Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Organizing for the New Year!

Organizing for the New Year
by Lisa Rosendahl

One of the top New Year’s resolutions for many people is to get organized. So many people feel confused and disorganized in every area of their lives and get easily overwhelmed. That’s why the best tip for getting organized is this: do just a little at a time. If you feel disorganized, you didn’t get that way overnight. So don’t expect to get organized overnight, or even in one week.
Here are a few tips for getting organized:

Think about the “why” behind the “what.” Let’s say that one spot in your kitchen gets the brunt of the paperwork and more often than not, you see more piles in that space than counter. Why is that? Is it because it’s easy to access? Is it in a central location in the home?

Write down the areas in your life you want to organize. Be specific: don’t just write “the house,” write “the kids’ craft cabinet,” or “kitchen cupboards”.

Involve other people. Tackling an organizing project with your spouse or kids is more fun, it holds you accountable to finishing it and there’s a better chance the organized space will last longer since they’ll want to take ownership of the project. If you can’t get your family to help, ask a friend about keeping you accountable, while doing the same for her organizing to-do list. Together, set a date for tackling your individual tasks, and when you’re done, celebrate with a coffee date.

Don’t wait for perfection. I love organizing supplies: perfectly matched labels, boxes in colors to match my decor, divider trays for every possible supply. These things are expensive and they can become just more stuff to hold your stuff. You don’t need fancy equipment to get organized. Reuse glass jars to house pantry items. Washed yogurt, sour cream, and cream cheese containers are great for craft supplies. Cardboard file boxes work well for clothes out of season. Cover them in scrapbook paper, if you want them to look pretty.

If in doubt, throw it out. Always have a “maybe” box in your home. If you’re not sure whether you need something, put it there (and put the box out of sight). If you haven’t retrieved the item in six months you don’t need it. Get rid of it. There are great charities willing to take your donated items.

Accept the fact that managing a home means organizing it regularly. It gets easier and faster the more you do it, because you’ll keep less stuff and you’ll recall where things are. So don’t be discouraged when you organize. Again.

Once you get areas of your home organized you’ll have more time to spend doing things you enjoy and you’ll feel less stressed--which is the goal of those New Year’s resolutions.

Lisa is a former Professional Organizer and is currently the Manager of the Columbus Art Gallery. She considers spending an afternoon in the container department of Home Depot a good time.

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