Laundry is an unavoidable drudgery, so getting it done quickly and efficiently is a must. Here are some tips to process laundry promptly.
- Sort it out.
Rather than putting all of the laundry into one hamper, sort it as you go with these terrific laundry sorters from Sterilite. They’re a great time saver–when one fills up, you can throw a load in right away. Eliminate the hassle of sorting like colors into piles on the floor (which sometime stay there longer than they should). Sort and wash as you go.
Laundry may be your least favorite task, but the more often you do it, the easier it gets. Make it a small part of your daily routine rather than that monkey-on-your-back that will eventually consume a full day.
Sorting socks can be a big time zapper. Ask family members to tie socks together or put them in a mesh hosiery wash bag so they stay together. Toss any loose socks into a container and have each person reclaim their own. If they don’t like doing it this way, maybe they’ll choose to start using a wash bag or putting them into the laundry connected.
- Make the best of the space you’re in.
If possible, add shelving, counters, cabinets and bright lighting in your laundry area. If doing laundry means going into a dark dungeon, you are going to put it off. Consider moving the machines upstairs or even into a walk-in closet.
Putting clothes back onto hangers is time consuming. Save time by waiting to hang up clothes until you’re in the closet. Just fold them over the side of the laundry basket and do the hanging up when you’re in the closet.
It’s hard to put laundry away into an overly stuffed closet. Go through every item of clothing (good to do at least twice per year) and determine what can be eliminated. The more room you have to put things back, the easier it will be to get the laundry done.
Enlist the whole family when it comes to laundry. If kids are not of the age to do their own, they may be able to at least put it away. Sort each persons laundry into baskets and hand them off. The more you can delegate, the less you’ll have on your own plate!
Here’s a good way to help keep accessories together or add garments to an ensemble hanging on the rod in your closet. Take the pull-tab from an aluminum can and put one end around the hanger and use the other end to add a hanger to it! It’s a great way to keep outfits together or add accessories. If you use hangers from the cleaners, these tabs do come in handy. Now you can recycle those aluminum can tabs right into your closet!
Do you need extra hanging space in your closet? What about in a storage or guest room? This nifty gadget is your answer. The Overdoor Valet Rod by Umbra is available at The Container Store and it’s very easy to install. Just put the two ends over the door and snap the rod on the holders. When it’s not in use, you can store it in the box and keep it on a top shelf. It’s also great if your packing for a trip and you need to pull clothes out of the closet to separate them. If you have tall ceilings and high doors you may need a step stool to reach the rod, but it’s a great way to get more hanging space quickly!
Do your kids (or even grownups) throw their coats and/or backpacks on the floor or a chair when in a rush as opposed to taking the time to put them on a hanger? Here’s a solution—get some S hooks. Make sure they are the right size to fit on the closet rod and hang them up. They also need to be good, sturdy S hooks so they don’t slip and fall off the rod. It’s easier to put a coat on a hook than it is a hanger and definitely quicker. As you see in the photo, backpacks work great on S hooks too. Remember, of course you can fit more in your closet when jackets and coats are properly stored on hangers, so don’t use this as a storage solution, but it’s a simple and easy quick fix for organization on the run.
Today’s Friday Favorite is the Command Hook from 3M. They are functional and attractive hooks that our organizers use and recommend frequently. These easy to use and removable hooks help make use of vertical wall space absolutely anywhere. The Command Hooks by 3M are not only good looking hooks, they are also completely removable with no damage to the walls. I use them in my mudroom. When the kids were little, I placed the hooks at an appropriate height so they could hang up their own coats as soon as they were able—it’s great to get them in that habit as soon as possible! Another great use for command hooks is in a closet or a bathroom—especially with kids—hanging towels, robes etc… at the appropriate height allows them to start taking the responsibility of putting their own things away. Apartment buildings, office space, teacher’s classrooms, there’s many places that having a removable, non damaging hook can come in handy. You can purchase Command Hooks at The Container Store or online at Amazon.com.
