Saturday, January 18, 2020

An Organized Year

The National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals, of which I'm a member, designates January as Get Organized Month. Getting organized is a common reoccurring resolution individuals have because we recognize to get organized allows us to do more and not be distracted by unimportant tangible and intangible things. Just about every magazine and news outlet leading up to the new year and stretching into the first few weeks of the year focuses on strategies for getting organized.

I think the solution to become organized is to weave it into your daily and weekly routines. I also believe it is important to regularly organize throughout the year so that it becomes part of life. Here are my top 10 organizing strategies:

1. Make your bed. It provides a psychological lift and a sense of accomplishment at the start of the day. It is also welcoming to see at the end of the day.

2. The most important organizing strategy is to designate spots or homes for everything. Everyone in the home needs to know where everything goes and to actively participate in putting things away.

3. Everyone in the home needs a landing spot for their stuff preferably by the door so that bulky items such as backpacks, school books, work items, keys, purses and other are kept together in each person's designated spot.

4. Spend 10 minutes at the end of the day putting everything away. It will pay dividends to your mental health to be able to relax and not be distracted by clutter.

5. Use some kind of planner - digital or paper - but consistently use it.

6. Keep a complete list of tasks you need to do and update it regularly. Identify weekly what tasks are top priorities that are urgent and must be done and schedule them in your week to get done.

7. Open your mail daily over your recycling bin and near your shredder. Manage the mail that comes into your home by calling the companies directly that you don't want to receive mail from or utilize services such as Paper Karma, stop direct mail pieces through the National Do Not Mail List, and register with the Direct Marketing Association.

8. Do quarterly big sweeps. These are larger projects such as cleaning out the pantry to weed out expired food and doing an inventory of your
freezer so that food isn't wasted. Another quarterly sweep project is managing closets. Go through your clothes as the seasons change and make sure that everything is in good shape and that you plan to wear each article of clothing - (if not donate it). If you have kids organizing toys is a quarterly sweep project. If you get your kids involved you will teach them to use their things and to let go and share their things with others if they aren't.

9. Create finite spaces to help keep spaces tidy. An example is to use a tray on a counter to corral items and create a habit to only put things on the tray, not on the counter, and process them regularly off of the tray.

10. Only have things in your home that reflect you and to channel Marie Kondo, "spark joy". Regularly edit your rooms and closets so that you can use and enjoy what you have and not let your things rule your life.

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