Wow, you have done it! You made it through week 3 of declutter your home fast – organized in 30 days or less and you are on the final week! Just a few more days and your home should be completely organized.
How has it been maintaining your hard work so far! By now you probably notice that maintaining is much easier than the actual decluttering itself.
Congratulations! Here is week 4 –
Day 22 – Kids’ Rooms
We’re on the home stretch. On this day we are going to organize your kid’s rooms.
If your kids are older, you can enlist them to help or maybe they already had their “last warning”. Whatever the case, we need to purge.
The biggest issues in kid’s rooms are clothes and storage. Let’s start with clothes. Go through the dresser and pull out anything that is too small, ripped or stained. Donate the good stuff; toss the rest. Try using small baskets inside the dresser drawers to corral socks and underwear. Fold the rest of the clothes and assign them to a particular drawer. Pack out of season clothes in tubs for storage.
Follow the same procedure with your child’s closet. Be ruthless. If there is a brand new sweater that has never left the closet because junior hates it, don’t bother saving it. Take a deep breath and toss it in the donate pile.
Place seasonal items in tubs on the floor of the closet or on the shelf. When you are through everything should have a place.
Kids have stuff. Lots of stuff. Give them storage options so that the stuff can co- habitat with you without driving you nuts.
Buy toy chests, tubs that roll under the bed, cute baskets for the desk area, anything to contain the mess. Everything needs a home. If it helps, you can take your child with you to a container store and let them pick.
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Day 23 – The “House” Book
Today’s task is another kitchen table project. We are making a House Book. What? You’ve never heard of a House Book? That’s because you’ve never been this organized before.
A House Book is where you keep all the information about your house and how to take care of it. It should be so easy to use that grandma can crack it open when you are on vacation and know how to solve any house related problem, quickly and easily.
Start with your purchase paperwork and closing documents, title insurance and the inspection report. Add all your owner’s manuals and warranties for big items. You really don’t have to save the warranty on that $10 toaster.
Next, gather a list of companies that you have used (and liked). Names, phone numbers, web addresses, business cards and past invoices for the window cleaner, painters, bug guy, roofers, lawn service, pool guy, plumber, electrician, appliance repair man, HVAC crew, and even the company you used to pump out the septic tank.
Use a really big three-ring binder and plastic document sleeves. Divide it into sections so it is easy to locate information when you need to get to it quickly. You can even take out the personal information and pass it on to the next owner when you sell the house.
Are you feeling super organized yet?
Day 24 – The “Odd” Rooms
Time to hit the basement, the attic, the playroom or any room we didn’t cover yet (the garage is tomorrow). You should know what to do by now.
For the playroom, toss any toy, puzzle or game that is broken or missing pieces. Likewise with all those Happy Meal toys, they are just junk and need to go in the trash.
Analyze what’s left. Do your kids play with everything still in the room? A perfectly good tea set is just a dust collector if your kids aren’t into it. Donate anything that your kids don’t play with anymore or never played with. Get those baskets, tubs and containers to give each remaining toy a home.
For the basement and attic, the space is really a giant storage closet. Organize it as such. Empty out shelves, open all the boxes. See what you’ve really got down there (or up there). Toss, donate or sell anything that you just don’t use or need. Getting a blender for your wedding is a great gift but it is just taking up space if it sits in the basement, year after year, move after move, and never leaves the original box. Give the poor thing a chance to find a loving home and donate it.
Day 25 – Garage: Day 1
Time to roll up your sleeves and clean out that garage.
The garage can be one of the worst spots for just dumping stuff. Garage clutter can multiple overnight while we are sleeping, too. In fact, many homes have a two car garage that only fits one car. Sad, but true.
To start, pull your cars out into the street. You need the room to get organized. Pull everything out of your garage. Sort it into piles in the driveway. Holiday items, sports equipment, camping gear, seasonal items, tools, lawn stuff and household items can all have their own pile.
Once everything is out, scrub it clean. Get rid of the cobwebs and dirt. You could even take this opportunity to buy an epoxy floor kit at your local home improvement store. They aren’t that expensive and look great.
Now, while the paint is drying, turn your attention to those piles. Sort through each one. If you don’t use it, donate it. If it’s broken, toss it. Aim to reduce each pile at least by half. The household stuff could even go in the house. After cleaning out all your closets, you should have room inside now.
Once you’ve accomplished everything above, take a break. We’ll finish tomorrow.
Day 26 – Garage: Day 2
It’s almost over, I promise.
First, let’s dispose of any chemicals. Check with your local municipality or recycling center. Each will have their own rules. For example, many prefer that excess paint be soaked up with clumping-style kitty litter before disposal. Don’t just dump these items in the trash or, worse, down your storm drain. Please dispose of them properly.
