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A Ten-Step Shortcut to an Organized Life

Gila Arnold

Let’s face it. Some of us are not the organized types. We send the kids to school in yesterday’s socks without flinching. We borrow eggs from the neighbor for the fifth time in a row without blushing. And all the advice we get seem geared towards women who actually will label those cabinets. For all those women out there hiding behind brave smiles of “No, really, I prefer the lived-in look,” as they shield the view from the inquisitive neighbor at the door, no more excuses: these tips can work for you to.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

#1: Use Visual Tricks

messy drawerFeeling overwhelmed by the huge pile of laundry waiting to be folded? Reach for the sheets and towels first. Got a counter full of clutter? Start by putting away the large pots and food items.

“Once the big things are cleared out of the way, your pile looks much smaller and more manageable,” advises Yehudis, a home organizer. “Towels and sheets take seconds to fold, but make a big dent in the laundry basket. By the time you’ve reached the bottom and get to those pesky socks, you’re already feeling close to the finish line.”

Maxwell Gillingham-Ryan, a New York-based “apartment therapist,” uses color to create an illusion of calm and cohesiveness, even in an otherwise disorganized space. For example, pulling down mismatched bath towels and replacing them with color-coordinated ones gives the bathroom a put-together look. The same goes for linens in bedrooms, and dishes displayed in glass-front kitchen cabinets; choose the color that you have the most of, hide the rest, and your kitchen will suddenly look chic and coordinated.

And then there are the time-honored tips of straightening stray papers into neat piles and stuffing clutter into closets for that mad-dash straightening up when your mother-in-law announces an unexpected visit in five minutes.


Tip #2: The Garbage Can is Your Friend

Color-coded storage bins and decorative baskets aside, the only way to manage clutter is to get rid of it. Beware of baskets, says Yehudis. If used right, they can help separate, say, the incoming mail from the outgoing. But she warns that the tendency in the not-naturally-organized home is for baskets to become dumping grounds for loose buttons, small toys, and defunct keys. If the same basket of unpaired socks has been sitting around for a year, chances are they’re never going to find their mates and it’s time to chuck them. Be honest with yourself, and admit that you will most likely never repair that broken clock or fix the zipper of your jacket, and throw it out as soon as it breaks. 


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