5 tips for staying organised this January
It’s Get Organised Month, so we’ve put together our top tips for getting your life and home in order, to set you up for the rest of the year.
The trend for home organization and a minimalist lifestyle has taken off in a big way on social media and on TV, thanks to tidying gurus like Stacey Solomon and Marie Kondo. But there’s much more to living an organised life than a pleasing aesthetic. Being tidy and organised can greatly reduce your stress, boost your sense of control, and carry into other areas of life such as work, family time and socialising to help you really make the most of your time.
Here are 5 great ways you can take control this year and get organised.
Cold, sleepy January is a great time to plan for events later in the year – it will put you in a better mindset for the upcoming months, and future you will thank you.
- Book appointments nice and early. From dentist appointments to your MOT, get those key dates in the calendar as early as you can to save last minute stress. And if there’s something you can’t book that early in advance, schedule a later time to sit down and book it!
- Buy cards and gifts. Have a look at upcoming birthdays and special dates and see if there any quick preparations you can do now, from buying a selection of cards and gift wrap to taking advantage of the January sales for presents.
- Get spreadsheet savvy. Pick a quiet rainy day to set out your monthly budgets, accounting for any big expenses and income changes. It’s also a good chance to create a table setting out your goals for the year and a timeline of reaching them, as well as any organisational charts that could help you out, from meal plans to cleaning rotas.
These days the messiest places in our lives can be our phones and devices, thanks to the barrage of emails, downloads and unnecessary files that we receive on the regular. Here are some ways you can tidy up your digital life.
- Go through subscriptions and memberships and cancel those you no longer use – there will almost certainly be some you’ve forgotten about.
- Sort through your inbox, deleting where you can and unsubscribing from spam emails.
- Clean up your files and photos. Delete any unneeded downloads and sort your photos into online albums, deleting as you go. It’s also a good time to back up any devices that you haven’t already.
- Uninstall apps and software you don’t use, to free up storage space.
- Delete cookies from your web browser and go through old bookmarks to see if there are any you can clear or reorganise.
Divide and declutter
Let’s be honest, this is the bit you’ve been looking forward to. But before you give away all your possessions to live a life of zen minimalism, try to be strategic about it by following these steps.
- Take photos of all the rooms before you start. Looking back at these after you’ve cleared the clutter will give you the motivation to keep it tidy.
- Work your way through the house, decluttering one room at a time. Break your time into chunks – if you blitz through a whole room in a few hours you’ll tire yourself out and lose momentum to finish the rest. Stick on your favourite album and take a break every 5 songs.
- Try the 12-12-12 challenge. Decide on 12 things to throw away or recycle, 12 things to donate or give to friends and family, and 12 things to keep, then repeat until you’ve finished the room. The exception to this rule is items with strong sentimental value – those get a fast pass to the ‘keep’ pile.
- Get bags ready for items that you want to recycle and donate. Get everything else in place to make sure these bags won’t be hanging around for long – schedule in a trip to the charity shop or pre-book a slot at the local recycling centre if you need to.
- Everything needs a home – when you think you’re done there should be no boxes labelled ‘miscellaneous’, no ‘maybe’ bags, no shelf for things that don’t fit anywhere else.
Decluttering the visible areas of your house is one thing, but if you’re cramming everything into cupboards only for it to tumble out the minute you open them, there’s more work to be done.
No matter how diligent you are about organising it every month, a drawer or cupboard will always look slightly messy unless it’s divided up by storage containers. Think about practicality – which items will you need easiest access to, which need to be grouped together, and which things can you do away with completely. Once you know how many containers you’ll need and in what sizes, it’s time to peruse the endless online world of drawer dividers, wardrobe organisers and clear storage containers to find something that meets your needs.
Now you can rest easy knowing that not only does your house look beautiful, but that it’s tidy to a T even behind the scenes.
Make a routine
All above is great, but it only works if you can create habits that stick and carry this organised mind-set into the rest of the year. There are a few different ways of doing this, see what works for you.
- Print out a calendar. Having clear visual reminders is the best way to stay on track. Create a calendar with a tab dedicated to tasks and organisation, fill it in as early as you can, and keep it somewhere really obvious. You can make it as visually appealing as you want, with colour-coding and stickers – whatever works.
- Embrace technology. Most of us are on our phones for hours each day, so perhaps that’s the best place to keep your schedule. There are numerous great apps out there like Forest, Notion and NoteCircle to help you stick to a routine and work through your to-do list.
- Stay on track with a friend who can keep you accountable. If you really struggle motivating yourself but find that you’re more productive with other people, see if there’s a friend who also wants to up their organisation, and you can motivate each other to stay on track.
- Be kind to yourself. The purpose of Get Organised Month is to help manage stress and have a happier home. If you find that sticking religiously to a routine and staying organised is actually having the reverse effect, take a breather and spend time on the things you love. Happy January!