6 areas of the home you don't have to organize
Set your organization priorities straight with tips from Carolyn Forte, director of GHRI’s Home Appliances and Cleaning Products department.
Organize This: Your desk doesn't have to be spotless, but develop a system to keep track of important documents such as bills, leases, and insurance contracts. When uploading photos from a vacation to your computer, initially group them in a folder labeled with the destination and year of the trip. You can always rename individual files later.
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Skip That: Immaculate bookshelves shouldn't be a priority, as long as books are in their place. And, unless you own hundreds, you will not save much time organizing tomes by genre or author’s last name.
Organize This: Cut down on meal prep time by uploading your favorite and most frequently cooked recipes to your computer. Keep the pantry and fridge organized to minimize food spoilage. Place sticky foods, such as jams and sauces, in bins that can be removed for cleaning. Store spices on a spinning rack, mounted on the wall, or corralled in a moveable tray in a deep cabinet for quick access.
Skip That: De-cluttering your junk drawer shouldn't be a daily task; tidy it occasionally when the drawer becomes too full. Let an item make its way into the junk drawer only as a last resort. Try to find a proper home, for instance, keys in a bowl, coins in a money jar, and office supplies in a desk drawer.
Organize This: The secret to a tidy living room is to eliminate clutter from all furniture, particularly chairs and tables. Stash remote controls in a drawer. Place DVDs in boxes or an album (you don’t even need to alphabetize!). Toss magazines and newspapers into a basket and empty it periodically. Just make sure that you and your guests have somewhere clean and comfortable to sit.
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Skip That: If you fill photo albums, put extra images in a bin to look through on a later date—not every picture needs a spot in a scrapbook. Consider getting a digital frame that showcases dozens of photos and takes up a small amount of real estate.
Organize This: Compartments are key in the laundry room. Store detergent, bleach, fabric softener, and other supplies in bins. Sort dirty clothes in large hampers by color, and hang line-dry garments on a rack.
Skip That: As long as you can easily enter and exit the room, don’t feel pressured to keep it as neat as other areas of your home (that are more visible to guests). Pass on organizing supplies by type or hanging tools such as a mop, broom, or ironing board.
Organize This: First, arrange shoes in organizers and then tackle purses to score orderly shelves and floors. Even if you primarily focus on these two things, your closet will appear worlds cleaner.
Skip That: Sorting your jewelry by type or color can be unnecessarily exhausting. As long as your adornments remain in a secure place, devote attention to keeping other objects in your closet organized. Consider getting a tree or hook to hang your necklaces and a dish for regularly worn rings and earrings.
Organize This: Set up a simple method for stowing toys. Use storage containers or a giant box so clean-up time does not give you a headache. And, this way, you won’t have to manage a tantrum when a certain doll or truck goes missing.
Skip That: Organizing playthings in a specific way is impractical because kids will repeatedly mess them up. Instead, reserve that energy for playing with your cutie. She'll appreciate it more than a clean room.