How to get organized for the New Year
Well, it’s been two weeks since the ball dropped in Times Square, which means many of us are getting around to deciding how we are going to implement those resolutions we made. It’s one thing to make a resolution, it’s another to make it happen.
If creating better organization in your home is on the list it can only be achieved by making a detailed and realistic plan and then initiating action to meet your goals. Your likelihood of success will increase if your plan is feasible and maintainable.
Here are some tips on creating an effective organization strategy.
1. Identify Your Problem Areas
We make resolutions because we want to do better, to make our lives easier and less stressful. But you can’t fix ineffective organization by just thinking about it or even by simply tidying your home. You’ve got to look at the big picture and then delve into the details. To do the job right will take some thought.
If you first identify the areas in your home that are causing problems, you are well on the way to sorting those problems out. Where there’s a problem, there’s a cause. If your foyer or mudroom tends to be a dumping zone for coats, book bags, shoes, mail, and any and all things, that’s probably a good place to start. You have identified the problem. Most likely it is because you have never created a plan to determine what the best storage solution might entail to make the clutter disappear by making it easier for your family to put things exactly where they belong. A place for everything and everything in its place. The more focused you are in zeroing in on each particular problem, the closer you are to creating a solution. And that’s where you start.
2. Decide on What You Love
If you own something, you should love it. That’s what organization guru Marie Kondo, author of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing, says. But if you’re like most people, your home has plenty of things that you’ve collected for no apparent reason or no longer use. This is the time to separate what you want to keep from what doesn’t make you happy.
This step takes time, but it’s one of the most important for getting your home in order. Examine belongings hands-on so you can decide what makes the cut. Do you need a beautiful orange shirt if you never wear orange? Something that hasn’t fit for a while, or is out of style? You can and should purge the things that you don’t need to get the ball rolling. For now, you’re starting by setting aside the things that no longer have use, or meaning, in your life.
3. Define Your Categories
There are a lot of methodologies for home organization. Once you have identified each of the problem areas and were able to separate the wheat from the chaff, so to speak, you’re ready to employ a technique for next steps. One such approach is to define categories for your belongings. This is probably different to the way you’ve tried to organize in the past, but One Kings Lane editor Cate La Farge Summers swears that it works. If you go room-by-room, you’re not operating at peak efficiency. Things that have lived forever in one area of your home might find their way to another. In this way, you are really looking at the broad view of potential causes and making a plan that could impact many areas at once. Ideally, it would also positively impact your routines to make them easier and more efficient.
It may be helpful to think of this in a more global way (i.e. whole house) so that your ultimate plan and solution create a flow that makes all of the interactions between you and your “things”. For most people, when they apply this plan, it becomes quite exciting and that will stimulate you to act on your resolution for the true betterment of your home and your life.
4. Set Aside Time For Tackling Nostalgia
If there’s one thing to avoid in the initial decluttering and organizing stages, it’s everything that’s nostalgic. Pick up a box of photos, and the next thing you know you’ve lost a whole afternoon. This is partly a procrastination method, even if you don’t realize it. It’s also simple human nature.
Save nostalgic items for a time when your plan is well underway and you feel up to reviewing items that might be sentimental. When it’s time to pare down your items, ask yourself why an item feels sentimental, whether you’ll use it in the future and if someone else would get more use out of it. Answering these questions, as well as following some other tips on how to preserve the memory without keeping every physical memento, can help you honor sentimental things in your life.
5. Consider Custom Organization Systems
The more space you have to store your things, the better off you’ll be, right? Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. More cabinets and shelves don’t make you more efficient and it’s likely that you can make much better use of the space you have available.
That’s where custom organization systems come in. A custom closet, office, pantry, storage room, wall unit, mudroom or garage can help you give all of your “categories” a home—and make it easier for you to stay organized. Once you’ve put a decluttering plan in place and sorted through your things, a trained and experienced Designer can take a look at what’s left, the space you have to store all of it and make recommendations. Some parts of your solution may best be simple, and some you may prefer spectacular, but that is all part of the process.
Please remember that nobody snaps their fingers and is instantly organized. Start at the beginning, do the intellectual work and then when you have some ideas as to what is what please reach out to us for a free, in-home consultation. We can make your dream a reality!