If household, garage, and backyard clutter has you feeling overwhelmed even though the new year has barely begun, you might have made a resolution to develop a system for managing it all. If so, here are some tips on how to get organized in 2012.
- Clear the clutter – indoors and out. No organizational plan will help you feel in control of your home when there’s simply too much stuff crammed into any given space. Every day for one week, spend 15 minutes per day filling large trash bags and boxes with items to donate or throw away, depending on the quality of the item. Wait two weeks and then repeat the exercise. Getting rid of clutter is the most difficult part of organizing, but it’s the most important – otherwise, you’ll be back to your current system in a matter of weeks. When you have a manageable amount of “stuff,” you’re ready to begin organizing your home.
- Invest in organizational tools – an accordion file for bills and receipts, stackable totes for toys and holiday decorations, shoe racks, garage shelving for tools and paint, a noodle holder for the pool area, storage bins that slide under the bed for off-season clothing – you’ll know what you need based on the type of things you need to organize. If you find that you can’t buy enough organizing tools to manage the amount of stuff you have left, you probably need to do additional de-cluttering.
- Get the whole family involved in de-cluttering and organizing. Motivate children by making up games (first one to fill a trash bag gets a prize!) and celebrating each organized space with a special event such as family movie night. Kids will feel more secure if they have some control over the process, so offer them choices (“you can keep six stuffed animals”) instead of abruptly sweeping up piles of their belongings. Point out the benefits of a more organized household, such as having space on the table in the den to do crafts together or not tripping over old toys in the backyard while playing sports.
- Maintain your newly-organized space with a new house rule: If a new toy, t-shirt, set of dishes, or piece of furniture comes in, an old one has to go. This often has the added benefit of saving the family money on unnecessary purchases.
With these tips, your New Year’s resolution to organize your home won’t fall by the wayside as so many resolutions do. And you and your family will enjoy the added space so much, you just might fall in love with your house all over again!