Actually Stay Organized This Year With These 7 Achievable Steps
We’re a few weeks into the new year. How are you doing? Are you keeping up with resolutions? Have you already fallen out of sync? If so, no worries. Stop putting so much pressure on yourself and get back on that horse. Do any of you have “get and stay organized this year” on your resolution list? If yes, this post is for you!
Today, I wanted to share with you some of the best tips to help you stay organized. It’s not an easy thing to do, what with life constantly getting in the way. But if you follow even a few of the tips below, you’re going to be fine.
Let’s look at some things you can do to stay organized this year.
1. Deal with donations.
First things first: do you have any donations leftover from last year that you still haven’t dropped off? Before you can hope to stay organized this year, you need to start fresh. And that means clearing out anything that doesn’t belong. Look at your calendar and pick a date to drop off those donations.
If you have to make more than one stop, make sure the day falls on a weekend. Whatever it takes to get all those donations out of your home, do it. In the future, whenever you have donations, get them out of your house as soon as possible. If you can’t do it yourself, hire a third party to come and collect them.
2. Find a functional place for everything.
Now that donations are dealt with, let’s move on. You’ve heard me talk about the organizing motto before. “A place for everything and everything in its place.” I want to take that one step further and suggest you find a functional place for everything. That means putting an item somewhere that makes sense to you. Not your neighbor or friend. YOU!
If you want to stay organized this year, you need to figure out how your home functions. Consider where your kids do their homework? Do they work on it in their bedrooms? The kitchen island? The dining table? If they do their homework in the dining room, dedicate a cabinet or nearby storage space for supplies. Pens, paper, scissors, glue. Whatever they may need to complete their homework, keep it there. If they like to mix up their locations, store supplies on a rolling cart or easy to carry tray.
Here’s another example. Where do you tend to put your keys down? Do you put them down as soon as you walk in the door or do you carry them with you into your bedroom or kitchen? Wherever you naturally put down your keys is where you should set up a home for them. Either a bowl or a hook. Do you see what I mean?
When organizing your home, always consider functionality over style. If you sort your mail in the bedroom every night, it won’t make sense to leave it all in your kitchen where you won’t see it. Set up an inbox in your bedroom — a simple paper tray will do — and drop it there each day. This way it has a central home and it’s in the room you normally deal with it in.
3. Schedule regular decluttering sessions.
Part of staying organized is keeping ahead of the possessions in your home. You can have the most organized and streamlined systems but still be bogged down by too much stuff. That’s why a great habit to start doing is scheduling regular decluttering sessions.
I’m not saying you have to declutter your whole house every few months. Break it up into sizable chunks. Think about makeup for example. Most makeup has a shelf life of 6-12 months. So schedule yourself to do a makeup declutter twice a year.
The same goes for clothes. The best time to declutter your clothes is when you’re transitioning them from season to season. If you live in an area where you don’t have all four seasons, schedule a time to do a declutter twice a year. Once in the spring and once in the winter.
Consistent decluttering sessions will help you keep unwanted items from your space. You'll become more intentional with what makes it through your door. And the more you do this the better you’ll become at making decisions.
4. Start shopping with a list.
If you haven’t already, be sure to read my blog post about the benefits of writing lists. Lists are a great way to keep you on track. If you want to stay organized this year, it’s time to start shopping with a list. And I don’t just mean when you go grocery shopping.
I want you to start making lists anytime you’re about to go shopping. Need some new clothes to fill in gaps in your wardrobe? Make a list of what you need. Buy only that. Need some new kitchenware? Make a list. Buy only what’s on there.
Lists keep you accountable. That means if you see a cute clearance item while waiting to pay and it’s not on your list, leave it at the store. Lists will help you bring only valuable and needed items into your home. While it may feel restrictive at first, you’re going to see the benefits in no time and thank yourself for it.
5. Simplify your systems.
I mentioned earlier how you want your home to be functional. Organized and functional. This is where simplifying your systems comes into play. I already gave you an example about setting up a mail tray in your bedroom if that’s where you sort through it all. Let’s look at another example.
Say you want to get better at meal planning. Don’t drive yourself crazy by trying to meal plan for an entire month. Start small. Meal plan for a week. If that’s too much, opt for three days. When you simplify systems you’re more inclined to stick with them. And don’t feel like every day needs to have a new recipe. Include recipes you know and love and experiment once a week. Once you get comfortable with meal planning for 3-7 days, you can start adding more. Only if you want to.
6. Focus on one thing at a time.
Can we make a pact right now and promise each other to stop multitasking? I know women like to joke that our gender can multitask like pros, but that’s for little things. Yes, it's easy to keep cooking dinner while answering our child's probing questions. But if you want to stay organized this year, you need to learn to focus on one thing at a time.
It's been proven time and again that multitasking doesn't produce good work. Productivity experts call this "task-jumping" and they claim it's the worst thing you can do. Besides poor results, it's also a quicker road to burnout.
If you have a lot on your to-do list, take it one task at a time. At home and at work. Set a timer. You’ll be surprised how deeper you’ll focus when you have a clock on you. You’ll also accomplish more. Occasional multitasking is okay. But do your best to avoid it as much as you can…
7. Check-in regularly with yourself.
Finally, this tip is more internal than external, but it’s no less important. If you want to stay organized, it’s vital you check in with yourself on a regular basis. By that I mean, make sure you’re not burning yourself out. Audit your to-do list once a week. Is there anything you can delegate to someone else or remove completely? Have you scheduled time just for you?
When you check in with yourself, you’re prioritizing self-care. You can’t hope to stay organized if you’re not in the right mindset or consistently exhausted. Ask for help if you have too much on your plate. Reschedule things you don’t have the bandwidth for. Make this year not only the year you get and stay organized, make it the year you prioritize you and your health.
Remember that to stay organized this year, it all comes down to making tiny shifts in your habits. That alone will take time. So be gentle with yourself as you move through this year. You’ll have great organized weeks and poor organized weeks. You can always pop over to our blog whenever you need help. We have tons of posts filled with tips and tricks.
And, of course, if you feel like staying organized is beyond your scope, contact us today and let’s book a session. We’d be happy to help.