Did you make a resolution to get organized in 2018? Here are a few simple tips to get started and, more importantly, make them stick! Being organized means you are able to find things when you need them, and the time and energy to spend doing other things. Sustaining organization is about creating simple habits to maintain long term results. I’m sharing a few of my favorite strategies to get started and stay that way.
Tip 1 – Use a lazy susan or turntable in your kitchen cabinet. Do you find it hard to access your oils and vinegars in your kitchen cabinet? A lazy susan keeps your bottles in easy reach. And easy reach means easy to put back where they belong. Another bonus? These bottles can get messy and a lazy susan is easy to clean.
Tip 2 - Start small and easy. When you start a new habit it should be so easy that you can’t say no. It doesn't matter if you start small because there will be plenty of time to pick up the intensity later. Prove to yourself that you can stick to a new habit in a small way for 30 days. Then, once you are sticking to the schedule and remaining consistent, you can worry about increasing the difficulty.
Tip 3 – Use baskets in your medication cabinet or closet. Do you have a hard time finding your first aid or medications when you need them? First, group your like items together – like first aid or cold/flu - then sort out what’s expired and what items you no longer use. Organize the remaining items by how you’ll need them (think band aids with the Neosporin and thermometer with the Tylenol). You’ll have what you need at your fingertips when you don’t feel good.
Tip 4 – Choose containers carefully. Buy containers only when you know what’s going to go into them and where they will live. Containers are often purchased to solve an organizing problem, only to create more clutter because you don’t know what to do with them.
Tip 5 – Put your snacks into bins. Have lots of granola bars or fruit snacks hanging out all around the pantry? Create a snack bin (maybe one for each person depending on who likes what). Take items out of their boxes and put into the bins.
Tip 6 – Keep your drawers organized. Have a hard time finding what you need to get dressed? Use drawer dividers and label each section to help you or the kiddos get dressed in no time.
Tip 7 – Take control of the backpacks and jackets. Do you have a single spot for kid backpacks and jackets? Use 3M hooks in the hallway or on the back of a closet door. 3M hooks are great because they go up with no tools and don’t harm your walls when you’re ready to take them down. You can even move the 3M hooks around as the kiddos get bigger.
Tip 8 – Tackle the mail and incoming paperwork. Is your mail overrunning your dining room table or kitchen counter? Set-up a bin or letter tray to dump your mail or incoming paperwork each day. When you have time or the pile gets too high, sort into these categories: take action, read, file and recycle/shred. Bonus tip: sort your paperwork near your filing system with a recycle box and shredder nearby.
Tip 9 – Get yourself ready for tax season. Be proactive with the tax documents that arrive by mail. Label a folder or envelope “2017 taxes”. Throw in items as they arrive and you’ll have less stress when April 15 comes along. Bonus tip: Print off copies of the documents that come by email and put those in the folder too. You’ll have everything in one spot when you’re ready to start.
Tip 10 - Make one change at a time. Our self-control is exhaustible. Why is this important? Because any life change will require careful self-monitoring and self-regulation, in other words, self-control. Self-control is the fuel that allows change to succeed, but it is limited. You will have a better chance of success if you can focus on one change at a time. If you try to change a lot of habits all at once, you are more likely to stall, because you’ve run out of “fuel.” Habits are effective because, once established, they no longer burn self-control.
Tip 11 – Get a move bin. Do you find yourself with stuff that needs to be put away, but you don’t have time right that minute? Get a “move” bin. Put things in this bin that don’t belong in the space you’re organizing or cleaning up. When the bin is full, go put away everything that belongs in other rooms.
Remember organizing is not a one-time event, it’s a process. Once you get organized in certain area, it’s important to set up a plan and create habits so you can sustain the space. It will take work and upkeep to sustain your organized spaces. Think about it like maintaining a healthy lifestyle – it takes making mostly healthy food choices and getting some physical activity everyday.
Ready to get organized in 2018? Contact us for a no-cost phone consultation!