Now, let’s get some storage solutions up in that garage. They make a hook or a hanging system for everything now: bikes, shovels, soccer balls, you name it. They even make a lift to hoist the riding lawn mower up to the ceiling and out of the way when not in use.
Put other items in large plastic bins such as the pillows for the lawn chairs, camping gear and outdoor holiday lights. When you next need to drag them out, you can quickly and easily go to the right tub, pull it out and be on your way. No more hunting and digging through stuff to find what you need.
Make sure you leave plenty of room so both cars can fit in the garage comfortably. If you have any extra time, put some smaller tubs in the trunk of your car or the back of your minivan. It will help contain all the beach gear and sporting stuff and prevent it from rolling around.
Day 27 – Create a Disaster Kit
You don’t have to be an extremist to see the need for a Disaster Kit. Now that your garage is clean and organized, you have plenty of room for an extra plastic bin to use for this purpose.
You should have:
- 3 day’s worth of water (a gallon per person/day – plus more for pets)
- 3 day’s worth of non-perishable food (and a can opener)
- Dog or cat food, plus an extra collar and leash
- Portable radio or TV with extra batteries
- Flashlight with extra batteries or a crank-style that requires no batteries
- First aid kit
- Personal hygiene items (baby wipes, diapers, toilet paper)
- Matches in a waterproof container
- Photocopies of identification for each family member
- Basic camping gear, in case you need to leave your home
- Special items for your family (hearing aid batteries, formula and bottles, etc.)
- An extra set of clothes for everyone, including undergarments and shoes
- Blankets, coats and other cold weather gear
You can slowly add to this kit as you have extra money. You can also look for many of the items at off-season sales. The point is to be prepared.
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Day 28 – Protect Your Valuables: Part 1
Almost done. Today is a fun day. Charge up that camera battery and get ready to click.
In order to be the most organized person you know, we are going to complete one last two-day project. We are creating another book but this time it is for insurance purposes.
Take an overview picture of each room in your house and then a second picture of each item. So, for your family room, take a shot looking into the room then one of just the sofa, the TV cabinet, the end tables and coffee table, the artwork and then the TV and stereo equipment.
You can have a partner follow you around with a video camera, if you like but we want still pictures for this project. Don’t forget the kitchen appliances, the new furnace you installed last year, the inside of your closets and the patio furniture and other outdoor gear. Be sure to take close-ups of any specialty items like jewelry, artwork and furs.
Give the video tape to a friend or relative to keep at their house and take the time tonight to get those pictures off your camera and onto your computer, all properly labeled. Order a copy of each one to be picked up tomorrow. Many large super stores have one-hour photo departments for pennies a picture.
We’ll finish up tomorrow.
Day 29 – Protect Your Valuables: Part 2
Almost there. Just one last project to finish up.
Buy a 3-ring binder and get organized for your homeowner’s insurance. Group those pictures from yesterday into rooms. Type a detailed list of what is in each room including material, measurements, when you bought it, where and for how much.
If you have the original receipt or packaging slip, include it. If the item is still for sale on the company’s website or in their catalog, include a copy. You want as much information as possible.
For more valuable items, like jewelry or original artwork, consider getting a current appraisal of their value. You can also try reputable online sources for recent sales that are comparable to your item.
Your goal is to have as much information as possible before tragedy strikes. Trying to gather information on your belongings after the fact can be difficult, especially if much of the paperwork was destroyed.
Sure, your homeowner’s insurance still covers you if you aren’t organized but the process will go a lot smoother if you are prepared. In fact, this book should probably go in your safe. If it doesn’t fit, you can leave it at a relative’s home. Better yet, get them to create one as well and trade.
Day 30 – Finishing Up
Phew! Done. I don’t know about you but I am wiped out. You worked hard, got messy and triumphed over the clutter. You are now the proud owner of a completely organized house. Congrats!
Maintaining the organized perfection takes just a little effort each day. First and foremost, don’t fall into the habit of “the spot” again; it will only lead you done the path of chaotic mess. You’ve been there and don’t want to go back.
Update all your books as you switch doctors, change insurance providers or inherit grandma’s brooch. If you do these things as they happen, it will take much less time than if you put it off and try to do it all at once.
Keep this list of “30 Days to an Organized Home”. Try to run through each day maybe once a week in order to stay on top of each area.
Some people like the concept of a big Spring Cleaning each year but truly organized people know that staying on top of things on a daily and weekly basis is the way to go. Preventing the clutter and disorganization in the first place eliminates the need for a massive cleaning effort.
Good luck. You can do it!