Organizing your home

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A new year, a new set of twelve months (52 weeks) and another opportunity to get your life organized – to set goals and devise plans on how to work toward succeeding with those goals. “Getting your house in order” is defined as arranging affairs and solving problems.

Personal growth

The first thing we think of are areas for personal growth. Lets start with spiritual growth.
Religious leader, the late David O. McKay, responded when asked how he maintained his spirituality, that he did five simple things at the beginning of each day.
I rise early
I wash my body
I put on clean clothes
I subdue my spirit before the Father (prayer)
I wait for the inspiration of the Father (items of most importance today) 

If you start each day this way, the focus of your life will change to one of love, obedience and service. You will become aware of of the items that need your attention the most on any given day. [1]

How do you organize each day? Do you go through some days and feel that you’ve gotten nothing accomplished? US Admiral William McRaven that your focus on accomplishing tasks should start each day with the simple act of making your bed! He says, “If you make your bed every morning, you will have accomplished the first task of the day. It will give you a small sense of pride, and it will encourage you to do another task, and another, and another. And by the end of the day that one task completed will have turned into many tasks completed. There many reasons to make your bed. If you have a human sleeping partner, do this together. It’s quicker and it will give you both a sense of togetherness – a way to start the day together. [2]

Next, you may be thinking of caring for your family. One of the most common new year goals is budgeting or taking control of your finances. Jordan Page shared 5 tips:
Develop a spending strategy helps you spend money smarter.
Divide and conquer – each partner can be responsible for specific expenses. Make a list of everything you spend money on and assign that expense to a person. That way nothing is missed.
Focus on three budgets – grocery, family and “other.”
Break it down weekly not monthly. It will be easier to manage.
Don’t push yourself too hard – the goal is to succeed; keep at it.

Two more financial thoughts:
Arranging reoccurring payments on an online auto-payment plan with your bank so you don’t miss any. Also, make sure that all partners know how to access the online accounts with passwords, etc., should they need them.

Your goal is to be able to live on 70% of what you bring home in income. 10% should go to tithing and 20% to savings/investments. [3]

Is your home in a state of disarray?

Organizing your home

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The more disorganized it is the harder it will seem to find the energy to get it in shape. Shape? How about removing clutter? Here are some tips to help you establish order. [4]

First consider breaking big projects down into smaller tasks. Start with the storage spaces in your home. De-cluttering here will give you a place to put those extra items you find in other places. Then move to the most popular room in the house – the kitchen.

