Are you ready to change your life? Embrace a little organizing magic? My friend Janice is a professional organizer, and in honor of Get Organized Month, I’ve asked her to provide some tips on how we can make 2016 better by getting our shit together. Here’s what she had to say:
Keep what you love. If you love something and it brings you happiness and joy, keep it. If an object brings up bad feelings and memories, let it go. Why surround yourself with negativity? Be happy and focus on keeping the things you love.
- Ask yourself: Do I love it? Do I use it? Does it serve me?
- You can toss or delete photos that are unflattering or represent unhappy times. It’s okay.
- By sending unwanted items out in the world, other people can use them and love them. Otherwise, they’re going to waste.
Keep what you actually use and wear. We have the habit of keeping things, regardless if we use them. Just look at our closets. Using Pareto’s Principle, it turns out that we wear 20 percent of our clothes about 80 percent of the time. Why do we keep so much stuff around? There are several reasons. We think about the money we spent and keep it because it hasn’t emotionally depreciated in value. We think we might possibly use it one day. Someday maybe.
- If you don’t use something at least once a year, let it go.
- If something doesn’t fit right or the shoes hurt your feet, let it go.
- Keep a donation bag in your closet. When something no longer serves you, toss it in the donation bag.
Embrace digital. I know I’m preaching to the choir, but the digital world can help us organize our lives. Being digital means you can automate parts of your life. Set calendar reminders of family birthdays, automatically download photos from your phone, and track your exercise and food intake with an app or wearable.
- Use Dropbox or other cloud services to house your documents and photos. Share a folder with your partner so you both can access information on the house, bills, children and pets.
- Pay bills online or automatically whenever possible. Log into your accounts to request paperless bills.
- Apps such as TinyScanner will let you take a photo of a document and create a PDF. If you have lots of paper, use the Fujitsu ScanSnap scanner. ScanSnap also scans business cards and imports them into your contacts.
Focus. Multitasking doesn’t work and actually reduces your productivity by 20 to 40 percent. Think single-tasking or solo-tasking. Do one thing at a time when you’re trying to an important task completed.
- Before opening your email, spend the first 30 minutes to an hour working on your big task – the thing you have to get done.
- Write stuff down. Don’t keep your to do list in your head. Write it out in a notebook or a to do app, such as Wunderlist, Remember the Milk, Any.Do, or Clear.
- Turn off your email when you need to focus.
Give one of the tips a try and see what magical things will happen.
Janice Marie Simon is a Certified Professional Organizer and has a blog at www.theclutterprincess.com.