Organizing for the New Year

Fun fact…  If you Google “organizing new year” you will get over 2.4 billion articles.  Wow!  I’m not sure how valuable all of those articles are, but that one little statistic tells us everything we need to know.  Millions of people want to be organized, millions of people want to make money off helping people get organized, and I am highly unlikely to write an article with any tips or tricks that haven’t already been written about.  You can find plans to follow, calendars to schedule your tasks and seminars to give you the tools and get you motivated.  

First, let me be clear that some of those resources are amazing.  I’ve read some of them and even stalked a few bloggers over the years.  However, I have also worked with a lot of people that wanted to be more organized.  Some of those people were actually really organized to start with and others were, well not so much!  The common thing about every single one of the people I have worked with is this…  they all set aside personal resources to get more organized and create a more peaceful space in their home.  That is the key.  No one can get organized without either committing the time to the task or money for someone else to do it for them.  If you want to commit some time to getting organized this year, I’ll share a few suggestions about the process and what I typically work on each January in my own home.  

There are plenty of articles including some of my own posts about how to approach getting organized.  Many times we read the articles and plan the fun products, and then have no time left to actually get organized.  Unless you feel like you have set out on an organization mission many times without success, I wouldn’t spend time reading plans, getting inspiration and shopping product.  I would just get started!  However, if you want to read some of my original posts on my philosophy of organization, how to get started, and other tips of general organization you can follow this link.  OH! Organization 101 

Last weekend was my reset weekend for our house, and I made some significant new year organization progress.   The first key to my success was that I did very little last weekend, except spend time in my house organizing and cleaning.  I maybe even went unacceptably long without a shower!  I know that sounds way more fun to me than the average person, but really it is required of any of us to make good progress.  When we are only home for a few hours here and there we deal with the big glaring stuff that really bothers us but so many little details get pushed aside.  What I find is that the accumulation of a million little things that I need to deal with but avoid because they seem hard end up overrunning a space until I set aside a chunk of time to force myself deal with them.   So, I started with one small space in my house that had a million little things that needed to be addresses:  my office.

My office is always my stash zone, and it never fails that I look like a hoarder instead of an organizer by the end of the holiday season.  This year I had a pile in the corner of work things (like shredding), returns, small but daunting mom projects (sewing Jase’s favorite stuffed animal), unused home decor from August, Christmas returns and more.  The middle of my office was a pile of leftover randomness from Christmas, work papers, an old computer that needed backed up, books and cards I stashed for the last 2 months…  Then there was the closet… it was overrun with office supplies, memorabilia, and too many categories that fit when we moved 4 years ago but have now overwhelmed the space.  I truly needed a whole weekend to deal with all of those little piles that together became a big project.  

One of the things that can make it hard to get through those small projects is uncertainty of what to do with them, how to fix them, guilt at throwing them away, and the sense that they just aren’t important enough to take up my precious spare time.  As I worked through my office I forced myself to deal with every single item and did not leave anything “for later”.  I did small annoying tasks (like sewing and shredding), I sorted through files and papers and tossed the outdated items, relocated some categories from my closet that no longer fit, and put every.single.little.annoying.thing that was out of place in my office back where it belonged.  As much as I dreaded each of those little tasks and put them off, it felt so good to have my office back in order for the new year ahead.  And I’ll be in here a lot!!

If you feel overwhelmed by all the little things you see throughout your house that need to be dealt with, commit to getting one or two spaces really organized.  Set aside a significant amount of time and start going through every little thing as you work your way around the room or through a closet.  

My office was really my trouble spot this January and included most of my other January priorities, but I usually find myself addressing the same things at the start of every new year: 

I purge file folders on my desk, sort paper piles, purge office supplies, sort and store cards and other memorabilia, address the Christmas overflow and work through project piles that accumulate in my office. 

I try to wash all of my blankets and linens while I’m working and “stuck at home”. 

I reset my gift wrap and greeting card supply – getting Christmas tucked away and refreshing my stash for birthdays. 

My refrigerator always needs cleaned out and I am brutal with purging the holiday excess from the pantry. 

When we take down the Christmas tree, we reset the storage room and make sure everything has a home. 

I used to also make my kids help me clean out their toy room and bedrooms before putting away their Christmas gifts.  This was super helpful when they were younger as they were more motivated to purge old toys when they had just gotten all of their new ones.   

Because I organize a little all year long, I am not overhauling spaces in the new year.  Overhauling a space that has been neglected for years can be overwhelming and you may need help.  I usually need about 3-4 good days at home to get Christmas taken down and new year organization projects all accomplished.

I love solitude, so I am quite happy with my coffee and my music, but if you thrive in the presence of people – phone a friend!  Work together, 2-3 days in each of your homes, sorting, organizing and even enjoying some coffee or a favorite carryout lunch.  It doesn’t have to be miserable… you just have to set aside time and set your mind to it.  I promise you will find joy in the final product!  I organize for a living and I keep walking by my neat and tidy office and thinking “it looks so nice in there”. 

Find some time, pick a space and Happy Organizing in 2022!