The Neat Sheet
January/February 2009
That's Neat! Organizing
In This Issue
Resolve to Reset
The Post-Gift Panic
Neat in the New Year
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Happy New Year! 


Have you made some resolutions for 2009? If organizing is on your list, you aren't alone: for the second year in a row "get organized" ranked in the top five resolutions, according to the FranklinCovey New Year's resolutions survey.


For a fresh start this year, "Resolve to Reset" reveals the secret to "being organized." And especially for parents, I share my strategies for dealing with an influx of new things for your child.


Wishing you all the best this year,


Resolve to Reset in 2009
According to the dictionary, "reset" can mean to set anew, or to start again.
I like to apply this to getting organized because "being organized" is not a static state, as Kathy Waddill notes in The Organizing Sourcebook. Life events will inevitably cause our organizing systems to get off track. This includes major changes like moving, a new job, or having kids, and shorter-term events like coming home from vacation, feeling too busy, or getting over a cold. So in the course of living our lives, we can't help but flow from organization to disorganization. Being aware of the need to reset - to put things back in place or take time for regular tasks and start anew - is the secret that will help get you back to the state of "being organized."
This year, make a goal to regularly reset some area of your life that seems to be causing you distress. Here are some possible reset resolutions:
  • Clear your desk at the end of the workday
  • Pick up the toys (with the kids if they are old enough) at the end of every day
  • Take receipts out of your purse/wallet/bag each week
  • Fold and put away the laundry each time it is done
  • Unpack within 24 hours after returning from a trip
  • Put away the holiday decorations 
  • File papers weekly or monthly
  • Process your mail every day
  • Purge your clothes each spring and fall, keeping only what you love to wear
For 2009, my reset resolution is to sort and save or toss the artwork my daughter brings home from school each week, instead of letting it pile up until it drives me crazy and I want to toss it all out. What area in your life seems to be the most disorganized? Make a reset resolution and see what changes. Let me know how you do!
CrayonsEspecially for Parents: The Post-Gift Panic
Every year, my husband and I take our daughter to spend Christmas week with our parents. Thanks to their generosity (and my husband's top-notch packing skills), when we return home I'm always amazed at all the new things we've managed to fit into the back of our station wagon. But now I've got to fit all the new things into our house!
Even if you don't go away for the holidays, you may panic when faced with lots of gifts after your child's birthday or other special event. Here's my strategy:
  • Create a temporary holding space. As I brought in the gifts from the car, I left them in my hall until I was ready to work on organizing. You can set aside space in a room, hall, or closet to deal with the new things. (Just don't forget!)
  • Sort. As with any organizing project, the first step is to see what you have. My daughter seems to have a knack for organizing, so she helped me sort her gifts into categories: books, craft/art items, clothes, and dolls.
  • Start with the easy things. I dealt with each pile at a time, starting with the easiest -clothes. They were all the right size for my daughter, so I simply cut off the tags and threw them into the laundry basket to wash later. One category done!
  • Make room. Dealing with the new books was a bit trickier, as my daughter's bookshelf was already tight. I looked at the books and was able to purge some that she doesn't enjoy as much any more, and made room for the new ones. I put all the outgrown books into a bag to keep for a month. If she doesn't ask for any of them, they will get donated.
  • Reserve and rotate. I put some of the new arts and crafts supplies into my office closet to save for those rainy days, or when my daughter says "I'm bored."  

Taking time to put your gifts in place means your family can relax and enjoy them, along with a fresh start to the New Year.

That's Neat! Services
Need support to meet your reset resolution? A That's Neat! consulting or phone coaching session can help you move forward and meet your goals. Call 617-905-7762 or email That's Neat! Organizing today.