Clutter begets more clutter and before you know it, you’re buying a new bottle opener or nail clipper because it’s just easier than finding the one you already have. Getting organized at home is important for your mental health, your quality of life, and your cost of living. It can even help you live longer. There are in fact whole industries dedicated to organizing offices, garages, and closets. Getting organized though doesn’t require you to hire a consultant or purchase expensive add-ons. Instead, you can get organized with simple everyday items and a little creativity.

In this Excerpt from the book Household Magic by Joan Wilen and Lydia Wilen the authors provide a range of helpful tips and tricks to help you get organized at home.


According to the National Association of Productivity & Organizing Professionals (, Americans are busier and more stressed than ever before, and they are looking for ways to better organize their lives—sometimes to the point of obsession.

There’s no need to obsess! There are stores galore that cater to everyone’s organizing needs—Lowe’s, Home Depot, and the Container Store as well as discount stores, such as Target and Walmart.

Before you head out to the nearest mall, check out the following suggestions…they will show you how easy it is to begin organizing the disorganized things in your life. Once you start—and get the satisfaction of organizing a few small things—you will want to continue. And before long, you will be well on your way to having an orderly and organized home.

Storing Manuals, Guarantees And Warranties

Invest in a three-ring, loose-leaf binder. Every time you buy something that comes with an owner’s manual or instructions, punch holes in the paperwork and store it in the binder. Also, staple the purchase receipt and any guarantee or warranty (as well as replacement reorder instructions) to the item’s manual.

If you ever need the proof of purchase …or you have a question about using the item …or need a replacement part—you will have all the information organized in the binder without going through a frantic sweat-and search routine.

Of course, you should keep the binder in a special, within-sight and within-reach place so that you always know where it is.

Storing Take-Out Menus

◆ Instead of having take-out menus floating all over your house, paste a manila envelope to the inside cover of the telephone book, and keep them in there.

◆ If you want to keep menus handy, put the menus in a large photo album that you can keep near the kitchen telephone (or wherever is most convenient).

When it’s time to get take-out, flip through the pages until you reach the menu that whets your appetite and make your call.

Terrific Take-Out Tip

Always put the date you got the menu right on the front of the menu. As prices and dishes change, you’ll be able to keep tabs on the most recent menus of your favorite restaurants.

Storing Posters

Keeping posters flat seems better than rolling them up—and keeping them flat and protected seems best. Measure your posters, then get two pieces of clean cardboard from an art-supply or stationery store—you can also cut them out of large cartons. But be sure that the cardboard pieces are larger than the posters.

Lay the posters between the two pieces of cardboard, put white tissue paper between each poster, and tape the sides closed. You can store about six posters this way.

Put the cardboard holder behind any piece of furniture that’s against a wall and big enough so that none of the cardboard can be seen. Or slip the cardboard holder under a bed. Just remember where you hid it in case you want the posters.

The “What’s Where” Book

It’s a good idea to keep a “What’s Where” notebook, especially if you are in the habit of putting lots of stuff away, then forgetting exactly where you put everything

Of course, you must remember where you keep the “What’s Where” book. How about keeping it on a bookcase or in a bedside drawer?

For additional food tips and other advice for your home, purchase Household Magic from

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