Many people have sworn off New Year’s resolutions altogether simply because of the failure they have experienced in the past. After all, if you’re not able to keep these resolutions, why make them at all? As corny as it may sound, the New Year gives everyone a chance to regroup and to get a fresh start.
After all the chaos the holiday season often creates, your bank accounts, nerves and homes could likely benefit from a refresh. What better time to get a grip everything and do it right than the New Year?
If you are ready to rejuvenate yourself, your family, and your home, then you may need a few guidelines and ideas. Go ahead, give it a try – what do you have to lose?
The Key is to Downsize
There is a post-holiday rule you can use to get rid of clutter in your home. For each new item, every pair of slippers, earrings, etc., that you receive, throw out three things. Call it the “getting organized, one-for-three rule.” Before putting any presents away, you (and the entire family) needs to try and fill up a minimum of three bags for donation to a local charity.
Also, take a look at your holiday décor. Are there any decorations you didn’t use? If so, there’s a good chance you won’t use them next year, either. Add them to your donation pile.
Make sure you take some time to go through your closets and drawers, too. While keeping a few comfortable jeans and soft t-shirts, you don’t need two dozen of them. Add any extras to your donation pile. While going through everything see if there is a way to put them away that can help save space. For example, can you install hooks on your door for bathrobes? Try to find new ways to store items in each room as you are decluttering.
Has your collection of hotel shampoos become uncontrollable? Are your kitchen cabinets bulging at the seams with too much “stuff?”
Remember, you are trying to get organized for the New Year, right? You don’t need everything that is in your home. If an item is not necessary, donate it to someone who could use it.
Now that you have downsized and have found a bit of extra space, you can begin to put everything else where it belongs. It is smart to add one more item to your home inventory to help this process – a quality labeling machine.
Having a neat, easy-to-read label can make a huge difference when you are reorganized because you and your family have a virtual road map to where everything goes.
For example, when it is time to take down all your Christmas decorations, make sure to label each box. Write what is in the box, and consider creating your own, unique, organization code. This could include a category or box number. To put it simply, the label on your box of ornaments would read: “Christmas – Ornaments – 1.” On the final box, consider circling or underlining the number, so you know it is the final box. This makes it easy to know whether or not you have gathered all your boxes next Christmas.
The last step is to find a corner in your attic, basement, garage, or closet to store all your Christmas boxes. Use this same process for the entire house. It is a good idea to start with your drawers and closets and end with the bins and boxes in your garage.
Clean and Straighten Your Home
After decluttering, downsizing, and organizing, cleaning is a simple process. In many situations, it’s all the clutter that makes cleaning up challenging.
Have you ever completely cleaned your home before a professional cleaning service arrived? Many people laugh at the thought, but they don’t get that 80 percent of the cleaning process is picking up items and returning them to where they belong, so you have some surface area to clean.
Tidying up is a job that no outside help can handle, regardless of how efficient they are. To ensure the job is as easy as possible, create a schedule of when you do certain tasks. For example, bathrooms are cleaned Saturdays and laundry is done on Monday. Create a schedule that works for you.
To avoid forgetting anything and to make sure that everything is taken care of spread the work out into manageable portions during the week. Then, handle the cleaning one room at a time. There is no need to dart throughout the house trying to get everything cleaned up.
Create Lives that are Simpler
Many people ricochet through their homes when cleaning. This is often the same way they ricochet through life. This is not only pretty ineffective, but it can also lead to nothing getting done.
You rush around to your kid’s activities, meetings for yourself, errands and more. All this can make it difficult to accomplish anything.
For many people, breakfast time is a free-for-all and dinners are often consumed in separate rooms. While you want your kids to do activities they enjoy and there are certain things you have to handle, it can become chaos quickly. Now is the time to simplify your “to-do” list.
If you two kids, you need to limit everyone’s hobbies to no more than three each. If you have three or more kids, you may need to limit the activities further. Also, remember that interests change with the season. Make sure to accommodate for this.
You also need to limit your activities. If you are trying to go to PTA meetings, sports booster clubs, and more, it can get overwhelming quickly. However, you need to make sure you leave time for yourself to do things, too. Only volunteer to a few clubs such as these and ensure you, and everyone in your family has a bit of downtime during the week. Preferably make sure this downtime is when you can spend time together.
To make sure you are planning properly, purchase a white board calendar, or make your own. Use colored post-it notes for each person’s activities. This can provide you with a visual board of your weekly schedule. It also lets you see where there is room for downtime.
It is easy to waste money on items you don’t need. If you are determined to save money this year, it is going to take effort and a bit of sacrifice.
First, list all your bills that have a fixed amount, and that must be paid each month. This typically includes things such as tuition, car payments, mortgage or rent, health insurance, etc. These are fixed, must-pay bills you can’t do much about.
Now list all the necessary expenses that have fluctuating costs such as the gas and electric bill, groceries, gas, phone bills, etc. Create a budget for each one and find ways to cut back on how much they are used.
The last step is to list the fun-only costs; this includes coffee, fast food, movies, lessons, etc. Create a budget for each and stick to it. Make sure the kids know about this so they can choose what they want to do carefully.
The Bottom Line
Getting organized isn’t impossible, but it does take some time and effort. If you want to begin a new year in a clean, organized home, with finances that are managed, then use the tips here. You are going to quickly discover how easy it is to remain organized when you take the time to do it. What are you waiting for? Start the New Year out right – all you have to do is set your goal and stick to it.