Rule #4: Like with Like. A classic! Even the most disorganized person recites this for me and for good reason. If you have ever looked for a bandaid and just know you bought a package not that long ago but can't find it you understand the wisdom of this rule. One of the basic reasons we organize is to save time. If all your bandaids (bills, candles, gift bags etc etc…) are in the same place you will save time and money knowing you only need to look in one place for your supply. Listen people! one place = more time! more $$!
Rule #5: Sometimes cheap is too expensive. Buy items to last. I do love the dollar store for some things but when it counts, buy quality over quantity. It is better to buy one $80 coffee maker then 2 $40 ones. You will most likely get a better cup of coffee but you will save space in the landfill too.
Real Estate in the Bay Area is some of the most expensive in the country. Why do we pay hundreds of dollars per square foot storing boxes of outdated college textbooks? Keeping your life (and things) current is good practice for allowing new, exciting things into your life.
Here are a few ideas for all of you to keep a good flow of energy through your home.
www.freecycle.org – A neighborhood driven internet based site that allows you to post what you need to get rid of for free! And, you can request a need and there is a good chance that someone in your neighborhood has it and wants to get rid of it…also for free. Nice.
www.earth911.org – Just type in what you want to recycle and your zip code and they give you the place you need to take it. easy! I had a question about recycling incandenscent light bulbs but there was no information on the site. I emailed someone and, no kidding, got this great detailed response about why the old school, incandescent light bulbs are not able to be recycled. Personalized service!
Garage sale – Get rid of loads of stuff at once. Remember that bargining is in the spirit of the garage sale. You may remember how you spent $80 on a set of utencils but the customer doesn't know that and most importantly, doesn't care. All they know is that they are at a garage sale and they want a bargin. Give it to them.
college kids – What college kid doesn't need a microwave, coffee mugs and milk crates.
neighborhood listserv – You can find out if your neighborhood has one by going to your city website. I belong to 2 since I live right on the border. Postings include, free plant cuttings, neighborhood meetings, newsletters from our mayor and council people, events, lost pets (and found again!), suspicious behavior and on and on.
friends – I just attended a clothing swap with 12 other women and got rid of 8 shirts! All that doesn't get chosen goes to Good Will or Salvation Army.
family – My parents just bought new appliances and since their old stove and dishwasher work great, my parents, who love a good road trip, are going to load them into their van and drive from Michigan to California! I get "new" appliances and someone will get my older appliances (still good) from Urban Ore. Yes, this is pretty extreme but it works for us.
Rule #6: You need to maintain. sigh. This is possibly a sad reality for many including me. You may feel the reason you are disorganized is because you have no time or energy at the end of the day. You dig dinner out of grocery bags because you don't even have time to put them in the cupboards.
This may be the time to re-evaluate your life. Is everything you do important and necessary to you? Does what you do each day reflect your life goals? Or, is it simply time to engage your family, your mate, your children in helping you stay organized? Simple things like having your 10 year old sort laundry or put away the groceries are useful skills you may take for granted but actually need to be taught.
Part of the overwhelming nature of our lives is sometimes your household just has too much information coming in and it is hard and unrewarding to maintain when, each week, piles of store magazines, credit card offers etc come in. You can stop this. Here are 3 sites to stop the mail that never gets opened anyway.
Let me know if these rules are helpful to you and what are some of your favorite rules for staying organized?