Out with the old and in with the new – and now that you’ve stepped into the new year, why not kick some of last year’s clutter, so you can start the year a little less disorderly. Now that we’re halfway through January and you’ve started working through those ever-important resolutions, take a little time to get a handle on the disarray in your everyday life. Some organizing can set the stage for a more orderly new year. Here are seven tips to get you off to a good start.
1. Decide what “disorganized” means to you
“Disorganized” can mean something different to everyone. What is it in your life that lacks organization — time, personal obligations, your home? Maybe it’s simply the fact that your closet looks like purgatory for old clothes, shoes, and magazines. Perhaps it’s the fact that you can’t keep your schedule on track, make healthy meals, or keep up with your things. Think about the parts of your life that need your attention the most because they feel unruly and chaotic.
2. Make a comprehensive list of what bugs you the most
Once you know what disorganization means to you in your life, sit down and do some brainstorming. Make a list of what is disorganized, and then make notes on what needs to be done to fix the issue. For example:
- Problem Point: Closet
- Problem: Disarray, clutter
- Need To Do: Buy more hangers, donate what you don’t wear, sort through shoes
3. Take notes from minimalists
The truth is, there can be value in fewer things. Not only does life get easier when you have less stuff to contend with, but it is also far easier to stay organized. Here are a few tips for living a more minimalist life:
- Limit home decor to what holds meaning.
- Think about why you keep certain items — are they useful or meaningful?
- Get rid of duplicates and multiples.
4. Clean up your outlying belongings
These are items that aren’t even a part of your living space – the things that get hauled around in your car, stuffed in a locker or desk drawer at work, and lugged around in your purse, briefcase, or gym bag. It can give you a great sense of mental clarity to sort, sift, and organize these items.
5. Etch out a clutter-free zone
This could be a physical space or place — a room, an office desk, or even your vehicle. Clean up this area and eradicate all forms of clutter. This one space can become your safe spot when you need absolute mental clarity away from a bunch of stuff, but it can also inspire you to declutter other areas in your life.
6. Find time sucks that keep you disorganized
One big reason people get to the point that they feel things are disorganized and chaotic, even when it comes to a cluttered closet, is time – or supposed lack thereof. With that in mind, consider where you could be losing time that could be better used. Here are a few of the ways people lose time in their day:
- We spend 13 hours a year on the phone on hold with customer service.
- We spend between 38 and 50 hours annually waiting in traffic.
- We spend 23 days a year on the phone.
Everything from your daily schedule to your ability to handle junk as it materializes can be blamed on lack of time. Look at where time is lost in your day, and decide how to make adjustments. Maybe it would mean leaving five to 10 minutes earlier for work to avoid traffic or even committing to spend a little less time daily on the phone.
7. Clean out your pantry
The start of the new year is the perfect time to clean and reorganize your food collection. If you plan to implement a new resolution to eat healthily or lose weight, you definitely want to pull out foods and ingredients that may hinder those plans. Likewise, getting your kitchen pantry organized can help you with meal planning, knowing what you need at the grocery, and even how you spend time in your kitchen.
Bring On the New Year with New Direction
No matter which way you perceive being organized, doing some prior work at the end of the year can give you good direction for the year to come. Maybe it’s physical clutter, perhaps it’s emotional clutter, and maybe it’s something else. But whatever steps you take to declutter as the year comes to a close can set you on the right path for a fresh start.