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TEXAS MONTHLY @Home: Renewal and Organization for the New Year

January 16, 2008



We all have those bothersome around-the-house chores we’ve been meaning to get to for months. Clean out that hall closet. Freshen up the living room decor. Attempt at least a smidgen of organization and planning.

January is a great time to tackle those tasks. You can start the year off on a productive note, and hopefully stay busy enough to avoid cheating on your diet resolution.


When it comes to bringing order to chaos around the house, the number one task that overwhelms most homeowners is paper management, according to Lorie Marrero, professional organizer and owner of LivingOrder in Austin and San Antonio. Whether it’s a home office, a coffee table or that countertop in the kitchen where everything seems to pile up, paper clutter is a common problem with an easy solution.

“Designate an in-box for paper and let the whole family know where it is,” says Marrero. “Bring things in from the mailbox or the car to that one spot and then sort from there.”

The sort phase should take place several times a week, she notes, with items going into an action tray, a reference tray, or directly into the trash. Action items are those that need your attention right away, says Marrero, such as bills to pay or forms to fill out. The reference items are those you can file away when you have time. For homeowners who need more help, Marrero has created the first “virtual team” of professional organizers. Go to to sign up for weekly support from expert consultants and community message boards.

Need help getting organized? Here are 3 ways we can help:


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