Organize and Plan by @JoanReeves #mgtab

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De-clutter, organize, and plan. That’s my mantra at the beginning of every year. Since I’ve spent most of this month doing those 3 things, I thought I’d talk about that today.

One thing I’ve discovered about myself over the years is that I love to do those 3 things. Maybe it’s because I come from a long line of disorganized people who lived in cluttered houses.

My mom–God love her–saved every scrap of everything. She had a house full of newspaper clippings, files, books, and a gazillion other things. The only problem was that she never could find anything because it was all jumbled together.

Some people are just like that. My mother-in-law was like that too. I guess my Darling Hubby and I were destined to find each other! Seriously though, some people are just made that way, and others aren’t. Since our youngest daughter was born, I tried to instill in her the principles of organization, neatness, and all those other habits.

Of course she just ignored everything I said and went her merry messy way until this past year. Suddenly, she’s reading The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo.

For the last 6 months, she’s been cleaning out closets and cupboards, donating or selling stuff she hasn’t used in years, and quoting the book as if she never, ever, in her life heard anyone–like her mother–tell her any of the things in that darn book! Now she’s got her equally messy husband reading the book.

I haven’t read the book, but I have some simple rules to keep the house neat, organized, and always looking good enough for company.

8 Rules for a Neat House

1. Everything should have a place. Organize your stuff so it is in a logical place, i.e., tools in the garage, household cleansers under the sink, etc. If you have to store things you don’t use often but want to keep, get clear storage containers and stick labels on them that list the contents.

2. If you take something from its place, return it to the same place.

3. When you change clothes, immediately hang up the clothes if they’re okay to wear again or put them in the hamper to be washed.

4. If you have a snack between meals, rinse the dishes and put them in the dishwasher.

5. Load the dishwasher immediately after eating.

6. Empty the dishwasher last thing at night or first thing in the morning.

7. Take the trash out every night.

8. Before you go to bed, walk through the house and see if anything is out of place (ask the person who used it to put it back where it belongs), if there are glasses or cups scattered on the coffee table, etc. (ask the person who used them to take them to the kitchen and rinse them, etc.), if there are clothes laying on the floor (ask the owner to deal with them), or toys not put away (ask them to do it NOW).

Of course, things left lying about can also be gathered, concealed, and held for ransom. I did this when our kids were teens, and I was tired of tripping over stinky Nikes among other things scattered about the house. After I’d picked up the kids’ detritus a few days and wouldn’t give it back unless they did extra chores or paid a dollar, they became neater. It was almost magical!

As much as I like organizing, planning, making lists, and all of that left brain stuff, I think I’ll write a book with a heroine who loves that. Of course, the hero would have to be a slob. That’s all the conflict the poor woman could stand.

After You’ve Finished Tidying Up…

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Joan Reeves is a New York Times and a USA Today bestselling author of Contemporary Romance. All her fiction have the underlying premise:  It’s never too late to live happily ever after. Joan lives her happily-ever-after with her hero, her husband, in the Lone Star State. Join Joan’s Reader Friends and be the first to know about new books and giveaways, plus you get a free ebook just for signing up!