Ring in the new year with an organized house

  • Article by: SARAH WELCH and ALICIA ROCKMORE GETBUTTONEDUP.COM
  • Updated: January 1, 2013 - 4:53 PM

Follow these eight steps to get your home on track.

It's time to turn your attention to the new year, your intentions, aspirations and commitments. Since your environment absolutely influences your ability to stick to those goals and dreams, your first order of business should be to get your home and office organized.

Although it may seem daunting, getting organized can actually be relaxing and invigorating. In fact, it's probably just the thing to help you regroup and get back to normal after the hectic holidays. To inspire you, we've compiled some helpful tips.

Set a date to put away the seasonal decor: Holiday lights, candles, pillows and other decorative items are wonderful provided they don't linger well past the season. Before the week is out, set a date for putting away all of your decorative holiday items. Feel free to "invite" relevant family members to attend. The more hands you have on deck to take things down, the faster it will be done.

Tackle the paper piles: Holiday cards, children's artwork, notices, invitations, catalogs -- one thing is for certain: Paper is in abundance at this time of year and the piles quickly add up to a big visual mess. A great way to get momentum working for you in your big end-of-year detox is to whittle them to zero.

Small rooms, big progress: Focus on one small section of your home at a time. If you know you aren't going to use an item within a certain time, place it in the "give away" pile. Each time you finish with a micro space, celebrate your progress.

Set an egg timer for 15 minutes and watch a miracle unfold: You don't need a long time to transform your closet. Some how-to videos make the task seem like a six-hour ordeal, but it doesn't have to be. Rather than taking the entire contents out and dumping it on your bed and putting each thing back in one-by-one, start by doing the opposite. Look for dry-cleaning bags, orphan hangers and the clothes you no longer wear and take them out. Then pick up the items on the floor and either drop them in the hamper, send them to the dry cleaner or, if they no longer fit or are useful, donate them.

Use boxes to help you organize: Don't just sort piles into more piles. Organize items into boxes. Label each box for donated items, the names of other rooms and for trash. Now use them.

Work in one direction: Organization takes a systematic approach, especially if you only have a set amount of time. So start at the entrance and work along a certain side of the room until you get to the opposite corner, then work the next side.

Finish each session: When you don't take out the trash, and put up your boxes after each organizing session, you'll feel like you are continually working and getting nowhere. So take the boxes that go in other rooms to those places, set the donation box in a storage or garage area and throw out the trash.

Designate clear zones: When you've cleared an area, make sure you don't add clutter to it again. If you have to bring a box in, then immediately organize it. Tell family members that these are areas that can't be disorganized or cluttered again.

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