There’s a reason you haven’t started that “get organized” New Year’s resolution yet, and the reason is simple: It’s an overwhelming chore. Well, for most of us at least. You see, some people not only enjoy finding order in the chaos, but they enjoy it so much they’ve made it into a career. Before you forget all about your 2016 pledge, we hit up some professional organizers for their top tips.
If you resolved to learn to cook this year, you wouldn’t start with hosting a six-course dinner party. Likewise, you don’t want to kick off your organizing plan with a garage overhaul. “The junk drawer is the perfect starter project because it’s a microcosm of your entire home,” says New York-based organizer Jeni Aron, owner of Clutter Cowgirl. “You can sort your junk drawer in a half-hour to an hour. And then you can move on to a bigger challenge with confidence.”
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Get a handle on your paperwork
You know those papers on your coffee table? Well, more are coming in tomorrow’s mail. The good news? It’s fairly simple to get a handle on. “A quick solution is to gather all your current papers in one place and divide everything into three piles: To Do, To Read and To File,” advises Debbie Lillard, author of “A Mom’s Guide to Home Organization.” “If unopened mail is included in that pile of paperwork, open it and discard envelopes and excess materials. Then tackle one pile at a time until you are caught up. Just having it all in one place will make you feel more in control.”
Confront the closet
More than any other space, closets are prone to becoming cluttered, daunting pits. “If you haven’t worn something in a year, you probably won’t wear it again,” says New York-based organizer Aly Finkelstein, of Organized by Aly. “Scan your closet and then bag all of your unwanted clothes for either resale or, preferably, donation.” While you’re in there, she says to replace those warped, mismatched, clothes-snagging hangers — it’s the new year, after all.
Organizing isn’t limited to your physical space these days. You know all of those pictures floating around in your email and text messages? Rescue them before they float away into the digital ether. “Organizing last year’s digital photos is the type of project you can accomplish in an afternoon,” says Philadelphia-area professional organizer Crystal Sabalaske, owner of Cluttershrink. “Search by year, select those you want to print and then file everything away in dated folders.” Next up? The owner’s manuals to your electronics. Sabalaske suggests rounding them up, deciding which ones are important to keep then filing away by room.