Some of you may have made a New Year’s resolution to become more organized in 2014. I personally am going to lose a few pounds, try to be more patient with my kids, and grow my fingernails. These are pretty much my standard resolutions almost every year….hmmmm. Oh well, at least I am organized (most of the time), and here are 10 tips that I hope you will find useful in your quest for organization in 2014!
1. It isn’t going to happen in one day. At first, organizing can seem overwhelming and stressful. That is why you need to give yourself time and write out a schedule for what and when you are going to organize and stick to it. If you only have a spare hour or two a day, give yourself a week, two weeks, or even a month for big projects. If you have more time, give yourself about two to three days in each room spending 3 to 4 hours each day. If possible, try to get those hours in early in the day. For your first organizing project, start small with something like bathroom cabinets and when you are done you will see how good it makes you feel and have that sense of accomplishment and hopefully want to move forward with your other organizing projects.
2. The first step to getting organized is to DECLUTTER. Decide what you want to do with things you don’t use or need anymore and either give to Goodwill or Habitat, or even have a yard sale. You can also put items on Craig’s List or eBay and you can always consign some items as well. Here are some items that I know you have too many of….just getting rid of these will make a lot of space in your home. Know that if you are donating these items, they will go to a family who really needs them. Get rid of: excess towels (you can even take these to animal shelter too…they love them), sheets/bedding, coffee mugs & extra glasses, books (I know I am a former librarian, but if they are just collecting dust and you don’t have room for them, send them to your local library or better yet donate them to booksforsoldiers.com…if you ever want to read the book again, go visit your local library), vases, mini travel products, cleaning and grooming products, make-up, and kitchen gadgets. Love this quote: “Clutter-clearing is the modern day alchemy.” – Denise Linn
3. Think about what you are keeping. Ask yourself these questions when decluttering.
- When was the last time I used this? A good rule of thumb is to get rid of it if you haven’t touched it in a year.
- Will I ever use this again? When? Why?
- Why am I holding on to this?
- Is this item giving me joy?
I tend to think that when you declutter and get rid of things, you can make money, have more space, and less stress…..SIMPLE. That helps me get rid of the clutter without feeling the guilt. That is why I love a good yard sale, eBay, and Craig’s List.
4. Don’t keep lists and things you need to do in your head….WRITE IT DOWN. Write everything you think of or need to do down somewhere…whether it be your day planner, phone, calendar, whatever. We all have so many things we are constantly thinking of that we need to do, so it is good to get it down on paper and get it out of your mind. The best thing to do is to go ahead and put it on a specific day on your calendar so you know you have to get it done that day. If you don’t get it done on a certain day, move it to the next day or later on in the week so you are held accountable for getting it done.
5. If you have a hard time getting things done and easily get distracted, set a timer. Work on a project for an hour and set the timer. Don’t answer the phone, don’t answer the door, stay focused on what you need to get done and stick to it.
6. Keep your mental and physical health in shape. When you feel better, you have more energy to get things done during the day.
7. Once you get organized, stay that way. You are not going to stay organized unless you do the upkeep. Schedule 15-20 minutes a day to clean up, go through mail, or whatever you need to do. A good rule of thumb is if you can do it in two minutes or less, go ahead and do it and toss the paper. Also schedule 6 month or yearly “touch-ups.” I spend a week in each room of my house during January and February just sort of going through closets and drawers, cleaning them out and tidying them up. (I give myself a week for each room, but usually just spend about an hour every day or two touching up).
8. Paper and home office…clean out those files now and start new ones for 2014 records. Check out my two home office organization posts and decide what you need to keep and for how long. Home Office Organization: Part 1 Home Office Organization: Part 2
9. If you open it, shut it. If you get it out, put it up.
10. I love this quote by Christina Scalise. “Organization isn’t about perfection; it’s about efficiency, reducing stress and clutter, saving time and money and improving your overall quality of life.”