Below is an article written by our client BJ Marshall about her experience with Chaos To Order and how she not only got more organized, but she found the ultimate bargain in doing so!
Bargain hunting is a borderline-addiction for me. There’s nothing like scoring a deal on something I love (or even just like a lot). In fact, my husband officially banned me from the TAG Warehouse Sale after the year I had to make two trips to fit it all in the car.
This summer, I discovered the mother of all bargains—finding something you already own but didn’t know you had. Snagging this great bargain took a lot of hard work, though. And it involved one of my most dreaded household tasks: organizing.
A couple of years ago, I saw a show about an environmentalist who worked for the City of Chicago and lived an extraordinarily green lifestyle. What impressed me most was not the “gray water” system in his home, in which the water he used to brush his teeth made its way to the toilet for a second use. It wasn’t the fact that his wife used cut up cloths as baby wipes. It was his storage closet. read more…
During the hectic months of summer we are busy coming and going from one place to the next. Your mudroom or back entryway is heavily used and should have systems in place to make an easy transition from the outside to the inside or vice versa. Go to that space and think about what you need there. A place to hang your keys? A calendar with activities? Bulletin board? My family spends alot of time at the pool, so when the coats come off the coat hooks, the beach towels go on. I love the photo of the mudroom shown because it’s really a makeshift space that you can put in any hallway. Even the space along side the stairs is used to hang hats and place a chalkboard (I prefer a dry erase board) Make sure the area is seasonal, meaning winter coats, hats, etc… are stowed somewhere out of the way. Maybe you like to plan picnics in the summer, get the picnic basket out of storage and keep it handy. Are you bringing the kids to the beach ofter? Sand toys in a mesh bag can easily hang on a hook. Anything you can do to make the space more functional and current to the season is going to help you to transition from home to away and back again more easily.
In order to have an organized space, you need to have a place to put all of the items you have. I have an 8 year old daughter who loves art, reading and playing with a multitude of “little” things. We moved into our house when she was two and the space was perfect for her then, but as she has grown, so has the accumulation of stuff!
Since I’m always talking to other people about how to put their own stuff in order, it was time for me to practice what I preach with my daughter. Her room seemed to be a sufficient in size, but the problem now was where to put things. Remember, if you want easy access and organization, everything needs a place to belong. Clean up time is a whole lot easier when you know exactly where to put things. So we decided to remove a dresser on one wall and replace it with a desk, but not just a desk because, after all, how much stuff is going to fit into three drawers of a little desk? I consulted with my friend and awesome designer at Closet Works—Sue Tinker. We decided to create a desk surrounded by bookshelves, not just for her books, but also for her many knick knacks and collectables. In addition to the desk, bookshelves and drawers, we also added space for a bulletin board to hang the most recent drawings and creations. The result was the desk in this photo, she and I both love it. My daughter now has the perfect place to sit and color, read, create etc… and I have the perfect storage solution to finally organize all of her “little” things!
Ziploc bags are an essential element in any organized home (we also find plenty of them in not-so-organized homes). We are mid-way through March and that means that many people are planning spring break get-aways. Ziploc bags are perfect for travel. Now that sectioning out your liquids into 3oz containers when flying is the norm, the Ziploc bag is more handy than ever. Even before we had to put liquids into clear bags for flying, they were still the optimal choice because they protect leak-ables from oozing onto other items. I always travel with an extra stash, they’re great for toiletries, food (that’s what they were meant for, right?), sectioning and sorting everything from tiny toys to papers and puzzles, the list is endless. There’s also Ziploc Big Bags which are great for sorting clothes, keeping sets of linens together, etc…what do you use Ziploc bags for?
