ATTACK THE HOT SPOTS

Almost everyone has "hot spots" around their home. These are areas that tend to accumulate things, no matter how many times you clean and organize them. Common hot spots are around your home's entryways, kitchen counters, end tables, coffee tables, and even the dinner table. Your bathroom counter could be the catch-all for your stuff. No matter where it is, the solutions are the same. You have to take care of a hot spot in a way that will ensure that it doesn't come back again, or it's surely going to.

When you clean up, try to think of why each item has ended up where it has. Is there a stack of mail? Perhaps everyone comes into the house and does what I like to call a "body dump". This is where people come in and just dump everything that they are carrying on their person wherever they stand. My kids are great at performing a body dump at lightening speeds when they come home from school. Work, backpacks, lunch boxes, shoes, socks, jackets, cell phones and more just fly off of their bodies and in one fatal blow, my entryway is shot. I soon figured out how to fix this problem area.

First, I figured out that my tiny little decorative table by the front door was just simply useless and was taking up space that could be used for something productive. So, I took it out. I found these cubicle style shelves and laid them down on one side. This provided a little bench with sections underneath for shoes. Then, I installed two big hooks for each person above the shoe shelf. They can hang lunch boxes, backpacks and purses here. Then, above that, a shelf for each person's stuff. Keys, wallets, cell phones and more can be stashed in your basket if you want to body dump in this area.

Now, what I noticed was after the first day, no one was excited about using their personal spot anymore. So, I came up with a system. I put a whiteboard by the door. I gave points to each child (husband included) for each thing that they put into the right spot. I stood silently as I marked points. I did not reprimand the ones who did not use the right spots, but, they received no points. For one solid month I did this, each night rewarding the "winner" or "winners" with special or extra dessert after dinner. Eventually I started slacking off on the scoring, but everyone was in the habit of using the area correctly, so I won.

Come up with your own hot spot system and you can also train your family to work with you instead of against you!

About the Author: Jo Granville is on the staff of Only Hangers, a leading online resource for all types of well made clothing hangers. For more information, please visit www.onlyhangers.com.