As we start a new calendar year, there is a sense of possibility in the air. We all love a fresh start, but it can be hard to feel “fresh” when you’re bogged down with clutter and unnecessary belongings. Getting organized will allow you to feel all of the “clean slate” goodness of 2024 – and it doesn’t have to be hard. Organization is all about ridding ourselves of items that no longer serve us and bringing the items we love, cherish and use to the forefront. Set your stage for a better, brighter, more fruitful 2024 by getting organized with these tips.
Start with the Right Mindset
For many people, the idea of getting organized sounds like an unpleasant chore. If that’s where we are starting from, it’s going to be hard to get anything done. Instead, start with clear intentions and patience. “Don’t procrastinate, but do give yourself the space for grace and time to intentionally and deliberately go through the cluttered areas,” says Beth Blacker, founder of home organizing company It’s Just Stuff.
Tackle Rewarding Areas First
While decluttering a drawer can feel like an achievement, it’s not providing you with the maximum return on your effort. Start with areas that will reward you with dramatic improvements, so that you’re inspired to keep going. “Always start in the areas where you stand to gain the most amount of space like your basement, attic or garage,” says Blacker.
Formulate a Strategy
Don’t just start moving items around a room. Consider your intention – perhaps it’s to create space, perhaps it’s to make certain items easier to access, perhaps it’s to rid yourself of items you don’t need. From there, design a strategy for your organization. Most people have three piles – keep, donate and throw away.
Clarissa Edelen of Fabulous Finds Upscale Consignment recommends further breaking down your “donate” pile. “Divide your discards into several piles,” she says. “One, these are great items and perfect for the consignment market. Next, these are a bit too loved and will find a likely buyer at a thrift store and lastly, these just are outdated and no longer have a buyer in the marketplace.” This applies to clothes, accessories, home furnishings and decorations.
Remember: One Person’s Trash…
Just because something is no longer serving you doesn’t mean it’s headed for the landfill. Consignment is an excellent way to make some money off of items you no longer need while donating to thrift stores allows items that have been more heavily used to find a new life somewhere else.
“For the consignment industry, clothing, accessories and home furnishings need to be of good quality, higher-end brands, have some design interest, and be in excellent condition,” says Edelen. “For the thrift market, things can be much more eclectic as people shop those stores often with the eye to repurpose, paint or create a new masterpiece to fit into their decor. Both are great options and both do an excellent job at keeping fabulous things out of the landfills.”
Take Your Time
“Do not take everything out of every drawer and cabinet in one room or you will be immediately overwhelmed,” says Blacker. “Remember it didn’t take a day to create the clutter so pace yourself. I usually recommend working in 20-minute blocks of time and then taking a 5-minute break. Do that three times and if you still feel like you can continue then go for it but if not, set a reminder for another time when you can focus again on another area for a minimum of 20 minutes.”
New Year, New Space
The new year is a perfect time to recommit to being organized and living a more minimalist lifestyle. There are two primary purposes for our belongings and our space: joy and utility. The more we can ensure that our space serves these purposes, the happier we will be. Especially after the overwhelm of the holiday season, a little bit of organization can be a welcome respite.
“We find ourselves trying to set out to do better on January 1st,” says Blacker. “And when you consider all of the stuff that we often get during the holidays, a lot that we truly will never use, it really is a good time to clear out those things before they get shoved in the back of a closet or buried in a basement.”
By Emma Castleberry, Longmont Magazine