As a Professional Organizer, I think the beginning of the year is a great time to decide to de-clutter and get organized. The earlier we free ourselves from unnecessary things and processes, the sooner we can start focusing on what's important to us - time with our family, friends, better efficiency, etc. The list goes on and on. The key to organization is figuring out what works and doesn't work. Here are some tips to get started:
- Decide on a realistic project: How much time you have to devote to the project should drive your expectations? You may not be able to organize the entire house in an afternoon, but you CAN make significant progress on those unruly kitchen cupboards.
- Find an organizing buddy: Whether it's a Professional Organizer or a supportive friend, de-cluttering and organizing is easier when you work with someone.
- Take a "before" picture: When you are done with your project, you want to have a reminder of where you started and how much progress you've made!
- Be brutally honest about what stays and what goes: When we organize and de-clutter, we need to figure out what to do with all that "stuff" we no longer want or need. Generally, those items get handled one of four ways: sell, give away (generally to a friend or relative), recycle or donate. Devote separate areas to place items for each category and make a decision with every item as you go.
- Take an "after" photo: Congratulations on your progress! Be sure to give yourself a reminder of how far you've come!
When deciding what to do with the "donate" items, Seattle Goodwill is my charity of choice. Many people are just concerned with getting rid of things, but I think it's also important to focus on where it goes and what the donation can provide. At Goodwill, those donations are turned into opportunity. Opportunity comes in the form of inexpensive products for those in need or hours of training for those with vocational challenges.
So, pick your next de-cluttering project, roll up your sleeves, and get organized! And when you're done, keep Seattle Goodwill in mind. The items you no longer want may give someone else an opportunity they need.