Organizing from Scratch 2

The First Steps

Put it Back Together

For items staying on the table, ask yourself…is there a better way to organize this? If you like to keep your loose change by the front door, grab an attractive bowl from the kitchen and set it on the table. This will keep the loose change where you want it, but also keep it contained and organized. This bowl is for loose changeonly and all loose change lives in that bowl. Remind yourself of this frequently so you don’t end up disorganized again.

Keep the items on the tabletop to a minimum. And most of them should be both beautiful and practical.tabletop2 One knick-knack or potted plant should suffice. Unless you live in a tiny New York City apartment and suffer from a severe lack of storage, you should be able to keep just a few things on the table.

If you do suffer from a severe lack of storage, you should consider replacing the simple table with an attractive bureau. This will provide you with not only a table top, but several drawers of practical storage.


Finish the Job

You should now have a clean, organized tabletop. It may be the only clean, organized thing in the room so far, but it is a first step! And looking at that lovely tabletop should inspire you to continue your organizing, to make the rest of the room as organized. Perhaps the coat closet is next.

But don’t relax yet. You still have work to do before you tackle the next job. Here are the next steps:

You should have a box marked Donate. If it’s only partially full, keep it handy for your next project. If it’s full, put it in the trunk of your car. That’s right. Don’t even waste time storing in the garage for an eventual delivery. Put it right in your car, so the next time you are near the donation center, you can drop it off in a matter of minutes.

Another handy resource is It’s a free online community which gives things away. You post an item for free, members of the group who are interested will respond. You choose who gets the item and arrange for them to pick it up. If you don’t want to deal with strangers coming into your home, you can even leave the item on the porch or in the driveway.

You also have a basket of items that didn’t belong on the entry table. It is probably full of all kinds of various items. Looking at this basket can be discouraging, but don’t let it slow you down. Your organization job is not done until this basket is empty and everything in it is put away.

All items that “live” in your house need a “permanent home,” the place where that item belongs and can always be found when needed.

Divide the basket into two categories:

  • Items that have a permanent home and need to be put away
  • Items that do not have a permanent home, but need one

Start out with the items that have a home. Take these items around the house, putting them in their rightful place. It may take you a few minutes, or even longer, depending on the number of items, (and the size of your house!)

Now, you only have to deal with what’s left, items without a permanent home, but need one. This step may take you longer. You may need to do a little thinking and planning to finish the job.

If what you have left is a random bunch of papers, maybe you need to make some more files for your file cabinet. If you are left with photographs from your summer vacation, you may need to buy a photo album or scrapbooking supplies. Certainly, if you are dealing with a stack of unopened mail, get to work! (Visit Mail for tips on how to deal with mail and bills.) If the items are needed and must stay in your house, find them a permanent home.

Once all the items in your basket are put away, your organization project is done. Pat yourself on the back, pour yourself a glass of wine, and put up your feet. You’re on your way to an organized house and a simpler way of life!

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