Organized Home

New Year Cleaning Challenge: Get Frugal, Get Organized

Here's a little challenge, now that it's yard sale season: try to find a yard sale without a stock of organizing products for sale.

Too often, we start a get-organized effort where we should finish it: at the store. Buying organizing products before we've done the heavy lifting of setting up activity centers, sorting and purging our stuff, and deciding where to pare down leads to that paradoxical result: organizer clutter.

New Year Cleaning Challenge: Keep Clutter From Coming Back

Getting a grip on clutter is only the first step. How do you keep it from coming back?

This week in the Cleaning Challenge, we've considered cleaning routines that work to keep dirt at bay. Clutter, too, needs to be addressed with habits and routines designed to prevent it from gaining a foothold in an organized home.

Today in the Cleaning Challenge, try these ideas to stop clutter at the door, and keep it from coming back:

Declutter 101: Staying Clutter-Free

New Year Cleaning Challenge: Minimum Maintenance

In yesterday's Cleaning Challenge, we took a look at household routines: those things we do daily, weekly, monthly and seasonally to keep the household clean and organized.

As with so many things in life, your mileage may vary! Household needs and composition mean that every home has a different set of routines. A two-career couple with an empty nest will have far different routines than, say, a family with pre-school children.

But there's one routine every household needs, no matter how casual: a minimum maintenance list.

New Year Cleaning Challenge: Clean House Routines

Over the last weeks, the Cleaning Challenge we've moved from room to room through the house, cutting clutter, organizing and deep-cleaning. Now, how will we keep it that way?

Professional cleaners know that regular cleaning routines are the secret to an always-clean home. What's the state of your cleaning routines?

Today in the Cleaning Challenge, give some thought to how and when you tackle cleaning chores, and reach for solutions to cut the work, keep the clean.

New Year Cleaning Challenge: Spruce Up Household Routines

Reaching the end of the Cleaning Challenge, it's natural to want to keep all the cleanliness and order ... all the time.

How to achieve this goal? In a word: routines.

Routines for morning, evening and weekly cleaning keep up with the mess so that it doesn't slide backward into chaos. What's the state of your household routines?

Printables: PDF icon calendar_to_do_weekly.pdfPDF icon calendar_to_do_daily.pdfPDF icon calendar_checklist_spring_summer.pdfPDF icon calendar_checklist_fall_winter.pdf

New Year Cleaning Challenge: Celebrate Your Success

Get-organized plans, like the Cleaning Challenge, can be great motivators, but for many folks, they create a problem: the idea of being "behind".

It's common to jump into the Challenge with red-hot energies, only to find yourself flagging when "real life" intervenes. Yet the plan rolls on without you, leaving you deflated. That feeling of being "behind" can sap your enthusiasm and blind you to the very real progress you've made.

New Year Cleaning Challenge: Finish-Up Week

You've made your lists, and checked them twice ... but life still got in the way?

Welcome to Finish-Up Week at the New Year Cleaning Challenge! This final week is designed to meet the needs of reality: a scheduled chance to follow up on the good intentions that motivated you to get with the Challenge.

Not that this is a do-it-all kind of week. Instead, it's designed to let you tackle the most important, most necessary items that got short shrift during the last 13 weeks.

New Year Cleaning Challenge: Front Porch Week Wrap-Up

This week, our focus has been on the front porch: the place where home meets world.

Today, wrap up any remaining items to bring a fresh feeling to the front porch--bringing our Cleaning Challenge to an end for this year.

Say what? There are still items on your to-do list?

Not to worry. Tomorrow, we'll start a final "finish up" week, designed to provide time to complete those last few items.

Along the way, we'll review basic routines, and focus on ways to keep your Challenge-clean home in good order year-round.

New Year Cleaning Challenge: Be Ready For Guests

When the doorbell rings, will you be ready?

This week in the Cleaning Challenge, we've freshened the front porch ... and now, it's time to prepare to welcome visitors and friends.

Lay out a cheery welcome mat. Add extra coat hangers to a nearby coat closet, and find a space to hold guests' umbrellas or overshoes.

Most of all, prepare your heart! A welcoming home needs little more than that oldest and best greeting: "You're here! Come in .... and welcome!"

New Year Cleaning Challenge: What's Your Number?

Focusing on the front porch this week in the Cleaning Challenge, it's time to ask, "What's your number?" Can your house number be seen clearly from the roadway ... day and night?

Safety experts tell us that a clear, visible house number is vital to first responders--and it's just plain convenient for everyday visitors, too.

Today, check to be sure your house address number is easy to spot in any lighting condition. Will it need to be moved to a better-lit location?

New Year Cleaning Challenge: Let the Light Shine

Nightfall comes ... and on come the lights!

