New Years resolutions. We all have them, even if we don’t admit it, and we all forget about them before the Valentines day merch gets stocked at Target. Admittedly every year I vow to lose the extra pounds I put on the year prior or read an extreme amount of books per month and never follow either one through. This year however I really just wanna make my life easier. To help me achieve this I won’t be doing something crazy in my career (mainly because my job is already top notch) or lowing my course load at East Carolina. I will however do little things to help my life run a little smoother, including getting organized. The junk drawer in my kitchen, the closet in my office that never gets opened, the bookshelf I haven’t dusted since I moved in, the bottom of my bookbag, my social media, my contacts, and especially my car are all getting filed, sorted, and stacked. After re-reading Marie Kondo’s book, because it apparently didn’t stick the first time, I had inspiration and cleaned out my closet yesterday. I sorted by kinds and color, organized the shelves, and even added a rug for a pop of color like the HGTV girls would have done . Today I still have inspiration to keep cleaning and organizing but what about next week or next month? I did some research and I’m sharing Refinery29’s interviews with 6 experts on how to stay organized all year long so we can all have an easier, organized life.
Visualize Your Ideal Lifestyle
Legendary organization guru Marie Kondo urges the importance of painting a picture for yourself. After all, if you don’t know what you’re aiming for, it can be hard to achieve it. “Think about what kind of house you want to live in and how you want to live in it. If you like drawing, sketch out what it looks like. If you prefer to write, describe it in a notebook. You can also cut out photos from magazines,” she offers.
“When you imagine your ideal lifestyle, you are clarifying why you want to tidy and identifying the kind of life you want to live once you have finished. The tidying process thus represents a huge turning point in a person’s life. So seriously consider the ideal lifestyle to which you aspire – and let it be your guide throughout the year.”
Schedule A Date (Or Two) To Get Organized By
Haya Kramer of Graylane Solutions, an interior design and professional organization firm, stresses the importance of getting your calendarinvolved in the process. “There are dates throughout the year to remind you and maybe even force you to get organized,” she explains. “Use the changing seasons and the holidays as a mental marker to spend time sorting through your stuff. When the clock springs forward put a note on the calendar to switch over your wardrobe. Use that weekend to sort through your winter wardrobe and get rid of things you haven’t worn in over a year. Before thanksgiving approaches, set aside 2-4 hours to clean up your desk. Make piles – file, shred, pay. There is nothing more satisfying then going into a new season with an organized space and mind.”
When You Purchase Something New, Get Rid Of Something Old
This is a hard one, especially for my fellow fashion and beauty hoarders, but Kramer makes a convincing argument for the importance of the “one-in, one-out” method. “Inevitably you are going to acquire new things — clothing, furniture, gadgets and gifts — throughout the year. And it’s easy to forget what you have accumulated,” she says.
“I remind my clients that when you purchase something new make a conscious effort to throw away and/or donate something you haven’t used in over 10 months. Did you purchase a new outfit to ring in the New Year? Sort through your wardrobe and make piles — keep, toss and donate — of clothing which you never took off the tags or completely forget you owned. This is a way of checking in with yourself and being aware of what you are accumulating. By doing so it will also allow you to physically make space for the new things you’re buying in the new year.”
Carve Out Real Time For A Ritual
Even treasured rituals like a yoga practice or morning breakfast routine get lost in the shuffle sometimes, but it’s important, says Lili Pettit of Clutter Healing, to make time in your schedule to clean and sort a little bit every day.
“I’d say the number one thing that anyone must implement to stay organized all year long is to make space for organizing in their daily, weekly, monthly and annual schedules. It sounds simple however, most people tend to put off creating a plan to maintain their homes. You can have all the best intentions in the world but without a plan to maintain your space it’s just not going to happen,” she explains.
Figure Out Which Chores You’ll Do On Which Days
Professional organizer Laura Cattano preaches the importance of figuring out a cleaning schedule to ensure all chores get done and spaces stay tidy. “Clean all sinks every day, take out all trash every day or every other day, dust one day, clean glass or mirrors another day, vacuum a few times a week (depending on the size of your space),” she suggests. “When your space is a little clean, you generally want to keep it clean, others will too. Having the main things clean like sinks and trash will give an overall feeling of a home being clean even if you haven’t vacuumed in a while.”
Get Tough On Entryway Clutter
“The entry of a home can become a dumping ground of coats, shoes, bags, etc. Identify what tends to pile up and create a system to deal with it and/or stop if from coming in in the first place,” says Cattano.
Rethink Your Bathroom Routine
If a tiny bathroom jammed with too many products and gadgets is a problem for you, it may be time to get real about what you’re actually using on your face, at least on a day-to-day basis. “Most people have way too many products. Before going through your things, think about what you actually need to be using on your face. Once you think about that, edit and sort you’re items keeping in mind that products once opened and used don’t last forever, especially make-up,” Cattano explains.
Put Your Stuff Away
Even if you don’t think you can commit to tossing something every time you get something new, you should at least find said new thing a proper home in your space, especially if it’s an extra or a back-up of something else.
“Try to find a ‘home’ for things that don’t need to be out 24/7. For example, you might own six sets of coasters but they don’t all always need to be displayed. Pick your favorite and store the rest in the same spot so when you need more you know exactly where they are,” explains Homepolish interior designer Haley Weidenbaum. “Just like wearing jewelry or clothing always take off one item before you leave the house and this same thought rings true for your home. You don’t need all seven candles on the coffee table. Keep two on the table, store the rest for when these run out or even move them to unaccepted areas like the bathroom counter for added decor.”
Be Ruthless On That Closet Edit
Approach your closet the way you imagine the scariest fashion editor of your Devil Wears Prada-fueled dreams might a big-deal editorial shoot. Which is to say, purge ruthlessly.
“Take stock of what you have. Do an edit! Get rid of things that don’t fit, are stained or unable to repair or don’t look good on you! Grab a friend, or pay an organizer or a stylist whose style you admire to help with the process,” says Melanie Charlton of the closet organizing service Clos-ette.
I think that last one is my favorite. Anytime I can related to Meryl Streep is a good day. Hope this helps you stay organized or at least gives you a little inspiration to get started. Happy New Year and happy cleaning!