The new year is upon us. A time when many of us are resolving to make changes in our lives. One common resolution is to get organized, but soon the commitment fizzles because the task seems too overwhelming. So, in order to reduce the stress, don’t resolve to organize every aspect of your life instead just make a promise to become more organized. Then, set small achievable goals, using the steps below to work through each area.
- Set a Time: To begin, you need to schedule a time to accomplish your task. When setting a schedule, you should include everyone involved in the project in order to have a positive outcome. You do not have to complete all the steps below at one scheduled time. For example, you can begin by scheduling the initial declutter and then move on to scheduling steps 4-6 later. When setting your time, you can set a side a specific day/days or plan to work on it a little each day – it’s your choice. Also, be sure to pick a start time and end time -don’t take phone calls or visitors during this time. If you schedule it for a specific day or weekend, be sure to schedule breaks for lunch and snacks.
- Define Target Area: Set reasonable goals. You can start with the worst area or the area that causes you the most anxiety, like the basement or garage or you can identify a space for each family member, like their bedroom or a specific closet in the house. If you choose to work on it a little each day, be sure to make the goals manageable. For example, Monday: bedroom nightstands; Tuesday: under the bed; Wednesday: piles of paper on dresser, etc.
- Initial Declutter: This step is a quick purge of stuff that has accumulated out of negligence, like junk mail, unwanted or rarely used items, outgrown clothes, etc. This should be a quick process – if you come across items that are tough to let go, set them aside for later. The object of this step is to get things out of your house and not move them to another room. During this step most items should go to the trash/recycling bin or a donate/sell pile.
- Determine Function: Now that you’ve cleared some space, you should be able to see the potential of your space and determine it’s function. In order to determine what should stay, you need to identify the activities that will take place in it or what it will be used for. Then you can identify or create zones within the space. This will help you determine where items should go.
- Final Purge: After determining the function of your space, you’ll begin to notice things that don’t belong. This is when you have to make some tough decisions. If it doesn’t fit the purpose of your space, you need to decide if it is worth keeping. I know – this can be easier said than done. In order to determine whether or not to keep an item, ask yourself, “When did l last use it?” and “Will I use it again?” If you haven’t used it in the past 12 months, odds are you don’t need it and won’t ever us it again, so it’s time to toss it, donate it, or sell it.
- Make a Plan: Now, it is time to access the number of items, amount of space, and supplies you need to store everything effectively and efficiently. Begin by measuring the space you have and choosing a storage solution that will fit within those parameters. There are many storage options available – open shelving, hidden storage, such as cabinets, baskets, boxes, etc., or a combination of both. Once you’ve found the storage solution to fit your needs, you are ready to begin putting everything where it belongs, leaving you with a organized space.
Once you’ve worked through these steps and organized the first area of your home, you will be filled with excitement and a sense of accomplishment. This will give you the momentum you need to move forward, systematically working through all the areas of your home and ultimately living the organized life you desire.