The new year has begun and with it comes the remnants of the previous year. If your home or office could use some organization, you're not alone.
Many of us included getting organized in our New Year's resolutions for 2013. About 45 percent of us make New Year's resolutions each year, according to the Dec. 13 edition of the University of Scranton's Journal of Clinical Psychology.
January is Get Organized Month. This month long observance was started in 2003 by the National Association of Professional Organizers to focus attention on how getting and staying organized can help individuals and businesses take control over their time, inboxes, paperwork and possessions.
Have you ever found yourself looking for something that you know you have but don't know where it is? It can be frustrating to sort through piles of paperwork or stacks of items looking for that one item that you need.
When you have children, a certain level of clutter seems to come with the territory. Toys and clothes seem to multiply on their own and don't forget all of those school papers and special projects that you want to save forever.
Although most of us don't need a professional organizer to get our homes in shape, businesses often rely on professional help to know what to keep and for how long as well as how best to file and store items for easier retrieval.
In the home, baskets are a good way to store many items, including kids' toys and papers. Large plastic storage boxes are great for storing keepsake children's clothing. Smaller plastic storage boxes work well for keeping special school papers and projects.
A large bulletin board can hold important papers and forms that need your attention. Using a family calendar posted on the refrigerator can keep everyone's schedules at your fingertips.
Many parents add all family commitments to their work calendars or use pocket planners to keep up with the kids' activities. There are also many calendar apps for your iPhone or iPad that will help you stay on top of the activities in your life.
Many of us don't know where to start to get organized, especially if we have a small house and keep too much stuff. Pick the room with the least stuff in it to start organizing. Move items from the four corners of the room into the center.
Set up the four corners of the room as four staging areas for items you use every day, items that you don't use daily but want to keep including collectibles and memorabilia, items to give away or sell, and items to throw away.
Use a trash bag in the throw away corner, a cardboard box in the give away corner and one or more plastic storage bins in the memorabilia corner. Add a few small baskets to the corner for items you use every day, stacking items into separate piles for the rooms where the items should be kept. When you finish in one room, start in another.
Set small goals that are realistic so that you'll stay focused on the task at hand. Work in one room at a time, allowing a reasonable amount of time to finish the task. You may be able to organize one room in a day or it may take longer.
You can bring gently used children's clothes and toys to Once Upon a Child in Forest or another consignment store. You can also list the items on one of the local Facebook yard sale sites. This is easier than saving items to hold a yard sale at home.
The key to organization is to remember that it's a lifestyle change, not just a quick fix. Once you have organized the items you want to keep, you have to maintain an organized lifestyle. Spend 15 minutes each day working on clutter busting and you'll stay on top of the clutter.
Commit to spending time each day keeping your home organized and you'll find that your life is less stressful. You can find many tips for organizing your home or office at Simplify101.com. Start now to make 2013 the year you get organized and stay that way.