#happylife: Get organized this fall and stay organized for years to come!

The days and weeks following the first day of school can be overwhelming!

You have likely already raced out your door and yelled back to the kids to grab a sweater or their lunch… only to return to a big mess. One local company, Order Restored, has been helping families to stress less with easy, quick tips and fixes for tackling lots of papers, messy cabinets and rooms.

“There was just so much stuff! I didn’t know what was in the back. I didn’t know what was expired. It was very daunting and overwhelming to go in there every morning to pick out what they needed, what they wanted,” said mom-of-two, Sarah.

Sarah is one of those parents just trying to tackle back to school. She moved into her home when she was pregnant with her now five and a half year old and feels she has never really had the time to get organized since.

“I just needed to simplify things,” said Sarah.

At one point, you may have been able to find a can from 2014 in the back of her pantry…. And that was the reason it was time to call in reinforcements.

Katie Regelin, owner of Order Restored, said kitchens are where most of her efforts are concentrated this season.

“Setting up good systems in the kitchen has been huge,” Regelin said.

Regelin and her team have been making pantries and other areas in Spokane homes look like pages out of a magazine for years. No matter the room, the process starts with the same step.

“I think just pulling everything out and starting to purge and de-clutter will make them feel so much lighter,” Regelin said.

Then, dividing items into categories.

“We sort while we remove things. So all the snacks, all the cereals, the baking, the pasta,” said Regelin.

Regelin’s a mom and most of her clients are, too. She has found if you want to keep things cleaner, longer, make the system as easy as possible.

“If the system is well set up and laid out and also labeled, that’s key,” said Regelin.

Label, label, label and invest in clear containers so kids can find what they are looking for. Put items in low places so they can pack their own lunches and grab their own cereal.

You can translate this into the study area, with bins clearly labeled for crayons or the laundry room with hampers for each child. Sarah said she has had the system going for a few weeks, and, so far so good.

“With everything labeled, they’ve been good about putting everything back where it goes,” said Sarah.

She hopes it stays that way.

“I just love the way it looks. It makes me happy to open the cabinets and open the pantry doors. I’m hoping if I can keep it organized, the kids can help me keep it organized, that it will be easier every day,” Sarah said.

To deal with excess papers, set up a spot in your home where you can go through backpacks and mail each day, preferably with a recycling bin nearby. Anything you don’t need, toss in there. For important papers, turn a bin into a mini-filing cabinet with folders inside for each child. Keep your calendar handy so you can cut down on saving certain papers by putting important dates and events on there.

If your child is at an age where they are bringing home lots of art projects, grab a bigger bin and divide that up with folders by age. Work with your child to determine which projects are special and must be kept, and which they can recycle or send to a family member to brighten their day! You can also use extra art projects that are bigger in size as wrapping paper.

To learn more about Order Restored, click here.