In this post: Everyone resolves to get organized at the beginning of the year. Here are 10 not-so-obvious things to do in January to keep you organized all year.
If you come to my blog for decor inspiration, you may not know this about me, but I’m an off-the-charts crazy-organized person! Like, I keep each pair of earrings in a separate compartment in a clear box, arranged by color.
It’s just the way I think. So naturally, I have a system for everything I do, as well, and most of these arose from experience as a way to make my life easier and more efficient.
Now, if you’re like many people, one of your New Year’s resolutions was to get organized this year, cleaning out calendars, desktops, closets and more. But sometimes it’s one small habit or act that makes all the difference in our lives. Here are 10 not-so-obvious things to do in January to keep you organized all year.
10 Things to Do in January to Keep You Organized
1. Buy cards
How many times have you forgotten to get a birthday card for someone important in your life? Maybe you spent lots of time on the gift and forgot to get a card. Or you forgot both. Or you thought you were getting together next week but now you’re getting together today and his birthday was yesterday.
Take an afternoon and go to the best card store in town. Take your time and buy birthday and anniversary cards for everyone you normally give cards to. Then buy a few extra generic cards for those unexpected events that come up. Get a few wedding cards, sympathy cards, thank you cards and anything that really makes you laugh. Stock up and then keep them in a desk drawer where you do your paperwork.
I can’t tell you how many times this stash has saved me! This is also a great time to buy discounted holiday cards for next year.
2. Buy a few hostess gifts to have on hand
This one is also a lifesaver, because I am notorious for being late to parties and then first having to stop to get something to bring on the way. So I started keeping a few lovely hostess gifts in the linen closet, ready to give. I keep maybe 3 or 4 “in stock” and then replenish when I only have one left. Buy them when you see them, not when you need them.
3. Make all your doctor and hair appointments for the year
I’ve been doing this for years and it really helps keep me on track. For salon appointments, I book the full year out so I never have to deal with waiting a few weeks for the choice appointment times. You know how often you cut or color your hair. Do it now! The same for annual doctor appointments.
If it’s something they won’t let you book out for the year, book your next appointment before you leave the premises. Always. Never leave the salon or office without having your next appointment booked. You can always change it, but at least you’ll have something on the calendar to remind you you’re due.
4. Repair that pile of things that are waiting to be fixed
This one is really a “just do it” issue. You know those little things that are sitting in a pile that you haven’t put away because they need to be glued. Or tailored. Or otherwise fixed by a professional. Just. do. it. now. Simply resolve to get them all done. You’re not going to the beach this weekend anyway. Spend a day getting things fixed so when the spring comes, you can spend your time enjoying the beautiful weather! Ok, maybe if you live in Florida this doesn’t apply, but get it done anyway. I promise, you’ll feel so accomplished and relieved afterwards.
5. Have an extra cosmetics bag packed and ready to go
I started this one many years ago when I used to travel for business. It makes life, and spontaneous travel, so much easier! I keep a full sized travel cosmetics bag fully stocked and ready to go at all times. You already know what cosmetics you use. Buy an extra set. A *complete* extra set. Include aspirin and any meds you use. Pack it in a travel bag and you are always ready to go.
I have a personal rule that after a trip, I never put the cosmetics bag away until I’ve replenished it with anything used on the trip. Remember, this tip only works if it’s always packed and ready to go.
Bonus – you always have one extra on hand of everything you use, so if you run out of cleanser and it’s a blizzard out, you’re set. But again, if you take anything out, don’t put the bag away until you’ve re-stocked it.
6. Keep a receipt file and spreadsheet
People who know me well will laugh at this one. I’m a bit spreadsheet obsessed. This is not a complex system meant for a business but just a way to keep track of your personal spending. I’m always amazed when I see someone open their wallet and a bajillion little receipts fall out in various stages of frayed decay. This is such a simple idea. Buy yourself a 12 section accordion file. Every time you buy something, put your receipts in the folder, filed by month. Then enter them on a spreadsheet. At the end of the month when the bill comes, you have something to check your bill against. You also always know how much you spent for the month. If you want to find a receipt to return something, you know where to find it.
I keep my receipts in the file for one year, so at the beginning of each month, I take out the previous year’s receipts and start the section fresh for the new month.
7. Keep a list of your favorite products in your phone
Have you ever gotten to the mall prepared to replenish your makeup, only to realize you can’t remember the color name or exact formula of the product you use? I keep a list of my favorite products in my phone (on a spreadsheet, of course!) so I never have to wonder if I’m buying the right thing. Photos help too, but have the list. It will be easier to find 6 months from now when you’ve taken countless additional photos and they’re all over the place in your phone, filed by date. Or make a designated folder to hold only photos of your products.
8. Keep spare things in your car
Raise your hand if you’ve gotten to the restaurant and realized you can’t read the menu because you left your reading glasses at home. It goes without saying to keep an extra phone charger in the car (and if you haven’t done that either, do it now!) but keeping a spare pair of reading glasses or comfortable shoes in the car can be an enormous help. I also keep Bed Bath & Beyond coupons in the car, because I usually have a pile of a thousand of them at home, and none with me in the store!
9. Have a master grocery list by aisle
I started this one when I first stopped working in an office, but still had that uber-efficient mindset. I set up a list (on what else? a spreadsheet!) of all of the items we frequently bought, grouped by aisle of the store I usually go to. Then I just go down the master list each week and check off the items we need to add to my grocery list.
You don’t have to be a complete perfectionist about this, but it makes putting together a grocery list so much easier, and then helps you avoid criss-crossing the store 100 times because things are roughly in order by aisle on your list in the first place.
I will admit at first I went a bit too far, checking off boxes and resorting the spreadsheet to create my weekly list, but when people saw me showing up at the grocery store with spreadsheet in hand, I realized not everyone appreciated my hyper-organization! These days I just consult the master list and handwrite my list in order.
10. Buy everything in bulk
You’ve no doubt heard this one a million times, but I do it with everything and I notice even my kids do it now. I always have 3 or 4 mascaras in the closet. Same with batteries, toilet paper, shampoo and pretty much anything that doesn’t spoil quickly. Why go to the convenience store 4 times when you can go only once? And this way you are less likely to run out. Like the hostess gifts, I replenish when there’s only one left in the closet. And note… this doesn’t include the one that’s in the travel cosmetic bag.
That one is sacred.
Things to Do in January Source List
Click on the items below for direct links to the products. Where actual items were no longer available, I’ve provided similar options. (This post contains some affiliate links for your convenience. Click here to read my full disclosure policy.)
- Black & white cosmetics bag
- Ivory cosmetics bag
- 36 compartment box for earrings
- Plastic drawers for storage
- Plastic bins for storage
- File for receipts
For sources on hostess gifts, please see the center post below…
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