Did you know that twenty-five percent of resolution makers abandon their goals within a week? With that in mind, we’re spending this week talking about New Year’s resolutions and ways to help you accomplish your goals. We’ve covered budgeting, saving money and health goals so far. Today we’re talking about organization.
A lot of resolutions have to do with organization. From getting to work on time to redoing a closet, organization skills relate to almost all aspects in life. Maybe you need to organize a desk so you can actually use it to pay bills and do work. Perhaps the organization you need isn’t for a physical space but for your time instead.
Regardless of what you’re organizing, there are some things to keep in mind and to keep you on track.
People sometimes mistake organization with perfection. They think it’s an all-or-nothing deal where everything is tucked away in a neatly labeled box. They equate an organized home with an empty home. However, organizer Christina Scalise explained it best when she said “Organization isn’t about perfection. It’s about efficiency, reducing stress and clutter, saving time and money and improving your overall quality of life.”
Another common mistake is believing that everything can be fixed in a day. Instead of trying to organize your entire home in a day, try spacing it out over a period of weeks or months. Identify the hot spots that you want to hit first and then write out a schedule for going through each one. Plan to do one big thing a week or something small every night by scheduling time to work on it.
This month, you may start with the paper clutter, cleaning out the old and developing a system for filing the new. Next month you could work on clothes closets and dresser drawers while March is the month you finally attack your messy laundry room. Clutter and disorganization doesn’t happen in a day so it’s unrealistic to think it can be fixed in a day or two.
When it comes to organizing it’s important to visualize whatever you are trying to accomplish. If you wish to cook in a kitchen where everything is easily accessible, start by looking at the space and how you’re using it. Can you use the space more wisely? Do you really need everything you are storing? If you don’t bake, chances are you don’t need to keep a dozen cookie sheets. Sometimes we aren’t disorganized, we just are trying to store things we don’t need.
People often believe that the first step to organization is to run out and buy a bunch of containers but the best first step is actually to choose one small piece of the puzzle. Start with that cabinet crammed full of coffee mugs. You probably have a few favorites that you use every day but do you need three dozen mugs? Maybe they make you happy and they need to stay but chances are you could purge a few, or maybe even a lot.
Start by pulling out the things you never use, don’t like, or are broken and begin filling boxes for thrift store donations or for friends you think might appreciate your extras. Once you have purged the unneeded and unwanted, then you can take stock of what you own and begin thinking about how it will fit in your space. Your coffee mugs may fit on a smaller shelf now and would be better across the room, next to the coffee maker. That enormous roaster you only use on Thanksgiving could be stored in the back of the pantry or even in another room. If you like to bake, organize your mixing bowls, measuring cups and other baking supplies in one area to create a baking station.
In other words, think about how you use your possessions and store them accordingly.
This example is about a kitchen but the philosophy behind it can be applied to anything. Just remember not to feel overwhelmed. Start with one drawer, one shelf, one corner of a room and work out from there.
If you’re trying to organize your time, think about the root of your problems. A good calendar can fix a lot of problems. Planning for tomorrow can cure most others. Create a landing zone where you keep your keys, coat, handbag and anything that needs to leave with you such as library books or mail.
Try laying out your clothes and packing lunches the night before. Gather ingredients for tomorrow’s dinner and review your schedule to know who goes where and when. Just knowing what lies ahead and having the supplies you need will do wonders to improve your life and time management!
Remember, organization is not an event and it isn’t a destination: it’s a lifestyle. Work at it gradually and you will achieve your goals!