GO Month Week 1 – Organizing Your Possessions

It’s officially Get Organized Month! All month long I will be bringing you my top tips for getting your whole life organized. From your closet to your time, this is the year to actually stick to those New Year’s resolutions!

Week 1 of GO Month tackles possessions. This is a great way to start out the month and help you figure out what to do with all those holiday gifts!

These 10 tips focus on organizing your closet, but can be applied to any area of the home where items tend to gather, such as bookshelves, DVD cabinets, and even junk drawers.

Helpful Tools – Before you begin, it’s a good idea to have extra hangers on hand, paper and markers for creating signs, garbage bags and boxes.

1. Analyze – Decide what your goals are for the items. Are you trying to downsize? Do you constantly have to rummage through piles of clothes to find the one item you want? Know what you want to achieve before you begin to help stay on track. You can even draw a rough diagram of how you want the closet to look at the end of the project.

2. Empty – Empty every last item out of the closet. Hangers, shoes, belts, it all has to come out. Don’t try to start sorting yet, just focus on getting the closet empty.

3. Categorize – Create signs with different categories and place them around the room. This is going to guide you through organizing every item that will be going back into the closet. Categories are up to you, but they can include things like “seasonal”, “belts”, “scarves”, and “shoes”.

4. Sort – My favorite system for sorting is the “Friends, Acquaintances, Strangers” system created by Judith Kolberg. Your “Friends” pile should be the items you absolutely love, cannot live without, and wear on a regular basis. Your “Strangers” pile is all of the items that are so old and unused you completely forgot you even owned them. Anything remaining goes into the “Acquaintances” pile. This includes items that you may not wear often but have a need for, such as your winter coat. If possible, put “acquaintances” into seasonal storage. Make sure you try on anything you haven’t worn in the last 6 months. If you love the item but it doesn’t fit, place it with the acquaintances.

5. Sort… Again! – Take that “Friends” pile and sort it into the different categories you created in step 3. Seeing everything sorted into categories allows you to take inventory of what you have. If the goal is to downsize, you will easily be able to spot duplicate items that can be donated, such as an extra winter coat or pair of boots.

6. Box and Donate – Any “strangers” that are in good condition can be donated to a local charity. As stated in step 4, acquaintances go into storage. Label these boxes and in 1 year, if you haven’t gone into that box, consider donating that to charity as well. Make a separate box for those items that don’t fit but you aren’t ready to toss. In 6 months, try on everything in the box. If they still don’t fit, it’s probably time to donate those items.

7. Decide – Before you can start putting everything back into the closet, you should pick your organizing system. Maybe some items will go on hangers, but other items would be better suited to baskets on a shelf. Take inventory of how many hangers, baskets, or shelves you already have and how many you need. Never buy storage containers before doing this. The last thing you want is to create more clutter from unused containers!

8. Buy – Now is the time to buy any extra storage containers or hangers that you may need. A good tip to keep in mind: no mismatched hangers. The closet will look more streamlined and tidy if your clothes are all on matching hangers.

9. Replace – Now is the time to start adding everything back into the closet. Pick an organizing plan for hanging up your clothes and stick to it. I use type – style – color to organize my closet. This means that all I put all dresses together, then shirts, then pants. From there I organize by style. Short dresses, then medium dresses, then long. Next I organize by color according to the color wheel, starting with white and ending with black. It makes it easy to find exactly what I’m looking for every time I go into my closet. It doesn’t matter what system you create, as long as you know it will work for you.

10. Analyze… Again! – Anytime a new system is implemented, it’s important to be sure it is working. After 1 month of using your new system, analyze how it’s going. Is it easy to use? Are you sticking with it? If you see something that needs tweaking, now is the time to do it. Once you are happy with the system, you should reorganize once a year. This will help you purge unused items and, more excitingly, make room for new stuff!

It’s GO Month!

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As a member of the National Association of Professional Organizers, I can’t tell you how much I love January! The New Year means a fresh start, and what better way to get that fresh start than by getting organized? That’s why NAPO has designated January as national Get Organized Month.

Throughout the month, I will be doing my part by bringing you a series of articles and weekly tips to organize your whole life. From the junk drawer to your important documents, whatever your organizing goals for 2015, I’m here to help!

As an added bonus, anyone who schedules an organizing project* with me during the month of January will receive the initial consultation for free! That’s a savings of $150!

If you want to be a GO-getter this month, check in each week. I’ll be posting my top 10 tips for organizing your possessions, your space, your time, and your documents. Every Tuesday will be GO Tip Twitter Tuesday, where I’ll be tweeting a bonus tip related to that week’s topic. And finally, check out my GO 2015 organizing board on Pinterest for some of my favorite organizing systems, hacks, and inspirational images.

Let’s make 2015 your year of getting organized!

*Organizing projects involve a minimum of 2, 2-hour sessions, $300/session.