Resolution #1: Get Organized

Resolution #1: Get Organized

With each new year comes a sense of a fresh start. As we pack away the holiday decorations, we see our home—and all its flaws—in a new light. This year, resolve to take charge of your space and all its contents and finally live the organized life you crave.

Picture It

What’s the first step in the process of getting organized? Having a clear vision of what an organized home and life mean to you. Before you start organizing, allow yourself to dream and visualize how the space or room will best serve your current and future needs. What functions should it serve? Determine what works well now and what doesn’t work well. Try to articulate why things are or are not working.

Dream big, but be sure to stay grounded in reality. Resist the urge to develop a fantasy vision that will be difficult to achieve and maintain. For example, if you want a chef’s kitchen but you don’t know how to cook, you may not be developing a vision that is maintainable or best fits your strengths.

Plan It

Now that you envision your organized home, it’s time to design it. The next step in the process is to create a space plan, which helps distinguish zones within a room and gets the big items in place first.

Ask yourself, is everything going to stay in the room, or are there items (such as furniture or decorations) you can remove because they are no longer relevant to your new vision? For example, if your vision is to turn your home office into a craft room, consider which furniture you no longer need and which pieces you need to add.

Divide actions into smaller steps you can easily complete so you won’t become overwhelmed. Determine which areas will be organized, in what order, and who is in charge of each area. Develop a list of supplies you’ll need – such as sorting containers, permanent markers, sticky notes and trash and recycle bins.

Get the Job Done!

You dreamed it, you planned it and now it’s time to get your hands dirty and make it happen. The first step is to sort your items into categories—décor items, kitchen items, important papers, toys, seasonal clothing and anything else taking up space in your home.

Then, take the time to determine which items you’ll keep, which you’ll donate or sell and which need to head straight to the garbage can. Once you’ve tackled this critical—and often labor-intensive—step, you’re ready to put everything into its new home.

The work’s not done, yet, though. An organizing system will only work in the long run if you keep up with it. That means having each member of your household commit to putting things back where they belong. It also means that as you acquire new items, you must make sure they have a home in your system.

In the end, you’ll be rewarded by seeing your vision come to life—and your life come to order.