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One of my dreams is to have a house that is always organized, tidy and neat. That way I always know where things are and I can relax in an uncluttered and well-arranged space. Since I have three kids, a husband and a dog, it’s not likely to happen in this lifetime. However, as my children get older, I’m finding that it’s slightly easier to keep things organized. Now that I’m at this stage, I need all the help I can get when it comes to doable organization ideas. In the same boat? These ideas work really well and come courtesy of the experts at Real Simple magazine.

1. Reward Yourself for a Task

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Clearing out the junk drawer is never a fun chore, but knowing you can sit on the patio with a glass of sangria when you’re done is pretty motivating. Organization experts say that treating yourself with something small after tackling a task can help you get it done, once and for all. When something enticing is waiting for you, I guarantee you’ll get it finished.

2. Get Rid of Castoffs Right Now

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If you just came across a jacket you haven’t worn in years or a set of juice glasses that are just gathering dust, get rid of them ASAP. Don’t just tell yourself you’ll clear out the junk one of these days. Grab the item you don’t need anymore, carry it out to the car, then drop it off at the Goodwill next time you are out doing errands. Getting it out of there right away feels good and clears up some of the clutter in just seconds.

3. Spend a Few Seconds on the Chore Today Instead of Saving It for the Weekend

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I tell my kids all the time that if they just spend a minute or two picking up their stuff before bed, they won’t have to spend hours on the weekend cleaning it all up at one time. They don’t often listen, but I bet you will. Take care of junk mail, that pile of your kid’s school papers and the heap of sports equipment right now and save yourself the time of having to take care of a week’s worth all at once.

4. Divide Your Space into Zones

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Thinking about the general disorganization of your entire house can be pretty overwhelming. That can often get in the way of getting started at all. Instead, divide your space into zones and tackle each one separately. This will make the entire job seem more manageable and the motivation from finishing one space will often drive you to keep going on the other parts of the house.

5. Install Hooks Throughout Your House

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Hooks are perfect for keeping things off the floor and are affordable and easy to install. They can corral car keys by the front door, backpacks in the entryway and towels in the bathroom. Use hooks to keep your cleaning supplies in place and to prevent pile up on the counters in your kitchen and bathroom. Even if things are out, they look neater and tidier when they’re hanging on a hook.

6. Learn to Say No to More Stuff

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No matter what you think, you really can have too many shoes, blazers or pots and pans. If you have a hard time when it comes to adding another one to your collection, it’s time to learn to say no. If you can’t pass up that pair of stilettos, go ahead and buy them, but get rid of a pair you don’t need anymore to make room for the new pair.

7. You Ignore Emotional Attachments

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I recently decided to get rid of the bridesmaid dress I wore to my sister’s wedding nearly 13 years ago. I have been hanging onto it through five moves because it felt like giving it away would detract from my memories of the day. I plan to donate the dress to an organization that gives them to girls who can’t afford a prom dress. Breaking the sentimental attachment might be hard, but it will help you clear out things you really don’t have a use for and that are just taking up space.

Ready to get organized? What tips do you plan to use?

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