Did you make a goal to get better organized in 2017? If so, you’re not alone. Every year, for at least the last ten years, “Get Organized” has been the second most popular New Year’s resolution. We all start the year with good intentions, but sometimes life intervenes and our plans get waylaid. Here we are in February, 1/12 of the year already gone. How are you doing on that goal to be more organized this year? It’s not too late to get back on track. 

Here are 5 tips to help you achieve that goal:

1. Play Catch-up

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Our workplaces, whether a conventional office, a home office, or even your dining room table, tend to collect stuff. Start by doing a purge – shred or recycle old, duplicative, or irrelevant paperwork; toss old, used sticky notes; recycle old technology; remove decorative items that are just collecting dust. Once you have a clear workspace, you will be able to focus better and be more productive. 

2. Be Selective

Identify the items in your home or office that you really need and use. Consider donating the unused, unloved items and tossing those that are broken or outdated. Implement an “in-and-out inventory system” so that when something new comes into your home, something else exits; this keeps the volume of stuff constant. However, if you currently have too much stuff for the space you have to house it, you may want to try a “2-for-1” system, letting two items leave when a new one arrives. When deciding whether or not to keep an item, ask yourself some questions such as:

​ “What’s the worst thing that would happen if you didn’t have it?” ​​​​(Generally, if you can live with the consequences, you can live ​​​without the item.)

​ “If you saw it in a store, would you buy it again today?”

​ “If you didn’t have it, would you miss it and actively seek it out?”

​ “Are there other things you could use instead?”

3. Decide to Decide

If you have a pile of items on your dining room table or kitchen counter, it’s often because you haven’t made a decision about each one – a) do I want/need to keep this? and b) if I am choosing to keep it, where will it live? Once you’ve answered those questions, you will know what to do with the items.

4. Keep Like Items Together

Grouping things in categories, and having everything in that category stored together in the same place has several benefits. First, it makes it easier to find things because you’ve eliminated the need to search in multiple locations. Second, keeping like items together saves you time because you can find what you’re looking for quickly. Third, this will save you money. When all similar possessions are stored together, you can quickly see what you have sufficient quantity of (and don’t need to purchase anytime soon) and what you’re running low on and need to replenish. You will also save money by not buying things you already had, but didn’t know or couldn’t see.

5. Create a Designated Place for Everything

Establish a “home” for everything you own. This will enable you, as well as everyone who lives or works in your household, to be able to find things quickly when they need them. Equally important, they will know where to return those objects once they are finished using them. Having a designated home for items can be helpful in an emergency situation where someone may need to access important items or documents in your absence. 

Wishing you an organized and productive 2017!