January Organizing Tips

The start of a new year is when many of us resolve to improve ourselves, by making resolutions or just by announcing our plans to change. But before you decide to reorganize the entire house, basement, attic, garage, your calendar and your life, consider your motivation for doing so. Your ability to achieve any goal is directly related to your internal motivation.

So start with a brainstorm session. Ask yourself "why" you want to get organized. What are the benefits? How will your life be different? Write down in a sentence what your life will look like after you make this change. Put it all down on paper and hang it somewhere, starting with the goal: "I want to get organized." Then the why: "It will make my life less stressful and I won't have to hunt for my keys." Finish with the what it will look like: "When I am organized ________________."

Let's start with something small, like a purse, briefcase or backpack.

  • Empty the bag onto a large surface, such as a table. If it's too overwhelming to see everything laid out at once, pluck items out one at a time.
  • Pick up an item and consider it. What purpose does it serve? Anything in there should be items you use regularly and need to carry with you. You will begin with this item and sort items into four piles:
    • Staying - Stays in bag
    • Act - This item requires some action, such as a letter to be mailed
    • Toss - Garbage, recycling or shredder
    • Move - This item does not belong in the bag, but belongs somewhere else
  • Once all the items are sorted into piles, think about the items staying in the bag. Sort them into categories. For example, you might group hand lotion, lip balm, hairbrush, reading glasses and your daily prescription into one category. Large papers and files might be another. Pens, paper clips are office supply items. Headphones, your bluetooth and phone might be "audio." The categories really depend on what you carry each day.
  • Finally, put away the other items you've collected. Set a deadline for the "act" items. Try to set it within the week to make sure it gets done.

Bonus Organizing Tip

  • Consider listening to music or working with a friend to help make the process more enjoyable.

Want more ideas? Check out our workbook,
"Get Organized This Year!" chock full of tips and ideas for each month of the year.