New Year’s Resolution: Organize!

The Colorful Library of an Interaction Designer (Juhan Sonin) / 20100423.7D.05887.P1 / SML by See-ming Lee 李思明 SML (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Happy New Year, everyone! Out with the old, in with the new! By the end of the year, I usually find my living space to be a bit cluttered. I tended to collect a lot of eco bubble, cardboard boxes, and other odds and ends throughout 2010. Therefore, my main new year’s resolution is to get organized. I’m starting my spring cleaning in January. Join me!

Here is how I am going to get moving and start getting rid of the mess:

1. Empty and Sort

My first step starts with emptying all my drawers and bins into one giant pile. This might sound like a bad idea to pile everything together, but the next step is to sort this pile into four categories: “Keep,” “Give Away,” “Trash/Recycle,” and “Store.”

2. Get Rid of It

When I come across something that I can’t decide if I should keep or not, I’ll ask myself this question: “How long has it been since I’ve

actually used this?” If it’s something that I like, but I know I really don’t need anymore, I’ll take a picture of it. This way, I can still have the memories of the item without having to have closet space for it! If I can’t decide right then and there, I’ll put the item in a clear bag or box and mark it with my organizing day’s date and store it. If I use it within the next few months, I’ll keep it. If not, I’ll donate, resell, or upcycle it.

Anything that is in poor condition should be thrown away or recycled. For example, if I have socks with holes in them or a stained shirt, I’ll repurpose it to be a rag.

3. Box and Label

For the things that  I put in my “store” pile, I am going to start by taking a digital picture of each item. Then, I’ll print out one copy for each item and tape that picture to whatever box I store it in. That way, I can easily find what is in which box.  With the digital picture files, I will make folders on my computer for each box. For example, I can search for “blackfuzzysweater.jpg” and I’ll know it is in “Box 3.” I know this is going to save me tons of time! Try to use clear boxes for storage. That way, you can see what’s inside the box before opening it. If you are going to use cardboard boxes to store your stuff, make sure they are 100% recyclable boxes! (NorthStar Moving sells discounted recycled boxes.) Also, before storing anything, make sure it is clean! Those little food crumbs might attract big pests.

4. Keep and Organize

Time to organize! For my clothes and my shoes, I will either organize by color, occasion, or by type (like all dresses together, then all tank tops together.) For all my desk items, I’m going to get super organized with the help of some tools. Drawer inserts, pencil cups, and magazine racks will be my new best friends. I’m also going to put my bookshelf in alphabetical order to make books easier to find. All this work might take a while, but I know it will be worth it!

Are you planning on moving towards a more organized 2011? Have any great organization tips? We’d love to hear about them!