Stay Organized: How to Stick to Your New Year’s Resolution
You have old clothes stashed in your closet that haven’t been worn in years. Stacks of junk mail litter your kitchen table, forcing you and your family to eat on the sofa every night. Piles of sports equipment, old tools and furniture you inherited from a distant uncle fill your garage to a point where it has become your new storage unit – and you are in constant distress. Does this description fit you? Ok, maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration but if you’re reading this it’s likely because becoming more organized is one of your New Year’s resolutions but you know you need help.
If only we could each hire a Joanna Gaines or a Marie Kondo and squeeze them for ideas on how to get started and successfully achieve our objectives. Alas, most of us can’t hire famous professionals to come to our homes to organize for us – but we can learn from them and adapt their best practices to our situations and capabilities.
Here are a handful of ideas selected to help you achieve your resolution, your organization goals and use the time you have available to create a successful plan that fits your lifestyle and specific needs.
Keep a Task List
It may seem simple, but the first step is crucial: start to keep a task list!
As much as we all try to remember our to-do’s, having them written down allows us to view the overall picture, come up with a plan of attack and set realistic goals and timeframes to complete each task. Everyone, however, has a different way they like to keep track of their task lists and goals. Some prefer to do it digitally while others utilize a whiteboard, planner, or notepad. Honestly, we recommend going digital. Of course, it’s your choice BUT digital is the way of the future. If you are so digitally inclined, we recommend using the Reminders app on your smart phone or downloading the Todoist or Microsoft To Do from the app store.
Regardless of where you keep your list, you’ll want it to be easily accessible no matter your location. This way you can access and update it quickly as tasks come up and your goals are achieved.
Consolidate Your Calendars
We all have work related events and personal ones, too, as well as generic tasks to keep track of each week. Using multiple calendars and having events in various locations only increases your time managing them and the potential of missing an important engagement. Cue the anxiety!
Use a digital calendar where you can create tasks and schedule events in one place. With digital calendars you can color code dates or appointments to help keep you organized. If you have an iPhone, you can ask Siri to add or change an event and you can even share your calendar at the drop of a hat.
TIP: If you have a shared calendar at work or home, you can tag the events as private so the details of the events you specify are not visible. Just a word of caution that if a user has permission to edit your calendar, they will still see the full event details.
Let’s Grow Together
Now that we’ve talked about creating a task list and managing your calendar, let’s discuss execution. First and foremost, do not attempt to organize everything in one sitting. Instead, take the one area that is causing you the most distress and start to work your way out.
How can you assess which room contributes to your most distress? We recommend you take a stroll of your home and note everything you’d like to do in order to have it function the way you prefer. The room that has the largest task list – save for last. You may be surprised to read this, but the most common reason people do not get organized is because they give up! That can occur from not having a plan but more often than not it’s due to being overwhelmed. Trust us – start with the easiest room and work your way up to the most difficult.
TIP: Clean your most disorganized room once a week (and you can make time to do so by adding it to your task list and calendar!)
The question remains: how do you start to tackle a mountain of clutter?
- Be prepared. Have a work-space dedicated where you can create piles, such as trash, donate & refile. Refile is for items you will store elsewhere in your home. Tools like a trash bag, plastic bins with lids and cardboard boxes will facilitate this endeavor.
- Pick up large items and small items from the floor first. Then, do the same with your furniture.
- Then, start with one corner of the room and move clockwise as you declutter.
- Ascertain any additional storage needs you may have as you move through and make notes for future purchases. For example, you have discovered the dogs chew toys don’t have their own bin, there’s nowhere to put coats or you’ve outgrown your laundry hampers.
Remember, the key to successfully decluttering and organizing your home will be discipline and hard work.
Learn from Success
When you find that your organization goals have been achieved, be sure to take note of the steps you took and any behaviors that have changed as a result. Take note as well of any steps that did not work or were redundant. We recommend you store these notes digitally for safekeeping and easy access. Something to consider as well is your process will be living and breathing, meaning as you continue to repeat your cleaning and organizing methods you will find further redundancies and will adjust accordingly.
Every organizer has their own way of adapting best practices to accommodate their preferences. What works for you may not work for your friend or sister or wife! If it works, however, stick to it. You will continue to be successful and apply what you have learned from the process in the future.
According to Business Insider, only 8% of New Year’s resolutions are kept. While that may be a discouraging statistic, note that your New Year’s resolution to stay organized is not in vain.
Keeping a digital task list and symbiotic calendar will prepare you to tackle your goals. Your calendar and task list, in tandem with the proper tools and a pragmatic approach, will build your confidence to execute.
Interested in learning more about getting organized or The Closet Works’ custom closet installations? Contact us today for a free design consultation with our professional designers.