If you’ve been saying to yourself, “I really should get more organized,” consider this: American women spend 55.2 minutes, per day, looking for lost or misplaced items, according to study conducted by the magazine Real Simple. Just think, if you cut that time in half, you would save 27.6 minutes per day. Still not convinced? If you get organized and never misplace another item again, you’ll save 55.2 minutes per day, or 14 days per year! Could you use fourteen extra days this year?

clock with planner and to do listWith the New Year beginning and all the resolutions that go along with it, January is the perfect time to commit to getting more organized. In fact, the National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO) is sponsoring the first Get Organized Month this January. So, how do you go about getting started?

  • First, identify all the benefits getting organized can have in your life. There’s those two extra weeks we just talked about, but that’s only the beginning. Being organized contributes to a higher quality of life, too. Organized people experience lower stress, a greater sense of control, and even higher pay. Plus, they have more time to do the things in life that matter most to them, like spending quality time with friends and children, enjoying hobbies and other leisure activities.
  • Second, decide where you will start. Which area of your life is the most chaotic? Is it your desk at work? Is it the stack of mail, bills, and reading material that has taken over the dining room? What things are you always looking for? Find the area in your life that is really causing you the greatest stress, and start there.
  • Third, figure out who will do the work. Is getting organized something that you have the time and energy to tackle on your own? Do you have the skills? There are a number of great organizing books available at your local bookstore or on the web. These books can help you identify a process for getting organized and give you tips and solutions to get started. If you’re not the do-it-yourself type, consider enlisting the help of a professional organizer. A professional can help you focus on the organizing project, break it down into manageable pieces, and help you make decisions about paring down belongings or assist in setting up an efficient filing or time management system.clock graphic
  • Fourth, decide when you will work on getting organized. Finding the time to get organized can often be one of the hardest parts. Let’s face it, if you had ample time on your hands, you’d probably be organized to begin with, right? To tackle this problem, look at your schedule and see what things you can put aside for the time being. Is there a TV show you can skip for a few weeks? Can you take a couple of days off work? Sounds grim, but just remember those fourteen days you’re trying to get back.

Once you’ve decided where to start, who will do the work and when it will get done, it’s simply a matter of tackling the organizing projects step by step. Remember, your life and spaces didn’t get chaotic overnight. More likely it was a gradual, almost unnoticeable process. So as you whittle away at the cluttered and disorganized areas in your life, you can look forward to an extra 55.2 minutes per day to sit back and enjoy! Good luck!

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Aby Garvey is a creative organizing expert and simplify 101’s founder. She has created 14 online organizing classes, which she has been teaching since 2007, helping thousands of people around the world get organized. Aby loves to help people create positive change in their lives through her online classes and coaching program

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