The dawn of a new year finds the holiday fanfare fading away and normalcy returning to your life. A new year also means its time to take on the challenge of some New Year’s resolutions.
Losing weight, managing your finances better, and spending more time with the family are some of the more popular New Year’s resolutions people make. So is getting your home organized and keeping it that way.
Retailers are fully aware of consumers’ appetites for getting their homes organized once the new year begins. It’s why flyer ads filled with sales on plastic storage bins and containers are as predictable in January as the steady barrage of ads we see for gym memberships.
Resolving to get your home organized is a great idea and one that offers a multitude of benefits if you’re successful in following through on your plan:
- you’ll be less stressed
- your home will be more functional
- you’ll save yourself lots of time
Stick to one New Year’s resolution
One reason New Year’s resolutions aren’t kept is because we take on too many of them. Focus on quality, not quantity when it comes to your resolutions. Stick to a single New Year’s resolution you can focus all your attention on. Doing so will greatly improve your odds of success.
And let’s be honest, getting a messy home in shape is no easy task. But it’s certainly not an impossible task, either. These nine tips will get you started in the right direction to fulfilling your goal of getting your home organized in 2018.
1. Establish a plan and don’t procrastinate
Benjamin Franklin once said “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail”. Take that advice to heart. Establish a sensible plan for your home organization project that you can put into action sooner rather than later.
Write down a list of tasks you’ll need to complete your plan with successful results. For example, list what areas of the home you’ll be focussing on, like the laundry room or basement. Establish a timeline of when to start these tasks and when they should be completed by. Check in with your list occasionally and hold yourself accountable to what’s on it.
And just as we recommended not taking on more than one New Year’s resolution, don’t overextend yourself with your home organization project. Set a reasonable number of goals and tasks and just focus on one of them at a time. Completing one task or goal will give you the motivation and momentum to tackle the next one on your list.
Some New Years’s resolutions (like losing weight, volunteering more, or eating better) leave the onus strictly on you to put in the work required to fulfill the resolution.
Much of the work required to fulfill your home organization New Year’s resolution benefits the whole family, however. And let’s not forget, they’ve probably contributed to some of the disorganization in your home.
For that reason, be sure to delegate some of the home organizing tasks to anyone in your family old enough to be responsible for cleaning up after themselves. It’ll lighten the load for you and let you focus on other tasks on your list.
3. Start small
Ease yourself into your cleaning project for the new year by starting out with a small task – cleaning out your wallet or purse. It’s amazing how much clutter they can accumulate in the course of a year. Expired coupons, business cards you’ll never use, old receipts, expired makeup…the list goes on and on.
Empty out all their contents and toss what you don’t need. Find an easy-to-remember place for the items that are worth keeping, but don’t need to be carried around. This is one time when “having a lighter wallet” will actually be a good thing.
4. Store your holiday decorations sensibly
Considering the time of year and the traditions you follow, you may have holiday decorations that need to be stored. Your newly discovered resolve to have a tidier home is the perfect excuse to not just organize, but to organize and store sensibly.
Storing your holiday decorations gives you the perfect opportunity to carry this out. Before storing the holiday decorations you put up, declutter the ones that weren’t used. If they didn’t make the cut this holiday season, why not? Toss any broken items and donate decorations you no longer see yourself using.
You can avoid having to untangle your strings of Christmas lights next year by wrapping them around empty paper towel rolls or the discarded tubes from your wrapping paper. Old liquor and wine boxes with dividers make great storage boxes for your holiday ornaments. Store all your holiday decorations in labelled plastic storage containers.
For storing artificial Christmas trees, buy artificial tree storage bags. They can make moving and storing your disassembled tree easier by breaking it down to two or three bags with handles, as opposed to storing it in its large and heavy original box. To save storage space, you might even consider buying a real Christmas tree next year. Surprisingly, that might actually be a more environmentally friendly option.
