Is this finally going to be THE YEAR you get organized?
The year your house is in order?
The year you use a planner and don’t forget about appointments?
The year you don’t buy duplicates or triplicates of things you need because you can’t find the one you already have?
Is this going to be your year of Awesome?
Time to get started! These 16 Organizing Strategies will keep you on track throughout the year, as you strive toward meeting your goals.
Organizing: 16 Crucial Tips for This Year
1. Declutter first. (And when you’re letting go of things, remember, you’re not letting go of people or memories… just objects.) There’s no point in organizing things you don’t use/love/need/want. Get rid of the clutter FIRST. Before you even begin organizing a little. Do it right the first time. Need help decluttering? Click Here to Join my Free 30-Day Decluttering challenge.
2. Wait to buy storage solutions. Take your time to declutter, make a plan for what you’re keeping, and evaluate your existing space, containers, files, and organizers. Then, only buy exactly what you need to meet your organizing needs. Otherwise, you’ll end up with “extra” boxes, baskets, and trays, which you’ll probably fill with junk AND you’ll still be disorganized (because they weren’t the RIGHT boxes, baskets, and trays for your needs). Again, do it right the first time. There’s no point in wasting money either.
3. Color code with a purpose. What is it about color-coding that makes us allllll excited and drooly? It’s AMAZING when it works, but when it’s not necessary, sometimes it creates extra work – and extra barriers to an organized life – for you (do you really need to go find a certain colored pen before you add your friend’s kid’s birthday party to your planner?). Other times, it just creates a bit of visual discord. Why have 5 colors “decorating” a small space when one or two would do? Color coding is fine, but make sure you have a good reason for doing it.
4. First the Worst. Organize your worst areas first, so you don’t put them off forever. Chances are, you’ve already put some effort into organizing your kitchen, or your living room. You could organize them another 10 times, I’m sure, but is it procrastination? Why not skip ahead to the worst rooms or areas… the ones that ALWAYS get put off until a “better time”? Go tackle your office, or your basement, or your master bathroom, or whatever area really bothers you. You’ll thank yourself.
5. Sacred space. Once you finish an area, don’t allow it to backslide. Keep it tidy and organized always. This will give you practice with developing the habits you need to maintain your entire house, a little at a time. Plus, it’ll be wonderful to know you always have a serene, organized sanctuary in your master bedroom or office or laundry room, or wherever it is that you’ve completely finished.
6. Store all like items together. Don’t scatter drinking containers throughout your kitchen – keep them all in one cabinet. Don’t keep cleaning supplies in your laundry room, bathrooms, linen closet, and under the kitchen sink. You’ll most likely end up with duplicates, triplicates, etc and not even know it.
7. Even the smallest steps are worthwhile. Organizing your makeup drawer, your spice rack, or your office supplies tray makes a difference. Maybe you need a break from tackling your huge worst area one day… so use the little organizing energy you DO have to get a quick win. You’ll find even more motivation when your tiny area (your car’s glove compartment? your coffee and tea cabinet?) is lovely and organized.
8. One in, one out. Once you reach organizing bliss in an area, maintain it by preserving equilibrium. If you have a lot of nail polish, and it’s perfectly organized, and you really really really want 3 of this season’s newest colors, make sure to declutter your least favorite 3 when you get home from the store. Don’t allow things to get out of control again!
9. Let your space dictate your maximum quantity of something. Don’t let books overflow from the bookshelf. If you have a utensil crock in the kitchen, you should never have to jam your tools in forcibly. Your hair accessory basket shouldn’t be erupting like a volcano. Don’t put yourself in the position of needing an off-site storage facility for all your extra “stuff.”
10. Stop sabotage before it starts. Get off the catalog mailing lists, unsubscribe from sales promotion emails (Old Navy, I’m looking at you), say no to free junk at events (promotional pens, mouse pads, free t-shirts, etc.), and don’t go window shopping for fun.
11. Have one home for each item. Instead of sometimes keeping your ear buds in your stroller’s cup holder for runs, and sometimes keeping them in your office for computer work, have a certain pouch in a drawer where they always live unless you’re using them. You’ll never lose them again.
12. Automate what you can. Develop habits to keep things in their places, and stay organized effortlessly. If you need help with quickly and effectively creating habits, take my course on reaching goals through habit development, My Best Year Ever. Sign up to get the first lesson free.
13. Make it easier to put things away than to take them out. We might have to dig through our winter-stuff bin for a minute to find our gloves and scarf when we want to go out, but they’re NEVER scattered all over the house or dropped on the floor, because it’s super-easy to just chuck them in the bin when we come home. No complicated cubbies and bins for us. (We have minimal winter weather “gear” where we live, so having one small bin works fine for us, but you get the idea – apply it to whatever makes sense in your own home.)
14. Label where items belong. It’ll make it easier for everyone to put the things away where they go, and it will keep the spot from being “taken” by something else while the item is in use. In our last house, our “beverage cabinet” kept getting messed up all the time, even when I would re-organize it every couple of weeks. Then, I added labels to the edges of the shelf, to mark where each type of glass, cup, and bottle went. That way, those spots were reserved even if the things were in use or in the dishwasher. From then on, it stayed perfectly tidy until we moved!
15. File, don’t pile. I know it can feel like once you file something, it’s gone forever. But if you really really need to keep it, it’s worth making a file for, and it’ll be waiting for you exactly in its place when you need it again. If you don’t need to file it, consider just recycling it right away instead. Avoid piles. (This is the hardest one for me personally.)
16. Do it. Agonizing over organizing methods isn’t going to change anything in your home unless you do. The. Work. Pin this post so you can read it again when you need a pick-me-up, then go get started!