A new year is upon us, thank goodness! I’m betting most of us planned for 2020 to go a bit differently, but there is still is so much potential to fulfill your goals and dreams and the upcoming year is the perfect time to start fresh. Ask yourself what do you want to take into next year, and what do you what to leave behind?
Below I’ve listed 20 ways to get organized for 2021. We’re going to clear out anything we don’t need any more, create action plans to achieve goals, make our homes more peaceful, and set ourselves up for an awesome year.
Before we get into this, I highly recommend doing these 35 Journal Prompts for an Amazing New Year to get clarity on what you want for 2021.
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The 20 Smart Ways to Get Organized for 2021
Declutter unnecessary papers.
This might be an easy way to get organized for 2021, or really hard for some if you have years worth of papers. Either way you’re going to feel good once you unload this clutter.
Throw out or recycle old magazines, ads, technical manuals, receipts, junk mail, etc. While you’re at it opt out of paper bills and old subscriptions. If you’re unsure about something you can always take a photo of it.
Clean out the junk drawer.
Clear out that junk drawer or messy space that’s been stressing you out. Maybe your bathroom cabinet is a mess, or the hall closet, or you have a drawer in the kitchen you can barely open because it’s so cluttered.
- Empty the space completely.
- Throw away any trash or donate unused items.
- Sort like items into their own dividers, boxes, or bins.
- Put away things in a way that allows you to clearly see everything you have.
Declutter your desk or work space.
Whether it’s at work or home, clean and organize your work area. This will help you be more productive and feeling happier while working.
- Throw away dried out pens.
- Have a designated space for pens, scissors, tape, paper clips, etc. – 16 Piece Desk Drawer Organizers
- Create an inbox for papers, bills, and other mail that you clear our once a week.
- Dust and wipe down the area.
Declutter your kitchen.
The kitchen is the heart of many homes, so make it a pleasant place to be in when you start the new year. Like most people you may have a goal to eat better, so now is a good time to set yourself up for success.
- Empty your fridge and pantry.
- Throw away expired food. Donate anything that’s still good but you know you won’t eat.
- Clean all your shelves and drawers.
- Put healthy items in front so you see them first.
- Make unhealthy items harder to reach or put them out of site.
Do a bathroom deep clean.
One of the most important places to have clean is the bathroom. The worst thing is to walk into a dirty bathroom at someone’s home or a public place, so make sure your bathroom isn’t one that freaks out visitors.
- Sweep and mop the floors.
- Clean the inside AND outside of the toilet.
- Scrub the tub/shower, sink, and counter.
- Clean and organize the drawers and cabinets.
- Throw away anything that is expired or unused.
If you have towels you want to get rid of, check if your local animal shelter will take them.
Clean out your closet.
For many of us this is the most obvious way to get organized for a new year.
I’m not totally into every part of the Konmari method, but one tip I do like is to take all your items out of the closets and dressers and hold them one by one while asking if that item makes you happy or is used often.
Donate or discard what you no longer need, use, or love. If something is too worn out to be sold at a thrift store you can take it to H&M and they will recycle it (old sheets and towels too).
A good rule is to discard anything that hasn’t been used in at least a year. Only keep things that you love and feel confident in, or things that serve a specific purpose like work clothes.
Rearrange your furniture.
Sometimes you get done cleaning and your space still doesn’t feel as inspiring or fresh as you might like. See if you can rearrange your furniture or home decor to make the space more functional or visually appealing.
Consider upcycling old furniture with fresh paint. Pinterest and Youtube have thousands of great ideas and tutorials to help you turn old furniture into beautiful new pieces.
If something can’t be upcycled and you don’t need it anymore recycle it. Some places will pick up heavy items, and there are selling or freecycling groups on Facebook. My city will pick up large items 3 times a year and take them to the dump, yours may do something similar.
Delete unused apps, photos, files, playlists, and contacts. Uninstall programs on your computer you don’t use.
Unfollow social media ‘friends’ or random people you don’t even talk to. Don’t go on sites that stress you out.
Unsubscribe to newsletters you never open.
Create a clutter bin.
Have a bin or basket specifically for clutter that accumulates throughout the week, and have a day that you empty it out and put each item in it’s proper place.
If you need to, set a reoccurring reminder on your phone or Google Calendar to take care of it each week. This will prevent things from piling up for weeks or months and becoming overwhelming.
Staying organized in the new year takes regular maintenance!
Set up visual habit reminders.
This is one of the most important ways to get and stay organized for 2020. When you’re trying to establish productive habits half the battle is just remembering to do them. That’s why it’s vital to create visual ques that will trigger the habit when you see them.
