Me organized? More like organized chaos. Life and stuff can be categorized, put in files and bins. But it takes effort. With a bunch of kids, it’s required, unless I want to be overrun by kids’ papers, projects and just general junk. Even when I had only one kid, I kept blocks in bins, craft stuff together and puzzles in bags. Stuff stays nicer for longer if you keep it organized, together and useful.

Here are simple organizational hacks for practically every room in the house. Here’s a tip before you even get started: buy some bins!

Kitchen

Think proximity. Put the most-used products and utensils at hand, in drawers near sink or stove and less-used items up higher or down lower. I keep all wooden utensils in one drawer right next to my stove, since most of my cookware will scratch with metal.

Keep dishcloths and towels within arms reach of the sink. Empty the dishwasher daily to avoid backlog on the countertop.

Living Room

If you allow toys in your living room, family room or den, get a toy box with a cover or use the ottoman. Many coffee tables have hiding places below the surface for keeping magazines or other clutter. Stand at the entry to the room and find a piece of furniture, like a sofa, loveseat or chair, to visually hide any loose toys or the toy box.

Bedrooms

Daily, kids (and parents) need to make their beds and handle laundry. This is not so much a hack as a vital life skill kids need to learn, unless your Au Pair will supervise their chores or you have a maid service. Seriously though, very little children can learn to put away toys, shoes and laundry, which is most of what makes kids’ rooms a nightmare after a week or two of no intervention.

Weekly, we “tidy to the corners” and sweep or dry mop. Underbed storage is vital, as are shoe holders and closet organizers.

Office

Don’t let bills and random paperwork clog your world! Get organized with folders to keep kids papers, home papers, bills and so on, hopefully in a file holder or small filing cabinet. For whole home organization, use a whiteboard (which can be accidentally erased), Google calendar or my favorite, a cork board. The trick to efficiently using any of these methods is to utilize and check them habitually!

Laundry

Hopefully, yours is out of sight, out of mind. Hampers and laundry baskets can be kept in kids’ rooms or in a shared bathroom. To keep the flow of laundry moving in my house, I remind the kids each morning (or every other) to deliver their dirty laundry to the bathroom basket for cleaning. They help me sort the loads, carry to the basement and start the machine.

The idea is to eliminate clutter and create a peaceful environment for your family. The holidays created quite a bit of clutter in my house and probably in yours, too. It’s been weeks and I am still beating it down.

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Create a place for everything that is important and then be sure to put things in their place. Another helpful hint to eliminate clutter is to be sure to put away stuff after you use it. It sounds simple, but how often do you just set something aside rather than put it back where you found it? Regular habits can be just as useful to organizing your home as can bins, holders and organizers from the home store.