Make Organization Your No. 1 New Year’s Resolution: Getting Started

30 December 2014 by

Yesterday’s blog post offered expert reasoning for making “getting organized” one of your New Year’s resolutions. Today, these experts, and more, are going to help you get started and keep going strong all year.

Getting started is tough, so make sure you’re setting yourself up for success.

Dr. Fran Walfish, psychotherapist, author and expert panelist on “Sex Box,” said New Year’s resolutions usually fail because people choose their most challenging issues to overcome. “You can’t simply decide to change without a long-term plan and safety net in place.”

Walfish offers the following advice for setting and keeping your resolutions:

  1. Make a reasonable plan that can be followed without too much trauma.
  2. Plan for the “what ifs.” Know ahead of time how you will deal with falling off the wagon.
  3. Create a support system. Find a trusted someone you can talk to and get non-judgmental support from.

“It is best to have only one big resolution and a couple or few smaller resolutions,” she said. “Too many biggies will likely overwhelm you. More than one little resolutions give you several opportunities to prevail and feel successful self-esteem.”

Start Small

Certified Professional Organizer Bonnie Joy Dewkett said starting with a small area will help you find your motivation. Small areas Dewkett mentioned include the medicine cabinet, your purse or wallet, your coffee table, nightstand and refrigerator.

Certified Professional Organizer Janet Bernstein agrees.

“Start by making a list of areas in need of organizing. Note, I wrote ‘areas,’ not rooms. If you have several messy rooms, you may need to break it up into small manageable pieces.”

Ask Why You’re Doing This

“Stop and think about why you want to get organized,” said Dewkett. “The answer isn’t that you want a clean closet or a great looking entry way. The answer lies a bit deeper. Do you want to get out of the house in the morning in less time? Do you want to have more time to cook dinner? Those are the real reasons you want to get organized. Take a moment and walk around your home and think about the ‘why’ for each space.”

Set a Date with Organization

Bernstein recommends scheduling your organizing sessions. “You’re more likely to accomplish a task and feel accountable if you write it on your calendar.”

Work slowly and methodically through your home all year. “If you only carve out two hours for organizing time each week, that adds up to eight hours a month, which adds up to 96 hours for the year. Keep that in mind and you’ll have the motivation to keep up with your organizing throughout the year.”

Take it Easy

“Start with an easier area,” said Bernstein. “For example, the messy drawer in your kitchen. This will give you a feeling of accomplishment and encourage you to continue. Do not, I repeat, do not start by attempting to organize your garage or basement!”

Change the Way You Think About Resolutions

Dewkett recommends setting organizational intentions instead of organizational goals. “Intentions are a way to change your thinking. When you change your thinking you change your habits. A change of habits eventually leads to a change in life. Think about how you go about your days and at what points during your day you are creating clutter, failing to put things away or making choices that are leading to organizational challenges. Once you know where you are going awry, you will know when you need to be more present.”

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