- Put your vitamins next to your breakfast items.
- Place your planner or journal next to your bed or coffee cup.
- Set out your gym clothes the night before.
- Make healthy foods easier to see and access than junk food.
- Print out a Habit Tracker and mark it off each day.
Create or organize your Google Calendar.
I’ve just gotten into Google Calendar and it’s so helpful. Whether you use it to track birthdays or your daily to dos, it’s so helpful. I’ll usually input any tasks I need to do the next day before I go to bed and if I can’t get something done that day you can easily drag the task to another time. You can also put everything into categories and color coordinate them. There is a little bit of a learning curve but once you get it it’s easy to use.
Create a budget.
It’s really important to know where your money is going. Know your monthly income. Create 2 categories, needs and wants. List your necessities like rent, food, gas, healthcare etc. See what the total is and deduct that from your monthly income. Then put a certain amount away for savings, retirement, emergencies, or a special trip.
What’s left is what you can spend on wants like Starbucks, Netflix, games, and anything that you don’t technically need. If you can live without it for a month or more it’s not a need. Total that up and see what’s left or if you’ve exceeded your budget.
Make cuts where you can. You probably don’t need Hulu, Disney +, and Netflix at the same time. Try rotating subscriptions instead of having them all going at once. Meal prep instead of buying lunch everyday. Wear the clothes you already have instead of buying new crap all the time (research fast fashion if you need motivation). Don’t buy a stupidly expensive new phone every year when yours still works fine.
I recommend putting everything into a google docs or excel spreadsheet. There are also apps that can help you budget but I haven’t used any so I don’t have specific recommendations.
Automate your bills.
Set up auto pay on everything you can and opt out of paper bills. It can save you so much time and energy in the future and it’s better for the planet.
Create daily reminders for important tasks.
As I suggested above, visual habit reminders are incredibly helpful, but sometimes we need an extra push. You can have Google Calendar send you phone alerts and emails, or use a habit app like Loop Habit Tracker which I’ve used everyday for over a year now.
Do a Life Admin day.
A life admin day is a day where you do all the annoying tasks you’ve been putting off for ages.
- Schedule appointments for a doctor check up, teeth cleaning, or oil change.
- Mail that package you’ve been meaning to send out.
- Run errands that aren’t in your usual routine.
- Clean the room or area that’s been messy for a while.
- Take the stuff in your car’s trunk to the donation center.
Do a To Do brain dump.
Take 5 or 10 minutes to write down all the things you need to do and organize everything into categories and decide if they are high or low priority. This is a good way to plan things for your life admin day.
Do a life assessment.
Look at your daily decisions and habits. Automate or eliminate where you can. Break things down into the following categories that apply and see where you need to put in some work to be more efficient, productive, fulfilled, and happier.
- Personal development
Also acknowledge where you are doing well and give yourself credit!
Based on areas you want to work on in your life assessment, create some goals and more importantly create a game plan for achieving those goals.
Break down your big goals into 3-4 sub goals so that you have smaller tasks that don’t seem so overwhelming, and check in every 3 months so you don’t forget about them.
Sometimes we set goals but forget to actually take the small steps that are necessary to achieve them, then we get to our deadline and feel disappointed. The planner I linked above is perfect for giving you a visual map of exactly what you need to do to stay on track.
Create a life map or vision board.
Visualize the life you want. Sit down and picture it vividly in your head. Where do you want to be this time next year? How do you want to feel? Write it down like it already happened. This is how you plant the seeds for what you want.
Open the door so your vision can come through. This means letting go of any blocks you have and changing your belief system so that you aren’t holding yourself back. Read How to Change Your Limiting Beliefs for help getting your mindset on track.
Take action. Visualization and positive thinking are important but faith without works is dead. That doesn’t mean you need to struggle but you do need to take opportunities that come or create your own.
At the beginning of 2018 I thought about starting a blog, but I never set any real intentions or took action. Then 2019 rolled around and again I thought about starting a blog. This time I actually set some goals, created a plan, and made a timeline. Now I’ve had this blog for 18 months and I can’t wait to see where it goes in 2021.
Have a weekly planning session
Have one day a week that you sit down and spend 10-20 minutes planning your week and checking in on your goals. This is how you make real progress. The completion of any goal comes in slow and steady steps, it never happens in one leap or overnight. I made the printable weekly planner below and it helps me so much!
That concludes my list of 20 ways to get organized for 2021. If you do some or most of these steps you’ll be on your way to a great new year. I hope you have an amazingly productive and happy 2021!
It’s you’re feeling really ambitious here are 100 ways to be productive at home.
Love and light.