Getting organized is one of the MOST popular resolutions/goals for the new year. January comes and there is a frenzy of people getting organized. We’re buying or making our planners for the new year. Filling out calendars and going through our files. Organization supplies like storage bins and baskets of all shapes and sizes are on sale in almost every store. Then, as the sales end and January comes to a close we start to lose some of our momentum. Daily life is picking up, the lull that comes after the holidays is now over, and we’ve gotten organized – or at least we’ve gotten started on it. The real trick now, is to continue on that path. To help us, I’ve put together a list of 7 ways to keep the organization ball rolling as the year goes on.
The easiest way to stay organized is to follow the one in/one out rule. When you buy something new or bring an item into your home, you choose one to leave. This rule works great for clothes, shoes, handbags, toys, and even dishes. I’m not saying it’s always applicable, I mean if you’re working on collecting serving dishes because you don’t have enough for your needs then you certainly wouldn’t follow this rule. But it’s a great place to start.
This one is another easy one to follow. Reduce what is coming into home. Whether that’s signing up for online billing options, saying no to junk mail, or using up what you have before you buy more, there are many ways to tackle that problem. Reuse what you have instead of buying new. Containers, jars and baskets can be used to organize smaller items. That old dresser could be turned into tool storage in the garage, and so on. And of course recycling. Whatever you’re not using recycle or toss it out. When you’re done with the mail, when you clean out your files, recycle it all right away! If you have unused items that you think someone else can use, recycle them by passing them on. The 3 R’s can really help keep you organized all year long.
This one is an oldie but a goodie. Take some time to make sure items in your home have a home of their own. This is crucial to staying organized. Without a designated spot, items end up scattered willy nilly around our homes (I am sooooooo guilty of this one) and then we’re spending precious time reorganizing when we should be out doing something fun! It doesn’t have to be tedious, keep it as simple as you need too, like books on book shelf (as long as they find their way to the book shelf all is good) Legos in the lego bin, or barbies in the barbie bin. It doesn’t have to be a complex system, use what works for you. Trust me on this one, if you do nothing else, take the time to assign your items a home.
This one goes hand in hand with number 3. Once you’ve assigned homes for everything label those areas! Baskets, canisters, shelves, where ever you think it’s appropriate. Not only do labels take the guess work out of putting things away, they are a great way to let your family know how to help keep things organized.
We all have these spots in our home. Those spots that seem to have their own magnetism for all things homeless. Drop zones that can turn into black holes of clutter. Don’t just clear these areas, pay attention to what is getting dumped there. Is this the spot you put your receipts or drop your mail? Set up a space for them in that spot. It doesn’t matter that you have a mail sorter by your door, if it’s not working where it is move it. Nothing is set is stone, you need to organize for how YOU and YOUR FAMILY use your space. Make a plan for the items that collect in your hot spots. Use number 3 and 4 to help you combat these clutter magnets.
All the organizing gurus will tell you something similar, if you’re feeling overwhelmed, grab a timer and work for 15-30 minutes at a time. This is a great way to make progress while organizing. It’s also a great way to stay organized. Pick a room or area of your home each day, set a timer for 15 minutes, and go through that room or area and check to make sure it’s organized. Don’t confuse this with cleaning, this is just for organizing. Make sure items are in their homes, if there are things in the room that don’t belong, remove them. You’d be surprised what 15 minutes a day can do, and I bet you, you probably won’t need all 15 of those minutes every day!
This one is the most important one! It is impossible to be happy with your organizing efforts if you are trying for perfection. Organization is an ongoing, ever evolving goal. Life can be messy, embrace it. Forget about making it perfect today, because tomorrow you might need to change it. Instead focus on making it work for you and your family right now. You can tweak and change it later on, and chances are, in a few months or years things will be changing on you again anyway. Keep your organizing goals realistic and embrace the fact that things will never be perfect. It can be really hard to let go of perfectionism, but once you do, I promise you, you’ll have more success for your efforts!
So, if you find yourself heading towards an organizing slump, know that you’re not alone. We all hit those times. Try giving one of the above mentioned tips a whirl, you never know where it might lead.
Do you have any tips or tricks for staying organized?