Timing is everything

Home Efficiency Tips

A messy and disorganized home can erode your quality of life, causing stress and wasting time. The following tips will help you on your way to stopping the chaos and finding more space in your home and more time in a day:

Space Savers:

* De-clutter: The root cause of chronic mess is often not enough space for belongings. Clean out 'junk drawers', closets and any other area that has run out of storage space. It's time to be ruthless. Decide which items you will realistically have a use for. Holding a yard sale is an effective way of getting rid of clutter and you'll be able to pocket the proceeds. Donate unwanted items to charities (like Goodwill or the Salvation Army).
* A place for everything and everything in its place: Cleaning is futile if you don't have a place to put the items that are strewn about your home.
* Choose space saving appliances such as wall mounted telephones and under-counter microwave ovens, can openers and radios.
* Increase the storage space in a shed, garage or basement with low cost shelving and ceiling hooks. Use pegboard in basements, garages, workshops and craft rooms for storing tools and other items.
* Take advantage of wasted space. There is often unused space under furniture such as beds and sofas. Many department stores carry large, low, plastic containers perfect for storing belongings under furniture. The area under a staircase is another ideal storage spot that is often overlooked.
* Store items efficiently. Place frequently used items on eye level cupboards and shelves, near the front within easy reach. Less frequently used items should be put towards the back in less convenient spots.

Time Savers:

* Cook double the food you will eat and freeze the other half for a quick meal on another day.
* If you are pressed for time around meals, try taking one day, once a month to cook meals or the freezer.
* Using a hands-free or cordless phone enables you to accomplish two tasks at once. Now you can cook, iron or dust while talking on the phone.
* Take advantage of small bits of 'free' time. Even working 10 minutes on a big project will make the job that much smaller the next time you tackle it.
* Don't be a perfectionist. Spending too much time on one project will cut into time you could be spending with family.
* Use technology to your advantage. Save time and traffic headaches by shopping online for gifts, clothing and even groceries in some locations.
* Delegate household chores.
* Make a household rule: don't leave a room empty handed. If you are watching television and you get up for a glass of water make sure to take any dirty dishes or trash with you.

Stoppping the Paper Chase:

* Keep important papers (such as bills) in one place and deal with them at a set time every week.
* Try not to handle the same paper more than once. Don't remove it from your inbox until you've dealt with it.
* Open your mail over your paper-recycling bin disposing of trash mail immediately. This way it will not have a chance to clutter up your countertop.
* Establish one central place for messages (such as bulletin board or a message spike) and place it near the phone along with a pen or pencil.