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Getting Organized for the New Year

Where NOT to start:

Don’t start with a huge project that will take you weeks to complete!  This will kill your momentum and motivation faster than you can imagine!

Start with a small project or area in your house that you can tackle fairly quickly and easily – a kitchen drawer or a shelf in your closet or garage.  A series of small successes will make you feel good and keep you motivated to do more.  While organizing the entire kitchen, closet or garage may be your ultimate goal, tackling it a bit at a time is the best strategy.

Combatting the Clutter:

Do NOT let the clutter overwhelm you! The majority of these things will be easy to throw out due to the nature of the items. Clutter isn’t caused by large, expensive items that you struggle to make decisions about.  It is a series of $2.00 decisions that can be made easily and relatively risk free.  These items have become such a part of the landscape of your home that you don’t see them anymore.  You open up a cabinet or drawer and your eyes don’t even register these items – they have been around so long they are invisible!

Examples of these items:

  • Old disposable cameras
  • Cheap baskets from holiday gifts
  • Old paint in the garage from the previous homeowner
  • Cables and cords to electronics you don’t own anymore
  • Last year’s school work

These are quick and easy throw-away items and once they’re gone there’s plenty of room left for possessions that matter.

Purge first, organize second:

A common mistake is to buy bins and baskets to organize with before the process even begins. Before you spend money on these products, first purge!  Once you have purged, you can assess what kind of organizing tools you will need.  For example, if you have fixed shelves in the cabinet and you are going to store things in boxes – you can now measure the space so that you can buy the right size boxes.  And based on your inventory levels, you will know how many boxes you need.

Organizing Tips:

  • Keep like items together
  • Who will need access to the items – if it is everyone, make sure it is easily accessible for all.
  • How often do you use this item?  If it’s the 48 cup coffee maker used 2x per year, then maybe store it in the garage or upstairs storage closet rather than the prime real estate in the kitchen.
  • Where does this item get used?  If you work on photo albums in the dining room table, then don’t store the supplies for this on the 4th floor.

Maintenance

Don’t beat yourself up when things get out of order!  It is inevitable that some of your systems will get disorganized over the course of time.  Schedule time to do maintenance work throughout the year.   When you invest just a few minutes to keep things organized BEFORE things get really bad, your systems will stay efficient and effective.