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Stay Organized: How to Stick to Your New Year’s Resolutions

If you’re like us, “Get Organized” has topped our annual list of New Year’s resolutions for the past five (Okay maybe more like ten) years or so. Every year, we start off with the best of intentions and the greatest ambitions, only to find ourselves in the same cluttered mess by the end of the month.

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This year, we’re approaching things differently. “We tend to create resolutions with entirely wrong attitudes,” says professional organizer and stager Jennifer Phelps. “Instead of celebrating the fresh start the new year offers, we’re usually resolving to do better at something we feel guilty about —clutter, weight, diet — left over form the previous year. Who doesn’t dread and resent a goal fundamentally based on our shame and guilt?”

Adjusting our attitude toward cleaning up our homes, and determining the cause of our clutter can help us keep a clean and tidy home year round.

Take a look at Phelps’s top tips to help you stick to your organization resolutions this year.

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Change Your Attitude

  • Ask yourself: What is the positive result of the resolution? Avoid hinging your self worth on the accomplishment of the resolution.
  • Create a reward system for attaining goal or for each month on track.
  • Use de-cluttering or purging as a meditation: each item has a story or is part of your story, so “thank” the item for the story, close that chapter and move on.
  • Whether you have a lot or a little, be grateful for what you have. This will make passing it on easier and even fulfilling.
  • Going through your stuff can be like shopping in your own closet – you’ll find gems you’d forgotten you had!
  • Find a charity and donate  — tax deduction is a bonus!
  • Get your kids involved. Have them fill one box or bag to give away, and let them help pick the charity.


Reward Yourself

  • Take a moment and pat yourself on the back for each drawer you organize, each pile you pare down, and each bag you take out to recycle, toss or donate
  • Celebrate with small rewards each month you stick to your plan
  • Something you’ve been wanting? Make it a reward after completing a large project
  • If cold, hard cash will ease the pain, consign your treasures at a local shop or sell on eBaybuildyourown3

 Be Realistic

  • If you set your resolutions already feeling badly, you’re setting yourself up to fail.
  • Set smaller, more attainable goals over time rather than one gigantic goal.
  • Try to de-clutter one room a month.
  • Do just 10 minutes/one drawer/one shelf/one box per day – sometimes limiting yourself to tiny parcels of time is less intimidating and, therefore, more productive than devoting an entire weekend.

Stay Accountable

Agreements we make with ourselves are easy to fudge: Find someone to commit to your decluttering goal with, whether it’s one person or a group. Everyone should set a goal — whether it’s a similar or different project — and hold each other accountable. Encourage each other, confess when you fall behind, and share rewards and celebrations!

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