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Don't Agonize . . . ORGANIZE
by Judy A. Near

It's Monday morning. You are frantically searching for your daughter's field trip permission slip which was due back last week. Or maybe it's the client file you must bring with you to today's staff meeting. You know it's here somewhere--you just saw it yesterday. Meanwhile, your eight-year-old wanders in whining that he can't find his other sneaker. In the background your two teenage daughters are having their daily battle over who used whose perfume.

Suddenly, there it is, taunting you. Your senses are overwhelmed by the flashing red lights and that hideous shower scene music from Psycho. No, not the item you're looking for. It's your list of 1999 Resolutions. Right where you left it. In January. And the number one goal at the top of the list: Get Organized!! Groaning, you glance at the clock. You're late. Again. As you corral the kids toward the door, you wonder aloud, "Where did I put those blasted car keys?" And so it goes.

No, I haven't been spying on your family. The reason I know your morning ritual is simple: Been there, done that. And so has nearly everyone else. Relax. It IS possible to get your life in order. Others have done it!

Improvise to Organize. The most common excuse for not being organized is lack of time. Bottom line: No one has enough time--ever. So, we must adapt. Organization SAVES time. The average American spends one hour per day looking for misplaced items--that's more than one day per month! You cannot control the clock, but don't let the clock control you.

A few time-saving, stress-lowering tips:

1. Parents, stop being "all things to everyone". Divide household chores between family members.

2. Your kitchen timer is a valuable tool! Use it as a reminder to turn off the sprinkler, end a long-distance phone call, or leave the house at a certain time. Set it to divide time taking turns on the computer or video games. Set it for five minutes in the morning while everyone does a quick "pick-up" of the house. You will be amazed at what you can accomplish in five minutes and you will come home to a tidy house. Procrastinators, set the timer for 15 minutes and get started with the undesirable task. When time is up, you may stop for the day. Chances are, once you get started, you will want to continue.

3. Assign each person a different color. Each individual's color now designates who "owns" every item in the house from toothbrushes to bath towels to storage containers. This will end the constant bickering over what belongs to whom.

4. Keeping track of items is as simple as assigning a place for each and keeping it there. (You always know where the milk is, don't you?) Obtain containers to use as "In" boxes for each person, plus an extra for papers to be filed. Use anything from baskets to plastic to cardboard. Specify ownership by color. Stack containers in a convenient, permanent place. Use this system to route paperwork, including notes, school papers, etc. between family members daily. Once a paper has been dealt with, place it either in the filing box, back in the sender's box, or the garbage. Garbage is NOT a dirty word--if you don't need it, don't keep it! Assign one responsible individual to file weekly.

5. Place a box by the door and put in it anything needing to go out (videos and books to return, film to be developed, borrowed items, homework, mail, etc.) Distribute items at least once weekly.

Strategize to Organize. Formulate a strategy that will work for all and establish a routine. Be patient, this will take some doing. Have short weekly family meetings to update calendars, plan for upcoming events, discuss conflicts, etc.

It's never too late to improve life through organization. Why not start now? Set that timer and GO!

1999 Judy A. Near

About the Author: Judy A. Near owns and operates Near at Hand Interiors, a Professional Decorating and Organizing business in Lawrence, Kansas. She offers both group seminars and one-on-one consultations. For more information call 785/865-0621. Judy can also be contacted at

Check out these other sites and businesses to aid you in your organizing goals...

www.Stacks and
The internet's largest source for stylish storage and organized living.

featuring "Smart Furniture" - elegant, customizable and no-tool necessary!

Lillian vernon, a 47 year old mail-order company is finally on-line. They have lots and lots of great organizing products at reasonable prices. (The other stuff is pretty good too!)

Successful Garage Sales
When you have organized and decluttered, make some extra money by holding a garage sale.

Organizing Chat
Pick up, discuss and share your successful organizing ideas here...!!

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