There are people who think carefully about and perfectly execute their New Year’s Resolutions.
And then, there’s you.
There’s nothing wrong with being late to the party — you’re still taking steps to improve yourself and your life, as New Year’s Resolutions do. And, there’s no better time than the present to get yourself organized, whether it’s New Year’s Day, mid-February or sometime in spring, summer or fall.
So, when you’re ready, here are six of the best ways to get yourself organized for the New Year, the next season and beyond:
Start With a Schedule
Now that you’re dedicated to organizing your home, come up with a plan of action. Figure out which area needs the most help and start there when you have the most organizing gusto. Then, move onto smaller rooms and spaces that just need a little bit of a brush-up.
And, while you’re at it, come up with a cleaning and organizing schedule for the coming weeks and months so you are able to maintain your hard work. Decide which of your family members will be responsible for which area or specific task, write it down and stick to your schedule. Voila – you’ll be organized through the year and beyond.
Clear the Clutter
A great way to make your home look and feel more organized is to reduce the amount of visual clutter. We’re not suggesting you throw everything away, of course, but you should find an out-of-the-way home for as much as you can.
Take your kitchen counters, for example. You might want to have jars of sugar and flour on the counter, as well as a vase full of your go-to stovetop cooking utensils. But boxes of food, rarely used small appliances and other knick-knacks should go in cabinets to make the space look and feel more organized.
Then, move into your closets. This might take a while, but editing your wardrobe down to what you regularly wear and what’s classic or special enough to keep will breathe new life into your storage spaces. Imagine your downstairs closet once it’s free of unused shoes and coats and your bedroom drawers once you get rid of all of your holey t-shirts and pajamas. Whoa.
Give Everything a Home
Now that you have cleared away everything you no longer want or need, give everything a designated storage space — and keep it there. Your family members or housemates will get used to the system, and will likely find it easier to keep up with cleanliness when they know exactly where everything goes. Labels are your friend, even if your kiddos are a little too young to read: use pictures of the toys that belong in each storage container so they know how to put things away until they know how to spell and read.
Make the Most of Your Garage
You likely use your garage for one obvious function: parking and protecting your car(s). But, as it turns out, you can make even more out of this space by turning it into functional storage space that’ll keep the rest of your home looking organized and clutter-free.
In order to turn your garage into viable storage space, you should start by coming up with a plan of how you’ll store everything. You might decide to install shelves or a workbench, where you can be the home handyman or woman you’ve always strived to be.
With a blueprint in mind, you’ll then want to clean it so your things won’t be damaged when left there. Finally, install your storage solution(s) and be amazed by how much of a difference it makes to have so much space available for your rarely used items.
Give Everyone Ownership
You shouldn’t be doing all of the organizing by yourself — and we’re sure that’s music to your ears. But there’s a benefit of getting your family members or housemates to share the responsibility: everyone will feel personally responsible to keep their area(s) organized.
That’s true for multiple reasons. For one, your kids, your spouse or your roommate will remember how much work it took to organize everything and will therefore have no desire to mess things up and go through that again. On top of that, having someone organize their own space and make it work better for them will mean it stays organized for longer anyway. Having an outsider organize might not work in the long run, so don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Plan Your Shopping Trips
Now that you’ve organized your home and put a cleaning schedule in place, make sure you’re doing everything you can to keep your space in order afterward, too. That means thoughtfully planning your shopping trips so that you’re only bringing in what you need and what you’ll use, thus keeping clutter at bay for as long as possible.
One easy way to keep your kitchen as organized as possible is to keep only what you need in your pantry. Start by drawing up a weekly meal plan, including breakfasts and lunches, so you buy just what you need. Making big-batch dinners one night a week means you can eat them for a few days and not have to take out, wash and re-organize your cooking utensils.
Keep track of your closet and storage space, too, when you go shopping. If you’re running out of room, go through another round of de-cluttering and get rid of what you no longer need before shopping again.
The New Year Starts Now
Who cares that it’s not January 1? There’s still plenty of time to make your New Year’s organization goals a reality. You can define when your new year starts, and how you’ll make your home work for you — all you have to do is get started.