I remember the moment, just before midnight, as the entire world was celebrating the turn of a new century. I had a foreboding feeling that there would be a burst, reverberation, a rumbling of some sort. I put my hands over my ears and closed my eyes, not knowing what to expect. Instantly, I realized, it was my kaleidoscopic imagination running ahead of what became a gentle movement from one century to another. For me and for many, it was a time like no other.
As we make the journey to a new year, 2021, I can’t help but think back to that turn-of-a-century moment. All of us have been through something that perhaps science understood, to a point, but most of us couldn’t have predicted. Will our lives be rattled, some more? Or can we allow our imaginations to settle down and embrace all the promising possibilities that are before us?
Here’s a collection of the very best ideas and advice from sharp women, Professional Organizers, who know how to bring the order and calmness that comes from simplicity, and getting organized. I’m really happy to share their wisdom with you at the start of an optimistically bright new year:
Choose to Change
Linda Samuels, CPO-CD®, CVPOTM of Oh So Organized says that the new year is the best time for a change:
Is getting organized one of your New Year’s priorities? Are you struggling to make the changes you desire? If so, consider one of these strategies:
- Change Your Mindset – Negative self-talk can derail you. Instead of thinking, “I’ve always been disorganized,” try a positive message like, “I am getting organized.” Declare a proactive intention for a better outcome.
- Change Your Support – Are well-meaning family or friends discouraging your progress through their lack of understanding and judgmental comments? Find your cheerleaders that will help, support, and respect you and the organizing changes you seek.
- Change Your Scope – If getting organized feels overwhelming, resize your goal. Instead of focusing on “organizing my entire life,” go small. Start with organizing your kitchen counter, remove one obligation from your schedule, or bring the unwanted clothing to the donation center. Think mini, doable projects and build from there.
Alison King from Time to Get Organized suggests setting smarter goals to help you get organized and stay that way:
Set a S.M.A.R.T goal! It’s that simple! Setting an intention and making a concrete plan are really the keys to getting things accomplished! Think of an area of your home that needs attention.
Problem: My photos are a mess and all over the house!
Specific goal: I want to have them all in one place to enjoy and share with family and friends.
Measurable: I will be organized when they are all sorted and in photo boxes or albums.
Attainable: I can gather my photos and put them in one place
Realistic/Relevant: I can dedicate at least 30 minutes a day to this task
Timeline: (hint: not someday! but a specific date, for example by January 31st, 2021 and then work backward! Set aside time as you won’t magically find the time! Schedule an appointment with yourself. I will work on this project before checking Facebook etc. Don’t allow others to derail you! Do you want to go for coffee? “No, sorry, I’m working on my photos today!” Be sure to reward yourself after!
Sabrina Quairoli from Sabrina’s Organizing shares how planning is the missing piece of the puzzle when it comes to organizing:
Planning is key when it comes to getting organized this year. Be patient and kind to yourself. Clutter doesn’t happen overnight. Assess what works and what doesn’t work in the space. Determine the goal of the room. Have a plan of action by creating steps to clear the clutter. And soon you will be on your way to an organized home life.
Melanie Summers, owner of I Speak Organized suggests knocking off some items on your Bucket List:
My husband and I choose a word or theme to represent our intention for the New Year. This word or phrase should encapsulate a goal that you wish to achieve by year’s end. To knock off monumental items on your bucket list, make your yearly focus something that gets you closer to an ultimate dream.
For example, one of our family bucket list goals is entitled, “Homestead 2030.” In order to achieve this dream, in 10 years’ time, we focus our annual efforts on something that positions us in a place to purchase and work our homestead. We had a “crush debt” year, a “save, save, save” year, and an “invest in training” year so far. It’s almost time to plan our theme for 2021 and we’re excited to get creative! If you’ve ever wished for a tool to help you map out personal goals, check out my free printables page to download my goal-setting worksheets and instructions. Happy planning and Happy New Year!
Watch Your Words
Diane N. Quintana of DNQ Solutions recommends being mindful of the words you use as we head into this new year:
Recognize and admit to yourself that when you use words or phrases like: just for now; just this once; soon; or later, that you are procrastinating. Take a moment and think about whether or not you really want to do whatever it is. If you do, then schedule it. You don’t have to be specific. You can schedule a task for after breakfast and before lunch or on Saturday morning. Give the task a day and a time frame, then it will get done!
Julie Bestry of JulieBestry.com urges you to take a good look at your relationship to your clutter:
- “It’s not the space it takes up in your home that matters; it’s the dent it puts in your life.” Too often, we start organizing willy-nilly, perhaps because we think it’s where we’re “supposed” to organize, perhaps conquering ten years’ worth of unlabeled (print or digital photos), when there are bigger frustrations. Walk room to room, evaluating what causes you daily frustration. Start wherever you’re your disorganization causes you the most stress, whether it’s because of clutter, an inconvenient or absent container, or an awkward set-up. Don’t let disorganization put a dent in your life.
