Member Solutions for Clearing the Clutter

During the Get Organized Community Challenge®, more than 7,000 iVillagers joined together to organize their homes. While they were following the advice of challenge leader and professional organizer Regina Leeds, these women were also swapping their own organizational tips. Here are some of the best!

  1. My simple trick for decreasing junk mail pile-up is: Don't let it in the house. Every time I check the mail I make it a point to stand at the trashcan next to the mailboxes and throw out the junk mail. If you don't have a trash can right next to you, make it a point to throw it away as soon as you walk through the door, before you have a chance to lay it down on top of the microwave, or fridge, or drawer, or table, arm of the couch, on the TV….
    -- iVillager wenwyn
  2. One thing I started last month was to use a two-inch three-ring binder to store bills and important papers. I put dividers in the binder and labeled them for phone, power, insurance, etc. Then I three-hole punched each bill as it arrived and put it in the binder. I would then write on the bill the date I paid it and the check number. There was a minimum cash outlay for supplies and everything is in one secure spot.
    -- iVillager daisy_girl2u
  3. I really liked Regina's idea of keeping the keys in the same place, so I've copied that for other objects as well. The purse and briefcase go on the coatrack. The videos (and the receipt telling when they're due) go on top of the VCR. And my clothes up are hung up as soon as I take them off.
    -- iVillager lucybelinda


  1. I was skeptical that matching hangers would make that big of a difference in making my closet feel organized, but now I believe! I got one color for me and one color for my husband, so he can't steal my hangers without my knowing it.
    -- iVillager fire_bug
  2. Here's something I did that really helped me get sort through all my stuff. Take a clipboard and some paper and make two columns: "To Do" and "Thoughts." Then, just walk through the house and look and write. Do not start cleaning! Start at either the front or back door. Go through every room, either clockwise or counter-clockwise. Don't skip a thing -- open drawers, look in closets, look up, look down, etc. Take a deep, hard look at everything, one at a time (not to such detail that you're looking at every piece of mail in the pile on the kitchen table, that's "a pile"). For example, when I look at my pantry, I see a whole bunch of stuff including old shopping bags, a mish-mash of cans and boxes and a set of cookware my dad sent me when I got married. Under "To Do", I wrote down "throw away bags." Under "Thoughts" I wrote "Why aren't I using the cookware?" Which lead to a stream-of-consciousness thing regarding my relationship with good old Dad . And once I resolve the feelings, I'll know what to do with the cookware!
    -- iVillage mjfrombuffalo
  3. We have extremely shallow cabinets (too narrow for dinner plates) so I always had things fall out until my mom gave me a lazy Susan. I put all my spice bottles on it. I put my small pouches, packages, boxes, etc., in a small basket from the dollar store. Everything has its place. I put the other lazy Susan in my bathroom cabinet. It holds all the spray cans, deodorants, etc.
    -- iVillager meccatx
  4. Turn up the radio, sing, make the bed, dust, keep moving. It doesn't take long to make some progress and if you are singing you won't notice the time go by. Once you see the progress you will want to continue, I promise. Get that music on and sing!
    -- iVillage onecarol
  5. If you start to fall off the organization wagon, my suggestion is: Get out your kitchen timer or clock alarm. Set it to for 10 minutes. Then pick a task and do it until the timer goes off. Really do the task for the 10 minutes -- no lollygagging. When the alarm goes off, stop. Do something else. Sometimes getting in motion is the hard part, and if you promise yourself (and stick to your promise!) that you'll only force yourself to do it for 10 minutes, you can do it. And once you've gotten in motion, it's easier to stay in motion and go on to something else!
    --iVillager mjfrombuffalo

Do you have an organization tip to share? Or do you need some moral support in your efforst to get organized? Visit the Getting Orgnanized Support Group message board!

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