Organizing your stuff....this is the kind of thing one could write a book about. People do, in fact, write books about this very topic. My favorites are Confessions of an Organized Homemaker and Confessions of a Happily Organized Family by Deniece Schofield. They are funny as well as helpful and they changed my life.
Basically I can sum up organization with one word... "containers"... I especially like Rubbermaid and Sterilite brand clear containers such as sweater boxes. Freezer containers are really terrific for smaller stuff.
Why are containers so important?
They keep stuff from wandering around and mixing together.
Containers can convert any shelf into a drawer system---slide it out, pick what you want, slide it back. They also make terrific drawer dividers.
Because there are so many books and web sites about this topic, I'm not going to discuss it extensively, but here are a few general principles.
Everything needs a well-defined, well-confined space. (other people won't put stuff away if they don't know where it goes).
In general, things should be harder to find than they are to put away. (i.e. use a large plastic tub for Playmobil dolls. Finding the right one will involve digging for it, but getting them back in is a matter of tossing.)
Store things in their place of first use. It makes no sense to keep scissors in the back bedroom if they are always used in the kitchen. Likewise, store extension cords with the items they are used with.
Reduce the number of steps necessary to put something away---take the lids off of storage containers (open baskets for hats and mittens, lid off hamper, no lids on toy storage containers, open hooks for coats instead of hangers).
If the kids use it, store it low and store it horizontally (in open bins on low shelves).
Don't stack stuff if you can help it. If you must stack boxes, only stack one container on top of another, don't build towers. The underneath containers are always hard to get to and disaster strikes when you try to remove one from the middle.
(Just in case you're wondering, I don't manage to stay organized because I'm wealthy, have unnaturally tidy kids, a dynamo husband or a huge house or tons of free time. In fact, I'm financially poor(like poverty level), self-employed, single parenting and homeschooling two kids who like to leave things where they lay.)
A web site with tips and an e-mail list to nag, um, remind you to do daily household tasks.
Tips for starting off your homeschooling year by getting organized. About.com site, so expect lots of pop-ups.
Keep the Home Fires Burning: Home Management for Homeschool Families
Short-list of quick tips for homeschooling families.
Organize Your Stuff: Storage Strategies for Homeschool Families
Suggestions for storing stuff.
The Storage Shuffle: The ABCs of Household Storage Plans
Managing household storage.
Developing a Homeschool Budget
A guide to purchasing materials and planning your homeschool budget.
Tips and resources for getting started with homeschooling.
Making the Decision
Factors to consider when deciding to homeschool a deaf or hard of hearing child.
Photos of organized toys in a playroom.
Donít agonize. Organize. - Florynce R. Kennedy
©2000-2013 Barbara L.M. Handley