Looking for a resolution? Here are ten practical ideas to get you organized all year long.
#1 Start a receipt file system
Whether you run a business from home or want to keep track of the household budget, having an organized receipt tracking system is vital to its’ success. All you need for a basic system is twelve pocket file folders, a marker, and somewhere to put the folders where you can see and easily access them daily. Label each folder tab with the months of January-December, and you have a home for receipts when they come out of your wallet or purse.
#2 Write down things you want to take action on
Print out and get started with the Bella Organizing Action-Plan-Template.
#3 Create a vision board
A vision board is a visual display of your life intentions, ambitions, and/or or goals that you make and hang in a place where you see it every day. It is also called a dream board, and vision map. It is a collage of images, pictures and affirmations of your dreams, goals, and things you want to make reality. If your goals are to start a business, get that job, find the right person, explore the world, etc., create a vision board to organize, visualize, and remember to take action toward them on a daily basis.
#4 Use the buddy system
Many hands make light work. If you have help with a large task, you will be increasingly motivated to do it, and it will get done faster. Enlist a friend or two whose goals are like your own. If they are home organizing goals, pick a small area of each others house to work on together for a couple hours per week or month. Start with simple places like a bookshelf, the pantry, or linen closet. Then work your way up to bigger and more looming areas like the GARAGE. Follow my Six Simple Steps to stay on track.
#5 Take the piles you have been meaning to deliver to a donation drop-off
If you do not have a bag or box ready to go, make one. There is always more to declutter. Find a Goodwill drop-off location near you using the Goodwill store locator.
#6 Start a system for incoming, active, and outgoing paperwork and bills
Don’t let bills and important correspondence go out of sight, out of mind. If not dealing with it immediately, create a specific area where you place and see it daily, such as in a desktop file box. All you need are a few labeled hanging file folders and you are ready to begin. It will be a nice compliment to your new receipt filing system, the folders of which can be placed in here.
TIP: Make the front hanging folder your BILLS file. Stand bills upright in the file if they are still due. Make the back hanging file your TO FILE folder, meaning bills and correspondence has been dealt with and are ready to be filed away in the long-term file cabinet. Additional tab labels can be TAX DOCUMENTS, TO READ, etc. Customize to your needs and lifestyle.
#7 Deal with clothes and linens right out of the dryer
Wrinkles are easiest to smooth out when clothing and linens are warm and fresh from the dryer. Towels and sheets fold flatter, take up less space, and look nicer in the linen closet. Clothes are less likely to need an additional ironing or steaming. Striving for that picture-perfect Martha Stewart linen closet? This is the closest you will get without hiring a display professional. And you look much better without wrinkles in your clothes. Make it habit to neatly fold and hang laundry as soon as its done.
#8 Stop junk mail before it stops you
Recycle junk mail immediately by placing a recycle bin along the path you normally walk from the mailbox into the house. If mail comes through a slot in the door, look through it over your kitchen recycle bin before setting it down anywhere. Recycle junk mail from your PO BOX before you leave the post office. Practice will soon become habit. Go a step further into junk mail prevention by getting off mail and catalogue lists. Find out how at Catalog Choice.
#9 Learn how to use an online calendar
Set aside time to log in and get to know an online calendar system such as google calendar, and link it to your computer desktop and/or smartphone. Call or visit your service provider for help with syncing an online calendar to your smartphone or using the one installed on it. For a list of free online calendars and their many uses, visit http://freebies.about.com/od/online-calendars/tp/free-online-calendars.htm
#10 Start using your smartphone note pad for grocery and reminder lists
Do away with pieces of paper in your pocket and always have notes handy on your phone. Problem solved when you cannot find a pen and paper to write something down. No more leaving the to-do list at home…unless you leave your phone at home. But how often does that happen?
Isabella Guajardo is a San Francisco Bay Area professional organizer offering home organizing and residential move management services throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.