Ask Erin: Organizing Resolutions for 2016
article by Erin Sharplin Love
Each year, Real Simple Magazine, lists “getting organized” as one of the top five resolutions people make. After all, just starting the organizing process is daunting to most people, and staying organized seems even more overwhelming. Between our careers and our families, there seems little time for anything else! But here is the good news: THERE IS TIME! You just need to make the commitment, understand the process and then develop the persistence to keep the system going. Let me help.
FIRST, MAKE THE COMMITMENT.
I can’t make the commitment for you, but I can give you about three good reasons getting organized will pay off in the long run!
1. Getting organized will save you time! Think about all of the time you waste searching for things – keys, wallet, receipts, that one certain jar top…the list can go on.
2. Getting organized will save you money! How many times have you repurchased an item you thought you lost only to find it when you get home? This happens a lot with food and toiletries.
3. Getting organized will save your sanity! How stressful are your mornings? Imagine the bliss of starting the day with a perfectly organized home.
SECOND, UNDERSTAND THE PROCESS.
As with every other endeavor, there is a process you should follow when organizing your home. Below are the steps that I always use when I take on an organizing job for a client.
1. Assess your work spaces. Determine if the routine you have now is really working. If what you are doing isn’t making things easier and saving time, ask yourself where you can make changes and how you can streamline the tasks you perform each day.
2. Make a plan. If you could design the “perfect” kitchen, bathroom, playroom, etc., what would they look like and how would having such an organized home give you more time and personal satisfaction? Think about it and then start putting this plan into action! Actually designing something on paper will make changes easier to implement.
3. Go shopping. I always try to imagine what I will need for an organizing project and make sure I am prepared. The fewer stops I have to make during the process the better.
4. Create a clean slate. In other words, remove everything from the space you are organizing! I like to work from another space or room where it is easier to sort items.
5. Begin creating your vision. Break each part of the project down into smaller steps and begin returning everything to the room/area, only this time, making organized changes.
6. Put your final touch on the project. Maybe the final touch is a beautiful plant or a memorable picture. Infuse your own style into everything you do.
THIRD, DEVELOP THE PERSISTENCE TO KEEP YOUR SYSTEM GOING.
This is the hard part – it means creating a change in your habits and, therefore, forming new habits. You must use self-discipline to get you through this step in the organizing process.
TEN CHANGES YOU CAN MAKE RIGHT NOW:
Once you see the changes these simple steps can make, hopefully you will be inspired to keep going.
1. Change your hangers so that all match! I prefer clear, heavy-duty, plastic hangers. They are durable and create a boutique-like atmosphere in your closet.
2. Go through that stack of mail and stop it from happening again. Get in the habit of going through your mail immediately upon entering your home. Place a trash can or shredder next to the door you typically enter, trash all junk mail and then place the rest in a pretty basket.
3. Gather all loose shoes and place them in a decorative tray. I leave one next to the back door and by the side door that we use the most.
4. Organize your junk drawer. We all have one; it just needs to be a bit more organized so that you can actually find what you need, when you need it. Make sure it contains only important, useable items, though.
5. Clear the floor in each of your closets. To do this, look at the vertical space you have that isn’t being fully utilized. For instance, can you add a shelf extender to the top shelf of the closet? Is there a hanging rod with room to hold a three or six shelf sweater organizer? (Hint – I use sweater organizers to organize everything from shoes, to jeans, to towels, to cleaning supplies!)
6. Clear and organize the kitchen counters. The kitchen is full of flat areas which almost always attract clutter, so avoid that trap by creating pretty and convenient landing areas to make items that do land there seem more unobtrusive. For instance, a pretty basket or tray is great because each is easy to move and will typically hold a lot of small items. I also suggest removing any rarely- used appliances from the countertops. The less cluttered and clean the counters, the more organized the kitchen will look.
7. Make your bed every morning. This suggestion might sound a bit strange, but keeping your bedroom neat will make an immediate and huge difference in how organized the rest of your house looks and feels.
8. Make a master shopping list and post it prominently. Type out a list of the items you shop for the most and keep it where you can check each item off as supplies get low. Better yet, organize the shopping list according to the layout of the stores you frequent, too!
9. Keep a donate bin in each closet. As you see an item that you no longer want or need, toss it into the bin. When it is full, take the bin to your car so you can drop it off at your favorite charity while you are out and about.
10. Plan the next day the night before. I saved the best tip for last! Always, always prepare for the next day, the night before! Choose an outfit for yourself and your children, pack your bag and theirs, locate keys and important papers, etc. If you take the time to do this, I promise you will avoid a huge amount of stress!
So, are you going to keep your organizing resolutions for 2016? I know you can do it!