DONNA MARIE: Home Organization Tips

The New Year has given us all a clean slate, and since getting organized is a pretty popular resolution, I thought I would pass along some of the ways I try to keep my home running smoothly throughout the year.

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Living Room: Clean during commercial breaks. While I am catching up on guilty pleasure TV shows, I use the commercial breaks to Windex, dust, vacuum and throw things away. Try it. You will be surprised how much you can get done in a few three-minute clean sweeps.

Tame the crazy amount of cords and wires behind your television and computer by picking up a chord organizer from Ikea or the Container store. It's an inexpensive plastic tube with a slit in the side that you put all of your cords through, so rather than looking at a tangled mess, you look at one discreetly hidden tube.

I also have a lot of decorative storage boxes from stores like Home Goods and Pier One. They are easy to tuck away and offer the perfect space to store things that don't need to be in sight. Not having a lot of clutter will make your place seem cleaner, thus making it easier to keep organized all year round.

Finally, never head upstairs to bed without straightening up the living room first. That way when you come downstairs in the morning, everything is in its place and you can start your day.

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Kitchen: Whenever I am making anything messy, I lay out garbage bags across the counters. That way, rather than having to clean and sweep the whole kitchen after cooking, I can just roll up the mess and throw it away. And to cut down on oven cleaning, pick up a few disposable aluminum oven liners and place them on the bottom to catch drips and spills. Rather than cleaning the whole oven, you can just throw away the liner.

I keep my refrigerator and cabinets organized by throwing out everything from the last week before I go grocery shopping for next week. It keeps it from getting overly full of half-empty, near-expired food. I also clean and chop all of my fruit and veggies and portion them out into baggies at the beginning of the week. You have plenty of healthy options ready to go front and center when you open the door and are looking for a snack.

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Gym: I love reading fitness magazines. They have so many new exercise ideas and can help you stay motivated. But I could never remember exactly what I had read when it came time to work out. Then my boss showed me this great tip. She would actually tear out the articles or exercise cards and keep them in a binder, organized by body part or style of exercise.

I have been doing the same thing and now if I feel bored with my workouts or like I have hit a plateau, I just flip through the binder until I find something I haven't tried before. It also helps limit downtime during workouts because you will have a visual outline to follow, so you end up getting the most use out of your exercise time.

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Car/Commuting: Use your "lost time" more efficiently. While you are on the train, clean out your purse or go though you phone and delete text messages and emails you no longer need. When you stop for gas, do a quick car cleaning. I always have water bottles, wrappers and receipts accumulating, so I have tried to make it a habit to throw those things away every time I wait for gas.

Cheers to making 2012 the most organized year yet!

—Donna Marie

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