As surely as everyone mysteriously disappears during the cold weather, they reappear in force after the thaw. They want to drop by for coffee, hosting wine and cheese parties, and throw barbecue parties at the drop of a hat.
I have two major beliefs in life. The first, as an organizer, I believe in being proactive. Nothing feels better than opening your door to unexpected guests feeling prepared. Second, carpe diem, enjoy or seize the moment. We never know what life has around the corner. To live without regrets means to open your door to opportunity now.
Does your home need a little organizational catch up? No worries. You’re not alone, and you still have time.
If entertaining is your priority, begin with your “public spaces.” By that I mean, any spaces guests would normally walk through during a visit: foyer, the living room, kitchen, dining room, and powder room.
Next, list those rooms in order of priority. You may want to start with the easiest first. Accomplishment breeds motivation. Tackling one room at a time, methodically work your way around the room.
Instead of mentally searching for each item’s purpose, try looking at the reverse thought pattern. Ask yourself, “When was the last time I used this?” This is truly the best way to predict the usefulness of an object.
You will want 4 bags for things: 1) staying in the room, 2) going elsewhere in your home, 3) things being donated, and 4) things being tossed. You may also consider selling items. The desire to do so varies from person to person. Selling things via consignment stores, Craig’s List, eBay, or other sources is up to the individual. Always consider the time involved and shipping expenses in each transaction versus the estimated value of the items being sold. Another consideration is safety. Do your homework. Research safe practices. Take the same safety precautions when selling a $15 item as you would with a $1,500 item.
When you’re finished sorting a room, take a moment to place the items you selected to remain in the room. Find homes for the things going elsewhere. Put the bag(s) of donations in the car, and toss the trash(s). Then, begin room two.
It’s much easier to maintain order when a room is fully organized than if it’s partially complete. In addition, it’s easier to maintain order if we have organization “behind the scenes.” This refers to drawers, closets, cubbies, etc. If everything has a place to go, and that place is convenient, organization is easier to maintain. Storage spaces should always allow a little room to grow. Nobody likes shoving things into a tightly packed drawer. Order will deteriorate quickly.
Adding ten minutes of organizing maintenance time to each day helps keep that clutter at bay. It’s similar to brushing your teeth to maintain oral health, or exercising to maintain your fitness. A few minutes of putting things in their place each day goes a long way.
Lastly, make a list of pantry items that won’t soon perish and add them to your grocery-shopping list. Soft drinks, wine (if you imbibe), nuts, cheese, etc. If you always have fruit in the house, all these items can quickly be thrown together for a spontaneous visit. Do you have a favorite play list of music you can delegate to someone in the family? If not, go to www.pandora.com to select some background music.
Embrace the unexpected. Your guests will think you’re so organized.