As featured in Huffington Post
January is GO Month, as in “Get Organized”. Every year the goal of getting organized makes it’s way onto the top of resolution lists, so it makes sense that GO Month is the first month of the year. But as the novelty and enthusiasm of everyone’s New Year's resolutions slowly begin to fade I wanted to share some simple habits that you can introduce now, that will help you to stay organized all year long.
Live With Less
Minimalism isn’t for everyone. It isn’t even for me. But I do like to dip my toe into the minimalist pool. Try not to buy and accumulate items that aren’t necessary. That new gadget for the kitchen that takes up counter space, the extra set of bath towels you just bought because they were on sale, that hot new book you want to read even though you already have a stack of unread ones next to your bed. All unnecessary. Less stuff = less mess = more freedom. All of that translates to more time available for the things that you really love like: friends, family and life experiences. For household items (shampoo, dish-soap, dryer sheets, etc.) try using the 50% rule, when something is half full, it goes on your list. This gives you enough time to buy it without stockpiling it in your already full space.
Keep Your Counters Clear
This one goes hand-in-hand with the reasoning behind making your bed everyday. Clutter attracts clutter. Simple as that. So if there is already crap on your countertops there is a 100% chance that more crap will join it (don’t you love how scientific I am???). Seriously though, in the same way a nice neat bed sets the tone for your bedroom, so do the counters in your kitchen. This also applies to the other surfaces in your home: sideboards, dressers, display units. Minimize what is on them and only display the items that truly speak to you. You will be less likely to throw other stuff there if you make it beautiful.
Stop Thinking Big Picture
Try focusing on the smaller projects that you can accomplish in a relatively short amount of time. My clients often tell me that they get overwhelmed when they look at everything that needs to get done. I totally get that. If I made a list of all the things that I wanted to do, I would never actually do them because the process of making that list would take way too long and would be completely overwhelming. Focus on something small. One junk drawer. One box. One shelf. Sometimes you just need a win. So get up, crush that little project and use that as motivation to propel you to the next one.
Just Do It
I know this is easier said than done, but putting off all of the little things adds up to a big mess very fast. Of course it’s quicker to throw your clothes on the floor instead of putting them in the laundry bin. But after a few days you’ve got a real mess on your hands. Try following the One-minute rule: If you have a task that can be done in less than one minute, do it without delay. Go ahead and file that paper, pick up that toy, reply to that email and put that bowl in the dishwasher. It’s not like you’re going to come back at the end of the day and regret that your counters are clear of dishes. Don’t procrastinate. Just do it.
Rather than overhauling your routine, try making small shifts. Don’t constantly fight your instincts. If your entryway is always cluttered with junk mail, put a recycling basket there so it has somewhere to go. If everyone is leaving their bags and purses on the floor, put up a few hooks at on the wall to make it easier to keep neat.
I used to constantly run up and down the stairs to put wayward items away. Then I got a stair basket. Life changing people. Seriously. I love having a basket that fits right on the stairs. Anything I need to bring upstairs is in one place. You can check out my favorite stair baskets here. The trick is to make sure you eventually empty it and put everything away!
This is a big one. It’s a big one because it makes people feel guilty, inadequate and dumb. I hear it over and over ‘I should be able to do this myself’ or ‘I can’t believe I have to hire someone to organize my closet’. Sometimes your time can be better spent doing the things that you love and excel at. It’s not that you are incapable of organizing your pantry, it’s just that your time may be better allocated somewhere else. My standard line to my clients is always this: “I am perfectly capable of cleaning my house, yet I have no problem hiring someone else to do it because I know that my time is better spent growing my business and hanging out with my family”.
I realize that outsourcing feels a bit self-serving but having a professional come in with fresh eyes can be really beneficial, especially if you have gone clutterblind to your surroundings. We have the resources, training and connections to set up a system that works for your lifestyle. While it may not be in everyone’s budget to have a Professional Organizer come in for several hours, a lot of us will do remote consultations and coaching at a lower cost than in-home organizing sessions. You can set up a Skype call, give the organizer a tour of your space, discuss your needs and goals, and we can come up with solutions that work for you. As long as you are prepared and motivated to do the work, we will come up with the plan. To find a Professional Organizer that suits your needs have a look at the Professional Organizers in Canada (POC)
Happy GO Month and Happy Organizing!