5 steps to organize any space

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Spring is the time to start fresh. The best way to do that is to get organized. (WLS)

Spring is the time to start fresh. The best way to do that is to get organized! Who out there doesn't have a drawer, closet or even a whole room that needs to be de-cluttered?

Karen York, a professional organizer from north suburban Evanston, is here to give us the five tips that will help you organize ANYTHING! We're starting with the kitchen junk drawer. It's one of the messiest places in any home. Val offered to bring in her junk drawer, so we can get a lesson in organization.


Once you've selected the space you want to organize, remove the items from the area one-by-one and SORT like items into groups of like items. For small items, use plastic zipper bags to contain each group. For larger items, it will be easier if you use bins, large shopping bags, or a flat surface such as a bed or table. Now that you can see what you have and how much, the next step is to PICK.

PICK the items to be retained, repurposed, recycled, or rejected. Those that are broken, worn out, damaged, or just plain garbage - reject (throw away) or recycle these. Next, pick items that may be in good condition, but you don't need/want - donate or give away (repurpose) these items. The only items that should be left at this point are items in good working condition that you will use. These are the items to retain/keep. Then, it's time to ASSIGN them a home.

ASSIGN a home for all the items. Not every item needs to stay in this location. If you're like most of us, you'll realize that many of these items belong somewhere else in your home and have just migrated and stayed here. Group these items by location so you'll know where to put them. For example, you don't need 10+ pens in the kitchen drawer. Keep a couple of pens here and put the others in your office or supply closet. Keep one screwdriver of each type, and put the others in the tool area. Once you know where you're going to keep the items, you can select the right CONTAINER.

No matter where the home for these items is, keep them in a CONTAINER. For a drawer, small acrylic or other organizer dividers allow you to choose the right size for the item and customize your drawer. Containers serve several important functions: 1) they keep like items together so you can easily find them, 2) they eliminate "visual clutter", and 3) they force you to stay organized - when the container is full, it's time to...

You MAINTAIN your organization when you EQUALIZE the contents of the container every so often. Containers without lids are great for this, because as soon as the container starts to overflow, you know it's time to clean it out and reduce - just like this basket of magazines. Use containers with lids, though, for items that will be stored longer term so they don't get dusty or invite bugs.

To find out more about Karen York, visit her website: www.organize-me.biz
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