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30 days to an organized home

One month is all you need to get organized! Clear out the clutter in your life now.

By Today's Parent staff

30 days to an organized home

30 days to an organized home

organization tips

All you need are 30 days and these 30 easy tips to make your home more organized than ever before.

Commit yourself to clearing the clutter, and take our challenge! Oh, and make sure the whole family pitches in.

A version of this article appeared in our March 2013 issue with the headline "30 days of organization," pp. 90-94.

30 days to an organized homePhoto: digitalskillet/iStockphoto

Day 1

Get a cardboard box and place it at your main entrance. Put something in it to donate each day and take it to your local charity of choice at the end of the month.

30 days to an organized homePhoto: RyanJLane/iStockphoto

Day 2

Make e-cards for the year's birthday and anniversaries, with correct deployment days. Or, go old school and buy, write, address and stamp all cards for your friends and family now, and set reminders to mail them.

30 days to an organized homePhoto: mediaphotos/iStockphoto

Day 3

Take all your kitchen utensils (spatulas, whisks, graters, etc.) and place them in a container on your countertop. After you use an item, put it away in an appropriate drawer or cupboard. At the end of the month, whatever is left on the countertop can be donated or, if treasured, stored for safekeeping.

30 days to an organized homePhoto: MmeEmil/iStockphoto

Day 4

Arrange all the hangers in your closet to face the back. After you wear an item, replace it and turn the hanger to face forward. At the end of the month, donate the items that haven't been worn (or, if they are seasonal pieces, put them in storage).

30 days to an organized homePhoto: Alija/iStockphoto

Day 5

Get a basket for each of your kids. At the end of every day, walk around together picking up the things that belong to them. Ask them to put their items away in their correct places. (If there isn't a rightful spot, find one or get rid of the item.)

30 days to an organized homePhoto: real444/iStockphoto

Day 6

Purchase clear plastic cups from the dollar store and line them up in rows in a box. Store breakable holiday decorations (Christmas bulbs, homemade keepsakes, fragile seasonal pieces) in the cups. (You can also use old muffin tins.) Layer newspapers on top to start another tier.

30 days to an organized homePhoto: trekandshoot/iStockphoto

Day 7

Use fabric paint or markers and let your kids decorate a plain white pillowcase. Keep it under their pillow to use as a PJ holder. (And teach them how to use it.)

30 days to an organized homePhoto: WILLSIE/iStockphoto

Day 8

Staple two pieces of Bristol board together around three sides. Fold down the open end. Let your child decorate it, and make sure to write their name and the date on it. Put all of their artwork and letters into it, and store it under a couch or behind the fridge.

30 days to an organized homePhoto: KirbusEdvard/iStockphoto

Day 9

Start a to-do list in a notebook or on your phone. Date each entry and delete or cross off each accomplishment. Keep just one list, and work from it.

30 days to an organized homePhoto: gbrundin/iStockphoto

Day 10

Pick a colour palette for your kids' clothing. As you start to purge, replace the items with those that stay within the colour palette, that way you won't end up with lots of items that don't go with anything else.

30 days to an organized homePhoto: numbeos/iStockphoto

Day 11

Fold a complete set of clean sheets for each room and put them in a pillowcase. Store in an under-the-bed bin.

30 days to an organized homePhoto: YsaL/iStockphoto

Day 12

Take a break and go for a walk. You're almost halfway through the month — stop and recognize how much you've accomplished. Yay!

30 days to an organized homePhoto: Yuri_Arcurs/iStockphoto

Day 13

Get yourself a filing system. Use an accordion file, label the first folder "miscellaneous" and the others by company. Place your mail in the first folder as it arrives, and sort once a month.

30 days to an organized homePhoto: MachineHeadz/iStockphoto

Day 14

Focus on the entrance to your house: Is there a place for you to put keys, jackets, outerwear, backpacks and shoes? If not, create one. Remember: Kids of all ages can use hooks and baskets. Hangers? Not so much.

