5 Easy Ways to be More Organized this Fall Without Spending a Lot of Money

Fall is in the air and I, being a full-time student as well as the one-woman show who runs my entire small business alone, know very well the importance of being organized. I also know how hard it is to do and how every fall those of us who go to school or have kids in school have a whole list of “new year resolutions” we swear we’ll abide to. I’m sure that I’m not the only one who picks up a planner every fall and in two months time has no00 clue where it is (you know who you are!). Each year we swear is the year we’ll really get (and keep) or act together! So what if we had a list of easy, cheap, and quick ways to be more organized this fall? Well here are some effective little  tips I’ve compiled over the years:

  1. Containers Don’t Make You Organized. There’s something I’ve noticed about my well-meaning friends who spend hundreds of dollars at the Container Store: None of them are organized. As ironic as it sounds, having dozens of containers won’t make your excess of stuff go away or even look much nicer. It’s about how you organize it. Using open crates for books, notebooks, and other similar items is an effective way to “store” your books where they’re still accessible, without leaving them  stacked on or strung across every table or desk. Put them next to your couch or desk. I have one in every corner! Mine measure about 12 x 12 x 12″ but these are pretty  awesome and nostalgic: http://www.etsy.com/listing/95140701/decorative-vintage-style-storage-crate?ref=sr_gallery_9&ga_search_query=organization+crate&ga_view_type=gallery&ga_ship_to=ZZ&ga_min=0&ga_max=0&ga_order=price_asc&ga_page=0&ga_search_type=all
  2. De-Junk Your Trunk. I know it seems obvious and tedious, but it doesn’t have to be that bad! In order to be organized you DO have to get rid of your extra junk: old clothes you haven’t worn in years, those books you got for your kids at a garage sale years ago, those tiny fix it projects you’ve been collecting for years… The theme here is “years”. If you haven’t used, touched, needed, worn, read, in years- you’re not going to. So how do you do this quick, cheap, and easy? Select a theme each day for three days: trash, donate, or give away. On “trash day” select a garbage bag and go through every room in the house and collect trash until your bag is full. This does NOT include emptying your trash cans! I’m talking about throwing away junk that can’t/shouldn’t be used anymore. On “donate day” you’re collecting old clothes, extra random dishes, random crap in the garage/attic, etc. until you’ve filled your trash bag. Now, no regrets- take that bag straight to Goodwill or your local charity donation center. On “give away day” your garbage bag worth of items will be books you never read but that a friend may enjoy, that lip stick you’ll never wear but your sister is always eyeing, or your kids’ old clothes which maybe a friend’s kids could wear. There’s no way to not feel good after removing 3 garbage bags of clutter from the house!
  3. Tackle the Kitchen. NOW. We all promise to clean our kitchens some day, but I’m here to tell you that day is TODAY! Today is that day because there’s no way to be quick and efficient in the hustle bustle of the mornings when you put your arm in something gooey in the fridge or get caught in a tupperware cabinet avalanche.  So here’s your 3 step kitchen tackle system. #1 Clean out the fridge and wipe it down really well, now is also the time to do a date check on your collection of condiments. #2 Clean out that pantry! If you don’t like it, and the kids still won’t eat, they’re not going to. Put some of that tupperware to use and move your cereal, chips, and snacks into air tight containers! I know it sounds tedious but coming from someone who once found a cockroach in their cereal- it’s worth it! #3 Now for all the tupperware that’s left, compile one matching and interlocking set and get rid of the rest. You do not use all of your tupperware and it isn’t worth those avalanches! Now, morning kitchen fiascoes are minimized and half the kitchen preparation battle is done come time for the holidays.
  4. Tackle the Bathroom. NOW. Aside from some very obvious basic ways, your kitchen and bathroom are actually a lot alike. Like the kitchen, the bathroom is usually cluttered with very nearly empty containers, duplicates, stuff you bought on sale but never got around to trying, and you don’t deep clean it as much as you should. Now I won’t even pretend that I regularly scrub my shower or de-clog my drain, believe me I’m no Betty Homemaker. However, I promise you won’t regret a good back-to-school bathroom scrub down! Take this time to collect all of those toiletry/cosmetic duplicates and place them in a storage container in your closet (yes, I am allowing storage container use here!). My mom actually keeps a plastic storage drawer cart (about $15 at Wal-mart) in her closet where she keeps plenty of  extra toothbrushes, travel-size toiletries, and other bathroom duplicates as she stocks up during sales. It’s super convenient and effortlessly organized resulting in, once again, minimal morning drama and stress! Plus, when the holidays arrive shortly, you won’t look like you’ll look less like a crazy person.
  5. Your Closet is Not Your Own No-Shame Zone. Now before you beat me up, hear me out: Wouldn’t it be nice to know where to find that blouse you want to wear even though you woke up 20 minutes late? Well it is possible to organize the closet by breaking it into three parts: Clothes, shoes, and most other things do not belong in your closet so get them out. Now closets come in all different shapes and sizes, some of us more blessed than others. However, for the most part all closets have a shelf, a hanging rack, and a floor (duh, but bear with me here). Clothes go on the rack, all hung neatly the same way. Separate your clothes in to two different seasonal wardrobes based on where you live. Put your summer/spring clothes to the back and your winter/fall clothes to the front. Organize your winter/fall clothes into casual and less-casual. Shoes go on the floor. If you can get a floor shoe rack, that’s great. Otherwise, organize shoes by pairs and do not take more than one pair out at a time; you probably only have two feet. As for all other things in your closet that probably don’t belong there, use your new-found organized attitude to see if they might better belong somewhere else. Everything else (like those bathroom duplicates) should fit neatly into storage bins on that closet shelf.

Now, you may feel like you just got a lecture from your Mother about cleaning your house but the truth is that when your home is organized- your schedule (which you have less control over) is much easier to tackle! Think of all the time and energy you save when nobody’s suddenly without a toothbrush five minutes before the school bus arrives and you know exactly where your shoes are when you’re running late. I hope these helped and I look forward to your feedback. Good luck, everyone!

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