Organizing the Laundry Zone

If you are following my zone plan, August is a good month to organize your laundry area. School has already begun in my region and that means that new clothes are washed to wear, summer clothes are washed and some seasonal items stored. School team sports have begun and this brings on more laundry. There may even be back up laundry from vacation.

Laundry zones are located in many places. Some older homes have them in the basement. Some are located off the kitchen or even in a hall way. I have seen them at the top of the stairs and right off the master bedrooms. In many newer homes they are very centrally located which is a great if you keep up with the laundry and not so good if you let laundry stack up on the floor.

Keeping up with the laundry becomes less of a chore with a well organized space and a plan for keeping on top of the mountain of laundry. It helps to have designated times scheduled to do the laundry instead of waiting until an item is needed. (Mom, where are my soccer shorts?)

The goal is to keep the laundry moving. Only bring to the laundry zone what you intend to laundry that day. Leave the rest in the dirty clothes hampers. As soon as clothes are dry, get them back to their “home.” Having a different colored basket for each member of the family is helpful. As you pull clothes out of the dryer, put them into the correct basket and then have them go to the proper room.

Have a small container nearby to toss in any items you find in pockets, the dryer, or loose buttons. Have stain remover, sponges, scrubbing brushes on a shelf near the washer. This zone is also a good place to store the iron and ironing board. If you buy your detergents in large containers, transfer some into smaller containers that are easier to handle and less likely to cause spills.

This is the time to declutter any cleaning items stored in this zone. Now is the time to discard a product you have bought and not liked. If you have ended up with 2 half bottles of Woolite, consolidate them. Just toss that spray starch that is 10 years old and you never use any more. Just keep on hand the products that you are actually using.

Now I won’t go so far as to say keeping this zone organized will make you love to do laundry but it should make the chore less of a hassle.

Jonda S. Beattie

Professional Organizer

10 Things to Throw Out Now

Sometimes we just want to declutter or organize our home but just don’t know where to start.
What are somethings we have in our home that take up space but are really “no brainers” when it comes to a quick, easy purge?

1. Excess paper– This paper can be computer printouts that you no longer need, copies of paid bills, unnecessary receipts, or even old newspapers and articles. Quickly sort through your mounds of paper stuck here and there and see how much can quickly go into the trash or recycle bin. Keep asking yourself, “Why do I need this?” and “What is the worst thing that can happen if I throw this away?”

2. Extra clothes hangers or speciality hangers you are not using. Open each closet door and look inside. Pull out all those old wire hangers or hangers that you bought for a specific purpose and never use.  Return the wire ones to your dry cleaner and recycle the rest.

3. Ratty bed linens and towels. Think about how many linens and towels you really need. Two sets of bed linens for each bed (you can also count the sofa bed) and 2 sets of towels for each person living in your home plus 2 sets for each guest room are usually plenty. Now take the mismatched and threadbare other linens and donate them to a vet or animal rescue center.

4. Extra vases and flower pots. Save the ones you have used in the past year and let the rest go. It will be great to have that extra shelf space. Florists will be glad to get your donations.

5. VHS tapes, cassette tapes, unused video games, CDs you no longer play. Why are you keeping these? If it is a really special VHS of a family wedding, get it digitized. These items take up a lot of space.

6. Exercise Equipment that you aren’t using. More people use a treadmill to hang clothes on that to use as intended. If you haven’t used this stuff in the past year, let it go and give someone else a chance using it. This is also true of water bottles. I have seen whole shelves of these bottles picked up at some event and then not used.

7. Make up and hair accessories. Let go of all those samples you got because they came “free” with a purchase. You might let go of those “free” cosmetic bags, too. Women’s shelters would love some of this. Curling irons, flat irons, rollers that you no longer use can also be easily given away. You’ll love the extra room in your bathroom.

8. Old electronics. Fax machines, printers, phones, cables, chargers, and items you have forgotten what they even are. Let them go. What cables and accessories you keep, put in plastic bags and label them.

9. Kitchen items that only have one use. Cherry pitters, crab mallets, grapefruit spoons, egg cups, or any item that you have not used in the past year. These really mess up your kitchen drawers and shelves.

10. Games, puzzles, old hobbies paraphernalia. If you no longer do puzzles, if you have not played that game in years, if you don’t really think you’ll use that wooden tennis racket, let it go.  Others may now enjoy what you no longer use. Donate these or give to friends and family.

Now, don’t you feel free?

Jonda S. Beattie

Professional Organizer

Books: How many is too many?

After : bookcase

Before: Bookcase
I have long prided myself that I only kept as many books as I had spaces to store them. My bookcases were my containers and if they got full, I got rid of less favored books.
Then it was pointed out to  me that it really wasn’t that great to have my bookcases so crowded. Spaces that are completely full block the flow of “chi” (vital energy). Full bookcases block the flow of new information and knowledge. You can believe in Feng Shui or not but I will tell you that decluttering my bookcase helped me to have breathing room in my office and lightened up the atmosphere in the office.
I started thinking about why I have kept my books for so long. I came up with the following list:
  1. I haven’t read the book yet.
  2. It was given to me be a friend or relative.
  3. It was signed by the author.
  4. It was a book that I referred back to for information or ideas.
  5. It was a book I wanted to have on hand for guests to read.
  6. I had fond memories attached to the book.
  7. I might want to read it to a grandchild.
  8. It was expensive. 

Then I came up with reasons I could let the books go or reasons why I really want to hang on to the books.

  1. If I haven’t read the book after several years, I’m not likely to want to read it now.
  2. My books are not equated to liking friends and relatives. My friends and relatives won’t care if I give the book away.
  3. If the book was inscribed to me and I was fond of the author, I would keep it. If it just had the signature  – so what? – let it go.
  4. If it’s a book I refer back to often, I’ll keep it.
  5. I will chose 5 books of various genres for guests to read.
  6. If a book has fond memories associated with it, I’ll keep it. There aren’t that many.
  7. I don’t have grandchildren and this is not likely to change.
  8. It was expensive but so is the prime real estate that it is taking up. The book can go.

 Do you crowd your bookcases? Do you even have books stacked on top and on the floor? Are you really caring for and honoring those books? Think about it and share a comment.

Jonda S. Beattie

Professional Organizer

Spare Bedroom Zone

February is the month I organize and declutter my spare bedroom. This past year I did major redecorating in this room with the assistance of organizer Tami Puckett of Mindful Redesign – She helped make this room reflect my interest in travel while making it inviting to my guests.

Spare bedrooms often have multiple functions. My spare bedroom stores offseason and less frequently used clothes, wrapping paper and gift accessories, memorabilia, household accessories, overflow storage for archival files and office supplies, and is a place for guests to enjoy.

My zones are well defined in that room and everything is behind closed closet doors or in drawers. My challenge for this month is finding a home for all the extra office files that I have dumped into this room while clearing space in my office zone last month. It seems like each year I need a little more closet space for my office overflow and I think that this year I have maxed out that space. That means that I need to look long and hard at what I am already storing and let some of those items go. A serious purge needs to happen. Then I will have room for the more recent overflow from my office.

Throughout this month, I will tackle one wall a week and toss items and reorganize the items that remain so that at the end of the month, my spare room will again look inviting to guests and all storage items will be out of sight behind closed closet doors or drawers.

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer