If your New Year's Resolution is to get organized, you're in good company. Of the 45 percent of Americans who usually make resolutions, getting organized typically tops the most-resolved list, second only to losing weight.
But only 8 percent of those who make New Year's resolutions keep them long enough to reach a goal.
Don't be one of the 92 percent of people who fail at achieving their resolutions. Getting your life and home organized can bring such peace and relief. "A place for everything, and everything in its place," means that you - and everyone else in your house - can find anything anytime, because you know where to look. It can start with organizing a junk drawer and end with a balanced checkbook, a streamlined calendar and closets you want to photograph and post on Facebook.
Surrounding yourself with order rather than chaos is good for the soul. Studies show that clutter and disorganization can lead to stress and a feeling of being unsuccessful and overwhelmed.
By maintaining an organized life and home, you'll feel happier, be less stressed out and have more free time. Sound good? Let's get started!
First step: Declutter - Decide to tackle one room at a time, and don't work on a second room until you've completed the first. Start with the easy stuff. Put back or put away anything that has a designated home in this room or somewhere else in the house. This should give you enough "visual progress" to encourage you to keep going. As you tackle the rest of the items that need decluttering, ask yourself two questions: If I needed this item, where would I look for it? Then take it there. And If I needed this item, would it occur to me that I already have one? If not, get rid of it. Start bags for garbage and donating.
Organized entryway - When you come in the house and your hands are full of grocery bags, wallet, car keys, empty travel mug and three days' worth of mail, your entryway is bound to get junked up if you don't have a streamlined system in place to deal with it all. Take a few moments to think about the door your family uses most often to enter the house, what happens at that door, and what you can do to keep it neat. You'll probably want to have somewhere to hang keys, jackets and purses, briefcases or backpacks. You may want a calendar to coordinate everyone's schedules, a chore board to assign daily tasks, personalized "catch all" baskets" and bins or folders to organize incoming and outgoing mail. This might also be a good place to set up a charging station for digital devices, a bench, and places to stow shoes, hats, gloves, scarves and other things that go on for outside and come off for inside.
Organized kitchen - If your family is anything like mine, it might take several decluttering endeavors before you can even consider organizing the kitchen. If you have many single-task (as opposed to multi-task) appliances or gadgets, ask yourself how often you use them and if you really need them. If the answers aren't often and yes, absolutely, consider giving them away. They're taking up valuable storage space. Now you can try implementing some of these tips and tricks to Food Network-ify your kitchen.
Organized closets - Have you ever seen a fit-for-BHG Magazine closet in real life? Neither have I. But if you want one, you can do it. Purge everything you don't wear, anything that doesn't fit. As a general rule, if you haven't worn it in the past two years, you probably won't wear it in the next two, so get rid of it. Then group like items. Hang dresses together, gather shoes onto shelves (and for goodness sake, match them!), designate a drawer for jeans. Use bins and baskets to organize smaller items on shelves. Now that you're organized, don't let it get messy! Once a month do a quick straighten: Rehang shirts that fell off their hangers, refold sweaters, and straighten up everything on your shelves.
Organized kid's stuff - Look at the room from your child's perspective. The organization solutions you implement here will have to fit your child, unless you plan to do all the cleaning up all the time. And bring your child into the process. If you involve him or her in the process of getting organized, and give simple daily tasks for keeping organized, you stand a better chance of maintaining organization. Start by sorting. Store out-of-season or outgrown clothing and toys somewhere else. Donate duplicates. And start a "toy library." I love this idea. Fill boxes or tubs with your child's toys, leaving some out to play with. Occasionally swap out the stored toys for things your child has become bored with. The stored toys will be fresh and new and exciting.
Where is your life most in need of organizing help? Share your thoughts in the comments.