- “Don’t fight clutter with more clutter!” Ignore those January container sales! You can¹t buy a new outfit hoping you¹ll lose weight in the right places to fit into it. In the same way, storage containers bins, boxes, tubs, and shelves can only help you organize if you pare down to what you need and want first. (But once you pare down, pick vibrant, fun containers that match your style.)
- “Declare bankruptcy on clutter debt and stop feeling guilty!” Give yourself permission to declare bankruptcy on the “debt” of fitting into clothes 3 sizes too small or catching up on months of magazines. Donate everything that doesn’t fit your body or life and start fresh! But don’t feel guilty: remember, supermodels are airbrushed; home decor magazines aren’t real.
Julie Stobbe of Mind Over Clutter knows that sorting through your clutter is the hardest part of getting organized and shares her tips for deciding what to keep and what to donate:
Deciding what to keep and what to donate can be a difficult part of getting organized. Set some goals for how much you would like to decrease the amount you own. This will help you to let go of 10%, 25%, or 50%, whatever your goal is, in each room or category of items. With this concrete goal, it gives you a starting point for your decision making.
Next, decide how you feel about owning stuff.
- Do I want to own less stuff?
- Do I want to own a lot of stuff?
- Am I afraid to make decisions?
Set some questions to ask yourself to help you decide if you should keep it or let it go? These questions will be different for each person.
- When was the last time I used it?
- Has it outgrown its usefulness to me and should be passed on?
- How many do I need? (not want)
- Is it broken?
With your decision-making tools in hand, start going through your stuff, keeping what is important, useful, and makes your life better.
Why You Need to Learn How to Get Organized in 2021
Collectively, we have just survived one of the toughest years in history. Each and every one of us has been affected in some way or another. So, as we head into 2021 feeling cautiously optimistic, it’s time to shed the old and let go of the past. We can only make space for new and positive things by letting go of what no longer serves us. This is why getting organized is so cathartic. It creates space physically in your life but also symbolically indicates your desire for a fresh start. There is no better time to learn how to get organized in 2021 and no better group of professionals to learn this essential skill from, than the experts who contributed to this post.
It’s time to make 2021 your most organized year yet, with this super guide on how to get organized.It’s important to remember this, if you hold onto negative thoughts, which manifests actions that keep you stuck, you can’t, then, move forward in your life. Click To Tweet
Use the advice and tips shared by the contributing experts in this post and last week’s post to get your home and life in order.
Have these tips inspired you to get organized in 2021?
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Another great series of tips from some of my favorite people! Isn’t it funny how we all fretted and worried at Y2K, and it was 2020 that turned out to be the zinger? I’m personally ready to look forward to a better, healthier, and more positive year!
I certainly will never forget that moment, at the turn-of-the-century. I was definitely affected by the unexpected. Perhaps in a cautiously optimistic way, so many years later, I’m still curious about what’s before us. I charged my “hope” magnet, so it won’t run out of battery!
What a fantastic collection of advice! Thank you so much for including me with these beautiful friends and colleagues. It’s so true that it’s hard to move forward when we are weighed down by clutter and things that no longer support us, including stuff, thoughts, and relationships. Most of us experienced a rough 2020 with so many ups and downs that it was hard to get our bearings. So as we turn the page with a “cautiously optimistic” stance, thinking about how we can feel more organized, stable, and less chaotic makes so much sense.
Thank you for bringing such hope and light to this New Year.
Even during the most difficult times, we have to hold onto hope. It may not feel possible when we’re in the middle of a pandemic or loss or change that’s out of our control.
Hope strengthens our spirit and helps us to move on with our lives in the best way possible.
Thanks for sharing my thoughts in this post. =) You are the best!
I believe that anything that gives you negative or sad feelings when you look at it in your home should be gotten rid of. When working with a client, I ask how this item makes you feel or what this item reminds you of? These questions help them determine how they feel about items in their home. When we can find out how we feel about things, we can then decide if that feeling is worth keeping or letting go of.
I really like those questions because it helps us to focus on what’s important. I think we should surround ourselves with what brings us comfort and yes, even joy.
What a stellar company of advisors in which I find myself! Thank you, Ronni, for gathering this advice and these colleagues!
The last two weeks have been a collective gold mine of advice. Thank you for your contribution!
Having lived in one house for 40 years. When we moved across the country there was a lot of stuff that needed to be donated, sold or thrown away. We got rid of a lot of stuff, still have to much, but we are getting better. Enjoyed the article.
Moving is the best time to get organized. It’s freeing to weed out what we no longer need or have use for.
It sounds like you did a terrific job.There’s always more to do when it comes to our possessions. It’s a constant process so the clutter doesn’t build
There is a wealth of information here from so many knowledgable persons in the organizing space. Lots of good tips to follow in the new year!
The tips and advice given last week and this week have been impressive. You wrote about what so many need to know, how to get started. Thank you for your contribution.