• Cheryl Libutti

Three Ways to Organize in the New Year

Happy New Year! Hope you had a blast ringing in 2018.

2017 was a tough year for many with high levels of anxiety, anger, change, and an incredible number of natural and man-made disasters.

In my house, 2017 was a big, good year: my daughter turned 16 and we hosted a big party, we bought a new car, my son spent a week away from us with his grandma, we started going on college visits, and we enjoyed a wonderful camping trip with friends. I was sad to see 2017 go, but am looking forward to a wonderful 2018.

As the calendars change from December to January, people think about plans for the new year: losing weight, being more present, getting their finances in order, and (my favorite!) getting more organized. That is a big goal for some people, and I wanted to explore some popular methods for working towards that goal.

1. Doing it by yourself: Many people tackle disorganization on their own, and my best advice is to break it down into manageable pieces. Start with setting a timer for 15-20 minutes a day and work solidly for that time. Start with whatever area bothers you the most. If you can, avoid getting sucked into a huge overwhelming project that gets only half done before you run out of time, energy, and desire. This small-bites technique has been shown over and over to be successful at tackling a big project independently.

2. Joining a Challenge: Are you on Facebook? If so, join a group whose members are all working together to declutter and organize their homes. You'll be able to post before and after pics and have a community available to cheer you on, ooh and ahh over your progress, and provide helpful ideas and hints if you get stuck on a specific space. I myself did about 4 weeks (verrrrrrrry drawn out) of a challenge last year and enjoyed it.

My favorite group for this is the "Home Organization Challenge 2018" hosted by the blog A Bowl Full of Lemons.

Another great online challenge is on the website, called the The Clutter Challenge/ A Home Reset for January. She has a printable schedule you can follow along on the Clean Mama Facebook page and on Instagram. Doing this in a group is fun, encouraging, cheap, and provides some excellent guidance along the way. Clean Mama also has an absolutely wonderful book called Simply Clean that sets up routines and schedules for home keeping of all kinds.

3. Hire some help: For those who feel completely overwhelmed and stuck, hiring a professional organizer to come and work with you is really the best option. PO's bring a fresh set of eyes, a fresh brain for problem solving, a structure to get things done, and a compassionate heart that wants to help but without feeling the emotional attachments to your stuff. Do you have items floating around your home that you can't seem to find a use for, but your dear aunt/grandma/nephew/neighbor gave it to you and you can't give yourself permission to part with it? Guess what? I can tell you its okay. Do you have trouble staying on task and getting a project done? I can provide you with the accountability and assistance to get it completed.

So often I see posts on Facebook from people who are paralyzed by their rooms and feel awful about it. What they need to do is hire some help! Even just three hours can make a huge dent and free up that blockage to start the process for you.

Three different approaches, three different levels... all working to best help you fix the problem areas in your home this year. I will be doing a hybrid of the three... I'll be doing some of the Home Organization Challenge again this year and will be working independently in chunks of time to work on some projects. What's on my list to tackle this year?

1. My photos and keepsakes. They have been woefully neglected. My biggest project to tackle this winter.

2. Cabinets in my laundry room. I have been so stymied by them that I've considered hiring an organizer for myself to help brainstorm what to keep in them and how to best utilize the space.

3. Garage shelves. These just need a quick go-through and some better looking matching bins.

4. Kitchen cabinet. I have one cabinet that houses non-food related items (cookbooks, stationary, camera, candles and matches) and it desperately needs to be redone.

5. Office cabinets. I'm thinking about swapping out two cabinets in my office (that hold up my desk) with IKEA Alex drawer cabinets. The cabinets I have now are just not functional and have lots of wasted space. The drawers would give us much needed accessible storage for pens, highlighters, sticky notes, my multiple planners, craft supplies, notebooks, and office supplies.

6. My closet. It needs a good purge and I need to say goodbye to many shirts that I've held on to for waaaaay too long. There are a few odds and ends in there that I need to clean out on the floor.

7. Alec's room. I'm hoping we can give Alec's room an update this year. Poor kid has had very little done to his room since we moved in and when he was a 7 month old baby. He needs a new paint job, new curtains, new closet organizing system, baby stuff to be taken out, and a solution found for ALL THE LEGOS that float around the room. Like, thousands of pieces. TENS OF THOUSANDS.

Happy 2018 and best wishes making this your most organized year yet!!

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