Get organized for the new year
Happy new year, girlfriend!
This is a special year for me because get organized already! has been (officially) in business for ten years now. Wow.
To celebrate this milestone, I’m going to share ALL of our professional organizing secrets with you in a series of blog posts to get organized for the new year! Holy cow. How exciting!
Each post will share our more popular methods for organizing specific areas. Some people like to have things arranged differently and that is a-okay with me. Ignore the tips and ideas you don’t like. And hopefully adopt a few in your own house.
Pick your area
Let’s start at the beginning.
When I’m learning about a new client, one of my first questions is always: “What area of your house is driving you the most crazy?”
So, which area is it for you?
If you can’t decide, start in the master bedroom.
Once you’ve chosen an area or category in your house, the next step is to start purging stuff in that area.
Letting go of the crap
Find things to donate or trash. This is the first step to get organized. Start inside cabinets or drawers because the stuff that’s tucked away is most likely the stuff you haven’t used in a while and you won’t miss it! Write these questions on a piece of paper to keep you focused: (Another trick of the trade — Use the 2nd person voice to conjure an objective companion who will keep you more honest.)
- Do you love this?
- Have you used it this year?
- Will you pay to replace this exact item if it disappears today?
That’s it. Those are the only reasons. Except for some exceptions in the paper/document category, these are the ONLY reasons to keep things in your house.
Here are some reasons you may want to keep things:
- Emotional attachment
- Wishful thinking
I’m giving you permission to let go of items you are keeping for those reasons.
Paperwork is another animal. People have a lot of confusion about IRS requirements and misinformation about financial documents.
If you are doing paperwork today, here’s a quick guide for you: How long to keep tax documents
(scroll down in the article to “How to organize your documents”)
Set yourself up to succeed in any area of your house.
- Do not purge items belonging to another person over 7 years-old without their explicit permission.
- Put things that go into another room in a bag, box, or hamper at the door. Deliver them once you are done purging.
- Turn on some music if that will help, but don’t get distracted by your phone. Turn it on airplane mode if you have to!
- Use a timer when you feel overwhelmed. Most people can handle ten minutes of purging before they need a break. Use the timer when you take breaks, too. 3 minute breaks can keep you moving longer than plowing straight through.
After things are thinned out
Next week we’ll talk about organizing your bedroom specifically. But for now, there are SO MANY blog posts on our site. If you are anxious to get moving today, check out one of these:
- Landing pad — Launch pad clutter
- Declutter these 5 things (maybe 6) from your bedroom
- What to do with that pile of clothes aka- chairdrobe
- How to organize under the kitchen sink
- Video: Organizing with limits in the kitchen
- How to organize your desk
- After you organize your desk (office organizing)
- Silly bathroom organizing ideas
Until next week, keep a donation bin handy and get rid of every little thing you see around the house that you don’t love or use. It’s a new decade. You don’t have time to keep living in all of this clutter!
Parts to broken toys?
Recipes you never made?
Forgive yourself and move on.
Skinny clothes from 5 years ago?
Magazines from last month or older?
Expired food and meds?
Expired insurance policies and investment statements?
Let them go. Only current ones are relevant
Baby, I’m worth it
It feels easier to just leave things as they are. I know. BUT! Your mental health is worth some effort. Would you encourage a girlfriend to live surrounded by stuff that makes her feel bad?
Let me be that girlfriend who tells you, “It’s okay to spend some time decluttering for yourself. You will feel so much lighter once you get it out the door.”
Thanks for reading and for trusting me as your organizing guide.
Originally published at professional organizer Pasadena and Long Beach, CA.