How to keep the little things in check

It’s not uncommon to let things at home just sort of ‘go’ for a while. It’s usually when you can’t find something that you realize you need to organize. Maybe it’s a thumb drive, or worse, your keys that has you frantically rummaging through your home in search of the missing objects. There’s nothing worse than morphing from calm to distress in less than three minutes. It’s time to minimize the clutter and get you better situated. Let’s look at what can be done:

1. The Pen Cup

Don’t wait to dump it out when you can’t find something, de-clutter it now. First, retrieve all the other loose pens and pencils in the immediate vicinity. Including the ones in the cup, test each pen by scribbling on a piece of scratch paper. Toss out every one that is out of ink or almost out of it. Also, discard any random objects that may have found its way in. Tiny binder clips, rubber bands, anything you don’t need, throw away. And if you find that you have about a gazillion pens, donate them to the library!

2. By the Door

Everyone has that little container – often a basket – by the front door in which they’ll toss their keys, sunglasses, junk mail, pocket change, etc… soon there’s a tiny mountain looming in the entryway. Go through it all, put things in their proper places elsewhere in the house. If you can discipline yourself, reserve that basket just for your keys. Make it the ONLY place you put them.

3. The Fridge

This is a good one, and possibly the most involved. Unload everything from your fridge and put it all out on the kitchen counter. Now the fun begins – thinning the herd. Check the expiration dates on each item and toss every one that is expired. Hopefully at least half of

the perishables will remain. Do yourself a favor and wipe down every jar and bottle you plan to keep. No one likes grabbing a sticky ketchup container! Sort all of the items according to taste, return them accordingly to the fridge and discard anything else that you don’t plan to finish – a half-eaten burger, a slice of pizza, spoiled fruit, etc…

4. Sock Drawer

I get it. You want to forget the sock drawer even exists. You’ve never been one to sort and match. You’ll actually save more time in the long run by attacking that mess now. Pull it all out and onto the bed. Match as may pairs as possible and return neatly to the drawer. While inspecting each one, check for holes and damage. Place all un-wearable socks aside. After you’re left with only the matchless and damaged socks toss ‘em in a bag and donate them to a textile recycling drop off box (check online for the nearest one).

5. Magazines and Catalogs

You never abandoned the print medium, and as a result your home is strewn with catalogs and magazines. Gather them in a stack and go through each one and determine which ones you still want to read and discard the others. What’s that? It’s not that easy? OK, if there are certain stories or pictures you want to keep in an otherwise useless magazine, clip ‘em out! And if you feel you should keep them all because you believe the collector value will skyrocket, do an expansive search of old magazine sales online. With very rare exceptions, it does not pay to allow stacks of magazines to take up space for years.

6. The Laundry Room

Yeah this place is overdue for a little overhaul. Pull all the empty plastic bottles of detergent and other cleaners and toss them in the recycle bin. Pull everything else from the cabinet or shelf, paper towels, full detergents, fabric softener, etc… wipe down the surface they reside on and replace the items for future use.

7. Shower

As a personal favor to you, we saved the most gross for last. Well, that’s not necessarily true, depending on what your fridge looked like. But yeah, let’s go through here and get it tidy. Pull out all of the products and put them in the sink. Recycle the empty containers, and move the nearly emptied ones to underneath the sink. If there’s a product you never use, just pour it out and discard it. Rinse and wipe down everything you’re keeping and return them neatly to their rightful spot in the shower.


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