photo credit: Lucas AllenExperts, readers, and REDBOOK staffers share their best stay-organized secrets. Your sock drawer will never be the same again. (And that's a good thing.)
1. Stash a permanent marker in the bathroom cabinet and mark makeup, sunscreens, and medicines with the dates of purchase so you know when they should be tossed. In general, mascara shouldn't be kept for more than three months, and sunscreens and medicines should be pitched at the end of a year, advises Lorie Marrero, creator of The Clutter Diet. Look for POA ("period after opening") icons, like the one at right, on packaging; "3M" means a product lasts three months.
2. Record birthdays, anniversaries, and other key dates at sites like americangreetings.com or giftelephant.com, which can send you reminders when someone's special day is approaching. Some even set up an automatic free e-card delivery.
3. Corral clutter where it lands. Keep containers near mess hot spots, such as the front door, the bedroom dresser, and the kitchen counter. Then empty them once in a while (or when they get full), put the items away, and start over.
4. Make yourself a YNK (you never know) box, says Alicia Rockmore, cofounder of Buttoned Up organizational products. Here's how: Empty the contents of a drawer (the kitchen utensil drawer, or a junk drawer) into a box. Then, every time you need one of the items, remove it from the box and return it to the drawer after you use it. After two months, whatever is still left in the box should be thrown out or donated.
5. If you travel a lot and collect cards and brochures from favorite restaurants, shops, and activities, throw them all into one box when you get home. When a friend is headed someplace you've visited, you can sift through your box (like the one below) to pass along some suggestions. Everyone wins: You have one spot where stockpiling a mishmash of info is allowed, and friends get travel tips from someone they know and trust.
6. Dangle necklaces and baubles from pushpins on fabric-covered bulletin boards. Hang boards on a wall between two windows so you can always find the perfect accessory. (When the curtains are in place, the treasures are out of sight.)
7. As soon as you upload your new photos to the computer, create a digital photo book. As for old photos that never made it into an album, Donna Smallin, author of A to Z Storage Solutions, suggests organizing them in photo boxes, categorizing by vacation or time period so they're easily searchable.
8. Give yourself permission to regift. Just because someone you care about gave you something does not mean you have to hold on to it for the rest of your life (even if you have room for it!). Pass it on to someone who will appreciate and use it.
Get 17 More Organizing Tips (That Really Work!) Here
By Wendy Manwarren
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