Getting Your Military Family Organized: 10 Tips to Use Right Now!


organized-boxesWhether you’re undertaking a Permanent Change of Station (PCS) to California or Korea, or you’re staying put for a few years, it can be tough to organize your home — and keep it organized. Here are 10 tips that’ll help you get your household shipshape in 2015.

1. Write it down.

Professional organizers say if you’re truly committed to getting organized, start by jotting down the areas in your home that need to be tackled. Focus on areas of your home, not rooms. For instance, you might concentrate first on a cluttered drawer in your kitchen. “If you have several messy rooms, you may need to break it up into small, manageable pieces,” says professional organizer, Janet Bernstein.

2. Schedule organizing sessions.

To keep up with organizing tasks, set aside time on your calendar to accomplish them. This adds an element of accountability. “If you only carve out two hours for organizing time each week, that adds up to eight hours a month, which adds up to 96 hours for the year,” Bernstein said. “Keep that in mind, and you’ll have the motivation to keep up your organizing throughout the year.”

3. Learn how to say goodbye.

If you don’t love it, need it or use it, then let it go. Repeat this to yourself frequently if you have a difficult time parting with possessions.

4. Swap your stuff.

Professional organizer Jamie Novak recommends that if you’ve got toys, clothes, kitchen gadgets or other items you no longer need, you should host a swap with other military families who might want your stuff, and vice versa.

5. Turn clutter into cash.

Companies like Amazon.com, Best Buy and Gazelle.com will let you trade in used items such as tablets, books and video games in exchange for cash or account credit. For more tips on turning clutter into cash, visit The Sparefoot Blog.

6. Use what you’ve already got.

Rather than tossing certain items in the recycling bin, you can turn them into organizing tools. For instance, Novak said, leftover egg cartons make great drawer organizers, and storing extension cords in old paper-towel rolls can keep them untangled.

7. Set up a lost-and-found area.

To reduce household clutter, designate a lost-and-found container or drawer. Whenever something is left out like a cord for an electronic device or a doll’s shoe, you can toss it in the lost-and-found and the person who lost it will know where to look.

8. Create a household binder.

Use a three-ring binder filled with tabbed dividers, page protectors, and pocket folders, along with a slot for a pen, to stash important paperwork, Novak suggested. This could include documents like your apartment rental contract, or your insurance policies.

9. Purchase a label maker.

Sticking labels on containers to indicate what’s inside them makes it easier to keep track of your stuff. That way, you’re not wasting time trying to figure out where your kids’ hand-me-downs are.

10. Buy versatile furniture.

“Because military families move so much, they need furniture that does double duty,” professional organizer Leslie Jacobs said. “How about a coffee table with storage so you can store video games and the like?”

What tips do you have for getting organized this year? Tell us in the comments!

Posted by John Egan, Editor in Chief at SpareFoot, an Austin, Texas-based startup that helps people find and book self-storage units. To find military discounts for self-storage, visit MilitaryStorage.com. For more information about military-related storage, moves and home organization, visit blog.militarystorage.com.

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