Tips to stay organized in the new year

Lauren Corona

Stay more organized in the new year by following these simple steps.

You've probably heard the phrase "new year, new you." Now, there's no need to completely change yourself, but the new year is a great time for a fresh start and a little sprinkling of self-improvement. If you regularly forget important appointments, can never find anything you're looking for, and have a pile of laundry that can be seen from space, it might be time to improve your organizational skills.

It's tough to know where to start, which is why we've compiled these tips to stay organized in the new year.

Utilize a planner or calendar

The only way to keep track of all those work meetings, doctor's appointments, kids' soccer games, and coffee dates is to write them all down! You could either use a daily planner or a calendar to keep track of what's going on in the year ahead--whichever you think is more likely to remind you successfully. A wall calendar in a prominent position is often the best option if you're liable to forget otherwise. However, some people prefer to use online calendars and set reminder alerts for important events.

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Declutter your home

If you're lacking organization in the home, decluttering is the place to start. Once you've gotten rid of all the belongings you no longer want or need, it's easier to organize the important items. Of course, you don't want to purge your house of items you genuinely need. If you haven't used something in a year or more, it can go. Get rid of any clothes that don't fit or haven't been worn recently, crockery or kitchen gadgets you never use, decorative items that are no longer to your taste, DVDs or CDs you no longer watch or listen to, and books you didn't particularly like or have no desire to read again. Any items that are still in decent condition you can either sell or donate to charity.

Invest in storage

Once you've cleansed your home of those items you no longer need, it's time to find proper storage for everything else. Bathroom caddies are great for keeping toiletries and makeup from taking up space. If you have space under your bed, invest in some plastic or wooden boxes you can easily slide in and out to store spare linens or towels. If you need extra kitchen storage, look for moveable drawers or islands (if you have the floor space), hanging storage, and shelves to give you an extra level in your kitchen cupboards.

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Make a cleaning schedule

A new year calls for change, and a cleaning schedule could be just what you need to change yourself into a more organized person. Dividing cleaning tasks throughout the week can help you stay on top of it, meaning you won't need to spend all weekend scrubbing and vacuuming. A cleaning schedule should incorporate everyday tasks (such as doing the dishes or wiping the worktop) alongside tasks you might only do once a week (such as dusting or cleaning the fridge). Save one day for a large task that changes each week on a rotating basis, such as cleaning the oven, sorting the garage, or washing the walls. Assuming you don't live alone, all family members or roommates capable of cleaning should be included on the schedule--you don't need to do it all yourself.

Start meal planning

If you're not organized when you do your grocery shopping, you can either end up with too much fresh produce, some of which ends up going to waste, or you can be missing ingredients for certain recipes and need to go back to the store. Meal planning can prevent these types of issues. If you know exactly what you're making each day, you can buy all the necessary ingredients, so you'll have no more wasted produce and no more last-minute dashes to the grocery store.

Batch cook or prep meals in advance

Once you've got the hang of meal planning, you could also try batch cooking or spending one afternoon on meal prep each week. This is an especially useful tip if you often arrive home late from work and end up eating more microwave meals or bowls of pasta with jarred sauce than you'd like to admit. Batch cooking involves cooking full meals and then freezing or refrigerating them for later consumption. Meal prep involves doing certain tasks--like chopping veggies or cooking rice--so your planned dinners come together more quickly and easily later in the week.

OUR PICK: Pyrex Glass Food Container Set

Have a filing system

Whether it's a physical system or a folder on your computer, you need somewhere to keep important documents. And, no, that one paper-stuffed dresser drawer doesn't count! It could be a binder, a mini filing cabinet, or even a document safe. Whatever you choose to use as a filing system, file documents in some kind of logical order (such as alphabetically or by date) so you can quickly find what you need.

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For something a little bit different, check out the BirdRock Home Seagrass Rolling File Cabinet


Lauren Corona is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.

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