Super Quick Ways to Get Organized
● By Kerri Regan
Give me 30
By Kerri Regan
Photos courtesy of Anna Moseley
Sing along with us to this popular seasonal tune: “It’s the most overwhelming time of the year.”
Wait… that’s not how it goes?
Between decking the halls and entertaining guests and shopping/wrapping/baking, it’s easy to feel like life is going to swallow you up. But with a little bit of planning and some handy tips from the pros, you can restore peace and order to your home. Just ask Redding’s Anna Moseley, the queen of organization.
Her “Ask Anna Moseley” blog offers practical tips on cleaning, organizing and decorating. It gets about 1 million hits from around the world per month, and she has an array of national sponsors. She developed the blog as her friends asked her numerous questions about how she maintained her own picture-perfect home (recently featured on the American Association of University Women home tour).
“I feel like everything else in my life is chaotic when my house is chaotic,” says Moseley, the wife of banker Matt Moseley.
As the mother of busy and creative 7- and 19-year-old daughters, she fully understands how life’s quick pace can create a level of disorganization that is difficult to untangle. “People feel overwhelmed by the idea of organization. They just don’t know where to start,” Moseley says.
Her advice? “Just start somewhere,” she says. “If you look at everything, it can overwhelm you.”
Moseley recommends tackling the kitchen first. “It’s the heart of the home,” she says. “That’s the one place I will never let be dirty. If my kitchen is dirty, I feel like the rest of the house is messy and dirty.”
A good second stop is the living room, followed by bathrooms and the linen closet.
Her favorite tools of the trade are baskets, silverware trays and her label maker.
“I have cute baskets everywhere – everything isn’t necessarily organized inside the basket, but it’s easy to group things together. I use them to store cloth napkins, remotes, photo albums. In the pantry, I use them for food. In my closet, I have baskets for hats and swimming suits.”
And silverware trays aren’t just for the kitchen – especially the square bamboo type. “I use them in my daughter’s bathroom for her toothbrush, hair ties, glasses and hairbrush,” she says. “I use them in my bathroom to hold makeup, lip gloss, tweezers and things like that.”
They can also organize the space under the sink.
She uses her label maker for boxes, drawers and shelves so everyone knows where everything goes. Even the Moseleys’ 7-year-old daughter knows where everything belongs in her room, so she can fulfill her responsibilities of cleaning up her own toys and hanging up her clothes.
Yes, you’ll eventually have to tackle those piles of paperwork in the office, and Moseley has dedicated multiple blog entries to organizing bills and paperwork efficiently. Her strategy is to use her label maker and rainbow colored hanging file folders, with one color for bills, one for taxes, one for insurance, one for personal files, and so on. She files bills in two-month increments (January-February in one folder, March-April in the next, etc.), and empties each folder and shreds the contents as those months come around the next year. “I used to file them by brand, and it was so much paperwork – we were keeping three years’ worth of bills, and you don’t need to do that.”
Her series of 30-minute project instructions guides readers through bite-sized tasks that, over time, reap big rewards. Topics include organizing paper clutter, your purse, the master bedroom closet, important personal documents, a kitchen without a pantry – even your health.
“Everybody has 30 minutes,” she says. “It’s about choosing your priorities – commit 30 minutes to organization instead of being on Facebook. If you can take a little bit of time here and there, it helps everything function better and it saves you time in the long run.”
Those 30 minutes needs to be 100 percent focused. “Put your cell phone aside, turn off all the noises around you that easily distract you,” she says.
Even in the heart of the holiday season, there’s plenty you can do now. “Your house is full of Christmas decorations and presents and family visiting,” she says. “Every time you’re in a space and think ‘I should do that,’ write it down. Keep that ongoing list next to your calendar or as a note on your phone so you remember it when January comes.” •