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Organize Your Supplies

The difference between keeping supplies on hand and having a large amount of junk shoved in a closet is the organization aspect. How would I know? Oh, I know! I regularly fight the war on clutter. It's true.
One of the advantages of being disorganized is that one is always having surprising discoveries. -A.A. Milne
Well, that's pretty much the only advantage I can think of. If you; like me, have a magnetic pull to the office aisle of any retail establishment, or absolutely must visit the craft department of every store in your locale on at least a weekly basis, then here is a little gift from me to you.

Five Tips for Keeping Supplies Organized

  1. Have One (yes, one) Storage Location For All Your Supplies
    If wrapping paper is in one closet, gift bags are under the bed, scissors are in a drawer in the kitchen and tape is in a desk drawer, you will spend more time running around getting these things together than it will take to actually wrap the gift. Or maybe you'll just buy more so you don't have to go looking for it all. Sound familiar?
  2. Get It Together
    At my house, we frequently play a little game I like to call "Shoe Round-Up" (no, it's not a math game). For some reason we seem to have shoes in every nook and cranny of our home. I will set a timer and everyone gathers up wayward footwear and we pile them all in a laundry basket. Then each owner is responsible for "corralling" his or her shoes to the appropriate closet. By the same token, gather up all of your curling ribbon, tissue paper, bows, gift tags and such so you can assess the supplies you have on hand. Be prepared for shock and awe: you may never have to buy gift wrap again!
  3. Sort Your Stuff
    Maybe it's just me, but I actually like this part. Make little (or big) piles of like items. You may find yourself wondering why you have nineteen pairs of scissors (remember, magnetic pull: office supply aisle...) or 28 rolls of clear tape. Don't beat yourself up about it, just revel in the fact that you won't have to buy any more for a looooong time.
  4. Go House Hunting
    No, moving to a new house won't get rid of the problem. Take a look at your piles of goodies and decide on the best storage solution. This is not the time to go and spend $3,000.00 at the "Store for Super-Organized People." What I have found to work very well is just everyday plastic zipper bags. I like to have all of the sizes on hand: snack size, sandwich-size, quart, gallon and my personal favorite; the 2.5 gallon. If you have all of these sizes on hand it is very easy to decide which bag will be best for each of your categories. It also enables you to sub-categorize to your heart's content. The bags are inexpensive, you can write on them with permanent marker, you can see through them, and specify clearly where items should be returned.
  5. Put It Away When You're Finished
    For those of you the Slob Sisters and the FlyLady refer to as: "Born Organized," feel free to roll your eyes and mutter: "Well, DUH!" under your breath. For everyone else this is key; PUT STUFF WHERE IT BELONGS WHEN YOU'RE FINISHED WITH IT (I'm thinking of having this tattooed on each of my family member's forearms). Now that you have it labeled and you have one (yes, one!) storage location for it, put it away. It feels great to be able to get what you need right away without having to frantically search for it. You'll see!

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