How to Get Organized This Year

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By Martha Lee

Start Small!
After sitting down with a pad and pencil (and an overfull house), I began my plan of attack.  Starting with the smaller things, I worked my way up to the big stuff.  Papers, files, and things like old magazines were the first to go. 

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A fun way to organize: a table that serves as storage too along with baskets along the floor.

Tidy Up Toys
Then, I tackled the kids’ toys with the help of my daughter.  This downsizing process came as a good lesson for her as she told me which toys to give away to those less fortunate.  She really went to town too and would’ve given away her entire toy box if I let her! She was happy to help, and I was happy to have a teachable moment in giving.  Clothes and closets came next, and then came the rearranging of the playroom. 

Use Organizing Containers
Even with downsizing, we needed to create a more organized play area for the kids. We brought in lots of baskets, and utilized pieces of furniture not intended for children’s toys, which worked out great!  The playroom looks clean and tidy without the need for fancy kid storage shelves and bookcases like those seen in cutesy children’s magazines. Take a look! What do you think?

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More baskets and the bottom cabinets in the china cabinet houses pull-toys too!
There is simply no need for clutter, and my children certainly don’t (and don’t need to) desire so much stuff to be around. Presents and gifts are nice, sure, but the important part of the holidays is being with the ones we love.  Too many presents take away from the reason of the season and leave parents like me frazzled and feeling like we have to sort through old stuff just to make room for the new. 

What are Your Tidying Tips?
Purging and downsizing helps to alleviate some of the chaos and clutter that the holidays can bring. We’ve still got a little ways to go. The garage is a beast in and of itself! Ha! How about you?  Have you done any organizing and downsizing since the new year rolled around?  What kind of organizational methods do you like to use and could share with us all? 

Martha Lee and her husband began working for Paula Deen Enterprises in 2006 until Martha left to pursue a degree in Special Education. She takes a cue from her 1-year-old daughter, Naomi, leaving tiny footprints on the planet. Her blog shares practical, earth-conscious ways to live and parent in the 21st century. Born and raised in beautiful, soulful Macon, GA, Martha and her family now lives in Savannah, where she can be found outside hula-hooping and performing handstands daily.
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Reader Comments:

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Papers and files are always backlogged. I'm spending an hour a day to put them in order. That is probably more time than most of you have, as I am a retired lady. Once I get them in order, I hope to keep up by doing my filing every Friday. That method USED to work for me before we moved three times in three years. I'll write back to let you know how it goes. Anyone else out there struggle with paperwork mess?

By AlliefromAlbany on February 25, 2014

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Paula, I love watching you and your family. I miss seeing your show, I watched you everyday. My son lives in Charleston S.C. He took me to the Lady & Sons to eat. Oh my goodness! People are always telling me that I look just like the cooking lady Paula Deen. I always tell them that you are my hero. May God Bless You Mary Ann
Mary Ann Tharp in A Summer of Burgers on August 15, 2014 at 10:48 pm

Add a few spoonfuls of parmesan cheese to the flour and cornmeal breading and it kicks the tomatoes up another notch. Bev
in Crispy Fried Green Tomatoes on August 15, 2014 at 10:33 am

I just bought Paula's Peach Salad Dressing and wondered if anyone has a good recipe that they use it in?
Melissa in Taste Testing 101 on August 13, 2014 at 8:36 am

Congrats Bobby. Loved the family picture miss you Paula on TV will be watching online. Jack is getting big. Looks like his mom but Matt aka moose has your face. Your eyes cheeks hair even falls to his face like yours except to the left. Good luck on your next venture. You give us other 60+ yr women strength to move on. Keep up the good work.
Carol Bryant in Love at Last on August 11, 2014 at 6:12 pm