12 Simple Steps to a More Organized New Year


I know what you’re thinking right now. 12 simple steps?! Is this lady lacking some vital nutrients that supply her brain with actual working cells? Hear me out… it’s not as overwhelming as it may seem at first glance, I promise.

12 Simple Steps to a More Organized 2019 | Duluth Moms Blog

I like to spend January inside my house organizing, purging, and planning what will make the year run a little bit smoother, feel a little less chaotic, and maybe allow for a little more time to just be, instead of just being late somewhere, doing something with all the someones, and having a to-do list a mile long still waiting to be accomplished. Last year I came up with an exhaustive list of things that I thought would be beneficial to my family (read: mostly me). It included things as vague as: redecorate the living room, to very precise: rent a dumpster; empty all the extra junk out of the garage and basement; throw away all of the moving boxes from 7 years ago; take piles to donation center.

Guess what mostly got done on the list? All the things that were very clear and concise. Did I redecorate the living room? Sure didn’t! What did that even mean? What did I want in the there? There was no plan, just a foggy idea that never actually took shape because I had no idea where to start. However, did I rent a dumpster and purge the heck out of my garage and basement? You bet I did. 2018 was the summer we dubbed The Dumpster Fire, and that monster dumpster sat in our driveway for at least 2 weeks and was emptied by our trash company TWICE before we were through with it. It happened because it was planned out, down to the phone number for a dumpster rental. All I had to do was exactly what my list said and it didn’t feel overwhelming because I’d already made a plan for it.

That’s how my brain works, though. I overthink and over-plan and I like to check things off of my lists (yes, lists is plural and yes, sometimes I add things to my list that I’ve already done just so that I can check them off.) Last year’s list was huge. This year’s list may look long, but I learned from past vague lists and I know that while I need to be a little more micromanaged, I can only focus on one thing at a time. So, for the new year my goal is to spend each month cleaning/purging 1 area of our home.

I have set it up so that I the whole month to accomplish each area and honestly, some areas will possibly take the whole month, other areas I know will take just a few short hours to complete. This is not an exhaustive list and there’s still the basic up-keep and cleaning that happens on a daily basis. For me, breaking it down this way makes it an attainable goal so I’m not overwhelmed with all the things that need to be done, and it sets me on a path to minimizing many of the extras we have collected over the past few years.

12 Simple Steps to a More Organized 2019 | Duluth Moms Blog

  1. January: kitchen. Clean cupboards/drawers inside and out, donate unused/seldom used kitchen items (includes platters, bowls, extra dinnerware in storage in the basement). Organize pantry, throw away expired goods. Donate if necessary. Clean out spice drawer, clean spice containers, replace as necessary. Clean windows. Wash ceiling.
  2. February: bookshelves including all the books in bedrooms and still in storage. Donate as needed.
  3. March: living room. Deep clean walls/floorboards. Remove popcorn ceiling. Paint walls white and replace wallpaper wall with a fun, removable option for an accent wall. Window blinds or curtain for front window. Purchase 2 new throw pillows to coordinate with the accent wall.
  4. April: playroom/toys, including toys in bedrooms and basement. Donate as needed; toss out toys that are broken/missing parts. Do all puzzles to ensure that all pieces are accounted for. Look through games to ensure all pieces are accounted for. Cull through coloring books, replace crayons/markers/craft supplies as needed.
  5. May: garage/storage room/basement. This includes purging of excess items appropriately like paint/spray paint. Build/purchase storage shelves for the basement and recycling bin system in the garage. Organize/donate extra unused furniture if necessary.
  6. June: purge kids clothes, includes closets/dressers/totes in storage. Donate or throw as needed.
  7. July: inventory towels, sheets, washcloths. Replace if necessary. Organize linen closet, includes culling through all expired medications and disposing of them properly. Replace as needed.
  8. August: bedrooms. Clean/organize/remove outgrown items including clothes and toys. Deep clean walls/floors/floorboards/windows.
  9. September: bathrooms. Deep clean walls/floorboards/windows/blinds. Replace shower curtain/liner as needed. Inventory bathroom supplies (ie: soap, shampoo, razors, shaving cream, etc), toothbrushes, brushes. Replace as need.
  10. October: outdoor items: put away the gardening tools/summer toys. Cull through the sandbox toys. Throw away damaged items. Organize camping equipment for the winter. Replace shovels, ice melt. Replace any burnt out light bulbs in the garage or outside.
  11. November: purge/organize all holiday items, light up outdoor Christmas lights (throw away or replace as needed). Donate unused holiday decor.
  12. December: enjoy the month and all the fun and parties and baking that goes on.

Are there going to be weeks that come out of nowhere and we have 17 different things going on and my calendar flags me that too many activities overlap and I can’t possibly be at all these places at the same time and still accomplish what I’d like to? Probably. But, with a plan like this in place, I know that everything will eventually be organized in it’s own time so I can feel better saying yes to more of best things instead of being overwhelmed by all the vague things I feel like I should be doing instead.

Here’s to more balance and less stuff in the new year!