The group is known as the National Association of Professional Organizers. That’s NAPO for short, and yes, it’s a real organization. As January leads us into 2007, millions of us can jump into some early spring cleaning endeavors with some helpful tips from the folks at Clutter Control Headquarters.
The benefits of staying organized are well-founded in the principles of neatness, decluttering, and adopting an ‘out with the old, in with the new’ mentality. An organized office or home is a happy office or home. Or something like that. Staying organized can boost productivity, reduce stress, help you manage time. . .the list goes on. It’s a chance to lighten that work load and help you stress less.
‘Getting organized’ is a popular New Year’s resolution, but actually doing it might take a little planning. (If you’re the type that wants to create a draft or blueprint of the area beforehand, be sure to send in your application to the NAPO to become an *official* member of the club). Whether it’s the drawers in the study room, the kids’ play area, or the avalanche waiting to happen in your closet, here’s what you can do to get started on your quest for organizational health:
Create a cleaning to-do list. There’s magic in them there words when they’re on paper, right in front of you. Checking off a to-do list as you whisk away that pile of laundry in the corner has tremendous benefits of instant gratification too.
Bring structure to your finances. Whether you’re a penny pincher or extravagant spender, it’s wise to track your bills, expenses, and income in one place. Set up an easy-to-use spreadsheet just for you; organizing your money in a tangible way can have a very positive effect on your spending habits.
Estimate your time. The best way to coordinate a cleaning frenzy in your house is to section of blocks of time for each area. Not only does this make it easier to tackle, you’ll really learn the value of 15 minutes needed to scrub that kitchen floor before you let the kids where shoes in the house again.
Make it fun. If you can get some friends or family members to join you for half a day, create a plan of attack for each project and delegate responsibilities for a group accomplishment.
Buy a bathroom organizer or closet space saver. Even though many of these come in those ‘As Seen on TV’ stamps, they really do work. Consider investing in a couple of space savers to rearrange some clutter, and avoid the missing sock fiasco every morning.
Organize your kitchen with expandable racks and additional shelves. Today’s fancy additions include hidden shelving in cabinets, hooks over doors, and clever ways to display cookware. Clear up that counter as much as possible.
Organize your bathroom and clean up that medicine cabinet. Throw away all the expired items, things you don’t use, or half-opened items. It’s time to start fresh!
Clean up your desktop or laptop. Create new files, delete old documents, empty the recycle bin, and run an antivirus program to cleanup your hard drive. Your computer will run faster, more efficiently, and help you be more productive.
Organize the office in one day. . .and create some new habits. Throw away all clutter, extra files, and paper. Section off one desk drawer to accommodate for desk toys, pens, knick-knacks, and your daytime snack. Make a new routine of cleaning up the desk before leaving so it’s fresh and new (or at least looks that way) when you arrive the next day.Since you want to manage your time better this year, these are just a few ways to follow in the footsteps of professionals. If you really can’t find time to join the fun this January, there’s still another option: hire a professional. Professional organizers can be found in local community pages, or online at the NAPO website. Good luck!