Spring is traditionally when we clean our homes. As nature renews itself, spring is a great time for us to renew ourselves, too. Perhaps you have a garage, a room or a back yard that needs a face lift. My garage has been the collection center for all the things I don't seem to get put away.

Here are some tips I use to organize any space that is ready to explode.

Remove all small items from the room such as paper, boxes and other clutter.

Clean and arrange the furniture and all other permanent items in the room.

Select only the items that you regularly use (or need) to go back into the room. (The rule on junk is: If you haven't used it in a year, give it away or toss it out.)

Look for ways to set up customized "systems." One of my favorites is for the spice cabinet. I organize the spices alphabetically and then number each one. People tend to look for spices alphabetically, and it's much easier to return them back in order if they are numbered.

Create a special center for a specific activity and put everything you need to do that project in the center. My favorite one is the gift-wrap center. I have a special cabinet where I store wrapping paper, scissors, tape, ribbon, tissue paper, greeting cards, tags, etc. Putting together a perfect package take minutes.

Another rule of organization is to look at a paper only once. An excellent habit when you bring in the mail is to put it into three piles:

1. Read

2. Toss

3. File.

Create a special file system for paper. I found a computer program that saves me hours. It's called the Paper Tiger. It combines the power of a computer and the logic of a good filing system. Each paper item is given a label and a number. Items are filed randomly. The item number and keyword are entered into the computer, then when you need an item it will bring up the number and file on your computer.

For example, I have several address sheets. Now I number them and drop them into the file and let the computer do the work instead of taxing my brain. If you would like to check out this program go to www.thepapertiger.com.

Remember, the key to spring cleaning and organization is to have a plan and work the plan.

For me it's like eating the elephant. The job is easier one bite at a time. Happy spring cleaning.

Web site: www.dianthomas.com E-mail: diantv@aol.com