Is “getting organized” on your list of goals for the new year? It seems be a recurring theme for me. If only I could follow all these 7 tips from our guest Maisie Knowles…
Getting and staying organized throughout the year doesn’t have to be a challenge. Here are seven ways to be more organized this year:
1. Start Small, Stay Simple
Don’t try to organize your life all within a week. Start by implementing organization with something small (like your email) then tackle your desk and so on. Keep organizing systems simple and easy to use, and don’t waste money on all the products designed for organization. Instead, go the DIY route with these 10 common tools recommended by Houzz.
2. Do, File, Trash
Every piece of paper that comes across my desk at home or work gets labeled as “do,” “file” or “trash.” For every item with “do” I make sure the take action on by the end of every week. I file whatever I can immediately and shred everything else. At the end of every week, all three collections should be empty.
3. Go Digital
Cut down on paper waste and go digital with everything you can. The NeatDesk desktop scanner scans and files receipts, business cards and documents while the software organizes key information to store on your computer. Avoid clipping paper coupons and use the mobile app Coupon Sherpa and Val-Pak instead. Create a shopping list on your smartphone and even share that list with a spouse who can add to it on the fly.
4. Zero Out Your Inbox
I never let my email inbox go over 10 items and every week I try to get down to zero messages in my inbox. Ever email gets categorized into folders, and if I’m not interested in something anymore I immediately unsubscribe. Whatever remains in my inbox needs some sort of action, making it easier to prioritize my tasks.
5. Develop a Family Calendar
Start using a web-based calendar system like iCal or Google Calendar. Set up each family member with their own calendar and color system so that you have a global view of what your family is up to each week. You can also use your calendar to schedule recurring tasks on specific days so that you don’t forget something important!
6. Archive Old Documents
Documents like tax returns and important receipts can find a new home in your basement or storage unit. Take the time at the beginning of the year to archive any old items and start new files for the new year. Take this a step further and store away seasonal clothes to avoid clutter in your closet.
7. Create and Stick to Routines
Keeping a routine helps keep your life organized and stay on top of things. Pick a day to go grocery shopping, get into a cleaning routine, and determine the right time to hit the gym. Stick with your routine and you’ll find life gets a little less chaotic and more predictable.
Hopefully these seven tips to getting organized this year will help keep you on the right path!
Written by Maisie Knowles. Maisie is a working mother of two who regularly writes about parenting issues and business ownership. She co-founded Kinoli Inc. with her husband in 2005 and divides her time between managing the company and taking care of her two young girls. For more information, visit MaisieKnowles.com. This post was originally published here at 5 Minutes for Mom in 2013.