The new year often comes with resolutions, from losing weight to wanting to become more organized and everything in between. For many of us, when making resolutions, we look at those tendencies that cause us stress or we are not happy with and decide to begin to change those tendencies for a “fresh start". The beginning of a new year is always a great time for reflection and change. If you are looking for a fresh start in organizing your surroundings, we have some tips to help you along the way:
1. Start in One Place It is easy to become overwhelmed when looking at your home as a whole and become discouraged, leaving your original motivation feeling more of a chore and less likely to be accomplished. We recommend starting in one place. Whether you prefer to start with a project that has been put off for a while or a project you feel can be accomplished in a short period of time, it can be best to start small and work your way through a single area first.
2. Give Yourself Time Getting organized takes time. Take it easy on yourself and know that small changes lead to long term success. The clutter you are tackling took time to accumulate, so it will take time to go through it as well. You can start with a small goal of working on an area for an hour or two and be aware of your emotional state when working. Organizing clutter can be very emotional for many, so giving yourself time and praising the work you have accomplished will help keep your motivation going long after the new year.
3. Take Inventory Look at what you have in your home and where it is located. Sometimes things are simply misplaced, and if so, take it to where it belongs. Other times, we know something has been misplaced and cannot be found and is replaced. If you have found that you have replaced items, ask yourself how many of that item you need and donate the extras. Many times we use the same items again and again and forget that we have others. By taking inventory of what is in the home, it is easier to see what is needed and what can be given away.
4. Look for Wasted Space If you need more storage for your items, look around your home for unused space such as under beds and above door frames. Under-bed totes are perfect for keeping out of season clothes neat and organized when not in use. You may find you have more space than you realized.
5. Maximize Vertical Space and Divide Spaces We all have items we need but do not use frequently. Placing these items up higher on shelves allows room for those that are used more frequently, and provides a place for those items. Rather than stacking items, dividing spaces into containers will allow you more flexibility in what and how items are placed in the home, without the fear of these items toppling over when accessed.
6. Organize With Color No matter what project you are starting with, using color to assist with the organizing process can be helpful. From organizing different types of papers in different colored folders to having different colored containers for each person in your home, adding color helps differentiate the items and may even brighten your day!
7. Visibility This is key with organizing, to be able to see what you have and how accessible the items are. We recommend using clear containers and labels. The labels allow you to recognize the general contents at a glance, and the clear container helps you see more specifically what is inside.
8. Remember to be Flexible While organizing, it can become frustrating when items need to be adjusted or moved. Organizing should reflect where you are right now, while keeping your overall goal in mind. You may periodically want or need to change what and how you are organized.
9. Find an Accountability Partner Organizing your space can be overwhelming and stressful. Ask friends and family if they would help you remain accountable for your resolution to become more organized. Having support will help you keep focused on your goal when you are feeling stuck or overwhelmed by the task at hand.
Organizing your belongings and space can be very emotional and overwhelming, but remember, this is an opportunity for you to live a calmer and less stressful life. Often clutter brings stress to our lives without us fully realizing it. From stacked bills to piles of toys or laundry, we know these things need to be taken care of, but addressing these areas is often put off which leads to stress, frustration, distraction, anxiety, and even guilt. By organizing the space with a plan on how to utilize the space and items, we believe you will find the fresh start you are looking for. As always, we would be glad to help if you simply do not have the time, physical or mental health, or even the natural ability to go it alone.