Monday, January 21, 2019

Ways to Organize This Month

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Like decluttering, organizing is something that I work on year-round as well, even though our home stays fairly organized at all times.  I feel like the interior of the home is just one small part of feeling truly organized in life, and the rest of the stuff, like schedules and daily events, are something that you have to work at all the time to stay on top of.  Especially at the beginning of the year, there's so much you can do to set yourself up for organized success throughout 2019.

1. Scheduling and calendars.  Do you love a fresh planner as much as I do?  The new year is so much fun because I get to set up the pages and fill out major life events exactly how I want.  If you haven't done it yet, I highly recommend sitting down to plan out the year.  It won't take as long as you think, but it'll end up really helping you throughout the year to not forget things and to not over-schedule yourself.  It'll help with finances too, because you're better able to plan for things that are outside your normal budget.  Put in the big things like whether you have any vacations or weddings to go to, birthdays and anniversaries, when your kids are on a break from school, game schedules if you watch, participate, or coach, any community events you never miss (I love street fest season!  Market Days in particular.)  And while you're getting everything set up:

2. Schedule all annual appointments.  I can tell you when I'm going to the doctor, the dentist, the eye doctor, when I'm getting my hair done, when Hawkeye is going to the vet, when Hawkeye is getting her hair done, etc.  Most of these things (besides my diva dog who gets groomed like 6 times a year), these appointments are only once or twice a year and yes, your providers do schedule that far in advance.  I prefer Saturday appointments, first thing in the morning (as a doctor's kid I know the schedule gets more and more delayed throughout the day so if you're first, there's no delay!) so calling far in advance ensures that I get the time and date that I want.  Plus then it's done for the year and in my calendar.  Nothing will make you feel quite so productive and organized as getting everything scheduled at once.

3. Begin collecting tax documents.  I mentioned tax documents on my list of things to declutter.  So if you went through and got rid of anything unnecessary, you should already be well on your way to having everything collected for your tax preparer (or for yourself, if you prepare your own taxes.)  Gather any receipts, w-2s, proof of health insurance forms, everything you need to get taxes done as efficiently as possible.  I highly recommend taking a look at the final pile of documents you're left with and consider the best way to store these going forward.  You probably didn't actually need to keep as much as you thought you did.  If you're more ruthless and also better organized this year, you'll save the January 2020 version of you a lot of headache.

4. Back up documents.  If you don't have a system that does this automatically, make note in your calendar to do this regularly, starting this month.  Back up any documents and photos so you don't lose anything important.  Make sure you aren't wasting time backing up things you don't need, and make sure to keep everything clearly labeled and in proper folders.

5. Sort out storage spaces.  I like January as a storage space declutter and organize month.  If it's cold, you're usually inside anyway so you might as well tackle it.  Plus it's where Christmas decor ends up when it's not being used so it's the perfect time to face it, when you already have to put boxes of decor away.  Decluttering will be the first step, of course, but assuming you already did that, take the time to pack away everything nicely.  Install more shelving if you need to.  Label everything that you have in there and sort it by holiday or type of event.  I highly recommend clear containers for storage as well - it forces you to pack them neatly, plus you can see what's inside right away.

6. Check and maintain storm stockpiles.  This isn't as high of a priority for me given the large city in which we live and proximity to everything.  Plus, John drives a truck.  But if you live more remotely, the time to check your supplies for a snowstorm is well before one actually arrives.  Organize the canned goods, bottles of water, candles, flashlights, snow tires, extra gas, whatever it is that you have in your stockpile.  Make sure nothing is expired or broken.

Is getting more organized on your list of 2019 goals?  What are you working on organizing this month?

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