The New Year is almost here, and it’s a wonderful time to slow down and settle in for the remainder of winter, with the chaos of the holidays behind you. The decorations are put away, the guests are gone, and you have several months to enjoy before all of the outdoor activities like yard work and barbecues start up again.
There’s no better time to add some organizational goals to your resolutions for the year, but like many well-laid new year plans, sometimes these can be set in a way that makes them unrealistic, unattainable, and unfulfilled.
The key to reaching these goals is to word them in bite-size, attainable, specifics ways that can be accomplished in a realistic amount of time–so easy, right?! Here are a few ideas for some of those trouble areas and routines that may need some tweaking this new year.
Focus on the high-traffic areas
You may look at the state of your house right now after the holidays and feel a bit like burning the whole thing down to start over. So much stuff…all in the wrong places…and not enough room.
For the first few weeks or months of the year, choose 3-4 high traffic areas to really focus on. For many people, these include their entryway or mudroom, their hall closet, the kitchen pantry, or the basement playroom. These are areas that are used on a daily basis, and can quickly go from organized to out-of-control in a few days.
For these areas, go item by item and decide if it’s something you need or something you can donate. Do you have coats and boots that you haven’t worn in two winters? You can probably pass those on to a local donation site so someone else can use them. Never got around to using that cake pop maker your in-laws got you for Christmas? Try listing it on a Facebook marketplace site and making a few dollars while clearing out the kitchen.
Once you’ve whittled your items in this high-traffic area down to the necessities, find a way for everything to have a place–the type of place that it’s easy to retrieve the item from, and most importantly, easy to put away when you’re done using it. This step sometimes takes some experimenting and always takes a lot of discipline to train yourself to put it away each time you get it out.
Choose a room a month to clean and organize
Starting in January, pick a room (and maybe a closet or bathroom, too!) to go through a month. Pick a few days each month that you’ll devote to a thorough organization of those areas. Have empty boxes or bins available to toss items in–one for things that belong in another part of the house, one for the trash, and one for donating or selling.
Invest in some storage solutions
This may seem over the top, but it may just be that you don’t actually have the furniture you need to house all the items your family uses. After identifying and organizing high-traffic areas and working your way through rooms, you’ll have a clear picture of what’s needed to help this organization stick.
It doesn’t have to be fancy–the dollar store makes great bins for organizing bathrooms and pantries, and places like Walmart, IKEA, or Amazon make affordable storage solutions for things like shoes, the pantry, and toys.
It may also be worth it to invest in a storage unit, especially if you live in a small or tight space–this will allow you to take some time to decide which things you ultimately want to keep, and which ones you are fine without and can pass on. It will clear some much-needed space out in your home for you to finally breath and assess the situation.
Participate in some no-spend months
If your pantry or freezer are overflowing with food, your closet with clothes (or your kids’ closets!), or your bathroom with half-used hair products, it may be helpful to participate in some “no-spend” months to force you to whittle down your stores of things before filling up the organized spaces with more stuff. Not only will it keep your home more organized, but you’ll save money!
Develop morning and evening routines for the home
It’s no secret that the most successful people are those with routines in the areas of life that they excel in–and the home doesn’t need to be any different! You may have been a “clean the whole house in one day” type of person before, but often life and work force us to embrace a routine that is realistic and feasible for our busy lives.
Instead of waiting for the house to become a wreck before addressing it, spend ten minutes in the morning and ten at night accomplishing small tasks to maintain the home’s organization and neatness. You could spend each morning alternating between wiping down the bathrooms or putting away the laundry, and the evening can include wiping down the kitchen and sweeping the floor.
You’ll find that with routines, you don’t have to worry about things like “when am I going to get ______ done?!” because you know there will be a time each one to two weeks where that area will be addressed.
Hopefully these tips will get your brain’s wheels turning as to how you can take small steps in managing all the stuff in your home and how to take the best care of it. In the end, while these things may take more effort and work in the beginning, they will lead to a life that spends less time managing things and has more time to spend with family and enjoying fun.
Self Assured Storage and its’ employees are experts at organizing–just come and take a look at our expertly packed storage units! If you’re about to or have just moved, are downsizing, or just looking to make some extra space in your home, give us a call today to see how we can help you crush your organizational goals this new year!