In an issue of the Get Organized newsletter I wrote about the January 1 Effect – how you can get a gift of energy and motivation from the start of the new year.
Why not take advantage of this once-a-year psychological boost, and start the year well!
Here are 6 dos and don’ts for getting your ducks in a row and having a calm and ordered new year.
Get Organized For The New Year: 6 Dos And Don’ts
1. Don’t Shop As A Past-time.
Buy what you need, have what you love. Enjoy your stuff!
But don’t go looking for things just to distract yourself or pass the time. You’ll end up with clutter. And this is the year we let the clutter go.
2. Do Adopt OCI-OGO
Unless you’re setting up your first home, chances are you have way more of most things than you’ll ever need or use.
So every time you buy or get given something new, get rid of something old. I call it OCI-OGO: One Comes In, One Goes Out.
Use the principle for clothes, shoes, sports gear, books, DVDs, gadgets, towels, pots and pans, utensils, tools, jewelry, everything. Toss tatty things, donate the rest. Keep a donation basket and get the whole family to use it.
It’s a surefire way to stop clutter from growing.
3. Don’t ‘Clean Up’
Seriously, this is possible.
Instead, restore order as part of every task you complete. Do it for cooking, eating, dressing, doing crafts, paying bills, playing with the kids, reading a book, watching DVDs, everything!
If you get into the habit of tidying as you go, everything will take a little bit longer, or you’ll have to finish everything a little bit earlier.
But the upside is awesome: You’ll never, ever, have to ‘clean up’ again.
4. Don’t Aim For Perfection When You Declutter, Organize Or Simplify
The thing about perfectionism is that it kills motivation. It makes everything feel like such hard work, and who wants to do that? Um, not moi.
Instead, step away from the whip and go for the simple version. You can always do more later.
By Under-engineering every organizing, decluttering, or simplifying task you attempt, you’ll have a far greater chance of (a) starting and (b) finishing.
And guess what – most likely you’ll achieve more than you ever did with perfectionism on your back. Which is very cool, and very motivating.
5. Do Declutter, Organize & Simplify In Little Chunks
I don’t know many people who enjoy decluttering, organizing or simplifying – but most of us love the way it feels to be organized, clutter-free and ordered.
The solution is to sneak in your organizing tasks, so they don’t hurt as much.
Regulars of this site will know that I recommend 30-minute chunks as a great way to avoid procrastination, feel motivated and get great results. It doesn’t seem like a lot of time, but in half an hour you can work wonders – such as de-toxing the car, decluttering your surfaces, or organizing the kids’ bedrooms.
Another idea is to use little blocks of time to do simple but powerful things that help you to be more organized.
6. Do Live Within Your Home’s Boundaries
Many people think their problem is that they’re too undisciplined to get organized. But the truth is usually that they have too much stuff for their space.
One answer is to get a bigger house; but there’s a better one: Make a commitment to only keep in your home those things that fit comfortably.
As well as helping you avoid clutter, the mindset of living within your home’s boundaries really simplifies decision making too: If you can’t fit it, you don’t buy it.
Have a Happy & Organized New Year!
Remember these do and don’ts and you’ll be making a great start to a calm and ordered year.
And I hope it’s a very happy one too!
[Top image by pandabearphotography]