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  • Get organized: Learn to love your laundry

    This 5-part series may inspire you to organize and simplify your home. It’s a new year and a fresh opportunity to clean up, clean out and develop ways of storing and managing your stuff

    Week 4 – Learn to love your laundry

    Wash. Dry. Fold. Repeat.

    It’s the job that never ends. You gather it, sort it, wash it, dry it, fold it and put it away. Then it starts all over again.

    A few easy tips may help you to get ahead of it, or at least keep up with it.

    Each member of the family can have their own laundry basket. No sorting afterwards wondering what belongs to who.

    Buy all the same socks for each person.  Providing you can find a sock you love to wear, if all your socks are the same pairing is easy! Singletons (that is when one sock is missing from a pair) simply become “spares” rather than outcasts.

    If you have a large family designate a washing day for each person. Post their day. It is their task to take their laundry to the washer on their day.  Depending on their age they can wash their own, get some help or an adult can wash it. This teaches a lot about personal responsibility. Kids can fold from a young age. It does not have to be perfect.

    To avoid washing an item multiple times, use a stain remover spray, the sooner the better for best results.

    When you clean the lint out of the dryer, save it to make fire starters. Simply stuff the lint into a used toilet paper roll.

    Minimize the number of shower/bath towels, particularly if you have teens, by assigning everyone a hook for their towel. A large towel does not have to be washed every time you bath or shower.

    Use cold water except for bedding, towels and heavily stained work clothes.

    Overusing laundry soap can create so many suds that they actually trap dirt which goes back on the laundry. If your front-loading washer smells stinky that may be the result of too much soap. Use less.  If the smell persists run a hot water cycle with 2 cups of vinegar.

    If your whites are looking a little gray it might mean you need to use hotter water. It may also be caused by overloading the washer.

    Using a dryer sheet or fabric softener helps to reduce winkles. Remove the clothing as soon as they are dry and fold them or hang them up right away.

    Prepare the laundry. It takes just a few seconds to “unball” the socks or unroll sleeves.

    Environmentally conscious? Yes, we all try. Dryer balls can take the place of dryer sheets. They reduce drying time, fluff and separate items and can be used up to 1,000 times.  Use a half cup of vinegar in laundry that is especially “aromatic.”  Hang your laundry out to dry.

    We may not love doing the laundry, but it feels great when it is all put away!  Then begin again.

  • Get Organized: Purge the paper

    This 5-part series may inspire you to organize and simplify your home. It’s a new year and a fresh opportunity to clean up, clean out and develop ways of storing and managing your stuff

    Week 3 – Purge the Paper

    Keeping your things organized is worth the time it takes to get it all pared down and put away properly. Consider it an investment which will pay off in less stress, less time spent hunting for things and the pride of knowing it is all in its place.

    It is easy for papers of all sorts to get out of control.  Stuffing it in a box here, a drawer there and in a bag under the cupboard will present difficulties sooner or later.

    STEP 1:

    Get rid of all old bills, guarantees for appliances long gone, and letters that are no longer needed. Note: If it is important for you to keep all the Christmas cards sent to you by your sweet aunt Bernice, by all means have no guilt about that. Perhaps put them all in one large brown envelope?

    Cleaning out your papers is no small thing, so set aside a big block of time to do this. Decide how you will get rid of the paper which may contain personal banking information. Have a plan but start by having two boxes – one is garbage and the other is to keep. You can shred it, or tear it into tiny pieces or burn it in a wood stove or fire pit.

    Read the dates.  If your Hydro bill from 2007 was paid, and we assume it was, get rid of that paper.

    STEP 2:

    Once you have disposed of the unwanted paper, organize the papers that you are keeping. Having a system will help keep your bills, letters and guarantees in a place which is easy to access.

    Depending on how much important paper you have left, a hanging file might be the perfect solution. You buy the frame, the files and labels.  Then, when you need a certain paper you can find in just a few moments.

    Income Tax:Income tax returns, notices of assessment and supporting documents should be kept for six years. This is in case the CRA (Canada Revenue Agency) selects your returns for review. Keep these in a separate zippered pouch.

    Books: Time to purge any unwanted books. Might be helpful to have 3 piles for this job: donate, dispose and keep. Books can have sentimental value and keeping those is perfectly fine as well as books that you will read again. If owning any or all of your books brings you joy, by all means keep them.  Just dust them and re-shelve neatly.

    Receipts and guarantees: Receipts and guarantees for big ticket items can be placed in your hanging files.  Recent receipts can be kept in a small envelope in a desk drawer.  Every so often go through these and throw out the ones no longer needed. 

    Clean out your wallet and purse: Take everything out of your wallet and get rid of all unneeded papers.  Put everything back neatly. Dump your purse out on the table and do the same. Take a wet wipe or damp paper towel and clean it out.

    Organizing your papers is a big, time-consuming job but is an investment of your time now for a future where you can handily find the papers you need.