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Top Ten De-clutter Tips - January

 
 
ThanksgivingI know a woman who has nearly every January issue of Good Housekeeping and Real Simple magazines because, as she tells me, "That's when they have all the great tips for New Year's resolutions and I keep meaning to read them. I always want to lose weight, get better control of my finances and, of course, get organized!"

So we talked about resolutions and what it means to "resolve" to do something. I have wondered about that for a long time. Whenever I see the words "New Year's Resolutions." I cringe. I think that if it were easy to resolve to lose weight, we'd simply lose weight. But losing weight happens using measurable goals - milestones or steps - to see one through to the final goal. Likewise, we can "resolve" to "get organized," but those words in and of themselves don't give anyone a blueprint, road map, or plan to make it happen.

Here are some tips to help you out so that 2015 may be the year to meet your goals!
 
   
Top 10 Tips: Make Your Goals a Reality  
  1. Be specific. Do you want to have an organized home? Where do you start? With the garage, of course, then the kitchen, then room by room until the home is clutter-free. Commit your intentions to memory and also write them down, reducing the chance of breaking your commitment to yourself.
  2. Prioritize. Color-coding is a great visual cue, so as you make your list, highlight in yellow what is to be done immediately, pink for "it can wait" and green for "to do by the end of the month." You can also uset different stickers, numbers, letters, and other visual aids to help you identify what is important. Work on the most unpleasant tasks first and the rest will be smooth sailing.
  3. Make a plan and break it up into manageable tasks. If you want a clutter-free home and decide to start with the garage, first, toss/donate all unnecessary clutter, then group like with like. Give each object a home in its designated room so you are able to locate it in the future. Do this will all of the rooms in your house until your home is clutter-free.
  4. Routine helps make good habits stick. Commit a certain amount of time each day to de-cluttering, putting items back where they belong, cleaning up as you go, etc. to form good habits that reinforce your resolution.
  5. Stay positive. Of course, with all of our good intentions, it is likely we backslide or don't do something one day to help us reach our goal. Do not focus on that one time you could have spent purging your junk drawer and ended up adding more stuff to it. Rather, focus on the progress you have made and have yet to make. Slipping up once or twice during the process does not mean you've failed; it means you're human.
  6. Begin with the end in mind. Envision a life where all of your files are neatly organized and labeled and it only takes a second to locate what you are searching for. Make a vision board of an organized home that will eventually be yours, and place it in a place you are forced to look at on a daily basis. This will act as a visual reminder and motivator to help keep you on track.
  7. Ask for help and support when you need it. No one said you had to do this all by yourself. It may be friends, family, professionals or online support groups. Remember that you are never alone. Have an "accountability partner" with whom to go to the gym three times a week so you are more likely to not miss a workout. A Clear Path is also committed to helping people follow through on their organizing goals. Seek a free consultation if you need one by sending us an e-mail or picture of your clutter. You have many people (even strangers) with the necessary skills able to help you meet your goal in a way that works best for you and your brain type.
  8. Reward your achievements. Be careful not to overdo and settle for something less than your resolution. It is important to reward milestones ("I can finally park my car in the garage!") and bask in your accomplishment for a short period of time. The ultimate reward will be following through on your resolution!
  9. Track your progress. Maybe you decide you want to make a calendar listing what you've accomplished towards meeting your resolution on a daily basis. Or maybe you draw a picture of a home with each room in your house with a big X identifying what rooms are clutter-free. Be sure to remind yourself of all the good you have completed and take pride in your efforts.
  10. Put yourself in charge. Everything you would like to fulfill is under your control and willpower. Your actions will be the only ones that matter to get the results you want. Embrace your self-control and hold yourself accountable when necessary. Remember, you are either altering or creating a new habit, and this takes time, courage, and determination if it is to be successful.
 

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Regina Lark
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