5 Steps to Get Organized in the New Year

By Sarah Buckwalter      

Did you know getting organized can help you with all of your New Year's resolutions?

Being organized will free up the time and energy you need to tackle the other things on your list. Being organized means more time to spend with your family, more energy to exercise, maybe even more money to do all the things you’ve dreamed of!

Whatever your New Year’s resolution; the first step is to get organized. Here are five steps to help you organize any space.

Getting Started: Set small goals and stay focused.

If you are feeling overwhelmed with the idea of tackling everything, break it down into mini organizing sessions. Start with a drawer, closet, or small corner of a room. Stay focused on that one part of the project until it is complete.

Step 1: De-clutter

Start with the obvious. The simplest way to begin is to do a sweep of your house and collect items that are obvious trash. Take a recycling bin and garbage bag and collect things such as expired coupons, holiday catalogs, magazines, and old newspapers. This is an easy task that will give you an immediate sense of accomplishment. Once you’ve found some motivation, move to the next level and start collecting items to donate or sell.

Tip: Find a reason to let it go. If you’re feeling guilty about getting rid of things, then do something good with them. Make some money by selling your items online or through consignment. Or, donate them to your favorite charity and take a tax deduction.

Step 2: Sort and Categorize

Here is where you want to give it some thought. Think about how you use the item and where you will most easily find it again. It’s all about what makes sense to you. Keep it simple by choosing broad categories such as office supplies, toys, and sporting goods. Avoid miscellaneous categories, which allow you to postpone decisions.

Step 3: Contain

Clutter usually accumulates because items have no home. So, make a home for everything. Once you’ve sorted and categorizes, it should be easy to find the right size containers for everything. Choose containers that are large enough for the items they are storing, but that also fit the space where they are being stored.

Tip: Identify your clutter hot-spots. We all have areas in our home where clutter tends to collect. We walk in the house and drop our mail on the counter and it piles up right there. Instead of fighting habit, just contain it. Look at where clutter collects and set up attractive ways to organize it. Place a decorative bowl or basket where mail and keys tend to fall. Can’t make it to the coat closet? Put up hooks where you tend to throw your jacket. (We like these Command Large Plastic Hooks)

Step 4: Label

Label everything and there will be no more rifling through boxes or drawers to find something. This will also ensure that everyone in your family knows where items live, so items can be retrieved and put away without effort.

Step 5: Maintain

Once you have systems in place, take just a few minutes each day to maintain them and you’ll never have to worry about clutter pilling up again.

Sarah Buckwalter is a Certified Professional Organizer and the owner of Organizing Boston. With over 13 years of experience, Sarah is highly regarded and nationally recognized as an expert in her field. Recently, she has appeared several times on the hit television series, "Hoarding: Buried Alive" on TLC. Sarah’s website is www.OrganizingBoston.com.