1. Start Small.
Simply put, don’t bite off more than you can chew.
“People usually make a resolution that says something like, ‘I’m going to get my home and office totally organized this year, and I will never misplace anything again’,” said Maria Spetalnik, a professional organizer in the Washington, DC, area. “This is not only unrealistic but would take so long that they usually run out of steam before they even see results. Then they are frustrated with themselves and have often created a bigger problem than they started with.”
To prevent that frustration, Spetalnik said, make resolutions like, “I will do my shopping using a list rather than trying to remember what I need.”
2. Use One Calendar for Everything.
This includes reminders, vacations, tasks and anything else “to help you kick forgetfulness,” said Amber Kostelny, a professional organizer in Chicago.
Kim Oser, a professional organizer in the Washington, DC, area, said your calendar must be portable, whether it’s in paper or digital form. That way, you can mark down appointments and other calendar-worthy events when you’re on the go.
3. Establish Daily, Weekly and Monthly Routines.
“Creating routines to accomplishing tasks will make sure even the mundane things get done around the house,” Kostelny said.
For example, make your bed daily, pay your bills weekly and clean out your wallet monthly.
4. Set Manageable Goals.
Either at night before or in the morning, jot down your three most important tasks for the day, Oser said.
“There may be more than three but these are the three things that must get done,” Oser said. “It allows you to build them in to your day rather than panicking at the end of the day.”
5. Divide and Conquer.
Rather than taking on a massive organizing project, break that project up into pieces, like getting the corner of a room into shape, not the entire room, said Beth Giles, a professional organizer in Portland, OR.
“One of the biggest misconceptions is that a room can be transformed into an organized area in a matter of minutes,” Giles said. “Most rooms or offices do not become disorganized overnight but rather over months or years, so it will require hours or days to work through the contents of a space and restore its order.”
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