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Published March 15th, 2023
Help! Why can't I stay organized?
Professional Organizer, Jennifer Raftis, CPOr founded Efficiency Matters, LLC to help you with all of your organizing needs for your home and business. She is a Certified Professional Organizer and an active board member with NAPO, National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals. She is also an independent representative for The Container Store and has expertise in designing closets, garages, pantries, playrooms and more. In addition, she is a Corporate Organizing and Productivity Consultant and has worked with Fortune 500 companies across the U.S. Another large part of her business is move management especially working with seniors who are downsizing. She and her husband have lived in Moraga for 30 years, raising 3 kids and working countless volunteer hours with many local non-profit organizations and schools. Jennifer@efficiencymattersllc.com, 925-698-3756 www.efficiencymattersllc.com

Just in time for spring cleaning, I wanted to share some solutions that will help you stay organized and in control of your belongings.
In my experience, there are three key reasons that we have trouble keeping our homes organized - buying too much for your space, not using your space efficiently, and not maintaining your space regularly.
Are you over buying for your space?
One of the key reasons that most people can't stay organized starts outside the home (or on the computer . hello, Amazon) when you make a purchase. We live in a culture of shopping and we are constantly tempted to buy things. Words like "get it now before it's gone" and "only on sale for 1 more day" create an urgency that we need to buy. It's a great marketing strategy for businesses and it definitely works. Hopefully, you will recognize it for what it is: a way to make you spend money.
I have read that 80% of us are in debt, carry at least three credit cards and a recent survey of teenagers rated their favorite pastime as shopping. More than ever, the things we own end up owning us.
Think before you buy or better yet, buy with intention. Asking yourself a few questions before you make a purchase might help you save money, the landfill, and the harmony in your home: Do I really need this? Do you have another item that will work instead or is this replacing something you already have? Where will I store it? Are my cabinets and drawers already full? Do I have room to put this away? Am I using my home as a warehouse for storage? Am I buying this because it's on sale? (This is the No. 1 reason people purchase items that they do not need or sometimes don't even want. Note: You save 100% on what you do not buy!) Can I afford this? Am I putting this purchase on a credit card? Do I really need to buy in bulk to save a few dollars? I have written about this before, but it's worth repeating. If you do not have the room to store large quantities of items - and the chaos in your home is making you crazy - is it really worth the savings?
Are you using your space efficiently?
Look around your home, are you using your space efficiently?
Here are a few simple ideas:
- When possible, install pullouts in all lower cabinets. Many items that are in the back of cabinets often die there. If you can't see it or reach it . enough said.
- Adjust the height of your shelves. If you see empty space above the items on a shelf, can you adjust the shelf height to accommodate the items to use all of the space?
- Use the inside of doors. There are many products that can be mounted to the inside of doors to store products such as shoes, toiletries, cleaning supplies, hats, gloves, and even tools.
- Store like items together and closest to where you use them (so you can find them).
- Purchase multi-functional furniture that has storage. For example: A coffee table or ottoman that has space to store games and blankets, or a shelving unit that has storage boxes for toys.
-  Are you maintaining your space by editing consistently?
- I don't think our parents knew that editing (deciding what to keep and what to let go of) was something we needed to do. I recommend editing at least once a year. This is even more important if you have growing children. It helps to have a donation box or bag in every closet to keep up with the outgrown clothing, shoes and toys. Here are some items that you can probably edit right now:
Tupperware (food saver containers) - especially when you don't have the lid, it's not coming back
Bags, cloth, paper, plastic - you know you oversave these
Linens - you probably don't need 5 sets of sheets for each bed or mismatched items
Water bottles
Expired medication, sunscreen, spices, food
Craft supplies
Coffee cups
Are you wondering where to start? Remember, the answer to your space problem is probably subtraction.
Happy Spring Cleaning!

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