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Nancy Collins

Professional Organizer

Get Organized in 2023: Guilt Free Tips to Get Organized (that You Can Really Keep)
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Don't be afraid. Nancy can help create more calm and less chaos.

Usually at or near the top of everyone's "wishes" (I don't call them resolutions because that word doesn't smack of permanence to me) is some form of getting organized. Are you in this group? (Hint: even I am, and this is what I do for a living...)

Whether it's household clutter, day-to day time management, kitchens-baths-pantries-closets that need help, or family stuff (kids' rooms, craft areas, garages, etc), unless you have a full time maid or housekeeper, there's probably an area or two that you wish would be less frustrating to deal with. The issue is usually not getting the area or task(s) organized, it's maintaining it. And just like the "I need to drop 10 pounds" wish, it's pretty easy to get discouraged when it doesn't STAY that way, leading to a little (or a lot) of guilt/stress/overwhelm. These few tips can help you start the process and are easy habits to keep up:

family calendar

Make your calendar your friend! While most people are in the habit of using a calendar for keeping track of appointments and meetings, we recommend that you also add any important to-dos to your calendar. This will help you visually organize your tasks, so you can better manage your time. Virtually every calendar app on your phone has a way to color code your entries. I started using this feature years ago when I was taking care of my elderly mother, my sick older brother, and my disabled son. Everyone got their own color on my calendar, and I could tell at a glance who would need my assistance that day with appointments or tasks. Now I use it for business vs. personal, civic responsibilities vs. church, medical vs. entertainment or fun. If you are a paper calendar person, you can do the same with colored pencils or markers. And entering important to-do's on my calendar (with alerts if its my phone calendar) makes sure it gets done and paid attention to.

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Don't let paperwork get ahead!

Organize and keep important papers in the same place. Stop letting mail and papers pile up by dedicating 5-10 minutes each day to opening your mail and filing any important paperwork. I open my mail right over the trash can, and anything that is junk or unnecessary goes right in the recycle bin. This will also help you save time (and stress) in the future, as you will no longer have to search through stacks of mail and papers when looking for an important document.

TIP: If your current filing system doesn’t work well for you and your family, make sure you find one that does. I CAN HELP WITH THIS. And if you are constantly searching for papers for others in your family, consider using a digital file management system that your whole family can access. A family Command Center can be easily set up to help keep track of these things too. (See my previous blog posts about how to set up a family command center). These systems also help reduce storage space since most paperwork can be saved digitally by scanning or even simply taking a photo of the document and then discarding (or recycling) the paper.

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Weekly Family Communication Time Makes Sure Everyone is on the Same Page

Develop a family communication system: Everyone sits down for a set time on a set day and reviews their schedule for the week (We did this on Sunday nights when my kids were younger). 10 minutes once a week saves everyone's nerves and heads off those "honey" (or "Mom"), I forgot to tell you I have ____________ on Tuesday" discussions.

And finally.... Don't be afraid to be a list-maker!

to do list

Even the most organized people in the world need lists to help keep track of tasks, tackle projects, or even just to remember what groceries to buy. If you aren’t using a list to meet your New Year’s Resolutions, start today.

For example, if your goal is to become more organized in 2023, examine your home (and life) and create lists for every area you feel is disorganized. Then, add items/tasks/steps to help you get that area of your life or home more organized. Finally, add dates to each item/task/step to help keep you on track to becoming more organized in that area.

TIP: Use an app that allows you to also add photos (or attachments) to the items on your lists. Whether it is a digital coupon for an item on your grocery list or a photo of a kitchen you love, the ability to add photos can prove helpful on multiple types of lists.

These small steps add up to tasks, tasks repeated become habits. You can do this! Let us know how to help.

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