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2019 Refresh: How to Get Organized (Part 1: First Steps)

As the year is coming to an end, I thought it would be fun to start 2019 with a refresh of our homes and minds. So I decided to create a “How to Get Organized” series. It’ll provide the tools and steps to help us get rid of physical, mental, and digital clutter. But the process will also show how to set achievable goals without getting overwhelmed.

I really do believe that clutter affects how well we can focus and relax. So getting organized, for me, is one of the foundations of living a bolder, more balanced life. It’s the one thing that has made such a tremendous difference in my life that I’m in the process of turning it into a career. That’s right, I’m a professional organizer. Kind of like the Queer Eye guys but without the cameras.

There’s much disagreement about whether New Year’s resolutions are useful. Personally, I think it’s good to have a vision/direction for the new year. I just think the reason people don’t keep their resolutions is that the goals they’re setting aren’t specific enough. Plus, they don’t have a system in place that holds them accountable and tracks their progress.

First steps

For any goal, and that includes getting organized, figure out the what, the why, and the how first. This process works for any goal. To make this easier for you, I’ve created a PDF Goal+Task Planner, which you can download here.FREE Goal Planner by The Bold+Balanced Life

  • What is your goal? Be specific. “I want to be more organized” is the overall goal, but that can mean anything and doesn’t tell you what steps you need to take and when. So we break it down further. “Getting Organized Goal #1: I want to declutter my home by April 30, 2019.”
  • Why do you want to make this change in your life? Your initial motivation will go down, so knowing and frequently reminding yourself why you’re working on this goal is important. In my case, it’s “I want to declutter my home so I spend less time tidying and cleaning. This, in turn, gives me more time for the things that matter to me, like my family and writing books.”
  • How are you going to achieve this goal? This is the part where New Year’s resolutions come to die. Usually, because we don’t break things down into small enough steps.

FREE Task Planner by The Bold+Balanced Life

Here’s my process:

First, I make a list of all the things I can think of that I need to do to achieve my goal. For example,

– Identify which spaces need to be decluttered
– What supplies do I need?
– How do I dispose of unwanted items? And so on.

Then I set a date by which I want to accomplish each of these steps.

Second, on a separate paper, I make another list, breaking the steps (and timeline) down even further. These items—one at a time—then become part of my daily to-do list.

See the posts below for more inspiration and tools.

Related posts:

How to Get Organized Series

Pt2: Home Organization

Pt3: Staying Organized for Good

Pt4: Declutter Your Mind (includes free printable Day Planner + Project Master List)

How to Start Over

One Day at A Time: How to Reach Goals Without Getting Overwhelmed

How to Have More Time

How to Embrace Failure

Recommended Reading:

If you want to take getting organized to the next level, I highly recommend David Allen’s book Getting Things Done.

Sign up for the Learn to Organize Like A Pro Workshop here.

Image: Anthony Tran

2019 Refresh: How to Get Organized Part 1: First Steps | The Bold+Balanced Life by Alex Benkast