5 Tips For Staying Organized

It's been a busy summer for Bailiwick Interior Design, between working on some great new projects, getting ready for my daughter, Jackie's wedding this fall AND helping my parents in the construction of their new home in Bethlehem and their imminent move up from VA, we've been busy bees.

Like many of my clients, I am often overwhelmed by too much paper, too much stuff and wanting to spend my time outside having fun in the sun. Now that it's almost time for Back-to-School it's going to get even busier!

So before life gets any crazier, take the time to reevaluate your home's organization and look for the beauty in decluttering your home!

I invite prospective clients to take a tour of my home, so they can see my design concepts, specifically lighting, in action. So I really need to make sure my home and studio stay clutter-free and easy to clean - basically be ready for anything! Here are my top 5 tips for staying organized.

1. De-Clutter! This can mean many different things to each of us, but to me it means PURGING - clean out, throw out, donate and distribute. Yes, this is not fun. Yes, we were forced into it when we moved from our house of 20 years to relocate to Bethlehem, PA. Yes, it changed our lives. Basically, we didn't need all the things we thought we did! (Check out my article in Valley Ledger to see how I purged my whole house in 45 days!)

2. A Place for Everything AND Everything in Its Place! This old adage applies just as well today as it did when my grandmother used it 100 years ago. If you have a place for things to permanently "live" - that makes sense and is intuitive - then you will put it away ALL THE TIME - EVERY TIME! This means good storage options and an interior design that offer those solutions.

3.To-Do Lists! I am a list maker from way back. The best part about a list is crossing off a completed task. If you have a family member that doesn't like to make lists then just make one for them. After a few years of making "honey-do lists" for my husband, John, he is now making up his own lists on a whiteboard in his office. He realized the list was going to get made anyway, so he might as well be in control of what was getting put on it! Smart man!
4. Come Up With a System! Just like a library uses alphabetizing to store their books, we all need to come up with a system to deal with our "stuff." Decide what happens to every item that you bring into your home, does it live permanently or temporarily and if it's come to stay make sure there's a place for it to park. Yes, this may require new habits. Yes, it may take a little longer to teach old dogs new tricks!

5. Quarterly Reviews! Sure, some things are going to sneak through the cracks, so make it a new habit to walk through your home with a critical eye every couple months. Look out for "clutter waiting to happen"! I make a habit of putting things that need to be returned, or be donated or distributed elsewhere right into my car. This way I have it when I remember to take it there if I am out and about. AND it makes for a great celebration when I actually get to empty my car - and I (temporarily) have no more "junk in my trunk!"
What do you do to stay organized?

Kate Elfatah