  1. Unify utensils – get rid of broken items, bag up extras. Organizing just one drawer at a time will give you incredible satisfaction – and motivation to move to the next.
  2. De-junk the drawers – bag those extra gadgets. Use small containers to organize.
  3. De-clutter cabinets – do you have a zillion plastic containers that come tumbling out of a particular cabinet whenever you open the door? Time to get a 2 gallon plastic bag and store the extras. Sort and stack the containers that fit with their lids.
  4. Now on to the refrigerator – is it full of sauces and gravies? Toss anything old and fuzzy, wipe down the shelves and reorganize the front if it is full of magnets and artwork. Move some of the extra magnets to the side, they will stick there too for when you need them.
  5. Review the contents of your pantry. You should have that all organized by date with the oldest in front. Divide the space into food zones – dry goods on one shelf, like canned goods together. This will help you see at a glance what you have and what you need to purchase.
  6. Make yourself a home office – even if you don’t have a business! Designate a place where frequently required information can be kept in a binder, in a drawer or cabinet.
  7. Make a power center – a place where all electronic devices go to be recharged. Short on outlets? Use a power strip. Organize the cords with re-useable zip ties. Bag up the extras.
  8. Do you have piles of papers? Start with one pile and sort it into bills to be paid, manuals and warranties, etc. File the warranties and manuals, sort the bills in order of due date so they can get paid in a timely manner.
  9. Did you read all the magazines that came in last month? If there are articles you want to keep , scan it or tear it out (remember to write down the source and date) and put them in a binder. Start a box for magazines to give away (we take ours to a nursing home nearby). Store magazines you want to keep in a caddy or box.
  10. Once you have organized and filed the papers you need to keep, get rid of the rest. Use a paper shredder to destroy documents that contain personal information.
  11. Clear your home entryway of stuffed that gets dropped just inside the door. Provide boxes for in and out going mail and a rack for keys.
  12. Do you take off shoes upon entry? Get a boot tray or a cubbie unit to keep them organized. A bench may be welcome, too, as a place to sit while lacing shoes.
  13. Coat closet review – Donate little-used outerwear. Make bins for hats, mittens, scarves for the top shelf and a rack on the floor for boots and snow gear. Bag up extras.
  14. Do you have a cluttered garage? Try hanging some items on the walls.
  15. Use pegboard to organize tools and hanging racks for larger items.
  16. Now it’s time to move to the kids’ room – put books together on a shelf. Arrange by book or author’s name to make finding them easier.
  17. Get a bin for stuffed animals, one for toys, and another for sports equipment.
  18. On to the bathroom(s) – Throw out expired medications, wipe down the shelves and arrange them by family member, or use, like dental.
  19. Organize toiletries. Consider a shelf unit above the back of the toilet, if you don’t have enough storage space. If you have a closet, arrange items in bins and mark the bins for easy access.
  20. In the bedroom – arrange your most frequently worn shoes on a shoe rack or short shelf. Stow all others in a clear plastic bin and store under the bed.
  21. If you haven’t worn a clothing item in more than a year, consider donating it to charity and start another bag. Organize what’s left by color or season.
  22. Drawers are next. Organize the top of your dresser or chest of drawers into bins or bowls. Sort thorough regularly. Fold or roll contents of each drawer. Sort by color or item, like short sleeve shirts or long sleeve shirts, shorts, pjs., etc. Out of drawer space for sweaters? Use clear plastic bins and store under the bed. (remember #21).
  23. Linen closet – Keep a minimum of three sets of sheets for each bed. (one on the bed, one in laundry, and one spare). To store sets neatly, put the flat and fitted sheets and one pillow case inside the second pillow case. Bundles can be stacked.
  24. Laundry room – Arrange the products you use regularly within easy reach. Extras should be stored out of sight. Are you saving the dryer lint to use as a fire starter? If not, keep a trash can nearby for trash in pockets and the lint.

Organizing your homeOrganizing for the end of life

Often, “getting your house” in order means making plans for leaving life on earth. Most of us have no idea when we will die, but we can have a say in how we leave and the impact it will have on our families. Two impacts of dying need to be considered. First is getting your financial affairs in order. Surveys have shown that more than half (55%) of all Americans will die without a will or trust. Almost half do not have life insurance or savings to help cover not only end of life expenses but making accommodations for survivors as well.

Setting up an irrevocable trust allows you control over how your hard-earned savings are dispersed to the people you love, or to the charities or causes you believe in. There are many advantages of a trust including savings on taxes and exemptions from estate and gift taxes. There are a variety of trust types and there are attorney fees involved.

Writing a will costs less money than setting up an irrevocable trust fund, but it will not allow you much control over how your assets are used. Your property is subject to more taxes and the terms of the will can be contested in a process called probate. [5]

Most people don’t like talking about death, but it is unavoidable for each of us. Making funeral plans ahead of time will leave fewer decisions for survivors and reduce stress.

The second impact to consider is one of mending fences with family members. If family is one of your priorities, then settling disputes and healing grudges should be, too. Steps to doing this include getting to the root of what caused the rift, stepping into the other person’s shoes, consider the effect on the rest of the family, choose to forgive by being the first to reach out, take responsibility for your actions and apologize if necessary because healing the relationship is important. [6]


Billie Nicholson, Editor
January 2018




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