Organizing 101: Resolve to declutter
The start of a new year is the perfect time to declutter. The effects are so immediately apparent, they'll give you a sense of accomplishment -- the perfect mindset for tackling more challenging goals.
How do I get started?
Begin with whatever irritates you most. Is it piles of paper on the kitchen counter or, perhaps, a bulging bedroom closet? Organizing the most annoying clutter zone will be motivating.
If the kitchen bugs you, tackle one section at a time, starting with what's most visible. The improvement will encourage you to continue till the room is clutter-free.
Incorporating decluttering into your lifestyle is actually about forming a new habit, and you know how challenging that can be! The first three weeks will be difficult, but after the first month or so, you'll be over the hump. Keep decluttering in perspective: it shouldn't take over your life. It's a small, short activity that you do so your home works well and looks good, and so you have time to do what you like.
Do one job at a time
It's easy to get pulled into another clutter zone and desert the job you started. Don't. Then you'll have two partially decluttered areas, and it will look like you've accomplished nil. Stick to one part of one room till it's complete.
Set a time limit
Don't say, Today I'll organize the garage. Instead, say, I'll spend an hour on the gardening tools; next week I'll work on sports equipment. If you haven't finished in an hour, keep going, or return to the job another day.
Lead image courtesy of Crate and Barrel
Establish a routine
Set a regular schedule based on your lifestyle and personality: for instance, 10 minutes a day, two hours each weekend, or a full day once a month. A little time spent decluttering daily is definitely the best way to maintain order once it's been achieved.
Purchase six bins that are easy to carry and to see into. Label them: Keep in This Room, Store Elsewhere, Give Away, Garbage/Recycling, Repair, Not Sure. Sort items from an area into these bins; organize what you plan on keeping and then get rid of the rest as quickly as possible.
Once you've whittled down your possessions, move each to a proper home to avoid creating more clutter. Store an object closest to where you use it, but also consider how often it's used, giving premier real estate to the most frequently used objects in an area. For instance, saffron probably wouldn't be placed in front of salt on the spice shelf.
Find an emotional rescue
When clearing clutter becomes emotionally daunting, take a break. If you keep setting a time to return but never do, ask yourself, Do I want to face this now? If you don't want to, then don't. You'll do it when you're ready. However, if you want to face the clutter (and the emotional stuff), don't go it alone -- ask a friend to help, or hire a professional organizer. In the meantime, move on to a less emotionally charged job, like the junk drawer. And congratulate yourself for facing something that intimidated you. That's reason enough to celebrate a new year.
For tips on getting your home organized and how to keep it that way, find everything you need in our home organization section.