30 days to an organized homePhoto: NadiaCruzova/iStockphoto

Day 15

Pick you most cluttered space. Using a laundry basket, spend five minutes collecting items that don't have "a place." (Dedicate another time if you can't get through it all.) Now, pretend you are moving to your dream home: Would you take the each item with you? Donate it if you wouldn't, and figure out where to keep it if you would.

30 days to an organized homePhoto: sdominick/iStockphoto

Day 16

Take the time to book all of your annual appointments now!

30 days to an organized homePhoto: blackred/iStockphoto

Day 17

Start a binder for each kid. Use clear plastic inserts to house important documents like awards, certificates, class/team photos and report cards.

30 days to an organized homePhoto: FANDER09/iStockphoto

Day 18

Coil spare chargers, cables and extension cords, and store inside empty paper-towel rolls or soup cans. Place them upright in a box to prevent tangles.

30 days to an organized homePhoto: lionvision/iStockphoto

Day 19

Rethink over-the-door shoe racks. They can organize everything from makeup and toy cars, to doll clothes and junk-drawer items (flashlights, batteries, light bulbs, etc.).

30 days to an organized homePhoto: duncan1890/iStockphoto

Day 20

Create a road-trip survival kit. Use a plastic-lidded bin to stow away all the little things that might be needed in the car: crayons, games, toys, books and snacks.

30 days to an organized homePhoto: Mari/iStockphoto

Day 21

Shop at the end of each season for kids' clothing needs for next year (at the end of winter 2013, guesstimate sizing and take advantage of sale prices to buy clothes for winter 2014), but keep a running list of what you've bought so you don't forget what you've squirreled away and buy double of the same item.

30 days to an organized homePhoto: szaz/iStockphoto

Day 22

Make a playlist exactly 15 minutes long. Play it as you and your kids go around the house tidying. When the songs are over, stop.

30 days to an organized homePhoto: RyanJLane/iStockphoto

Day 23

Put a laundry basket in the trunk of your car. Use it to stow groceries while driving and to unload once you're home.

30 days to an organized homePhoto: photopalace/iStockphoto

Day 24

Make a family change jar in the kitchen. Throughout the year, everyone drops change into it. At Christmas, use the money to buy food and presents for a family in need.

30 days to an organized homePhoto: jbrizendine/iStockphoto

Day 25

Label everything — Tupperware, clothing, toys that travel — with your family name rather than one child's name. That way, parents can track their dishware at work, little kids can happily take on big siblings' hand-me-downs and reordering labels is a simple process.

30 days to an organized homePhoto: joebelanger/iStockphoto

Day 26

Make a chore chart. On a dry-erase board or piece of paper, write each child's name in a row along the left side, and put the days of the week across the top. Allocate at least one job per kid for each day. Put the chart on the fridge and discuss how you will monitor and reward their success.

30 days to an organized homePhoto: KLSbear/iStockphoto

Day 27

Make a checklist of everything each child needs to do before they go to bed: Clothes out, lunches made, school bag packed, snow pants found, etc. Place it on the fridge or your child's bedroom door and use it as part of their bedtime routine. (Use images instead of words if your little one can't read yet.)

30 days to an organized home

Day 28

Make a first-aid kit: Find a lockable, lidded container and stock it with the essentials. Make a smaller version for your car, excluding medications (the extreme temperatures can alter their potency).

30 days to an organized homePhoto: Imgorthand/iStockphoto

Day 29

Create a craft station. This could be a kitchen drawer, a sturdy basket or a filing cabinet. Use lidded containers to house small items like crayons, chalk and foam letters. Use large sealable plastic bags to hold markers, pencil crayons, stickers and paintbrushes. Include paper, tape, scissors, washable paints, a glue stick and whatever else you need. Label everything so things get put away properly.

30 days to an organized homePhoto: Orchidpoet/iStockphoto

Day 30

Celebrate your awesomeness!

30 days to an organized homePhoto: Vladmax/iStockphoto

More organization tips

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