Home Organizing Tips to Start the New Year
With the New Year approaching, I know a lot of people are thinking about getting better organized. Of course I think that is a noble goal. I really believe things are just more fun and easier when we are organized.
If you are thinking about getting better organized, here are some ideas to help you in your process.
Before you begin, figure out what you most want to accomplish, and start there. Give that your all until it is complete. Don’t let yourself wander from project to project, because you won’t be able to have the satisfaction and inspiration of looking at an organized and inviting space.
Set up boxes ahead of time for things that will need to be delivered to someone or somewhere else and a trash can for things that will be thrown away. Also set one up for things that need to go somewhere else in your home or office. That way you won’t run out of the room the first time you come across something that goes somewhere else and get distracted by another potential organizing project. :)
Begin sorting through your stuff and putting it into broad categories. This will let you see what you have and decide what you want to keep and what you want to get rid of. Things you are getting rid of get put into the containers you set up before you got started.
Get a friend to come and help if you get stuck here. Not only is organizing a lot more fun when done with other people, it is far more effective—particularly if you are someone who has trouble getting rid of things.
Judith Kohlberg, author of Conquering Chronic Disorganization, developed the concept of “Kinesthetic Sympathy.” According to Kohlberg, if you are someone who has a hard time letting go of things, you are five times more likely to want to keep something if you touch it. So your organizing buddy can hold stuff up for you, and from a slight distance you can decide what to keep and what to let go of.
Once you know what you are keeping, you can begin to assign locations for things based on the concept of “organizing zones.” Put like with like, according to how you use it and where you use it. That way, when you go to look for something like a hammer, it is in a zone with other tools and you can easily and reliably find it when you need it.
Of course finding that hammer will also involve putting it away when you are finished using it. I’m not always quite as good at this part as I am during the initial organizing, but when everything actually does have a place, it makes it much easier to clean up—even if things get really messy in between clean up times.
Notice I haven’t said anything yet about containers? That’s because you don’t need to go get containers first thing. You don’t actually do that until you know what you are keeping, where you will be putting it, and what size container you need. Don’t start your organizing project with buying containers first. It’s a rookie mistake that everyone makes.
“Getting organized” can be a long process, so set small goals for yourself to feel successful, celebrate and enjoy your successes, and get help when you need it.