CLEANING/ORGANIZING AREA: GARAGE / STORAGE This a designated area used for storing "needed" items until it is time to use them. It is not "someplace else" for procrastinators. It can be the attic, basement, section of garage, closet, shed or even a rental unit. An efficient storage area is the backbone to your home. Overload it & the whole house suffers. There are basically two types of items that should be stored: seasonal-occasional (Christmas, camping, Baby stuff only if anticipated need (g), suitcases, etc.) & home management (backup supplies used in managing a home), (extra paper goods, soaps, kitchen supplies, light bulbs). Remove everything from storage area Sort everything into related piles, boxes, or bags. Streamline these piles until only keepers are left. (Other items go to the place they belong, i.e. trash, Goodwill, garage sale) Designate centers in your storage area according to available space and keeper categories. Your categories of keeper piles automatically determine your centers. Maximize your space & increase your storing efficiency by using the following techniques: Hang as much as possible in drawstring bags. Consolidate by placing related items inside each other (bag of baby bedding inside bassinet, suitcases inside each other, etc.). Use shelving around area & make aisles like they do in warehouses. You can use metal shelves or boards on blocks, buckets, pipe, etc. Always consider how any given item is used, where it is used, & how often it's used-- then put things where they belong. Keep things that are used together stored together. It's simple but it works! If no room for it, you don't need it!! Group and store like things together, just as the grocery store does, don't scatter. Consolidate as much as possible. Hang as much as you can. Use grocery store arrangement by lining the perimeter of your area with shelving, then run stacks of shelves both parallel and perpendicular to this. Assign a space for empties. No more setting empty jars, buckets, drawstring bags in front of full containers. For home management & backup storage, you will want to keep a record of items being stored (3-ring binder or computer). Only store supplies that your family uses & likes. Wasted storage space is too expensive to pay for unwanted items. Don't be tempted to just shove things into the storage area until you can find another place for them. Keep the "backbone" of your household skeleton lightly and efficiently loaded, and you'll experience greater efficiency and control throughout the rest of your home. HOLIDAY PREP Make one batch of Holiday Goodies. Make one extra meal for freezer again labeled HOLIDAY MEAL. Buy two canned food items from menus (get 2 of each item, one to use and one to donate to food drive). Buy 1/8th of TO BUY gifts. Save all receipts, note return policy before buying. Ask for gift boxes. Wrap and label packages. If needing to ship, get some shipping boxes now and store packages in them. Work at least 1 hour a day on homemade gifts. Review and revise menus and other plans. Plan table setting. Plan centerpiece, make as much as possible now (or order it from florist). Reserve any items needed to be borrowed or rented. Get everyone's holiday clothes purchased/cleaned/pressed.