Every time the calendar flips from one year to the next, every one of us resolve to work out more, lose weight, quit smoking, reduce debt or finally take that the much needed vacation. But have you given much thought to getting your house in order? Are you tired of staring at all of those plastic bins crammed with clothes, that you haven’t worn in 3 years or with toys your kids have outgrown?
The New Year is the perfect time to stop procrastinating, and start organizing you home, your life and your mind.
Here are 17 steps to help you get your New Year off to a well organized start.
1. Start small: Use a printable list for your shopping, organize your closet, then your freezer. Take it one step at a time.
2. Use one calendar for everything. Having everything in one location is the most obvious advantage. Instead of toggling between multiple planners, everything that’s important can be found in one place, shaving off seconds that add up to hours – making your life that much easier.
3. Establish daily, weekly and monthly routines. Planning for success is important but actually making it happen is where the real work begins. For example, break large goals into sub goals (getting in better shape). From there you can set aside 20-30 minutes a week to create a plan of attack for the up-coming week (think meal prepping). Then schedule your week and days with the tasks you need to accomplish. Breaking these tasks up into daily tasks will not only make your larger goals easier to reach, but also helps you stay on task as you incorporate these things into your daily life.
4. Set MANAGEABLE goals . A daily journal can have a powerful tool for achieving your goals. You can even think of journaling as a self-coaching session. There can be HUGE benefits to journaling.
5. Divide and conquer is the mantra of many organizers. It works by breaking a project down into each goal, then allows you to break it down even further, into smaller parts.
6. Finding a home for everything is decluttering 101. A place for everything and everything in it’s place. Here’s a simple solution. Keep like with like! Books belong on a bookshelf, pots and pans belong together, cleaning supplies stay together. I know this seems redundant, but I want to reinforce the point: put things of the same category together.
7. Stamp out piles of mail (😤). This is my downfall. I don’t know why I have the need to horde catalogs, when I don’t need anything, I’m not looking to purchase anything and truthfully don’t have the space for not another “thing”. Make it easier on yourself and keep a trash can close to your mail pile to assist in sorting trash from say bills that are due.
8. Enlist help! Are you the type that prefers to do everything yourself? Do you get overwhelmed because you do too much? I am guilty of NOT asking for help because it seems faster, easier or less complicated if I just do it myself, but I’ve learned (especially more recently) that this isn’t always beneficial. Delegating smaller tasks allows me to focus on more important ones. WIN/WIN!
9. Make a long-term commitment. Organizing doesn’t end after you’ve completed the first steps in cleaning house. You have to regularly pick things up and put them in their designated place. It also helps if you are flexible with your organization plans. As our lives and schedules change, our plans will need to be re-evaluated and changed.
10. Take advantage of technology. The good news is you probably have the technology in your pocket that can help you follow through on your resolution – automation in the form of reminder apps. These free tools can help provide a constant reminder of the work that needs to be done.
11. Track your progress. Mark down each day that you are successful in keeping your resolution. Seeing the chain of success may motivate you to keep it going.
12. Celebrate your success. Set goals where monthly milestones, if achieved are celebrated with something fun. For me, it’s a steak dinner out with my sister. It keeps me motivated.
13. Keep investing in relationships matter. We live in a time where communication is easy regardless of physical distance. Make an effort to stay in touch with friends and family that are influential in your personal development. Plan deep memorable bonding experiences with the people closest to you. You find the toxic, meaningless relationships fall to the way side on their own.
14. Give yourself some space. Space can come in many forms, physical, emotional or mental. Are you the type, always assisting others and often losing time for yourself? It’s ok to say “NO”! It’s not selfish, it’s you giving yourself some much-needed space.
15. Take care of yourself. Losing weight, getting more sleep and cutting back on (ahem … alcohol) are all self-care resolutions. Don’t see them as things you’re punishing yourself for but as ways to take better care of you. You come first.
16. Treat your time and energy with respect. Procrastination, excessive social media usage, and other wastes of resources – affect your time and energy. To combat procrastination, my husband reminds me of the “whooshing noise deadlines make as they go by.” A joy he is, my husband.
17. FORGIVE YOURSELF. One of the biggest things getting in the way of accomplishing goals is the “all or nothing” mentality. The all-or-nothing mentality tells you to give up and continue eating haphazardly for the rest of the day, and instead start over again – perfectly – tomorrow. This doesn’t work for the majority of people.
Instead, remember that your journey is a long one, and that conditions do not have to be perfect in order for you to make small progress. Instead, focus on doing the right things more often, and forgive yourself when you slip up. Don’t give up if it’s not perfect – just recognize your mistakes and move past them. That’s where true progress comes from.