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Resolution Cheerleader: Getting It Together

January 19, 2011

How are you doing with your resolutions? This year I’m pretty proud of my list. It isn’t unrealistic and it pushes me just enough out of my comfort zone that I’m not going to back down.  If you have actually stuck with your New Year goals congrats you are part of the 75% of the people who stick with them through the first week. And according to the Huffington Post in 6 months 46% of the people who made resolutions will stick with them.

What goals did you make? If getting out of debt, weight loss,  getting organized, or getting more sleep is on your list you have more in common with most Americans and Australians than you think. These goals actually made up the most common New Years resolutions in both countries. As an avid goal setter I thought I might pull out my pom poms and help cheer on anyone who has decided to take on any of these goals. Today let’s attack that  issue of getting organization. Grab some trash bags, turn on some music, and get your game face on.

Cut the cord: Before the idea of organization ever crosses your mind you should think about ditching/throwing out/donating some of your things. The best way to efficiently use your space is to get rid of the items you don’t need. This can be hard, but put it in perspective: getting rid of useless clutter cuts household cleaning by 40%. As you go through your things ask yourself:

  • Do I need it?
  • Have I used it in the last year?
  • Is it broken? How long has it been broken for? If has been longer than six months and you haven’t fixed it yet it is time to go.
  • If you have multiples of something: Do I really need more than one?
  • When it comes to towels, pillows, blankets, linens: Do I really need as many as I have?
  • Is it worn out to the point that it is no longer useable?
  • How out dated is it? (clothing, magazines, textbooks, etc…)
  • Am I keeping this around because I need/use or because I think I will eventually (exercise equipment, sports equipment, crafting stuff, any project related items).
  • Are you keeping it because someone gave it to you and you don’t want to hurt their feelings or because you really want it?

If it has more than an inch of dust it is high time it goes. Make snap judgements. Don’t over analyze things and come up with stories and old memories about what the item.

Clean up the junk: There is a scientific theory that goes something like this: junk begets junk. It is like bunnies. Junk multiplies at rate that has been clocked at slightly greater than the speed of light. Find the areas where the junk in your house goes to breed and clean it up. Once that dump spot is gone work to keep it that way. One way to do that is to assign a place in the house for all that clutter that would end up on the table/chair/desk. If it was mail that got dumped there mount a file by the door for incoming and outgoing mail. All junk mail get recycled ASAP. Did shoes and coats get dumped in the junk spot? Mount coat hooks in the area and put a basket that everyone can drop shoes in. Whatever it is that collects in the junk areas try to trouble shoot ways to keep it clean.

Paperwork: Somehow this is always the trickiest thing for me. First and foremost get all of your paperwork together and decide what you need to keep it in (filing cabinet, multi file binder, etc…). Than start separating. Make sure you put all info like birth certificates, passports, titles, deeds, social security cards in this binder. If you have tax info call your accountant or whoever prepares your taxes and ask how far back you need to keep tax paper work. Also throw in any warranties, paper clippings, or random papers that you keep into your filing system. This way anytime that you need to find something you know where it will be.

The other important thing to think about is how will you keep this system going. Think about each day going through the papers you gathered that day and either filing or recycling them.

Back up your files: R has a Nas we keep everything on that automatically stores whatever is on our computers. According to him this is pretty  hard-core. I have no idea. It’s a big, black box to me. You don’t need a Nas, but there are other ways to back up files. Try uploading your files online or storing your files on an external hard drive once a month. That way if something happens you wont loose years worth of documents and photos.

Get a calendar: Not just get a calendar, but hang it up (or if it is online make sure you check it daily), write down everything that is happening on it, and make sure to use it. Not just for a week or a month the key here is to use it for 12 full months. This way nothing sneaks up on you, all events can be prepared for, and you will spend a lot less time trying to figure out where you should be.

What do you do to get organized?

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