How to Really Organize Your House & Your Life

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    • 1). Label one box "Keep," one box "Donate" and the final box "Trash." Start in the most cluttered and disorganized room of your house and sift through your possessions, distributing them into the appropriate boxes.

    • 2). Set up a fourth box, labeled "Hold," for those items you are not sure about. Store the box somewhere safe for approximately six months. If you haven't used an item in the box in that amount of time, donate the item or toss it.

    • 3). Install a "landing strip" at the entryway of your house, so that family members and guests have a place to stash jackets, purses and keys. You may want to put a coat tree, small table with a basket and a bench for shoes in the entry hall.

    • 4). Place a mail sorter on the table in the entryway. When you get home with the mail, quickly sort it into the slots of the mail sorter. Have a section for junk mail, one for bills, one for personal mail and one for outgoing mail.

    • 5). Take up to 20 minutes each night preparing for the next day. Write up your to-do list for the day to come. Lay out your outfit and your children's school clothes. Make your lunch and get your work papers and your children's school work in order. You may also want to prepare a pot of coffee and set it on a timer, so that it is ready to go when you wake up.

    • 6). Start and maintain a family binder or set of binders. You may want to have a binder for manuals for your home's appliances, one for meal plans and recipes or for favorite take-out menus and one for basic home information, such as allergies, your children's schedules, emergency contact information and chore lists.

    • 7). Pause before bringing a new item into your house or taking on a new role in your life. Ask if yourself if you really need a new picture frame or serving bowl, or if you have the time to spare to coach your child's swim team. If you decide to bring something new home or take on a new task, see if you can replace an old item or task with the new one.

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