Top 10 Ways to Get Organized This Year



While there's a variety of strategies and tactics for getting organized, most people agree that "getting organized" is one of their top priorities for the New Year. The National Association of Professional Organizers' New York chapter, which includes organizational firms from throughout the state, offers 10 Tips for getting and remaining organized throughout 2006.

January 2006 has been designated "Get Organized" month by the National Association of Professional Organizers, and the New York chapter will be holding educational events and seminars throughout the month.

"Getting organized is a common New Year's resolution, right up there with losing weight and saving more money," said Janine Sarna-Jones, president of the New York chapter. "Many people have the will to make the effort, but they don't have the know-how and guidance to stay on track."

The following 10 tips can help individuals get started and gives advice on how to stay the "organized" course throughout the year.

1. Create goals to support your overall resolution of "getting organized." Break the seemingly overwhelming goal of getting organized into smaller goals, such as: organizing the garage or a section of it; organizing the kitchen maybe even just one cabinet at a time, or creating a system for paying bills on time.

2. Filing Systems: Create main categories and break them down into subcategories ? and label each file with the year and category. Key categories include: Household information; Children; Work/Income; Bills; Bank statements/investments; Tax Information/receipts; Healthcare, and Auto. Subcategories of Household might include Mortgage/Lease, Renovations, and Appliance Manuals. For Banking, make a separate file for each account's monthly statements.

3. Pick an area of your home to be organized/cleaned out each month. Give yourself a finite amount of time to finish the project ? either a day or a weekend to get it done. Plan on donating excess or unused items.

4. Don't simply rely on fancy organizing tools, storage boxes and filing cabinets. Staying organized is a combination of the right tools and a consistent organizing effort made on a regular basis, be that daily, weekly or monthly.

5. Do not use the family room, play room or a spare bedroom for "general storage." Create a storage area ? the garage, attic or a special section of the basement that will be used solely for storage.

6. Throw out or give away possessions that are no longer used. Create organizing policies for your home. An example may be that if you haven't worn pieces in your basic wardrobe for a year, the items are to be donated. Customize the policies to your home and family, and then stick to them.

7. Do a Daily Clutter Walk. Visit the hot spots in your home where clutter seems to accumulate and put your things away. Just fixing these hot spots will make the remaining task more manageable.

8. Reward yourself for your organizing accomplishments. Organizing and cleaning out a bedroom closet deserves a dinner out or a manicure. Celebrate your new serenity!

9. Take that fresh new wall calendar you purchased in December and begin mapping out your organizational projects for the year. Fill in a specific project on the first weekend of each month as reminder of that month's goal. Also fill in a reward for yourself at the end of the month.

10. Team up with your spouse and/or children to help organize. Organizing is easier and faster when there is a team. This is also a great opportunity for you to give your children the life skills of organization.

According to the New York chapter of NAPO, don't get too discouraged if you fall off track. Individuals can always create a new "organizing" start date around other times of the year. The first day of April, would be a great day to gather up and donate older or unwanted winter coats and scarves.

For more tips and general information on becoming more organized, please visit http://www.napo-ny.net, the website for the New York chapter of the National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO).