Company Coming? Quick Tips for Organizing Before and After

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If you’re like most people, you scramble a little to get your home ready for guests. Here are some great tips for getting your home organized and tidy – not just before everyone shows up, but also on an ongoing basis once they’ve left. I’ve summarized many of the tips from “The 16 Incredibly Useful Rules Every Organized House Follows,” published in the HouseLogic newsletter by the National Association of REALTORS®.

Break It Into Manageable Chunks

If you look at tidying and getting organized as an all-or-nothing proposition, of course you’ll be overwhelmed. Several of the tips speak specifically to breaking the work into manageable chunks, such as:

  • Dedicate 20 minutes a day every day – This is just long enough to accomplish something meaningful but not so long that you can’t make the time for it. The discipline of taking that time every day is the key.
  • Wake and wash – Start a load of laundry in the morning before you hop in the shower. You can then toss it in the dryer before you head out to work or run it when you get home. Doing one load a day helps to keep it from being overwhelming.
  • Follow a one-minute rule – This one is pretty self-evident: if something will take you a minute or less to do, just do it rather than putting it off. When you put off multiple small tasks, they add up.
  • Deal with mail as it comes in – Experts recommend handling each piece of mail as few times as possible. This requires you to decide right away whether it’s something to toss, file, or act on. Try going through your mail while standing over your trash can and recycle bin.
  • Conduct a nightly tidy-up – Each night before you head to bed, grab a laundry basket and make a circuit of your home. Grab anything that’s out of place and put it in the basket. If you’re lucky, you can put it where it belongs as you move into subsequent rooms. If you don’t want to deal with it until the weekend, at least all the clutter is corralled and out of the way.

Set Up a Routine and Follow It

You’ve probably heard the saying, “Plan your work, then work your plan.” It’s definitely helpful when it comes to housework. And when you list out the work and make your plan visible, it makes it easier to share the work. The others in your household can refer to the plan and know exactly what needs to be done.

  • Empty the dishwasher at the same time of day every day – The HouseLogic article recommends emptying it every morning. However, if that’s the last thing you want to wake up to, go ahead and do it at night.
  • Clean the refrigerator weekly – You definitely want to prevent things from turning into science projects, so a weekly clean-out will make that easy. The HouseLogic article suggests doing it the night before your trash pickup, so nothing has time to get smelly.
  • Follow a cleanout schedule for your storage areas – This includes your pantry, junk drawer, linen closet, and clothes closets. Many people follow a quarterly/seasonal schedule. One area many people forget – the medicine cabinet. Be sure to check dates on prescription and over-the-counter medicines, and toss any that are expired.

Share Your Home Organization Tips

Were there any eye-openers in this recap or the HouseLogic article? What home organization tips can you share? Leave a comment below!

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