It’s the start of a new year, some say the start of a new decade, and many of us are making our New Year’s resolution. As a professional organizer I often hear people say that their resolution is to get organized. In fact, the month of January is called Get Organized month by the National Association of Productivity and Organizing Specialists (NAPO). Is getting organized your resolution for 2021?
If getting organized is your resolution, think about why you want to do this. It is always easier to tackle something difficult or to change a behavior when you understand your reasons why. I have a series of questions for you to ask yourself. The answers will guide you as you drill down to determine your motivation to get organized.
What do you want to organize?
There are many different things to organize.
Do you want to organize your space? Maybe, you need to define how you use your rooms and then determine the kinds of things that will stay in the room. Are you using the rooms in your home differently now? Do some rooms serve multiple purposes? Keep the things that support the activities which happen in that room and then consider reorganizing or repurposing your furniture.
Sometimes you can use a piece of furniture differently in another room. I moved a chest of drawers out of a bedroom and into the family room. Now I use it to hold my wrapping paper, tissue paper, gift bags, ribbon, and tape.
If the way you use your rooms is working, the problem may be that the space is crammed too full of stuff. Ask yourself if removing the clutter will do the trick.
Organize your belongings (including paper files) by keeping what you use and love and either selling, donating, or recycling, shredding, tossing the remainder.
Perhaps you want to organize the way in which you spend your time. This involves taking a close look at your routines and habits. You know you can never really save time, but you can maximize what you accomplish in the time you have available by streamlining your routines and creating a better flow in your day. Doing this will make you more productive and it will feel as if you are truly saving time!
Ask yourself how will you know when you are done?
The answer to this question will depend on what you have decided you want to organize. Creating new routines and habits to make the best use of your time can take time. Current research tells us that it’s best to focus on changing one habit at a time. And, that it takes about six weeks for a new habit to become ingrained.
Decide which habit to work on first, second, and so on. Be gentle with yourself as this will take time. Practice your new habit mindfully. The more you can practice, the sooner the habit will become ingrained. Then move on to the next habit. Focus on changing or incorporating one habit at a time.
What are the measurable results you want to achieve?
Are you wanting to organize to save money? People save money when they don’t go out and buy something, they already have but can’t find. This includes shopping from your pantry before going to the grocery store.
Know what you have in your home or at least, be confident that you know where to look to find out what you have in stock.
Having an organized home can bring about a sense of peace and calm to you and your family. This reduces the feelings of stress, overwhelm and anxiety.
Also, when you have less stuff to take care of, you can spend more time doing the things you want to do.
These are all measurable results. Which of these appeal to you?
Who else will benefit from this organizing project?
Think about who else in your family or household will benefit from your resolution to get organized. Take a minute or two to write down the impact this will have on the way they operate in the home. Do you want to involve them in the organizing process?
Why do you want to do this now?
Has something happened that makes it important to begin this organizing journey now? Are you just fed up with the disarray in your home, your schedule, or your life and the new year is as good a time as any to start?
How will you accomplish this goal?
If organizing a space is your goal, consider creating a scope and sequence project plan. Break the project down into small, measurable steps of action. Think about what needs to happen first.
You may want to reach out to a decorator, painter, carpenter, or other skilled professional to complete certain steps along the way.
A professional organizer can guide you as you reduce the clutter in your home, create new routines or as you organize the way in which you spend your time.
Do you have a deadline?
Is getting organized something you want to do as a life-style change? If this is the case, it is an on-going journey. Something that will be with you forever.
If you’re organizing a space, you may want to have it completed by the end of January or February or some other arbitrary date based on what else is happening in your life.
Saying that your New Year’s resolution is to get organized is one thing. It’s easy to say. The next step is to take action. Answer the questions and determine your reasons for getting organized, and then set a course of action for yourself.
If working with a professional organizer sounds like it would be a good starting point for you, give me a call to schedule a free 30-minute conversation.
Diane N. Quintana is a Certified Professional Organizer® owner of DNQ Solutions, LLC and co-owner of Release, Repurpose, Reorganize in Atlanta, Georgia. Diane specializes in residential and home-office organizing and working with people affected by ADD, hoarding challenges, and chronic disorganization. Please contact Diane for a free 30-minute phone consultation. Click here to read more blogs on this topic.