The New Year is all about new beginnings, which is why the National Association of Productivity & Organizing Professionals (NAPO) has designated January as National Get Organized Month. You don’t have to hire a professional to get organized and a little bit of work done now can make the rest of your year much easier.
No matter how disorganized you currently are, you can improve and make it stick. Staying organized is about creating habits so anyone can learn to get and stay organized. In the spirit of the holiday, resolutions, and the month, here are some tips to help you create a calmer, more organized life.
- Plan for productivity
- Gather supplies
- Love it or need it?
- Keep things clear
- Keep the best, not everything
- How to Stay Organized
- In and out
First, pick your starting point, using one of two philosophies. Some experts say to pick a spot that’s an “easy win,” meaning something you can accomplish quickly and easily. This way you get the momentum rolling and feel successful, spurring further action. The other philosophy is to pick the spot that annoys you the most or is the most difficult so that the trouble spot is conquered.
Before you start, make sure you have trash bags and empty boxes, plus tape and markers. You want to make it easy to throw away the trash, hence the trash bags. Items to be recycled or donated can go in bags or boxes, depending upon your preference. You might also want a bag or box designated for items that need to be repaired.
As you’re sorting through items, how do you decide what to keep and what to let go? Experts say you should only keep what you love or what you need. That sweater that was a gift but looks terrible on you? Let it go. The Funko Pop that makes you smile every time you see it? Keep it. The turkey rack and meat thermometer you use once or twice a year to make holiday meals? Keep them. The rice cooker you used once, three years ago? Donate it or sell it. The general rule of thumb is that if you haven’t used it in the past year, let it go. If you do use it, but infrequently, consider putting it into storage.
Flat surfaces tend to be clutter magnets. Some experts say to limit the number of flat surfaces to avoid that, but it’s probably far more practical to develop the habit of clearing the space every day.
International organizing expert Peter Walsh says that the hardest type of clutter to cleanout is “memory clutter” – treasures that hold a special kind of memory or that are truly one-of-a-kind and can’t be replaced. Common forms of memory clutter are things like your children’s artwork or souvenirs from places that you’ve gone to. Walsh recommends keeping only a sample or two, not every item of this type of clutter.
Once you have things orderly, you can keep them that way by decluttering regularly. Taking 10 minutes before you go to bed or as soon as you come home from work today and put things in the right place will make a big difference. Stop mental clutter by making lists – that’s proven to lower stress and actually helps memory. You can find more tips on getting and staying organized here.
Some people adopt the in-and-out rule. That means when you buy a non-perishable item, you get rid of one so you don’t gradually increase the amount of your belongings.
Box&Co. Makes It Easy to Get Organized
When you’re ready to get organized and store items only used occasionally, Box&Co. can make things incredibly easy for you. All you have to do is ask for storage containers, and we deliver them. Then, you pack your items and when you’re ready, we’ll pick your stuff up and store them. We’ll return your items when they’re needed, and you can keep track of your stored items online. To learn more or to begin organizing your space, contact us today.