If you made a resolution to be more organized in the New Year – you are in good company. This is one of the top ten New Year’s resolutions.
Keeping that resolution becomes a lot easier if you can avoid some of the common organizing mistakes. So no matter if you are organizing involves more or improved meal planning, cooking more often, getting the kitchen in ship-shape or finally tackling sticking to your grocery budget, recognizing these common mistakes can really help:
Not Having a Plan:
Saying “I am going to get more organized” is not a plan. Saying “I am going to try to cook dinner at least 4 nights per week and go to the store only once a week,” is a plan.
It simply cannot be done. You can get rid of clutter but you cannot organize it. So if your cabinets and countertops are filled to the over-flowing level, it is time to get real. Decide to keep only what you use every week. Put those things away first. Next, put away those things that you use often. Finally, get rid of the things you seldom use or store them out of the kitchen. For example, those serving platters and chip/dip sets can go into a tub marked “entertaining” or into a cleared shelf in your linen closet.
Not Making a Decision:
I call this the “Just for Now Syndrome.” That is where you set things down, just for now. Take that extra minute to put things in their permanent spot. It will save you a ton of time down the road when you have to dig through stacks or clear your kitchen table.
This becomes a real problem in the kitchen. Not labeling leads to waste. We think we will remember what is in that plastic tub in the corner of the freezer or when we bought something but the truth of the matter is that we will not. Label canisters, shelves, leftovers and more.
Failing to Divide:
The more you can divide your task, the less chance you will fail at whatever you are organizing. Divide jobs into small parts. Do each small part well rather than rushing through the job. In addition, divide your storage by item. Put baking goods together, spices together, canned goods together, snacks together, serving pieces together, cleaning supplies together. The more you divide by category, the easier it is to find things later.
Forgetting to Change- Again:
Let us assume you made a resolution to get organized because things are not going well for you. So you try a new way to plan meals or organize the kitchen or keep it clean. In a week or two, you find yourself back in the same boat. Instead of shrugging and saying “Well, that didn’t work,” decide why it didn’t work and try something new. Clearly the old way did not work so do not allow yourself to revert to it.
We all make mistakes
– and some of those mistakes keep us disorganized. But recognizing the mistakes can often cause us to pause and correct our behavior. Correcting at least one thing on this list can help you be more organized this year.
Author Lea Schneider, a columnist for What’s Cooking America, is a freelance writer and organizational expert whose organizing ideas have been published in many magazines including Woman’s Day, Better Homes and Gardens Kitchen and Bath Ideas, Family Circle, Parents Magazine, as well as numerous newspapers and websites. She is a member of the Association of Food Journalists.
Getting organized is all about living simpler and making things easier. The bonus is it often leads to saving money. Lea Schneider’s kitchen organizing columns tell you how to organize the many things that relate to kitchens, menus, meals, and special food events.
Check out all of Lea Schneider’s helpful home and kitchen columns at Organizing Kitchens, Pantries, Menus and Meals.