5 Steps for Getting and Staying Organized This Year

Welcome to a new year! Every year, we set targets for ourselves, but we don’t always achieve them for various reasons — usually we try to create too much of a change too quickly when it took years to get to the point where we are now.  Dramatic change can be uncomfortable to some of us, so we tend to slide back to what is familiar — even if we aren’t happy with the familiar.

Because January also happens to be National Get Organized Month, it’s a good time to start sharing the first steps to getting and staying organized and to remind everyone of this: True and lasting change can take time, but if you keep at it, you will see results.


Step 1. Pick a day and time and mark it on your calendar.

Choose a time period from 30 minutes to four hours to start an organizing project. This will ensure that you get started and that you don’t overwhelm yourself by taking on too much at once. Choose a time window that works for you and your energy level with the understanding that the more time you spend on it, the more progress you’ll see.

Step 2. Designate a place to start organizing.

Let’s break it down to make it easier. If your office has clutter it’s probably the best place to start organizing. However, to begin, just focus on your desk area. If you have only a small amount of time, simply focus on one drawer at a time. By choosing to tackle smaller, more targeted areas, it will help you see a difference more quickly while lessening the feeling of being overwhelmed because the job seems too big. Each time you do more organizing, continue with the same area until it’s finished, and then move on to your next project. Seeing the positive changes you’re making will help keep you motivated to go back and continue.


Step 3. Understand there is no perfection in organizing.  

This is an ongoing progress — unless you somehow figure out how to live your life without ever bringing something new into your environment. The good news about that is that you don’t have to feel like organizing is an all-or-nothing project. Rather, it’s an ongoing process. There is literally no right way or wrong way in organizing so don’t feel you need to do it “perfectly” to get it done. Unless you take zero action, you can’t fail at this. A system may not work for you, but luckily there are always new systems to try out. Keep at it and use your creativity!

Step 4. Begin by sorting through everything within your designated spot.

To be successful, you need to know what you have so you can make choices about your various belongings. This will save you time and money in the future. Sort into piles: (A) Do I like it, do I need it, do I want it? (B) I like it, want it or need it, but it doesn’t belong here, (C) It should be recycled, (D) It should be thrown out, or (E) It should be donated. If it’s torn, unusable, broken, moldy or associated with a bad memory, get it out of your home.


Step 5. Set boundaries.  

This is the key to organizational maintenance. Two great organizational boundaries are the one-year rule — where you donate anything you haven’t used or worn in a year — and the one-in-one-out rule — where you get rid of one item every time you bring in a new item.

Just get started and see how far you can go. A little organizing can go a long way when it comes to improving time management, saving money, increasing productivity and creating a happier and healthier environment for you to live in.