Today in the Cleaning Challenge, it's time to assess outdoor illumination.

Take a good look at the light fixtures on the porch, path and driveway; do they shine a welcome light on your front porch? Dust down the fixtures, clean the diffusing glass, and replace any dim or burned-out bulbs.

Next, survey the front of your home from across the street. Do you need to add exterior lighting? Consider easy-to-install options like solar lights to beef up security and highlight landscaping.

New Year Cleaning Challenge: Spiff Up the Front Door

What's the focal point of the front porch? The front door! It's the portal where home meets world, so does it spell a warm welcome to friends and family?

Today in the Cleaning Challenge, it's time to spiff up the front door. Banish the dust and brighten the windows. Polish the doorknob and put out the doormat.

Door wreaths or seasonal decorations bring a cheery touch; consider using Command-brand adhesive hangers to mount decorations without marring paint or creating nail holes.

When you're done? Stand back and admire your home's entrance. You've earned it!

New Year Cleaning Challenge: Check Your Curb Appeal

The front porch: it's where house meets world--and where visitors get their first impressions.

What does your front porch say about your home? Realtors call this factor "curb appeal": that flash of first impression of any home.

Today in the Cleaning Challenge, it's time to step outside your door, and check your curb appeal.

From the sidewalk, appraise your front porch as if you had never seen it before. Is it crammed and cluttered, or clean and serene?

New Year Cleaning Challenge: Garage/Storage Week Wrap-Up

Did you get going in the garage this week? The Cleaning Challenge took on garage storage areas to prepare for warmer weather.

Today, take the last steps to bring the garage to a state of clean and orderly..

Tomorrow, the New Year Cleaning Challenge enters our final week, focusing on the doorway to your home: the front porch.

Today's Assignment:Wrap Up Attic/Storage Week

This week, we've taken aim on clutter and disorganization in garage storage areas. Goal: make room for the car!

New Year Cleaning Challenge: Plan A Garage Sale

Need to clear some space and score some cash? Hold a garage sale!

The yard sale is a traditional rite of Spring, and has many advantages. Holding one can be a good incentive to cut clutter and create space in storage areas. Turning trash into cash is an added incentive!

As we near the end of the Cleaning Challenge, consider holding a yard sale to rid your house of unneeded items.

To keep things organized, try this complete garage sale guide, printable garage sale checklist and yard sale signs:

New Year Cleaning Challenge: Take Stock of Sporting Goods

Spring is here ... and sports season is upon us. From baseball bats to bicycles, golf bags to basketballs, sporting goods take center stage in the garage.

Today in the Cleaning Challenge, it's time to cut clutter and bring order to storage spaces devoted to sporting goods.

Look over the family's sports equipment, culling worn-out or outgrown items. Need replacements? Add them to the shopping list.

Finally, reach for efficient storage solutions. Specialty organizers, while pricey, can keep equipment at the ready for active summer fun.

New Year Cleaning Challenge: Declutter Summer Toys

Summer toys, like the summer season, are ephemeral: they're not made to last forever.

When spring arrives, it's easy to spot the weary survivors of the previous year. Deflated beach balls and leaking air mattresses. Faded pool noodles pocked with crumbling craters. Stopper-less squirt guns and dried-out bubble solution. A solitary swim fin, mourning for its lost mate.

Time for a swift declutter session!

New Year Cleaning Challenge: Brainstorm Garage Storage Ideas

While kitchens, bedrooms and bathrooms usually include built-in storage options, your average garage is just a big white box.

Where will you stow your stuff?

There's no "one size fits all" solution to garage storage, but the good news? Clever storage solutions abound!

Today, review your list of garage centers, then hit a big box store (or the organizer's darling, Pinterest!) to brainstorm storage ideas for your organized garage.

New Year Cleaning Challenge: Identify Garage Activity Centers

Looking at your garage, what do you see? Chances are, it's a mess.

When it comes to the garage, all bets are off, even in the most organized home. An open space but out of sight, it's easy for the garage to become choked and cluttered to the point that it can no longer support its intended purpose: to house automobiles.

Cleaning Challenge Day 77: Attic/Storage Week Wrap-Up

Up in the attic--or buzzing round the basement-it's been a busy week in the New Year Cleaning Challenge.

Today, take the last steps to bring the week's storage areas to a state of clean and orderly..

Tomorrow, the New Year Cleaning Challenge moves to storage areas in the garage. Ready to make room for the car?

Today's Assignment:Wrap Up Attic/Storage Week

This week, we've taken aim on clutter and disorganization in household storage areas. Whether an attic, a basement, or other dedicated storage space, we've swept in with a new broom to cut the clutter.