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Home Organization

If your clutter, paper and general pile of stuff is beginning to overflow and interrupt the flow of your home, a professional organizer can help you make sense of the chaos. Whether you hire them to go through your entire home for a day or just spend a couple of hours offering tips and tricks, an organizer provides an invaluable service for restoring order.

Tips for hiring an organizer:

Communicate your most problematic organization areas before you make the hire, so you know whether an organizer is a good fit for your situation.

Look for someone with whom you won't mind spending several hours at a time.

Be aware that the cost and time needed to complete your home organization project will depend on the specifics of the job and the the organizer's fees, but the average cost for home organization runs between $30 and $80 an hour, with a typical project lasting between eight and 12 hours.

Kitchen and pantry organization

Being disorganized can cost you. On average, American households throw away hundreds of dollars in expired meat and other foods per year.

Get organized to stop the waste, starting with a thorough examination of your pantry and fridge:

• Throw out any expired food.

• Separate remaining items into categories, such as soups, vegetables, baking goods and condiments.

• Assign specific areas of your pantry and fridge to these categories and place similar items together in assigned areas, with the ones closest to expiring in front.

• Use clear storage boxes to keep fruits and vegetables near eye level so you don't forget to use them. Move canned drinks, leftovers, lunch meats and cheeses to the crisper drawers to free up shelf space.

• Any condiments that need refrigeration should be kept in the door storage with similar items. This makes it easy to find what you need and avoid buying unnecessary replacements.

Bedroom organization

A few tips for reducing bedroom clutter:

• Consider using under-the-bed storage boxes for off-season clothing or other items.

• Separate non-bedroom uses from your bedroom if possible. While it's tempting to place a home office or an exercise area in your bedroom, it can be distracting from the bedroom's purpose of being a peaceful sanctuary. If you need to use it in this manner to save space, keep it confined to one corner or wall. Hang a divider curtain if possible. 

• Use functional furniture, such as storage ottomans, to keep things out of the way. 

Paper organization

Instituting a one-touch rule is a great way to reduce paper clutter. The rule means you immediately deal with any paper coming into your home instead of setting it down to deal with later.

Here are some practical ways to follow a one-touch rule:

• Toss junk mail before you even get inside your house, or before you've taken too many steps inside. Keep a recycling container in your entryway or near where you collect the mail.

• Next, immediately sort the non-junk mail. Set up a permanent spot to keep bills, placing them in order as they arrive so you don't lose track of them.

• Control the onslaught of school-related papers in several ways. Have the kids put their papers in one place, and make note of important dates and deadlines on the family calendar. Post special instructions or items your child will need on a cork board, tossing the papers after the deadline. Keep only the most important papers, such as report cards, major reports or selected artwork. Display papers with good grades for a few days before tossing. Reduce the amount of artwork saved by taking photos or scanning and tossing the originals.

Closet organization

If you're closet is overflowing and you're in desperate need of more storage space, don't despair.

For tips on conquering closet clutter one step at a time or creating your own custom closet, check out the Angi Guide to Closet Organization.

Garage organization

It's easy to let the garage become a catch-all for household clutter, but with a little organization and some creative storage solutions, you can prevent the junk from overcrowding the family car.

For tips on tossing the trash and taking back your garage, head to the Angi Guide to Garage Organization.

Potential dangers of a disorganized home

Many people have cleaning products and outdated paint gathering dust in their garage. Getting rid of these items is more complicated than simply throwing them in the trash or down the drain; the toxicity of chemicals and paint products can do serious environmental damage when not disposed of properly.

To find out how you'll need to properly dispose of your leftover chemicals and paint waste, start by reading the label, as the manufacturer may have included instructions on safe disposal.  Before you choose to follow any instructions provided, you should check the rules regarding chemical disposal in your local municipality.

Most municipalities have set guidelines regarding the safe disposal of chemicals, often allowing homeowners to drop their toxic waste off at a local site on specific dates. If you aren't able to find information regarding chemical disposal in your area, contact a landfill to see if they will accept the toxic waste.