Organizing for the New Year

photoboxBy Collin Kelley, Editor

January is National Organizing Month, and if getting the clutter out of your life is a New Year’s resolution, these easy – and inexpensive tips – will help you reach your goal.

Whether it’s your garage, closets, work desk or any other area where you feel overwhelmed, this is the month to get your home and business in order. Statistics show that we use 20 percent of our stuff 80 percent of the time. The question is what to do with the rest of it.

Here’s some tips to help you get started:

  • Organizing begins with throwing out things you don’t need or never use. Ask yourself these questions when determining what to keep and what to throw out: Do I like it? Do I need it? Will I use it? Is there room for it?
  • Sort items into piles, or use boxes to help you decide what’s going in the trash, what can be donated to charity, what can be shifted to another space, and a “think about it” pile if you’re unsure.
  • Get rid of things that don’t work and return items you’ve borrowed from others. Don’t hang onto items thinking you’re going to get them fixed if it’s never going to happen.
  • Sort, purge, and then decide the proper storage containers or fixtures for the treasures that you must keep. Clearly label both the tops and the sides of the containers.
  • Consider floor-to-ceiling possibilities for shelving, racks, stackable drawers, hooks and pegboards.
  • Go through your closet today and pull out everything you haven’t worn in the last year and consider donating it to charity or maybe “recycling” it by selling it at a consignment shop.
  • In the kitchen, things that work together should be stored together. Feel the flow of activity in your kitchen. Place glasses near the sink or the refrigerator. Put snacks in a convenient drawer or cupboard.
  • Office space can be one of the most difficult to organize. Start by decluttering your computer, deleting old files and photos or storing them on a hard drive. Sort important papers and put them in labeled folders and store them in a file cabinet. Don’t print files unless necessary. Create folders in your e-mail or your desktop to store electronic correspondence, mail and documents. Consider using a free program like Google Documents to store and share with others, which saves on paper use.

Professional organizer GiGi K. Miller, founder of Vision Organizing, contributed to this article.

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