Q: I want to get my home completely organized this year, especially my home office and the huge pile of papers and receipts I need for my taxes, but also my closets, garage, and guest room, where I've been accumulating all those things I can't seem to get rid of. I almost want to move, just so that I can have a clean slate to live clutter-free. Getting more organized has been my resolution for the last few years, but how can I actually stick to it this year?
A: The new year is a great time for new ways. But resolutions are often vague and hard to maintain without a plan. If moving is truly a goal, make it a different, self-contained goal that makes sense for your life. Trust me: Your stacks of clutter will follow you anywhere you go unless you break that habit. Along with your organizing resolution, or any resolution for that matter, attach a "to-do" list of more specific goals, such as maintaining an organized home office, a garage you can park your car in, or a closet in which you can easily see everything. Then break down each of these goals into stepping-stones, or mini-goals, which are tasks you can more easily and quickly accomplish a bit at a time. Added together, these mini-goals will help you achieve your big goal.
For example, creating a clean, organized home office is a great goal that is already more specific than the resolution to "get organized." Something else you can add to your goal is to set a new intention for your office. How do you want to feel when you're working? Is it a place where you can be efficient and productive, rather than a just a place to store your paperwork? Think about it: What do you need this room to be and do?
Some mini-goals that will help you get there could include organizing just your receipts first, with a quick sort into categories, and placing each of those categories in a file folder or cubby. From there, you can further organize by payee, date, or whatever else will work for you. Another mini-goal would be to set up your files for next year so you can do this presorting more often. So as you bring home each receipt, it has a place to go that isn't a big stack on the floor.
Use this process for any goal on your resolution list — your closets (one at a time) or your garage, for example, and I'm sure you'll have more success. Good luck.