If one of your new year’s resolutions is to de-clutter and get organized, you may be feeling a bit overwhelmed with the task ahead. I am here to tell you that home organization is not an impossible task and you can achieve your organizing goals with just a few minutes each day. Follow these 17 tips to help you keep your resolution to get organized in 2017 and this will be the year that you get – and stay – organized once and for all!
1. Start small.
If you are feeling overwhelmed with the idea of tackling everything, break it down into mini organizing sessions. Don’t try to organize the whole room or the whole basement, or whole house! Start with a drawer, a closet, or a small corner of a room and work your way through the house one small space at a time.
2. Create a routine.
Include a little organizing in your daily routine and soon enough keeping things neat will become a habit.
3. Clean up as you go.
When you leave an area, or finish a project or task, clean up and put everything away.
4. Make it easy to prevent clutter.
Keep boxes in your home marked “give away” and “sell” that you can easily drop things into.
Store contact info for charities that will pick up from your home in your phone – if they’re handy you have one less barrier to getting donated items out of your home.
Be sure every room has a trash can, including the laundry room and the garage.
5. Have systems to receive and corral the clutter that accumulates daily.
Put folders or baskets where you open your mail and receive paperwork. Create a place for: financial items (bills, receipts, account statements, paycheck stubs, etc.), child-related items (permission slips, game schedules, notes, etc.), reading material (magazines, newsletters and newspapers) and so on.
For correspondence, further categorize as “to file” (if you are certain you will need a paper again) or “to do” (for mail that needs a response, bills to pay, questionnaires, invitations, etc. Make sure you tackle the “to do” basket every few days.
6. Sort mail directly over the trash or recycle bin.
Get rid of junk mail immediately. Be realistic about catalogs and magazines and recycle them right away if you know you’re never going to read them. If you can’t decide, toss – rest assured that company will mail you another one next month!
7. Deal with sentimental clutter.
Rotate photos on display periodically. Pack things away carefully to keep for posterity. If a sentimental item is large or bulky, consider taking a picture of it and saving the photo instead of the item.
8. Repair or release.
If something is broken, take it to be repaired, fix it yourself, or dispose of it. Give it a month. It you don’t fix it or need it in that time, get rid of it. Be realistic. Are you really going to spend your free time sewing socks?
9. Have a place for everything.
Create a “home” for all the items in your home. If items have a home, then cleaning up and putting things away is a snap. Don’t let stuff accumulate on surfaces. Put it away, right away.
10. One in, one out.
Make it a rule: when something new comes in, something has to go out. If you’re trying to de-clutter, follow the “one in, two out” rule to reduce the number of items in your home.
11. Make the bed every morning.
This doesn’t really have anything to do with organizing, but it will make your space look neater and make you feel good. Also, I find that the bed is a great place for sorting clothing, or folding laundry. So, when it is made, it becomes a surface on which to organize things.
12. File, don’t pile.
Take the extra few minutes to get those papers into their files or proper place and you’ll never have to de-clutter a daunting paper pile again.
13. Create an organizing playlist.
Choose a few songs that will keep you motivated while you work through the home organization process.
14. Set a timer.
It’s easy to get distracted when you’re organizing. Set a timer for 15 minutes – or even 5. You’ll get a lot more done when you’re focused.
15. Reward yourself.
Don’t forget to carve out some time for you. Do something you enjoy to reward yourself for your efforts, or just sit back and relax in your organized space.
16. Get some help.
If you’re having trouble getting organized, you may need some help. There are only so many hours in the day, after all. Enlist other family members, delegate tasks, or call a professional organizer.
17. Take 15 minutes a day.
Once you get organized, maintaining it should be quick and easy. Carve out 15 minutes a day to maintain your systems and you’ll stay organized and clutter-free!
To learn more about home organization, visit OrganizingU.com.