Your Month-by-Month Guide to an Organized, Minimized and Stress-Free 2019

OrganizingThe New Year is a time of reflection, planning and resolutions. A grand idea — and usually an abysmal failure. Many people have organization on their New Year’s resolutions list, especially with the new trends toward minimalism. But most plans are doomed without proper planning and time management.

Organization, for many, seems an impossible task. Yet success can be easy with a little foresight, planning and a different approach: thinking in terms of small pieces, rather than one large, overwhelming project.

OrganizingWith the holiday season barely in the rear-view mirror, our homes have usually accumulated some new items. This is a good time to break down your organization plan into small pieces. Creating a monthly guide will help achieve an organized — and perhaps minimalist — home.

OrganizingJanuary

This is a great month for cleaning out those closets. Outerwear, blankets and the like are perfect items to donate to homeless shelters or charity.

If an item has dust on the shoulders, it’s probably ready to move along to another home. Have great designer items? Consign or sell on eBay.

February

By now, you have recovered from the holiday season. The kitchen cabinets are calling. Are there items that were once useful but no longer see the light of day? Ever?

Pass these items along to a loved one, sell or donate. It is always startling to realize how many obsolete or unwanted gadgets are taking up valuable real estate.

OrganizingMarch

March may be in like a lion, but can that lion navigate the refrigerator and freezer? So very often, food is purchased simply because you have no earthly idea where it is or if it is even in there.

Purging expired, freezer-burnt or unwanted food equals cost saving. Although it sounds counterproductive, eliminating extraneous items allows a better eye for what is on hand, which in turn saves duplicate buying as well as waste.

Have food that is recently expired and it would be a shame to toss? The food bank would love your donation of items that are within one year of expiration.

OrganizingApril

This is the time for new beginnings. How about a check on those gardening tools and supplies? Duplicates? Unwanted fertilizer? Donations to Habitat for Humanity are always in season.

May

We always have rain in April. What better reason to clean out the car? As the saying goes, May brings flowers. You need to make some room to start bringing home those beautiful flats of annuals and perennials.

That bag for Goodwill that has been a faithful companion for the last four months is ready to go home. Empty the trunk — every compartment — and give it a thorough vacuuming and wipe-down. It’s a spring clean that gives a lift every time that car door is opened.

OrganizingJune

Thoughts of summer and vacations begin to brew. Most items needed will be found in the garage. Ugh. The garage. Usually the last place anyone wants to organize.

Jumping in and taking a Saturday to find that tent, sleeping bags and outdoor furniture now, before the kids break for the summer, will alleviate the headache when it’s time to camp and no one can find the cookstove.

July

Finally we get to the month that’s full of outdoor activities. If you’ve stored outdoor furniture, pull it out and give it a scrub with a soft brush and some soapy water. Check underneath for creepy crawlies that might have been using that favorite lounger as their personal bed and breakfast.

OrganizingAugust

Prep time! School will be back in session in just a few weeks and it’s time for school shopping. Inventory school supplies already on hand and purchase only what is needed. This is a great time to get kids involved.

Purge closets and drawers for outgrown items. Consign, sell or donate what is no longer suitable. Begin talking about schedules and starting earlier bedtimes.

A dedicated space for backpacks, homework and studying will alleviate tears and confusion in the mornings when time is short and little brains aren’t yet fully awake. (Big brains, too!)

September

Aaaah, back to school! More free time for parents, yay! Whether you’re a stay-at-home or working parent, find 30 minutes somewhere and show those junk drawers who’s the boss. They are usually a catch-all for things that have a home elsewhere.

Empty the junk drawer, sort the contents and rehome all wayward items. Decide what lives there, and strive to give only those items a home in that drawer.

OrganizingOctober

Fall is on its way in and thoughts of summer fade. Sweater daydreaming begins. Now is the season to rotate the wardrobe.

Get the summer clothes together and pack away the most-loved items. Donate the rest. Pull out the sweaters and boots, but only pull out what is loved and worn. Send the rest packing.

November

Who would dare talk about the holiday season! Yes, now. Begin thinking about that shopping list. Get a budget in order to avoid spending regrets. Greeting cards and stamps are in order, if that is your tradition.

Holiday visitors? Ready the guest rooms. A nice set of matching towels and a novel in the favored genre are a welcome sight for any visitor, giving a spa feel.

OrganizingDecember

Visions of sugarplums. And toys, toys, toys. If there are children or grandchildren in the home, get their assistance to go through old toys and make room for new. Donating the unused toys to a shelter for women and children or some other charitable organization is a win/win. Fewer toys at home make for organizational ease, and passing old things along will help another child experience joy.

The sum of the parts of an organized home is large and daunting. Break it down into small projects that you can do in a day or several hours, and an organized home becomes easily doable. The results will be truly rewarding.

Happy organized New Year!

Margaret HayAbout The Author

Margaret Hay is a senior organizer with Blue Nest Home, LLC, in Silverdale. Specializing in working with clients who have hoarding disorders and chronic disorganization issues, she is a member of the Institute for Challenging Disorganization, where she is in the process of becoming a certified professional organizer.