need a better can opener for next Passover), spring cleaning chores, books to read, wish lists, babysitting instructions, packing lists...

You name it! Whatever thought enters my head, I write it down to prevent mental clutter.

If you are more of a creative type of person and hate the idea of making lists, do it in a way that speaks to you. For instance, create "landmarks" for your lists. For example, if you have a picture of your spouse on your desk, perhaps keeping a gift wish list or birthday list under his/her picture would remind you to plan their birthday gift.

10. Grocery shopping and cooking-Keep a running grocery list on the front of your pantry or refrigeration (with a pen!) so you can write down items as you need them.

Plan one day a week to plan all the meals for the week with the ingredients that you need. Be sure to add those ingredients to your grocery list.

Designate the same day each week to go grocery shopping.

11. Laundry and Cleaning routines One of the most important routines is the laundry and cleaning routine. Part of it is just having the supplies on hand and a comfortable spot to do the laundry.

I really love the clorox wipes- whenever you go to the bathroom, take a quick wipe of the toilet seat, vanity, and sink countertops.

Designate 2 days a week to do laundry or if it works better for you to throw a load in each morning, that's fine. Make sure you have laundry baskets in everyone's room and a large sorter basket in the laundry room. That way, each person can bring their basket into the laundry room on laundry day and sort it by color.

In terms of a cleaning routine, you have a lot of flexibility. You can designate one day a week for cleaning in addition to cleaning for a 1/2 hour every morning and evening. Think like a restaurant server-pick up after using, wash dishes, wipe down dirty surfaces often. That way you will not need a heavy duty cleaning too often.

Review! 1. Create a place for everything. Literally give the items that clutter up your home an address.

2. Build habits-Establishing routines is a very IMPORTANT concept in maintaining lasting organization. Going to the grocery store the same day every week, or returning calls between 3-4 PM every afternoon can save a lot of time and prevent physical and mental clutter.

It is my hope these tips for basic organizing systems enables you to relax more freely this upcoming summer season. Happy Organizing!

Rebekah Slatkin is a professional organizer dedicated to getting people organized through hands-on decluttering sessions, teleconferencing, coaching, and her website Visit and subscribe to Organewz, her ezine dedicated to organized living and get organizing tips and downloads- free.

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