As for all the holiday cards you’ve received, there’s no reason to have them displayed any later than the end of January. And there’s also no point keeping them. Honestly, when’s the last time you went though a box of old holiday cards? If you need to remember who sent you one so you can send them one next year, just keep a list of names in a computer text document.
5. Tackle clutter problem areas
It’s logical to tackle clutter problem areas in your home while working towards fulfilling your New Year’s resolution. This means areas that are clutter magnets like:
- kitchen counters
- front entryways
- home offices
Junk drawers, as their name clearly spells out, are another area of your home that demand your attention when it comes to organizing. Empty any drawer that qualifies as a junk drawer of all its contents and purge the clutter.
In many of these spots, paper clutter will account for much of the space that’s being needlessly taken up. Recycle what you can and shred any documents with sensitive information.
No doubt, junk mail contributes to a lot of the paper clutter in our homes. You can reduce the amount you get by registering for the Canadian Marketing Association’s Do Not Mail Service. Make sure you’re also using e-billing as wherever possible.
Keep all manuals in your home in one location to make them easy to find when needed. And you can reduce the number of them by downloading digital versions that are all kept in one folder on your computer. Nowadays, all manufacturers make PDF files of manuals for their products that you can download.
6. Declutter your closets and dresser drawers
Another common clutter area are your home’s closets, especially in the bedroom. Without a good closet organizer, this space can easily become a disorganized mess that makes finding specific clothing items a daily challenge.
Empty the contents of all your closets and you’ll find plenty of things you can remove to free up some valuable space. While your closets are empty, give them a good cleaning.
You can donate, throw out, or give away what you don’t need anymore. This decluttering process also usually reveals a few hidden treasures you can finally start wearing!
Once your closets are sorted out, turn your attention towards your dresser drawers. Dump all of their contents out and get rid of worn out socks and clothing that is no longer useful to you. To save space in your drawers, you can fold clothing vertically. Drawer dividers also help you keep them organized.
7. Check expiry dates
Your home organization New Year’s resolution should include going through everything you own that has a best before date and discarding anything that’s expired. Set aside an afternoon to tackle this task on your list.
Start in your bathroom and go through all the toiletries and makeup in your medicine cabinets and vanity drawers. Don’t just use expiration dates as a criteria for decluttering – discard anything that you’ll probably never use.
This includes hotel soaps and shampoos (which you can donate) and sample packages that are just collecting dust. Once this task has been done, start going through your kitchen pantry.
8. Create a home for everything
Your New Year’s resolution to get your home organized involves cleaning and decluttering, but you should also be looking at how you can make it easier to maintain a tidy home.
You’d be surprised at how much less effort it can require to keep your home organized if you have the right storage and organization solutions in place.
By taking care of this, you’ll have created a home for everything in your home, which cuts down significantly on clutter. You’ll also save yourself a lot of time, as finding items in your home will now be a much quicker process.
Using neatly made labels with a handheld label maker also minimizes the chance that items won’t get stored in their proper home.
9. Maintain your organized home
Finally getting your home organized and cleaned up will require a big effort on your part. Once you’ve fulfilled this New Year’s resolution, however, you’ll be filled with a pride and sense of calm that’s well-earned.
Unfortunately, the work isn’t done. Maintaining your newly organized home requires ongoing dedication and diligence to make sure all your hard work isn’t wasted. Be sure to pay extra close attention to the clutter problem areas in your home.
Set up a schedule to take care of decluttering and cleaning tasks on a weekly basis. There are many smartphone apps available that can make this easier to manage.
And just as you delegated cleaning tasks to the rest of your family to get your home in order, ensure you do the same with them when it comes to helping with the weekly chores.
Get help from a pro to accomplish your New Year’s resolution
Getting your home organized as your New Year’s resolution is easier if you lean on the expertise of a professional who know the best ways to help you accomplish your organizing goals.
At Organized Interiors, we’ve been transforming the closets and homes of our clients for more than 40 years to help them make space for living. We can do the same for you so that you find success with your 2018 New Year’s resolution for a tidier home.
Start your new year off on the right foot by scheduling your complimentary in-home design consultation with us.