Everything I learned about
home organizing, I learned from Mom



white organizer baskets Mom is merciless when it comes to home organizing. "Clutter is like weed, kill it!" I can imagine her saying it as she hauls another box of my old books out to the recycling centre. She never wrote it down, but after years of watching her pick after me, I now know a trick or two when it comes to home organizing.

If you never think of them,
you don't need them

So get rid of them. Old books, clothes, toys, the blender you never used - have a big yard sale. What you can't sell, donate or trash it. It's a great idea to keep a "Purge Basket" that you can easily toss something in, which you intend to get rid of later.

Watch out for flat surfaces
They attract stuff like ants to sugar. The mantelpiece, the hallway console, the dining table are natural dumpsites for quarters, keys, receipts, bills, junkmail. The logic behind this is simple: you have not specified a place for them, which is why they end up in the place of least resistance.

leaf note holderMake room for the daily ins and outs - a holder for your keys, a glass jar for loose change, the recycle bin for junk mail, a notice board for bills. Once you know where everything goes, make it a habit to keep it there. And you'll never have to organize them again.

Home organizing tip! This notice holder is not only charming but a useful organizer. Bills I clip them at the top, shopping lists next, followed by to do lists, and lastly mails to reply. Still leaving room for a photo or two.

Organized junk
Some clutter deserve a second chance. I have apple crate boxes which are now refashioned as shabby chic bedside tables. I have also amassed a ball of string which comes in handy when I need a ribbon for a present. The danger, however, is the "one day" syndrome. One day I'll take the old doors I scavenged and turn them into a room divider, one day I'll make a quilt out of this old fabric. Till that one day, it's junk. Assess yourself brutally - if you are too busy, too lazy or too unskilled, ditch it.

Flaunt your best features
tiffin box with flowersShow only your best books on the shelves. Hide their uglier cousins like files and folders. Hide cables from your media equipment in casings or better yet, conceal your entire entertainment unit behind doors.

For smaller stuff, shop around for organizers that suit the color and theme of your home. Huge grey plastic containers are not ideal because you will end up cramming it and it will be hard to find what you've stashed inside. Second, it looks ugly.

Organize according to purpose
box of 3 white red flowersBaskets make useful organizers. For my digital camera equipment, I have a 1'x1' basket to keep the batteries, charger, flash cards, travel adapters and other accessories. Another one for my stationery. Yet another for my crafts. And I sit them pretty on my study shelf. Not only do they look good but I know exactly where everything is.

Don't be tempted to fill the baskets to the brim with off-category items, just because you abhor a vacuum. Also, use similar boxes or baskets, or those that come in a set, to go easy on the eyes.

Always be ready for quick pick-me-ups
Some clutter you can probably never get rid of. Like magazines and books you are currently reading. To stop them from cluttering the coffee table, Mom had a pretty basket handy. She'll do a clean sweep of the room - tossing books, papers, magazines, toys into the basket and quickly hiding the basket in the closet (if we are expecting company) or just leaving it under the end tables for a casually organized look.



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