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© 2011 Kebba Buckley Button.  World Rights Reserved.

What if you came home to a lovely, relaxing, energizing and refreshing space?  Wouldn’t your home life be more enjoyable?  What if your office looked clean, neat, modern, and airy?  What if all your closets and cabinets looked organized and sharp, and worked that well?  As part of getting control of your Stuff, here are easy tips for conquering crowded closets and cabinets.

First, decide what really belongs in your closets/cabinets.  Files go in file cabinets.  Office supplies need their own area.  Clothing goes in clothing closets and drawers.  And indoor home improvement tools go in hallway closets and usually one kitchen drawer.  If you are storing lawn tools or potting soil inside, move them to an outside storage space.  If you are storing paint, properly dispose of any paint more than 3 years old, or dried-up paints.  Donate old linens to a shelter.  Cluster all the lightbulbs together.  Donate duplicate tools and discard dry glue and old tape of all types.  Put batteries in a cool cabinet or in clear plastic bags in the refrigerator.  Get clear plastic boxes the same width as your closet shelves, and store and label everything that can fit into the boxes.   The clear boxes speed up finding anything.  Get a $20 office labelmaker that makes white labels; you’ll be surprised at how readable the labels are.  Now you have retrievability.

For your file cabinets, keep it simple.  Remember that most of your bank account records and charge account records are now online.  You do not have to keep paper copies of many things you had to keep years ago.  Forget color coding and simply label each file.  Make a file for “Tax”, for any records that may bear on this year’s taxes.  Have a file for “to be filed”, and go through it every 2 days.  Shred anything you no longer need.

For your clothing closets, pause and  imagine you could quickly glance over your collection and select an outfit.  Imagine all the pieces and accessories were clean, in good repair, a great fit, and easy to retrieve.  You can get to that stage in about one afternoon!  Ready to play?  Then pull out every item in the closet, one at a time.  Each piece has to go in one of 3 piles:  “Love it”, “would love it if cleaned/repaired”, or “don’t love it”.  All the “don’t love it” clothes, shoes, and accessories now go into bags and directly to your car for donating.  For the “would love if…” group, use your labeler or masking tape and marking pen to label each piece with what it needs.  If you can hand wash it or repair it, set it in an area of the laundry room to be done in the next two days.  If it needs dry cleaning or a tailor’s attention, bag it and take it directly to your car to go to the dry cleaner/tailor today.  If some shoes need repair, are they really too old now?  If not… straight to the car and to your shoe repair shop today.  The “love it” items can now go back in the closet, unless you want to quickly use some of that extra paint to do the inside of the closet.  Now decide if your hats need to be on hooks on the wall, or in hat boxes on the upper shelf.  Purse collections can go in larger clear plastic boxes (visibility of contents saves time) on an upper shelf, and shoes in clear plastic shoe boxes, stacked as high as you like.  If you only have a few pairs of shoes, you may want to keep the clear shoe boxes on the floor of the closet, or use a floor shoe rack big enough for all of the shoes.  Shoe lovers can find over-the-door hanging shoe caddies or vertical caddies that hang from the closet rod.  Scarf lovers, get a special hanger that has a dozen holes in it, and thread the scarves through it.  No more hunting for the right scarf, now.

Now, your closets and cabinets are much easier to navigate.  File access, home repairs or getting dressed should now be far easier and take less time.  You’ve just eliminated a lot of stress and given yourself some time and freedom, which means more energy!  How can you take these tips and techniques into your workplace?  Are you closer to the life you want?  Post your results and comments!

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