CREATE YOUR SPACE. Even if it's only a discreet corner, create a work space for yourself. Create an inbox where all of the random business of life can go. I'm a mother and writer and my inbox is invaluable for holding next assignments, kindergarten paintings (where to hang this 20,000th piece?), and notes from my husband ("Hey. Download this iphone app.").
CREATE A CHILL SPACE. You also need a centralized place to relax, read, meditate. Keeping to one spot allows for an efficient ritual in your day. The coffee goes on the same table, the lighting is always right, the blanket is within reach, the Wall Street Journal stack is waiting your perusal. It keeps you consistent, it keeps you calm.
KEEP STOCKED. Adhere to what I call the 2/3 Rule and you'll never find yourself short of supplies: once something is 2/3 gone, replenish.
DESIGN YOUR KITCHEN BY USE. Think Julia Child when wondering where to situate your kitchen materials and equipment. Place much-used utensils in a countertop canister, place oils and vinegars with spices close to the stove, the baking materials and ingredients together in a cabinet, et cetera. This way you'll not only know better when something needs replacing or maintaining, you'll cook and clean more efficiently, giving yourself more time for that 2010 marathon goal.
DISPLAY WHAT YOU OFTEN USE. If you entertain dinner guests often, keep serving platters out for easy access--and visual interest when they're not in use. If you're a voracious reader, make room for stacks of books you're working your way through--a shelf, a basket, lined against the base of your bedroom. For me, I love tea, and keep a tea station on my chrome kitchen shelving, complete with a restaurant-grade thermal carafe, a mahogany tea box, and cream and sugar.
THINK CHAOS WITHIN PERIMETERS. While incomprehensible chaos makes for clutter, deliberate clutter allows for a certain creative freedom within organized bounds. These shelves can be crammed with all of this beautiful material and keep its charm because of the blank serene balance around it.
USE WHITE BEDDING AND LINENS. White not only looks professional, it can be cleaned easily and transfered from room to room while keeping a continuity throughout the house. If all-white bedding is too pristine, add splashes of color with throws, pillows, and color surrounding the bed.
MAKE THE RANDOM LOOK DELIBERATE. If you have a random collection or assemblage of flotsam, make it look clean and deliberate by gathering it together. These seemingly random pieces of art create a unique and uniform room simply by hanging in close proximity to each other.
KEEP CHILD CLUTTER UNDER CONTROL. You. You with children are presented with the extra challenge of picking up not only after yourself but others. Help develop your child's creativity while keeping neater by organizing play materials in open bins according to category: blocks, trains, figures and guys, science, art supplies. Materials that don't require parental supervision should be low and easily-accessible so your little ones can learn to get out and put back on their own. Open bins and tables at children's levels encourage play and keep them better occupied than placing everything in concealed areas.
EMBRACE HOW CHAOS REPRESENTS REAL LIFE. Once the major organizational problems are managed within a dwelling, a certain amount of deliberate chaos portrays organic, realistic living. Organize out of sight the household necessities, then allow into full view the objects that you love. Embrace what real [organized] living looks like.