Even detailed planners like Kate can learn a trick or two for better organizing. Kate got help organizing her basement from professional organizer Diane Albright. Diane helped Kate sort things into piles, and then created useful designated areas for everything: one area for clothes for future use or off-season wear, and areas for holiday decorations, school keepsakes, memorabilia, outdoors, electronics and so on.
Here are some of the organizing tips from Diane that Kate loved the most.
1. Label both the front and back of boxes: "Size 6 clothing," etc. That way, you don't need to think when you put the box back on the shelf. It takes one second to do, and saves aggravation.
2. Use clear plastic pockets on the sides of boxes, and place half-sized index cards inside. That way, you can change the label from say, size 6 to size 7, or from summer clothes to winter clothes, without writing on the box itself.
3. One thing I tell all my clients is, "Make yourself replaceable." Set up a system so that whether you're there or not there, the household can function without your assistance.
4. Label your shelving so you know where items belong. Label with "laundry detergent," "paper towels," etc. That way, others can help put away groceries or supplies without always calling Mom. As kids get older, we all want to have them help more. It helps if everything is organized and labeled.
5. When storing kids' keepsakes, photos and artwork, use archival quality boxes that are acid free and lignin free.
6. Spend a few dollars for a label maker. They are cheap, and the tape is waterproof, so you can put it on anything! You can even put labels inside your refrigerator, if necessary.
7. Every night, have a clutter patrol at 6 or 7 p.m. where everyone roams the house, picks up all their things and puts them away. For Kate, eight kids times 10 minutes means 80 minutes of cleaning done in a snap.