I’m not maniacal about having everything in its place, but I do like to have a system. I am moderately uncomfortable when our home office is out of shape, but not debilitated. There are, however, a few home organization pieces that I recommend for running an efficient home:

  • Family entry system – a whiteboard calendar, mail slots, key hooks, and lots of shelves. Ours accomodates coupons, invitations, and other small but important items so they’re easily accessible on the way in or out the door. Look for the pieces at Target or, if you have more money than you know what to do with, buy the Daily System from Pottery Barn. If you have children, buy the benches with storage underneath so they can keep their backpacks and shoes handy.
  • Plastic drawers – I keep craft supplies, note cards, wrapping paper, and small home decor pieces in large plastic drawers inside the office closet. It keeps these things organized without them being in the middle of the room. Sorry, but plastic drawers aren’t pretty.
  • Weekly menu planner – I’ve talked about this before, but we would never eat a real dinner if I didn’t plan them two weeks in advance. The notebook I write menus in also serves as my ongoing grocery list and stays in a drawer with the potholders next to the oven.
  • A Sharpie – if anything – anything at all – goes into a box, write the contents on the box with a Sharpie. This is especially true when you’re packing up Christmas decorations. If you bring them out in stages, like I do, you’ll want to know where the Advent calendar is before you bring out your stockings. I can’t wait to put the tree up.