It’s officially fall and cooler days are becoming more the norm than the exception, so now is the optimal time to change the season in your closet. At Chaos to Order we suggest that your closet be weeded through twice per year. Weeding out the closet doesn’t mean taking a good look around and saying, “Ok, I need it all”. It really means picking up each individual piece of clothing and asking, “Do I wear this?” or “When was the last time I wore this?” and “Will I be wearing it this season?” Taking a detailed inventory of every item, including what you have way up on the very top shelf, is crucial to the functionality of your wardrobe. The space in your closet is prime real estate. It’s like walking down the aisle in the supermarket, the most valuable space is at eye level. You want the items you’re frequently wearing to be right there ready to grab, items you wear infrequently a little harder to reach and what you don’t use should be removed. If you need to add any hardware, including shelving, extra hanging space or drawers, ask our friends at Closetworks.com. If you need any of our closet organizing pros to come and whip your closet into shape, schedule an appointment at Chaostoorder.com. Happy organizing!
Very soon the kids will be heading back to school and now is a great time to get organized. Before the start of the school year, it’s important to have your kids feeling prepared and ready for the year ahead. Go through their closet item by item (with them preferably), asses what their needs are and make purchases accordingly. It’s also a great time to organize the rest of the room: desk, bookshelves, cluttered corners etc… Make sure they not only have supplies ready to go to school, but also a good place to work at home with everything they need to get their homework done. August is the best time to purchase school supplies, stock up now for the year. Before shopping, gather all the school/office supplies you have lying around the house. Place them in a container and assess what you need from there. Avoid going to the store and purchasing before you know what you already have, this is how clutter is created! Remember to keep one item at the desk, and extras of that item in a container elsewhere. When you run out of something, you go to the container to refill. This can cut way down on clutter at any desk.
Not only is this a great time to get the kids organized, it’s also a great time of the year to do planning. Schedules are coming out for school and extra-curricular activities. Input all activities and schedules you receive into your calendar ASAP. Take a look at the calendar you are currently using. Is it working for you and for your family? If your writing so small that you can hardly see, it may be time to switch from a week at a glance to a daily calendar, or vice versa. Electronic calendars are great, if your kids have iPods, they can sync to your household calendar and contacts. if you use an electronic system, everyone can have the family schedule on hand. Re-asses what you’re using and make sure the system you have going into the school year will work for you.
It’s easier to keep up with the demands of school and all the related events when you’re organized. Get systems in place now, clear space for incoming backpacks, books and supplies. Good organization at home can lead to better learning in the classroom.
We had a some great conversations at our Ebay Classified Twitter Chat last night. There were many questions that I did not get to fully answer, so I thought I would post the Q&A; here on the blog for all to read, respond and put into action if possible.
So the best age to start teaching kids about organization? What ever age your kids are is the best age to start! Your kids will model your behavior, especially when they are very young. As they get older, they will push your limits on everything including the level of organization of their room etc. As the parent, you set the bar. If you expect it neat, you will need to make it easy for them to keep a neat room. This may mean keeping less stuff in the room for them to mess up. Adding bins and hooks to easily place things in so that maintaining order is easy.
Once person tweeted in that they think they’ve waited too long because their 11 year old daughter was very disorganized. It’s never too late, many of us struggle with different organizational issues throughout our lives. Encourage her, help her get in to a place where she is able to maintain it. The more positive you make the process and show the benefits of an organized lifestyle, the more likely she will be to follow suit.
Last week was spring break for my children, and unfortunately my oldest son Eric had to have his tonsils removed, so it was not the most exciting week for anyone in the Friel household. However, staying home actually had some great benefits in the spring cleaning department. We went through each of the kids closets determining what clothes fit, what they’ve outgrown, and what they need for the coming season. I urge everyone to do this at least twice each year. Especially now when budgets are tight, we easily forget about some of the items we have and default to shopping before going through the entire closet. My kids tend to wear the same outfits and grab what’s right in front of their eyes, ignoring what’s hanging further to the back. My middle son Brett found a great sweatshirt that had been in his closet all winter, he had forgotten all about it! Spend thirty minutes to one hour (it shouldn’t take longer if you do it regularly) in each closet, look at every item and decide if it should stay or go. If if it goes, have some trash bags handy and remove clothes immediately. Bonus: You can even earn a few dollars selling your things at a local consignment shop or get a tax deduction.