Why 'New Year, New You' Won't Help You Get Organized — But These 3 Tips Will

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woman surrounded by clothing

The New Year is here. Have you made a resolution to get organized?

This year will be the year, or so we say to ourselves. Time management will be a snap, our homes will reflect all those fabulous organizing ideas we’ve seen in magazines, and we will no longer struggle to get organized.

Is this what you have told yourself? If it is, I’m here to tell you to forget that.

As a professional organizer, I know that it’s not possible to just create a New Year, New You vibe out of thin air. Organized is not a destination.

If your goal for 2022 is to create a New You by being more organized, understand this will not be an overnight one-and-done experience.

It can be a lifelong journey during which you will encounter twists and turns as well as bumps in the road. There will also be times when you exhale and feel immense satisfaction with the way your home and life are currently organized. And there may be times when you feel like you’re living in C.H.A.O.S. (Can’t Have Anyone Over Syndrome).

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As you start this new year, new you organizing adventure, embrace organizing and spend short amounts of time working on one small space. Once you have organized that space, commit to keeping it clear.

Give yourself the grace to organize it again if it becomes cluttered because life happens and organizing is a constant journey.

Here are 3 steps to start your organizing journey and create a 'new you.'

Step 1: Think before you start.

The first step is to decide where you want to focus your energy. Think about what is bothering you the most in your home.

Is it important to improve the organization in your kitchen? Think about why you want to undertake this mission. Do you want to prepare healthier meals for yourself and your family? Is it because you want to save money? Start by organizing your kitchen pantry, one shelf at a time.

Is it important to organize your bedroom? Clutter calls for our attention. When a bedroom is clutter-free there are fewer visual cues to distract us from sleep.

Perhaps it is important to organize your closet. Maybe you want your clothes to reflect the "new year, new you" vibe you are creating in your home.

Do you have clothes in your closet that don’t fit because they are either too big or too small? Think about your reason for keeping them and be honest. Are you anticipating being that size again? Maybe you have some things in there that you don’t like. Why are they there? Did someone give them to you?

Organize your closet so that you can select your outfit easily. One organizing idea is to create a capsule wardrobe. Find a stylist to work with you to create coordinating outfits using only a handful of items of clothing. You can have several capsule wardrobes, one or more for each season.

Is planning difficult for you? Are you constantly running late? One of the best organizing ideas is to track your time. Spend a week writing down when, what, and for how long you are doing tasks and chores. This will let you see where you are wasting time and give you ideas for managing your time better.

Maybe you have lots of organizing ideas floating around in your head. Perhaps you like to watch shows on organizing and want to incorporate some of the concepts from the shows into your home?

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Step 2: Start small.

Pick one of the organizing ideas to try. If it works, great! If it doesn’t, try a different one.

Don’t throw your hands up in the air and give up. Every person, every family routine, and every home is unique. Tweak the organizing ideas to fit your situation if possible.

Organizing is a journey. Treat it as such because it is not a one-and-done task. Life happens. Circumstances change. Places in our home that have been organized may need to be reorganized to better fit our changed lifestyle or routine.

Just as when we incorporate exercise into our life and become more physically fit, when we incorporate organizing into our life we become better organized. Often, we seek guidance from a trainer to train our bodies, so should we employ a professional organizer to help us organize our home.

Step 3: Be consistent.

Being consistent is the key to success here. A physically fit body does not stay that way without exercising. An organized home does not stay that way without maintenance.

If your goal for 2022 is to create a new year, new you and be more organized, start by identifying the parts of your home and your life you want to change. Decide where to start and then, if you decide you want guidance, find a professional organizer to work alongside you.

The National Association of Productivity and Organizing Specialists and the Institute for Challenging Disorganization have directories on their websites to help you find a professional organizer in your area.

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Diane N. Quintana is a Certified Professional Organizer®, a Certified Professional Organizer in Chronic Disorganization®, Master Trainer, owner of DNQ Solutions, LLC, and co-owner of Release Repurpose Reorganize, LLC based in Atlanta, Georgia.