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Putting everything in its place
If youre resolving to get organized this year, here are some places to start
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Listen to Deniece Schofield talk about organizing your kitchen .

Now that the holidays, the Christmas tree and all the trimmings are out of the way, it’s time to get organized.

This may seem like a dreadful task, but there are some easy ways you can get organized for 2008.

"The most important organizing tool is having some type of a planner," said Deniece Schofield, home management expert and author. "It can be a paper planner, it can be a computer program, it could be a PDA, it doesn’t matter. So you can keep everything in one place, you can always keep yourself on track when you get interrupted because you know exactly what you are doing."

The Georgia chapter of the National Association of Professional Organizers, which has about 85 members, proposes a set of 10 organizing goals that you can keep in the new year.

A few examples are resolving to put garbage in the garbage can immediately, set a date to clean out your car door pockets, throw out pens that don’t work and put all of January’s receipts in one place.

Schofield, who will be in Gainesville on Wednesday teaching her "Get Organized" seminar, added that using a planner to record information can get rid of loose papers scattered about the house.

Her seminars next week will focus on having more space without throwing everything out, props to organize common things and time management.

"The easiest way to do that is to prioritize your things," Schofield said. "The biggest mistake that people make when organizing is they put things they don’t use very often in handy, easy to reach spots and then they complain that they don’t have enough space."

Along with getting a planner, Schofield added that sitting down and making a list of projects also is important.

"Everything on the list is in your head," she said. "You can’t go to sleep at night, eat dinner, enjoy yourself when you are watching a movie because your brain is saying ‘Don’t forget you got this problem and you’ve got this problem.’"


Containers also are a very important part of the organization equation.

"You need to have containers everywhere," she said. "In drawers, on shelves, so you can handle things as one unit and you can actually transform your drawers into shelves — so you can reach the things in the back as easily as you reach the things in the front.

"Containers can also make your things take up less space, because if it’s in a container it can be more condensed."

Dawn McCloskey, a professional residential organizer and owner of Ultra Organized in Cumming, agreed that containers are the way to begin your organization battle, especially in the playroom.

"Containerize and label things," she said. "When there is not too many choices, the child tends to play with the toys. Open shelving works great for children as well as to ... color code things."

McCloskey suggested labeling toys and the shelves the same colors.

She said another easy way to organize is to cycle the toys in and out of the play area.

"Right after Christmas, go through the toys and create one or two boxes that you can cycle out once a month," she said. "So when you cycle out these toys once a month they are fresh, the kids start playing with them again."

Into the closet

The bedroom closet may also be a problem area. As you are heading to the closet for organization, McCloskey offered up an easy idea to get rid of old clothing.

"Turn all the hangers backwards and as you take an item out of the closet and wear it," she said. "When you return it to the closet turn it to the right side. So after the season is over, all the clothes that are facing the wrong way you know you have not worn this season and it’s time to get rid of them."

The bathroom also may be a problem area for many people, but there are plenty of products and ideas to help with the clutter.

"You want to have compartmentalized trays or drawer dividers," Schofield said. A pocketed shoe bag on the back of the door is another handy way to organize small items.

"There’s a lot of wasted space in the bathroom because above the (toilet) is usually wall space that you could either mount a cabinet or put a free standing unit there.," she said.

Here are a few tips from Dawn McCloskey on how to organize different areas of your home.

Organizing toys

Sort and put everything in containers.

Group like things together.

Label containers with permanent markers, hand-drawn pictures or pictures cut from magazines or original packaging.

If possible, have one central location for all toys when you have multiple children.

Color-code shelves and toys — use removable sticky-note flags or dots.

Organizing the hall closet

Use individual plastic storage boxes (with lids) for each family member for items like mittens, hats and scarves.

Store out-of-season coats or jackets in another closet.

Another option for out-of-season coats — or any clothing for that matter — is to use Space-Maker bags. These are bags, totes and hanging bags that allow you to suck all the air out of the bag to reduce the amount of space they take up. You cna find them at The Container Store or Wal-Mart.

Organizing clothing

Each family member should have his or her own hamper.

Make clothing accessable by lowering closet rods and not cramming drawers with clothing.

For young children install a five-slot organizer that hangs on the closet rod to hold clothes for each day of the week, which you pick out Sunday evening.

Organizing the bathroom

Give each person a color — purchase toothbrushes, combs/brushes and towels in separate colors for each person.

Only store what you use daily on the counter.

Organizing goals

Here are 10 organizing goals you can keep, from the Georgia chapter of the National Association of Professional Organizers. When you begin with small micro-goals they are easier to keep. String a few micro-goals together and you really start to get things done.

Samples you can adopt or adapt:

1. I resolve to put garbage in the garbage can immediately.

2. I resolve to clean out my car door pockets at least once in 2008.

3. I resolve to learn to use at least one electronic device that I own (and currently don’t know how to use).

4. I resolve to put all of January’s receipts in one place. I’ll think about it again in February.

5. I resolve to throw out or give away one thing every day this week. (Put into a give away box).

6. I resolve to throw out all my pens that don’t work.

7. I resolve to look at my shoes today. Tomorrow I will put any shoes that are uncomfortable into a bag. The next day, I will take the bag to the car. The next day I will drive to a charity drop spot and drop them off.

8. I resolve to keep only ____ rolls of wrapping paper in my stash and not buy any more until it is used.

9. I resolve to get a calendar today.

10. I resolve to write down this week’s appointments in the new calendar. Then I will look at the calendar to remind myself of the appointments.