As I travel on vacation to Rio with my family I called in great colleagues and friends to share their wisdom on how to get organized for “New Years’; Fresh Starts” with you. I thank you all for this AMAZING year, for your support and friendship!
This week’s post is from professional organizer and great colleague Leslie Josel, principal of Order Out of Chaos, an organizing consulting firm specializing in students and chronic disorganization. In this great post Leslie shares with us how to get organized for the new year. I know you’ll find her tips amazing and useful and it’s our hope that you can use them to make 2013 THE year you got organized!
Now, read on!
It’s the beginning of another new year. What better time to get organized? Here are some of my favorite tips to start 2013 off on an organized note.
GET ONE, TOSS TWO
Holiday parties, family get “togethers”, office gift swaps. By the end of the holiday season we are inundated with gifts. As you begin to put them away, take time to make extra room throughout the house to accommodate them. For example, for every new toy or game about to take up residence on the shelves, remove two older ones and add them to the donation bag. And whether you decide to recycle, donate or sell, if you stick to the “get one-toss two” rule, then each new gift should actually reduce the clutter in your home. That’s a win-win for everyone!
Most survey results taken around this time of year say that cutting clutter and getting organized are on the top of everyone’s New Years’ resolution lists. One way to ensure that you keep yours doable? Create systems that are natural extensions of your habits. For example, if you are used to sorting and storing your mail in the kitchen but it has taken over the counters and table, then instead relocating the activity to another area in the home (such as a home office), create a mail management system right in your kitchen. You will be more likely to stay organized if your system is in your original go-to area.
PLAN IT/SCHEDULE IT/WRITE IT
School meetings, work obligations, birthdays, exercise class (yes, even that), dates with your spouse. These should all be written down or scheduled on your new calendar. Whether you use a paper calendar, electronic organizer or a good old fashioned notebook, it really doesn’t matter. What matters is that all those appointments, events, and dates are written down in ONE place. Multiple calendars just don’t work. The theory goes that the more places you have to look up something, the more likely you will miss it. There is no better way to start off the New Year feeling stress-free. Extra bonus? Having it all in one place really does make things easier to keep up with.
Bring your dreams to life! Plan, work on it and see it happen.
THE TAX MAN COMETH
Are you dreading tax season? Are your business receipts, charitable donations and paid bills all in one pile under your desk? Can you even find last year’s returns? Here is a sure fire system to get you into shape for the coming year. Buy 13 folders or envelopes and label each beginning with January through December. Label the 13th folder Tax Records. Next, find an easy and accessible area to store them–file cabinet; portable tote- whatever does the trick.
Designate some time either each week to gather up all those loose receipts and paid bills and place them in the corresponding file folder. In January, when you begin receiving tax statements, W-2′s, etc., place them in the Tax Records file. With just a few minutes each week you will have everything in one place to prepare your taxes. You will be instantly prepared, have everything at your fingertips and your accountant will thank you!
Know When To Hold Them. Know When to Throw Them
Repeat after me: Do I need this? Do I love this? Do I use this? Now say it again. Carefully consider every item in your house. If it doesn’t make you happy, look great or has lost its usefulness, it’s a no. Put it in the donate pile and remove it from the house immediately. Having a hard time getting rid of something sentimental that you no longer have use for? Relegating it to a box in the basement or garage does nothing to celebrate it. Take a picture instead! It will both reduce clutter instantly and honor the memory in a respectful manner.
Let’s chat! Do you have questions for Leslie? Would you like to learn more on how to get organized? Leave your questions to Leslie below!
Leslie Josel is the Principal of Order Out of Chaos, an organizing consulting firm specializing in students and chronic disorganization. She is a member of the National Association of Professional Organizers and holds her ADD and Hoarding Specialist certifications from the Institute for Challenging Disorganization. Leslie is known as a respected resource on ADHD and Executive Functioning in students and has been featured in national broadcast and print media on these subjects. Leslie is also the creator of the award winning “Academic Planner: A Tool for Time Management”. Connect with Leslie at www.orderoochaos.com.