It’s the end of January, and the perfect time to check in with those New Year’s Resolutions. Have you been keeping up? If not, here are 10 ways to get organized now for a better 2014.
1) Make Lists
Sometimes the biggest problem is that we don’t actually know what we need to do or how much time we have to do it. We wander through the grocery store, darting up and down aisles, looking for forgotten items. We start steam cleaning the carpets and then realize we forgot to dust, or that our kids’ friends are coming over. All of these absent-minded situations could be avoided with the use of lists.
2) Dispose Ruthlessly
Less is more. And if you want an organized home, less stuff equals more organization. If you’re not using it, you probably don’t need it. Sure, there are the situations when you spend $200 on a drill that you use once every other year, and that’s fine, but make sure you have a storage spot for those kinds of items. There’s no reason for a drill you use once in a blue moon to hog valuable real estate in the house. If it’s a useless kitchen accessory, just taking up space, get rid of it! Gift it, donate it, or pack it up.
3) Give Everything a Place
Which leads us to the next tip: give everything a home. No matter what it is, it needs a place to live. If that’s a water bottle or thermos you take to work everyday, your house slippers, or even your kids’ lunchboxes, create a space for these items and make sure they are placed there every day!
4) Go Paperless
You should be paperless in every single way possible. Maybe you need to have a paper notepad or planner, but you shouldn’t be receiving bank and credit card statements in the mail, and you should opt out of weekly circulars and junk mail.
5) Stop Buying Stuff
Do you need a garlic press, zester, hand grater, box grater, and a food processor? Minimize the items you actually need, and hang on to those with multiple purposes. We would never tell you to get rid of those gray boots that go with everything in your closet! Just think twice before you buy the patent leather ones that only match one pair of pants.
6) Make Your Bed
Remember that thing about giving everything a place? Your duvet/bed comforter has a home, and it’s your bed. But if you leave it crumbled up at the foot of the bed, your room will automatically look messy and disorganized, because it is. The bed is a good place to do tasks like folding laundry, but when it is unmade, the actual task of folding laundry becomes more daunting. In fact, you’re much more likely to lose a stray sock if you’re trying to fold laundry on an unmade bed. Just make your bed, at least a little.
7) Create a Filing System
There are some things you can’t go completely paperless with, like some coupons, receipts, and statements from ancient student loan companies who can’t get with the program. This is why you need a filing system. Make it accessible but tucked out of sight. If you have a secretary desk, this is a great place to organize these items.
8) Clean Out Your Food Storage
This means fridge, freezer, pantry, cabinets; clean them out completely! You might not be able to do it all at one time, but if you’re heading out of town for a few days, think of this as a great time to really empty out the contents of your fridge, check expiration dates, and give it a good cleaning. The freezer is sometimes a place where frozen fruits go to die. Avoid this by keeping it clean, free of ice build up, and ready for use and food storage at all times.
9) Cook in Bulk
A good way to free up time and energy for other pursuits is to spend less time in the kitchen; however, that can be difficult if your other resolution was to eat more healthy homemade meals. Solution? Cook in bulk and utilize your freezer for soups, lasagna, chili, muffins, and other easily frozen items. Keep a list on the fridge of items in the freezer and the dates they were put there. Now your kids can easily feed themselves a healthy homemade frozen meal!
10) Use an App or Planner
Whether you’re in love with apps like Evernote and Flow, or you prefer using a standard planner that fits in your purse or briefcase, it’s important to have a way to keep tasks, thoughts, and ideas organized, instead of letting them run rampant around your brain while you’re busy working on something else. Be sure you have a plan that keeps everything organized in one place!