By Debbie Williams
It's my job as an organizing coach to help busy women find the balance between organizing career and family. However, most of us don't want to invest much time or money to accomplish this goal. Some of the best organizational tools are very inexpensive and can be found at most discount stores. Often developing a personal system involves just a bit of creativity rather than a substantial investment in a professional product or service.
In a Bind? For bills and other correspondence, buy a notebook with twelve pocketed dividers, one for each month of the year. Label each with birthdays, anniversaries, and billing due dates, then fill with correspondence. The binder can be used as a portable desk, or can be stored at your work area. Minimize organizing product costs by clipping articles and recipes, then discarding the remainder of the magazine. Store in magnetic photo albums, or a notebook with dividers.
Hangers, hooks, and bins: oh my! Closet organizing ideas can be implemented for storing clothing, crafts, sporting goods, and just about anything else you can shove into a closet. Use dowel rods hung at multi-levels for clothing on hangers. Plastic bins and shelf dividers keep folded items stacked. Hang ties and belts on a plastic coat hanger, buy cardboard cubbies for shoes and purses (or make your own by decorating divided grocery store boxes). For quick retrieval, hooks for caps, bags, umbrellas, and purses keep things in sight. A hanging storage closet system purchased at a home store or discount store is a portable alternative to built-in organizers. (These hang by hooks over your closet rod and have multiple milk crate cubes suspended below.) If you live in small quarters or move frequently, this is a cost-effective solution to custom shelving.
Hanging organizers with divided pouches store and display at the same time. These come with small pockets for jewelry, or larger pockets for shoes, pantyhose, or scarves. I've used them in lieu of junk drawers for office supplies. The large sizes can be found at dollar stores, and the smaller sizes are featured in mail order catalogs or home furnishing stores.
Secret Hideaway. Use a bedroom closet to create a niche for hobby work; the doors close to hide work in progress. Folding screens are decorative and disguise a work area. A folding card table or banquet table can be stored under the bed when not in use, which is convenient if your hobby room doubles as a guest bedroom. Find a large piece of plywood to place over the spare bedroom mattress as a workspace, which can then easily be stored when guests visit.
Keep your eyes open for creative ways to contain clutter. Be only as organized as you NEED to be. This means establishing a workable system for yourself that you know you can follow for a long time. Remember that being organized is an ongoing process, not an end result. Tackle those paper piles and cluttered areas ten minutes a day until you finally see light under all those stacks. It will get done, and just think of the sense of accomplishment you'll feel every day as you do just a little bit more to organize the clutter in your life.
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