Getting organized is a very popular New Year’s resolution, but it’s much easier said than done. A great way to approach it is to focus on organizing one room at a time. This is particularly helpful if you have a plan for matching the right month with the right room. Here is just such a plan. Links to organizing each of these rooms can be found at the end of each segment.
It’s time to put those holiday decorations away and make a fresh start. While you’re at it, there’s probably lots of stuff in the basement that you’ve kept from years past and just don’t need in 2011. Let them go. This will make it easier to find what you need. Even if you store your Christmas in the attic, you still might want to start with the basement, as it is likelier to be heated!
February Home Office 1: Clutter
Tax day is a couple months away, so do yourself a favor and ease into it. The most valuable organizing tool is a clear work surface for processing. Start by clearing all the non-essentials from your office and storing the back up supplies more remotely.
March Home Office 2: Paper
Now that you have a clear home office to work in, attack those piles of paper. Work quickly, general to specific. Start by sorting four simple groups: 1. To Do, 2. To File, 3. To Archive, 4. To Trash. Then focus on each group individually. Despite what you may have heard, it is OK and necessary to handle a piece of paper more than once (unless, of course, it’s “To Trash.”) This will put you in great shape to file those taxes!
With taxes paid, it’s a great time to look at the files you’ve been keeping in your file cabinet. If you must keep the statements from 2010, you can at least store them more remotely in, say, an attic. This will free up your file cabinet for 2011 statements. While in the attic, take a look at what’s up there. Do you still need the archive files that are older than 10 years? Are the keepsakes well protected? Is the luggage easily accessible? April also brings a good attic-organizing climate.
May brings great garage-clearing weather and an opportunity to get rid of those hazardous waste materials you don’t need. In Fairfield county there are collection services which are scheduled starting in mid April. These collection dates will be posted in late March or early April at
June is a great time to see if those shorts and sundresses from last year still fit. If they’re no longer comfortable, why not go through your bedroom closet drawers and clear out clothes you’re no longer using? Donate them and free up space for some new clothes you can feel good in.
The bathroom tends to be the dampest room in the house. Add summer humidity and this can bring mold. Clear out all the expired medications, beauty products, and other unused stuff. Sort the supplies you keep into clear plastic drawers under the sink. The more you can contain small items, the easier the cleaning will be.
August Kid’s rooms
With back-to-school around the corner, it’s a great time to get the kid’s rooms organized. If you want them doing homework in their rooms and not at the kitchen table, be sure they have adequate shelving for their books, trophies, collectibles and other stuff that ends up on their desks.
If you don’t have kids to worry about, relax and take a month off from organizing!
Closets work best when they have dedicated purposes, e.g. linen closet, utility closet, pantry, etc. With school starting and work kicking into high gear, it’s a good time to do a closet clear out and clearly define some boundaries. Also, it’s a good time to switch seasonal items on the top shelves. For example, you may want to get the comforter down soon, but you can stow the beach towels up and away.
October Playroom/ Living room
Families tend to share space more in the fall, so this is a great time to clear out what’s crowding the communal spaces, especially toys. Toys in good condition can be set aside for donation around the holidays.
November is a great time to clear out the kitchen because unexpired food that you don’t want can be donated at food drives in time for Thanksgiving.
December Mudroom/Coat Closet
As we exit one year and enter another, it’s the perfect time to address your home’s exit/entryway. With so much traffic coming and going on here, it’s important to clear out the non-essentials and dedicate the space to just the items that are regularly heading out of the door. While you are at it, have a look at any coats that your family isn’t using. As the mercury drops it’s a great time to donate unused coats to a coat drive.
Getting organized will go more smoothly if you are in harmony with the calendar. Happy New Year!