First off, Happy New Year! I hope your 2018 is off to a fresh start! Did you make a New Years Resolution that just didn't work out? Did you forget to make a resolution altogether?
That's okay, it is still only January, which means you have plenty of time to make 2018 a productive year with these organizational resolutions for you to complete each month!
Trust me, your December 2018 self will thank you if you follow my 12 resolutions;
one for each month of 2018!
January: Organizing Books and Magazines
Even though January is already half over (can you believe that?!), there is still time to accomplish an organization goal this month! First, collect all of the reading material you own, whether those are books, magazines, or the like, and set them out in front of you to see what you have. Now you have some options:
Option 1: Donate it!
You can donate a book or magazine to a friend, your local library, a GoodWill store, or your local thrift shop.
Option 2: Sell it!
What many people do not realize is that you can even make money from your already-read books! Using websites such as BookScouter can earn you cash by selling your used books!
Option 3: Make your copy digital on an eReader!
If you really loved a specific book, you do not have to get rid of it altogether! After donating or selling the physical copy, using Amazon's Kindle or Barnes & Noble's Nook, you can buy the eReader version of the book and have it with you always! Don't want to buy an eReader device? You can download the Kindle App or Nook App onto any smart device (Smart phone, tablet, laptop, etc.) and have the book with you on there!
Option 4: Keep it (but keep it organized)!
By no means do you need to get rid of any books or magazines that you love to read. Make sure all of your reading material is in one place to keep it decluttered and if you have the patience to put your books in some sort of order (either by genre, alphabetical by title or author, or in order of your favorites), that will help keep you organized year-round!
PRO TIP: I highly recommend downloading the GoodReads App or using their website to keep track of your titles. On this app, you can create virtual bookshelves to keep track of books you are currently reading, books you have already read, and books you want to read in the future. You can even create your own customized "shelves"! The site also provides you with reviews on the thousands of books they have in their database and you too can write your own review on any title!
February: Organizing Paper Files
With your taxes due in two months (April 15th folks, don't forget), you're going to need to get your paper s*** together. Start this month so that you can be in control when crunch time comes.
Collect ANY paper files you have whether that means receipts, bills, or even coupons, having your paper trail in one spot will save you such a headache in the long run.
PRO TIP: Get yourself a storage box, like this one from Staples, to keep everything in order! It makes your files easy to move around and easily accessible.
March: Junk Drawer(s) Time!
We all have those few drawers in our house that are complete and utter disasters, so lets take the month of March to get those under control! Remove everything from your junk drawer and organize it on a table or counter space. Examine what you have and throw away what you have not used in the past year. Then, give each drawer its own purpose/use. Divide your items into the appropriate drawer and you'll feel so great when you know exactly where to look for something the next time you need it!
PRO TIP: Many times I see clients with an overabundance of pens and pencils. Pens and pencils are always useful of course, except for when they no longer work! If a pencil does not have an eraser, or a pen is out of ink, toss it out! Take a scrap piece of paper and make sure all of your pens work before putting them back in the drawer. It may be time to let some of them go.
Note: Check out my photo gallery for a before and after of a junk drawer!
April: Counter Tops
Now that taxes are (hopefully) in, take a deep breath and get rid of the clutter you created from the stress of the month!
Any counter space you have in your home or office space, take some time out to organize the area. Throw out anything that you have not used in the recent past. If you have not needed said item in the past 6 months, throw it away!
PRO TIP: At the end of the day, counters should be a place where you can create, make, spread out, and not have to worry about your possessions getting in your way. The clearer the counter top, the better! Try to have the counters completely clear while maximizing your use of cabinets, drawers, and other areas that are meant to store things.
May: Spring Cleaning in Your Clothes Closet!
As we get closer and closer to summer and further away from winter, there is no doubt that your closet is going to need some TLC. Since winter has just passed and you probably still have your winter clothes close by, go through and get rid of whatever you did not wear because odds are, you probably won't wear those same articles of clothing in the future winters either!
Organize your closet based on the type of clothing it is (business, business casual, recreational, loungewear, etc.), the color, or the kind of clothing it is (tee shirts, long sleeved shirts, shorts, long pants, etc). You know what works best for you and how you think about what you are going to wear. Do you find yourself choosing an outfit based on color? Then organize your clothes that way!
This may sound simple, but many people organize based on how they think things are supposed to be and not based on what works for them personally.
PRO TIP: Getting rid of clothes can be hard for some people because of those "what ifs"..."what if I lose weight?" or "what if I can find cute pants to match this?" or "what if I have a tie dye legging themed party?" You can rest assured that just because you're getting rid of clothes now does not mean that you will never have any extra clothes hanging around later! What I am trying to say is that you will always have extra clothes that you can use in case of emergencies, so if you're saving something based on a "what if" scenario, donate it.
June: DeClutter Your Shed or Garage (or both!)
Before it gets unbearably hot, get outside and organize your shed and/or garage!
I know this can seem like a daunting task, especially if you have stuff cluttered from years of collection, but once you complete this New Years Resolution, you'll feel SO MUCH BETTER!
First, follow my pro tip (see below). Then, start sorting! Ask yourself questions like "have I used this recently?", "Have I looked for this item in the past 6 months?", and ultimately "Do I have the space for this?" While you're sorting, make sure you are getting rid of things that you do not need! I cannot emphasize this enough! This will make your life so much easier on your organizational journey.
