If your relationship with New Year’s resolutions is anything like ours, then things tend to fall by the wayside right about—well, now.
Mid-January has been statistically proven to be the time when all those well-intentioned goals get left behind and replaced with well-worn habits of years past. So if getting organized was one of your resolutions in 2021, there's a good chance you've thrown in the towel and are already starting to see the clutter pile up.
Don't despair! We're here to help get you back in the saddle, and we called in the pros for some reinforcement. We've pulled together their insider secrets on the easiest organizational resolutions you can actually stick to this year.
Read on for the simplest goals you can achieve, and all the tips you’ll need to make it happen.
Resolution No. 1: Practice a daily 10-minute 'tidy up'
One of the best ways to ensure that maintaining a clean house becomes a lasting resolution is to practice tidying up daily. But it doesn't have to take the better part of an afternoon. Small but regular spurts of time devoted to organizing can keep things in order.
“This is perfect if you have kids, or a partner who's on the messy side," suggests Afoma Umesi of Oh So Spotless. "Do a 10-minute 'blitz' every evening where everyone picks up and puts things back in their place. You can even set a timer, to make it more fun.”
Resolution No. 2: Make your dang bed
If we're giving you flashbacks of your mother with this one, well, that's OK—Mom knows best, after all. Right?
“Visualize your dream bedroom,” says Ali Wenzke of The Art of Happy Moving. “Imagine what it would be like to enter your room every day and have it feel like a five-star hotel. Declutter any items that take away from that feeling, and tie making your bed to a current habit like waking up in the morning. As soon as your feet land on the floor, pull up the sheets and comforter.”
Not only will making your bed please Mom, but it will also elevate the overall look and feel of your bedroom.
Resolution No. 3: Ditch bulky packaging
We’re all guilty of keeping too many cardboard boxes around, especially in this age of endless deliveries. But one easy way to keep your stuff (and clutter) in check this year is by ditching packaging as soon as you get it.
This is a tough one, and we know what's going through your mind:
"What if I need it later?"
"It's a really good box, though..."
"It doesn't take up that much space."
Well, we've got news for you: You can always find more boxes. And that packaging is killing your decluttering efforts: “Cardboard packaging often takes up double or triple the space of its actual contents,” says Amy Bloomer of Let Your Space Bloom.
Beyond cardboard, Bloomer also recommends removing plastic wrap or any other kind of packaging from products (as much as possible) before putting them away. One example Bloomer gives is frozen foods.
“Remove cardboard packaging and label the plastic bag with a Sharpie marker to make the contents easily identifiable,” she says.
Resolution No. 4: Get better at recycling and composting
While most of us have at least tried our hand at recycling or composting, it can be a hard habit to keep up.
“Don't overthink composting,” says one professional organizer, Caroline Clark. “A mixing bowl with a lid works great, and is easy to move around the kitchen as you cook, and throw in the dishwasher after emptying it.”
If the actual compost pile is what’s dragging you down, check with a neighbor or even your city council to see if there’s a communal composting bin you can use.
As far as recycling goes, one of the best ways to ensure it that becomes a habit you can keep is by keeping a bin in the kitchen.
“Make sure your recycling bins are easy to access, without doors or lids that make it harder to put things in them quickly,” says Clark.
If the recycling bin is as easy to operate as the trash can, you’ll have no reason not to use it.
By ditching bulky packaging right away, you’ll be able to conserve more precious storage space for the things that actually matter.
Resolution No. 5: Get rid of your ugly stuff
We’ve all got some stuff hanging around the house we can’t stand—whether it's artwork you bought in college that you thought was so cool back then, or well-intended Christmas gifts that didn't hit the mark. This year, it’s time to get rid of it.
“The ugly statue you got from a distant cousin for your wedding? Don’t feel obligated to keep it,” says Marty Basher of Modular Closets.
“Let go of the guilt of getting rid of a gift you don’t want. This can be hard for people who might see it as an insult to the giver, but the reality is, if you hate it and are never going to wear, display, or use said gift, it’s better to donate or otherwise dispose of it.”
Resolution No. 6: Eradicate surface clutter
We’re all guilty of letting things pile up here and there, but clutter is especially problematic once it starts taking over every usable surface space in your home. Wenzke gives us some tips on wiping out surface clutter in 2021.
“Declutter like you’re moving,” she says. “Get rid of items you wouldn't want to move again. Then, with whatever’s left, put similar items together, and return them to your closets or drawers. The only items that should remain on display are the ones that you love and want to look at every day.”