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Ask Erin

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In AskErin
Jan 9th, 2017
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Resolutions For An Organized New Year

article by Erin Sharplin Love
erinlove@panachebyerin.com

With each new year comes a fresh start and a chance to make ourselves a bit better than we were the year before.  What will you do to make yourself better in 2017?  Commit to exercising every day?   Go vegetarian one day a week?  Commit to a personal growth schedule?  How about getting organized?

It just so happens that “getting organized” is one of the top resolutions made every year! Taking the time to get control of your life results in huge benefits- like reducing stress and saving money and time – yet few ever completely follow through with it!  If you are thinking of making organizing a priority in 2017, let me keep you from becoming a statistic.   I have created a list of resolutions that you can make today to keep you organized all year long – and for the years to come!

RESOLUTION #1: One in, One out

This is the perfect place to start, given the fact that Christmas just passed and your home is probably filled with toys and extra clutter that has not found a home yet.  As you put each present away, commit to donating or tossing an item of similar or exact nature.  Sometimes you must get rid of the old to make room for the new.

RESOLUTION #2: Use it, Replace it  

Simply put, if you use an item, put it back where it goes immediately after use.  If you begin implementing this resolution immediately, I can guarantee that it will become a habit quickly and will limit the clutter in your home.  If you have young children and husbands (sorry guys, but you are lacking in this category), it may take a bit longer for this resolution to become a habit.  Yet, there is hope if you lead by example with this resolution and help each family member see that if an item is replaced, it can easily be found again.

RESOLUTION #3: Seasonal Edits

Commit to combing through your clothing, shoes, and accessories at the beginning of each new season.  As I said in the first resolution, you must get rid of the old to make room for the new.  During these editing sessions, take note of what you wore most often and what you wore the least.  Do you need to update anything?  Are you happy with the direction your personal style is going?  If not, this is the perfect time for a refresh!

RESOLUTION #4 – Shop With a Plan and a Purpose

Avoid buying unneeded items which will eventually lead to clutter by always going shopping with a plan and a purpose.  Impulse buying is hard to avoid unless you are prepared and focused, so before doing any kind of shopping (grocery, clothing, etc.), make a list of the items you need and promise yourself that you will not vary from the list for any reason.

RESOLUTION #5: Love it or Lose it

Never let guilt keep you from donating or tossing an item that you don’t love.  As a professional organizer, I frequently have clients who say “but Aunt Rita gave it to me and I hate to get rid of it.”  In my opinion, Aunt Rita wouldn’t want you to keep something that isn’t loved and isn’t being used.  Pass it on to someone who will love it and use it!

RESOLUTION #6: Streamline Everyday Tasks

You know how they say that “cleanliness is akin to Godliness?”  Well, I think that preparation is akin to Godliness!  Being prepared saves time and stress!  I suggest creating “stations” for everything from the simplest of things, like coffee and tea items, to the more important things, like first aid and medicine or stain-removal items.  You can even go so far as to create an emergency preparedness area in case disaster strikes.  For instance, consider what you might have needed during the recent flooding in our area.

RESOLUTION #7: Take Action Immediately

When you have an item, such as mail in your hand, you have a choice – will you idly set it down anywhere, or will you take action and immediately place it in a pre-determined location?  If you choose the latter, I can guarantee that you will soon see less clutter in your surroundings and, thus, you will feel more relaxed and in control of your life and surroundings.  This resolution doesn’t apply to only mail.  You should follow this procedure with EVERYTHING you touch throughout the day.  If you can take immediate action, do it.  Take a few seconds or minutes now to save you a few hours or days later!

RESOLUTION #8: Write it Down

Finally, I suggest keeping a notebook or journal with you to jot down “to-do” lists, shopping lists, ideas, etc.  It’s best to use one notebook at a time so you won’t get overwhelmed and confused, thus thwarting your efforts and rendering this resolution useless.  I also suggest dividing the notebook into sections based on what you will be jotting down.  You could even purchase a three to five-subject notebook if you enjoy perfectly divided sections.  Be sure to label each section, and keep it with you at all times.  You never know when an idea will pop into your head!

So…what is your New Year resolution?  I hope it involves your incorporating one, or all, of my tips above!  Please feel free to keep me up-to-date on your progress!