PRO TIP: The simplest part of this organization task often gets overlooked. Before you begin to sort anything, ask yourself what you want from the space. What do you actually want the garage/shed to be used for? Is this purely a storage space or do you want to use it for something else? Maybe you want to start putting your car in the garage which means you will have to get rid of more things than if you were just using the space as storage for smaller items. Knowing your end game is key!
July: Email Inbox
July can be brutally hot (depending on where you live of course). Take a hot summer day to stay in the air conditioning and sort your email!
While you're at it, take this time to delete old text messages, listen to your voicemails, answer those Facebook friend requests, and respond to those tweets that you have been meaning to for months!
PRO TIP: Create different folders within your email inbox so you can easily find correspondence's when you need them! For example, sort your emails by "work","friends","family","school", etc.
August: Bathroom Organization
We spend so much of our time in the bathroom, yet in many houses, the bathroom quickly becomes a collection of things that you forget are there. It is so easy to store something in the medicine cabinet or under the bathroom sink and never look at it again. Do not fall into this trap! Your bathroom can prove to be valuable storage space if you use it right!
PRO TIP: Check the expiration date on lotions, creams, medicines, makeup, and other toiletry items! Toiletries are easily replaced, so get rid of anything that is even close to expiring because if you haven't used it by now, you won't use it in the near future. Old medicines can even be a potential health risk!
September: Fridge, Freezer, and Pantry Organizing
With BBQ season coming to an end, I bet you have had your fair share of spills and splatters in your fridge, freezer, and/or pantry. Before you start any organizing, take everything out and clean your space! Nothing feels better than filling a space that is clean!
Now that your space is clean, September means back to school (if you are a student yourself or have children who are in school), it is crucial to make sure you have everything you need (#StressEating).
Throw out anything that is expired or has seemingly gone bad. Condense items, for example if you have 2 boxes of ice pops that are half empty, combine them into one and throw away the other box! Also, organize your food by type, especially in the pantry! This makes it easy to find the specific snack that you're looking for without having to try too hard.
PRO TIP: I recommend having a grocery list attached to the front of your fridge, freezer, or pantry with a pen attached to the list! This way, once you realize you are running low or are out of something, you can shut the door and add it to your grocery list. This is something simple, yet life changing.
October: Cleaning Out Your (Decorations) Closet
Last month's blog post gave you different ideas on how to organize your gift wrapping supplies and hopefully you were able to use some of those tips in your home! Now that Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa time is rapidly approaching, it is a great time to dive into your decorations collection (wherever it is that you store them) and get them organized too!
PRO TIP: Many people keep decorations solely because they have been passed down from generation to generation. While I completely adore the sentiment, this just is not always feasible. What you can do to combat this is take a piece of whatever decoration is in question, and turn it into a handmade ornament or smaller decorative piece!
For example, lets say you have an old Cornucopia that your great-great-grandmother made for Thanksgiving. It has been passed down through the generations and now you have it, but from unpreventable wear and tear, it is falling apart. Instead of allowing the piece to take up a lot of space, take a piece of the cornucopia and turn it into a Christmas ornament, an addition to the Hanukkah table, or a decoration around the house for Kwanzaa!
November: Kitchen Organization
With Thanksgiving coming up at the end of the month, lets go through your pots and pans! Again, take everything out before you even think about sorting your items (see a pattern here?). Make sure that every pot and pan has a respective lid and if it does not, really think about whether or not it is worth keeping. Also check on wear and tear, pots and pans can be overused! In addition to your pots and pans, go through the rest of your kitchen gadgets and if you have something you have never or rarely used, give it to a family member or friend! There is no shame in saying "hey I don't use this, do you want it?" Not only can you open up space this way, but you can make a loved one happy at the same time!
PRO TIP: You know I could not have a blog post without featuring at least one item from my favorite place on earth! With this Cookware Organizer from The Container Store, you can store anything from pots and pans to cupcake trays to baking sheets! It allows you to store your cookware vertically or horizontally so it really tailors itself to whatever you need it for!
December: Tupperware Time!
Congratulations! You made it to December! If you have followed my monthly resolutions so far, I'm sure you are feeling so accomplished and much more organized than you ever thought you would! For the last month, I want to focus on tupperware. Similar to last months resolution, you need to make sure that every piece of tupperware has a matching lid. If it does not, there is literally no point to keep it for food storage. The whole purpose of tupperware is to keep things fresh and if there is no lid, that is going to be hard to do.
Storing tupperware also gives a lot of people a headache. Ever had a cabinet that caused an avalanche every time you opened it because it was filled with tupperware? I found this awesome organizer from (you guessed it) The Container Store and my tupperware has never looked better! It has room for 12 containers (and their lids) and can fit in any standard kitchen drawer!
PRO TIP: Tupperware does not have to be expensive. Ordering take out? Save the containers to use throughout the year.
Those Chinese Food containers are the perfect way to send guests home with some holiday leftovers!
If you made it to the end, CONGRATS, seriously, impressive and quite an accomplishment. Do not hesitate to ask me ANY questions regarding any of the topics from each month, I am happy to answer them and provide advice. I am here to help you! Let your space be a reflection of you.