From Chaos to Control

3/3/14 10:06 AM

From Chaos to Control

Most of us are crazy busy for nearly all our waking hours. We’re up at dawn making sure the family is clean, dressed, fed, and out the door with everything they need for the day. Things don’t settle down once everyone is where they are supposed to be. We have a job to get to, errands to run, appointments to keep. The list is never ending. After work we’re chauffeuring the kids to their activities, trying to figure out supper, looking forward to the moment we can collapse into bed and rest before we start all over again.

Just as our routines are chaotic, it’s likely our living environment is also a little out of control. With everyone coming and going in such a rush, it’s easy for our most comfortable spaces to lose that homey feel, to get lost under a pile of life. You may spend most of your free time trying to find that lost permission slip, the last light bulb you know was in the closet – somewhere, or just the TV remote. Suddenly you wish you had a remote for your life. Rewind. Pause. Stop!

cluttered house

So what are some ways you can get a handle on things? Simplify your life? Start by getting organized. It won’t solve all the problems of a busy life, but it will make things easier and you won’t feel like you’re constantly chasing your tail.  And Plastic Bins are an easy way to help accomplish this...

Everything Has a Place

Start at home. If you don’t spend half your down time looking for lost items, you’ll have a lot more time to spend with your family. Focus on high traffic rooms – living room/family room – to begin with, and then move on to other spaces that tend to get out of control, like entryways and closets.

If you don’t already have one, add a trash bin to the family room and make sure everyone knows to use it. Teach kids not to use it for food if you have pets that might go scavenging. Try to keep flat surfaces in the living room clear. Use stacking bins to store papers that quickly accumulate. They can also be used to keep books and magazines from cluttering up open spaces. If you need more shelf space, consider adding an affordable wire shelving unit.

Choose a corner of the room to use as a play area for smaller children. Use plastic storage containers or stackable bins to keep toys and games off the floor. You can also use plastic storage to stash away items that tend to accumulate and crowd out your coffee table.

If framed photos take up a lot of surface space, consider using photo collage frames to hang on the wall. Hanging photos takes advantage of unused space and will add warmth to a room. Get a digital frame to cycle through your favorite pictures so you don’t have to designate a spot for each one.

Go through your entertainment collection and either get rid of things you rarely or no longer use – VHS tapes if you no longer use a VCR, CDs and cassettes if you now store most of your music digitally. You don’t have to throw it all out, but at least store some of it away, out of sight, if you don’t use it.

Move on to another high traffic area like your entryway or mudroom. Keeping this area neat and tidy is really important. Not only is it the first room guests see when they come to your home, but it’s also what welcomes you home at the end of the day. If you walk into a scattered mess, all it does is remind you of all the things you need to do. Instead, make it a welcoming space.

Try to keep the floor clear and as clean as possible. Make sure there is a rug inside and out so people can leave the outside there instead of bringing it in to spread around. Add a shoe organizer or a large plastic bin so that when your family removes their shoes, they have someplace to put them out of the way.

If you don’t have a coat closet in your entryway, use a coat rack or pegs to keep coats and jackets in their place. Remove any coats that aren’t regularly worn to a more permanent storage spot. Add hooks for keys, too, so you’ll always be able to find them.

Sort out the other spaces in your house that become easily cluttered. Use sealed baggies and plastic storage bins to organize closets and pantries. Stackable bins are great for keeping toiletries and make-up organized in the bathroom. If your kitchen regularly accumulates mail and homework, get individual filing boxes for each family member to keep it all where it can easily be found.

Once you’ve created a spot for all those things that end up all over the house, make sure you take the time to keep them there. Return them to their designated place right away to prevent them from getting lost again. It will take a few extra seconds or minutes, but will save time in the long run.

Stacking Plastic Storage Bins

Plan Ahead

Keep detailed schedule notes and reminders, either with a wall calendar or digital calendar on your cell phone. Set regular alarms to remind you of events. Don’t leave anything to chance – write it down! Just because you think you’ll remember doesn’t mean you will. Check your calendar daily to stay on top of all your appointments. If you check it first thing in the morning, you can make a to-do list for the day to keep you on track.

Whenever possible, delegate chores and responsibilities to other family members. Even kids can help keep things running smoothly. If you take the time to teach them how to do their job and give them praise when they do it well, you may find they actually enjoy contributing, especially if it gives you more time to spend together.

Ultimately, you are the only one who can control your schedule and lighten your load. Sometimes you just have to prioritize and say no to any additions that complicate your already busy life. But making a few simple changes can at least make your home time more productive and rewarding.


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