29 Dec 5 resolutons for an organized new year
resolution #1: downsize, darling!
Before anyone puts away presents, he or she must fill a minimum of three bags for donation to a charity of his or her choice.
Now move on to your holiday stuff. Any decorations you didn’t use this year?
Chances are you won’t them next year, either. These go in the donation pile.
Go through your drawers, your closets. Yes, you want to keep a few cozy T-shirts and jeans for Saturday sports or painting with the kids.
But you don’t need two dozen. Donation pile.
And that collection of hotel shampoos that you’ve been working on for the last decade? Did they start out green – or is that part of the aging process?
This is going to be an organized new year, remember? You don’t need them all (if you did, they wouldn’t be there.) Donate these to your neighborhood shelter.
resolution #2: a neater, cleaner home.
Now that you’ve decluttered, organized, and downsized, cleaning should be a breeze. Often, clutter is what really makes cleaning hard.
Have you ever cleaned before a cleaning person arrived? People laugh when they hear this, but they don’t understand that 80 percent of cleaning is picking up stuff and returning it to where it belongs so you actually have some surface area to clean.
And tidying is a job that outside help – no matter how efficient – can’t do. To make the job easier, first have a schedule of when you do what: Laundry is Monday nights; bathrooms are Saturday morning; trash is Sunday nights, etc.
That makes sure that nothing gets forgotten and spreads the work out into manageable portions throughout the week. Then do the actual cleaning room by room. Don’t allow yourself to dart all over the house.
When I clean the living room, for example, first, I pull everything moveable out to the hall: rugs, knickknacks, throws, plants. Now I have clean surfaces to dust and vacuum. Then I return the accessories, cleaning each one as I replace it.
Invariably, there is still a pile of stuff left in the hall – stuff that didn’t belong in the living room in the first place. I return these to their proper homes.
And voila! One room is ready! Repeat the process in all your other rooms.
resolution #3: save money.
If you faithfully adhere to resolutions No. 1 and 4, this resolution will wonderfully take care of itself.
We waste money on things we don’t need, and on too many expensive extracurricular activities. Cut those out and you’re halfway home. For the other half, make a couple more lists.
First, list all the bills that have a fixed amount that must be paid in a month: mortgage/rent, health insurance, car payments, tuition, etc. These are fixed costs and you can do nothing about them.
Now list the necessary expenses with fluctuating costs: gas bills, electric bills, phone bills, groceries. Set up a budget for each and try to cut back on usage.
Finally, list the fun-only expenses: golfing fees, lessons, clothes, Starbucks, movies, dining out, etc. Set a budget for each.
And for best results, include the kids in the process for this one. Tell them how much is budgeted for family entertainment and let each kid vote on how at least part of the money should be spent.
Many parents find that the best approach is to set older kids’ allowances at a sum that would actually cover his or her entertainment expenses for a month. Then they get a life lesson on managing money.
Does Kevin want that cool new game controller? Fine, he can buy it – with his money. Of course, he won’t be able to eat at McDonalds or see a movie for the rest of the month. And he might just choose to go with that. Kids are a lot thriftier when it’s ‘their’ money. Go figure.
resolution #4: take care of yourself.
All of the above resolutions are about helping you take care of yourself. If your home is clean, efficient, and organized, you are taking care of yourself.
If your time and money are well-managed, you are taking care of yourself. How? Because when your life and home are in chaos, you’re stressed out, right?
If your home is well organized, you should also have time to eat healthfully, exercise, and get plenty of sleep.
And remember those time slots to allow yourself? Don’t cut corners there.
Your slot could be as extravagant as an occasional day at the spa or as simple as taking a long tub bath. You choose. But do it!
resolution #7: be the best you can be.
Again, if you have accomplished resolutions 1 through 6, this one will take care of itself. If you find time to be good to yourself, you will find the time, energy, and patience to be good to your loved ones.
One just flows from the other. But you cannot go directly to Resolution No. 7. These resolutions are like building blocks. If the bottom layer is unstable, you can’t build on top of it.
So take a deep breath and start with No. 1. Don’t expect to finish the resolutions in a day, week, or even a month. This is a continuous process, but one that will pay off for you in the year ahead. Happy organized New Year!