Month of Storage: Resolving to Get Organized with the New Year

Something about the New Year rolling in gets individuals excited to start things off on the right foot.  It is as though our slate has been wiped clean and we are offered the opportunity to reflect on the past and resolve to make some updates for the future.
Although resolutions come in all shapes and sizes, one that I am all too familiar with is the resolution to be more organized.  Sure, our intentions are good, however, it is smart to be a bit more specific from the start. We should really take the time to determine which specific areas of our lives we hope to focus on, instead of making a general blanket statement, as it can instantly become overwhelming and easy to lose focus. Here are a few ways to break down and “organize” the top three most common resolutions people make each year.
The Resolution to Eat Better

This resolution comes down to getting organized in the kitchen.  Sure, you can resolve to eat healthier foods, but it goes a little deeper than that.  Ensure it is easier to eat healthier by being organized.  A little organization will also save you money, which is a definite win as well.

  • Clean out your fridge. Use stickers to label foods and leftovers and store items in clear containers so they don’t get missed or forgotten.  Organize your fridge by categories; a shelf for dairy, a shelf for spreads and condiments, a basket for lunch making items and a bin for breakfast foods.  Avoid storing items in plastic containers and bags, which can leach chemicals into your foods.  Store your fruits and veggies in separate bins/drawers.
  • Clean out your pantry.  Use clear containers to give you a quick visual inventory of the foods you have, and to help you with your meal planning process.  It will also extend the life of those expensive preservative free items.  Hang a shopping list inside the door so that you can jot down items as soon as they run low.  Only purchase what you have room to store.  Big box warehouse items may seem to give you the biggest bang for your buck, but can be challenging to store and food can go bad before getting eaten.
  • Make snacks ahead of time.  By taking a little bit of time each weekend to prepare your snacks for the week, you will be more inclined to eat healthier because now it will be just as easy to grab a bag of cut up veggies as it is to grab a bag of chips.
  • Meal Plan.  Meal planning always saves time and money in the end.  And you will cook more at home, which means less eating out at unhealthy and expensive restaurants.  Use a calendar or chalkboard to plan out simple dishes for each night of the week, and create your grocery list based on those items only.  Your meal planned grocery list will reduce over purchasing at the store and prevent filling your car with snacky foods.

The Resolution to Workout/Exercise

It is important to make time in our daily schedules, for a little bit of exercises, whether a full workout at the gym or building in small activities throughout our day.

  • Create a Schedule.  Use your calendar/planner to carve out time to exercise.  Schedule it in during your favorite TV show so you can multi-task and be realistic about how much time you have to devote to exercise.  Even a few minutes is better than not at all.
  • Carve a space for products.  That old saying, “Out of sight, out of mind” rings true when it comes exercise equipment.  Unfortunately, storing your equipment under your bed or away in a closet may be a recipe for forgetting to use it at all.  By carving out a small nook or corner to store your supplies in an easy-to-access way, you will be more likely to see it and use it.  If you are against the visual clutter, just be sure to store it in a way that makes it quick and simple to access.  Think about storing water bottles, workout clothing, shoes and earbuds, all in one simple spot vs. spread-out throughout the home.  Wall hooks, stacking baskets and storage benches are all great products for storing toning gear.
  • Create an exercise log/journal.  This can be as simple as using a blank notebook to write down the dates, times and details of your workouts.  In the front or the notebook, add a list of activities that can be done without equipment for the days you don’t have time for a full workout, but want to integrate some activity into your schedule.
  • Use a timer.  It can be simple to lose track of time while working out, so snag a small timer to ensure to stay on schedule with the remainder of your day.

The Resolution to Organize Paperwork/Create a Budget

Paper piles and bills will continue to be a process to manage as long as we own homes, have retirement plans and use utilities.  Year after year, individuals are making resolutions to spend less, save more and get rid of paper clutter.

  • Create a drop station.  As soon as you bring in your mail, place items that need attention into your drop station and recycle the rest.  Once per week, go through your pile and file away papers, input important dates into your calendar and pay any billing statements.
  • Go digital.  Part of the paper problem is the paper itself.  You have to touch it, file it and store it.  Use trusted online services to unsubscribe from catalogs and solicitations and update your billing statements to be sent digitally.  Look at inexpensive paper scanners and update your system to be a paperless one, just be sure to have a back-up storage method.
  • Create a system.  Use a calendar or planner to schedule your bill paying process and create a checklist to ensure nothing is being missed each month; late payments can be quite costly.  Utilize your online banking system to set up automatic bill payments and take advantage of online budgeting systems which help you track your spending, reduce your debt and tuck away savings.

Want more? Check out my product picks to kick-start these resolutions now!