Getting (and Staying!) Organized in the New Year

Your Guide to a More Organized Year


Organization is a topic many people think about year after year, especially at the end of the year. If you’d like to get more organized in 2019, you certainly aren’t alone. Throughout my career as a counselor and therapist, “getting organized” is a top New Year’s Resolution that many of my clients have shared.


As we’ve worked together to build better habits and beat the mayhem of daily living, I’ve been fortunate to pick up a few tips and tricks for getting and staying organized. Here are my top suggestions, based on what’s worked for many people, so that 2019 will be your most organized year yet!


First, define what “organization” means to you


Organization means different things to different people. You may need a system that’s easy enough for the whole family to maintain. An organized kitchen may be a priority for people who enjoy cooking or who need to prepare meals daily. Other people care deeply about the aesthetics behind the way things are organized, and want something that’s a joy to look at.

Start with something simple that will have a big impact


Don’t commit to whole-house organization right off the bat… that’s a recipe for burnout. Instead, choose an area of your environment (at home, at work, or anywhere else where organization is needed) that’s been bugging you for ages.


Think about how good it will feel to finally get that dining room table decluttered, or how much easier life will be once that pesky junk drawer is finally organized. The idea is to set yourself up for an easy win, then use that motivation to keep going.


Staying organized when life gets hectic


Once you’ve figured out what being organized looks like to you, and you’ve organized a previously messy area, it’s time to add some of the small habits listed below into your daily routine:


  • Adopt the mantra, “Everything has a home.” If you need some help getting into the habit of putting everything back in its proper place, try using a label maker to mark an item’s “parking spot.”
  • Create an organizing playlist with songs that always put some extra pep in your step. 
  • Clean and organize in daily chunks — turn up your playlist, set a timer for 10-15 minutes, and do a little bit of organizing every day.
  • Use life’s in-between moments (like waiting on hold or microwaving a meal) to tidy up your space, instead of browsing aimlessly on your smartphone.
  • Have a system for all incoming paperwork and mail. This could be a designated paper tray, a container or some sort, or anything else that works for you. 
  • Be conscious about what you acquire — every item in your environment requires time and energy. It’s much easier to control what goes into your space than it is to take something away.


Don’t worry about doing all of these things at once, either. I recommend choosing one strategy every week or two, and focusing on that specific habit before adding another. For example, you could start with creating and using a system for incoming mail for two weeks, then work on using in-between moments to do some daily organizing.


A little goes a long way with organization


You may have noticed that many of these tips focus on doing a little bit of organizing at a time. I love this method because integrating organization into your day makes staying organized so much easier and less overwhelming. By the time the next New Year rolls around, you’ll be organized and ready to accomplish more of your goals.


If you need help getting organized, our counselors can help. Contact our office to arrange your free consultation today!