Organize Your Way to Love in 9 Steps
Make room in your house for love and romance through easy cleanup
Holiday devoted to love is a sweet idea. But shouldn’t we be respectful, thoughtful and caring on the 364 days that are not Valentine’s Day? Here are nine ways to organize your home to bring more romance and love into your life any day of the year. In the process you’ll also create a kinder space for yourself. And don’t we have to love ourselves before we can successfully add someone else into the mix?
1. Make your bed. It’s a wonderful way to officially end the night and greet the gift of a new day. If you aren’t in the habit of making your bed, do it once and see if you like how the room looks and feels.
Making a bed needn’t be a complicated affair. Smooth the top sheet and duvet or blanket, fluff the pillows, and you’ll be good to go.
It isn’t necessary to make military corners or deal with 20 pillows. Make it easy and you’ll make it a habit.
2. Buy fresh linens. Come clean (pun intended): When was the last time you bought new linens for the bed? In feng shui, the Chinese art of placement, it is suggested that your new lover shouldn’t roll around with you on sheets that were shared by the last great love of your life. I say even if you’ve been together a long time, spiff things up with fresh linens.
Think beyond your sheets and cast a critical eye on your bedspread, blankets or duvet. Do they work in this room, or are they relics from another time in your life?
Here’s a critical yardstick to use for all these items: Do they enhance the feeling of a sanctuary or depress you with reminders of the past? Your old linens will be welcome at your local animal shelter or vet’s office. You won’t get a tax deduction, but you will get the satisfaction of knowing that you’re bringing comfort to animals.
3.Clear the decks. Why take the chance that you or your special someone will trip over those piles of clutter around the bed and be injured in a fall? The photo here shows beautiful built-ins ready to house any type of entertainment collection. You can just as easily pick up an inexpensive bookcase and give a new permanent home to those stacks of books, CDs and DVDs surrounding your bed like a moat. Decorative baskets can be used to store your kids’ toys or your dog’s stuffed animals.
4. Forgive past mistakes. We’re all guilty of this: We get excited about the latest lotions, potions, hair gels and sprays. We bring one home and, after one or two uses, realize it isn’t for us. But it cost us a pretty penny, so we hold on to the mistake because we think one day we may feel differently about it. Time to get real.
Clean out all those mistakes and toss them, give them to some friends or (if they look inviting) donate them to a shelter. The space you’ll gain in your bathroom will help you and your partner feel more comfortable there. It can even be a metaphor: If there’s space in my bathroom for you, there’s probably space in my life for you too.
While you’re doing this, take a few more minutes and organize your other bathroom supplies. Place the items you use every day in the most accessible shelves and drawers. Backup products like extra shampoo, conditioner and toilet paper can go in a corner of the linen closet or in secondary bathroom cupboards. Organize these in baskets or bins by category — hair care products, infrequently used medical supplies and so on. If you need more space, you can add a few wall shelves or an over-the-toilet storage unit.
5. Sort unmentionables. Let’s get serious. While it’s wonderful to pick up a sexy outfit for Valentine’s night, wouldn’t it make sense to have beautiful things against your body every day and night of the year? Take a few minutes to offload the worn-out, faded and torn garments that pass as your underwear, sleeping wardrobe and bras.
Categories in your closet give you automatic inventory control and put all facets of the category at your fingertips. In this photo, bras and panties have been separated and folded neatly, and some attention was given to keeping related colors close. You can use dividers to keep your categories pristine or invest in storage containers made for this purpose.
6. Remember friends. Take some time to send a few cards (snail mail or from your favorite online vendor) to your relatives and friends. Everyone wants to feel loved, and spontaneous expressions of love and gratitude mean a lot.
This will be easy to accomplish if you stock up on cards throughout the year and keep everything in one place. That way when you sit down to write at your desk, everything you need will be handy.
Check your pen stash periodically, especially if you buy in bulk. Markers and highlighters dry out over time. It may pay to purchase fewer and really get to enjoy them.
7. Eat well. A romantic night can be forgotten in a flash if the pantry and cupboards are bare the next morning. Not a great way to greet the day. Be sure to keep a well-rounded breakfast in mind.
Organizing things by category works throughout the house, especially in the kitchen.
Spend a little time in your pantry. Has anything expired? Do all the soups, pastas and condiments have designated areas?
While you’re at it, check out the dishes and glasses, and toss any that are chipped.
8. Plan ahead for special occasions. Don’t let your ideas for a special evening or weekend go south because you left the all-important planning and organizing to the last minute. People think that organizing is some horrid activity for an afternoon. It’s actually a vital life skill. And here’s your chance to practice.
Stop right now and make a list of whom you might need to contact to turn your special-occasion plans into reality. Your favorite restaurant? The airline with which you have the most frequent-flier miles?
I know a happily married man who persuaded his wife that Valentine’s night is for amateurs. They celebrate the following weekend. When you’re making plans, don’t be afraid to do something different. This is how family traditions are born.
Think about where you can keep that list so it doesn’t get lost. If you are a person who enjoys paper products, you might get some fun files in wild colors or prints and use them for special projects. I had a client who loved all things French, so I found her file folders with scenes of Paris. An organizing app for your smartphone or a folder on your computer would work too. It doesn’t matter what you use to track your life’s activities, only that you enjoy using it.
9. Keep a lid on it. I’m not talking about that new massage oil you just bought. I’m talking about your finances. If you shop for your partner with great abandon, you’ll be in for a new kind of morning-after regret. Celebrate but keep your budget in mind. Run the numbers before you hit the stores and take cash with you to keep your purchases in line.
Not really adept at things like maintaining a budget? Consult with a professional or try one of the many online budgeting tools. You can’t run a successful home if you have no idea how to craft a budget.