January is Get Organized & Be Productive (GO) Month and there’s no better time to consult an organizing or productivity professional!
Clutter and disorganization can drain your energy and contribute to unwarranted stress, frustration, and anxiety. Ready to start the new year off right by getting organized and increasing productivity? Here are our top 7 tips:
1. Start with the area that bothers you the most
If a stranger took a tour of your home, what would you be the most embarrassed about? What would you find yourself apologizing for? What irritates you the most? This is the area you should start with first. If all of it bothers you, start with the space you see when you open your eyes in the morning.
2. Go for a quick win
Choose a small area or topic that can be easily completed. By tackling a small, easy project first, you set yourself up for success and are further motivated to tackle the areas you struggle with emotionally. (Try a junk drawer!)
3. Gather supplies before diving in
Be sure to have trash bags or boxes on hand to sort items into. Suggested categories: Keep, Sell, Donate, Trash. Use black trash bags for trash and white trash bags for donate. Use trash bags to donate soft items and cardboard boxes for heavy, hard or fragile items. Check the structural integrity of the boxes prior to filling them and always be sure to tape the bottom of the box first!
4. Set retention guidelines for specific categories of items
Similar to keeping tax paperwork for 7 years, set guidelines for other items you own. For example, any magazines over 1 year old can be donated or recycled. Clothing in need of repair has a 1 month expiration date. If they are not repaired in a month, the item can go. If a dish is chipped, it can be donated or tossed. By deciding ahead of time, you relieve yourself of decision fatigue and/or emotional attachments.
5. Create a home for temporary items
Create a space to store library books, store returns and items that belong to someone outside of your household. These items tend to live on countertops and tables and hinder you from using your space the way you want to. If you create space for items that will only be in your home for a little while, you cut down on the piles that interfere with your living spaces.
6. Create positive habits & routines to maintain organization
Think through the areas you organized and how often you should touch them up. Think about ways you can be proactive in life, like packing lunches and setting out clothes the night before. Every day before you leave the office, clear off your desk and stack notes/papers in an empty drawer. Each time you get paid, go through your papers, pay bills and file items that need to be retained.
7. Get family members involved
Set a timer for 15 minutes before bedtime and play fun music while everyone tidies the house. Make a game of it - the person who finds the most items that are out of place and puts them back into their “homes” wins. You have heard the phrase: “Many hands make light work!” Even children as young as 2-3 years old can begin to learn how to match socks or put dirty clothing into the hamper. When the adults model good behavior and positive attitudes around organizing, the kids will pick up on it too.
Bonus: This "visual timer" is a great way to help family members of all ages with timed activities - and it comes in several colors!
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As a member of the National Association of Productivity & Organizing Professionals (NAPO), we improve our clients’ lives by helping them create environments that support productivity, general health, and well-being. When working with a NAPO member, you can be assured you are working with a dedicated professional who operates at the highest standards and has passion for organizing.