Yep, you heard it, it’s GO MONTH… Get Organized Month. And what better time to get organized than now?  It’s the start of a new year and the weather outside isn’t as inviting as it used to be.  So, make a list of all the ways that you want to get organized and get cracking.

You might be thinking, what is GO Month?  GO Month, or Get Organized Month, is a month dedicated to getting organized and was started by the National Association of Professional Organizers, or NAPO.

How can you get yourself organized this month to start 2011 fresh? Here are some things that you can do:

  • Clean out your records.  I’m sure that many of you are just like me… you have all of your important records (bank statements, bills marked as paid, insurance information, tax documents and more) neatly filed away– color-coded and alphabetical of course.  But when was the last time that you went through those documents?  Even though they may be nicely tucked away in your office and out of sight, you still may not need to keep them anymore.  Refer to this document from Good Housekeeping on how long you need to keep documents.  You might be able to clean out those old papers and free up some space.
  • Clean out your closet. Since it is the start of the new year, you can clean out your closet to start off the year off with a nice neat closet.  Take a look at the clothes that are your closet and think about the last time that you wore it.  If you can’t remember wearing it within the last year you should really think about whether or not you need to keep it.  If you aren’t sure, try this trick: put the item of clothing on a hanger and hang it up backwards in your closet. Once you wear the item, when you put it back in the closet put the hanger back normally. Revisit your closet every 3-6 months and the hangers that are still flipped backwards are the items that you don’t wear and should be able to get rid of.  Here are some things that you can do with those clothes that you no longer need:
  1. Donate your gently used clothes to a homeless shelter.
  2. Donate your clothes to Amvets (will pick up your clothes if you schedule a pickup) or Goodwill.
  3. Donate your professional work clothes to any of the following locations: Suited for Change, Dress for Success, or Career Gear.  I’m sure there are many others around if these are not in your area.
  • Clean out your garage/attic. You never know what types of treasures are waiting in your garage or attic. Make this a family activity. Spend a weekend going through boxes and piles to see what you can find.  You may realize that most of the things that you pile up in the garage/attic are no longer needed, something you have been looking for, or even worse, something that you have never even used yet.  For either of the situations you can benefit.  If it’s something that you have been looking for, then you have found it.  If it’s something really old, it could be worth something–check on ebay to see if it is selling anywhere or google it.  If it is worth something and you don’t want to (or don’t know how) to sell it on ebay, you can take it to a “sell it on ebay” type store where they can sell it for you.  If it’s something that is brand new and never used, you can either sell it, donate it, or ask a friend or family member if they need it.  If you have a large amount of trash or things to donate you can call a truck to come and pick things up for you.  If you’re looking for some options of places or ways to get your junk removed, check out this article.
  • Call a professional organizer. If all else fails and you find yourself standing in your garage, attic, living room or yard and you are overwhelmed and don’t know where to start, think about calling a professioanl organizer.  Cleaning and organizing isn’t everyone’s strenghts, so work with someone with whom that is their strenght.  Professional organizers can help you create a plan of attack, keep you on track to your goals, or even do the work for you.  Depending on your needs, an organizer is there to help you out.  With services ranging from $30-$100/hour you can find an organizer that will work with you.  Check out the National Association of Professional Organizers to find a certified professional organizer in your area.

However you decide to start your organization this month, make sure that it works for you.  Starting the year off with a nice organized space can really set the tone for how successful you can be throughout the year.

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