Does your closet feel a little claustrophobic? The best way to make space is to declutter your closet!
When I work with clients, I use the acronym TRACKS to sort and pare it down to the essentials, and you can use it on your own, too.
TRACKS stands for Trash, Recycle, Action, Charity, Keep, and Sell. When I’m decluttering with someone, we go through each item and ask which of these categories it belongs in. Sorting everything into these categories is a big step towards a neat closet!
It’s the first letter of the acronym, but it’s really the last resort. Only send a piece of clothing to the landfill if it doesn’t fit in any other category.
Recycling clothes usually takes the form of donation, but you CAN reuse material in other ways if the garment is no longer wearable. Here’s a neat video about how to make t-shirt yarn! You can also cut garments into rags and use them to clean up around the house.
It’s always helpful to look at your business with an eagle-eye view, and the new year is a particularly good time to do it! Reviewing your business as a whole shows you where you’re on track, and where you need to spend some time improving. But what do you look at? What metrics do you use to compare this year to last year?
Assess Your Business
Key Performance Indices (or KPIs) are the quantifiable data that tell you how you’re performing in each area of your business. The numbers will be unique to your business, and the goal of using KPIs is to look for patterns through consistent measuring. So, what are the basic KPIs?
Financial: How much money are you making? How much are you spending?
Marketing: How many people know about your products or services?
Sales: How many people are buying from you? How many of the people you’re marketing to are actually making purchases?
HR: Do you have the right number of employees? Do you have the right people in each position?
Inventory: Do you have enough inventory to fill orders? Do you have an excess of inventory?
When you know what your closet style is, then you can work toward it!
Clothing is an everyday part of life, which means your closet is a central part of your morning. Does it take forever to find what you want to wear each day? Do you roam the house, looking through piles of laundry for what you want? Getting dressed can be simple and stress-free, but not if your closet threatens an avalanche when you open it. A simple-to-use, calm and orderly closet? You can make it happen! Over the next four weeks I’ll take you through the steps you can take to make your closet work for YOU. The first step: find your closet style.
Why Organize My Closet?
An organized closet brings many benefits! An organized closet…
contains ALL of your clothes, so you only have one place to go to find what you need.
contains clothes you like and wear. You can go into your closet and be guaranteed to pick out something that fits you and matches your personal style.
keeps your clothes in better condition. When they’re wadded up on the floor, or languishing in the dryer, clothes develop wrinkles. The less you have to iron, the longer your clothes will last. And who wants to iron, anyway?
makes it clear which clothes are clean. When your clothes are strewn all about the house, it can be difficult to tell the dirty stuff from the clean stuff. Clothes might go through the wash two or three times! When all your clothes have a home, it’s simple to tell what’s clean.
is decluttered, meaning you have fewer clothes to deal with overall. Things might get worn more often, which gives you a chance to update your wardrobe with current styles without having barely-worn items hanging around for ages.
is eco- and budget-friendly! When you store clothes properly, they last longer and you won’t have to buy new ones. Donating items that you don’t wear gives them a chance to be loved by someone else, too. The longer a piece of clothing stays in circulation, the less new clothing has to be made. Don’t buy into the throwaway mentality of fast fashion!
If thinking about organizing your entire home makes your palms sweat, you’re not alone! Decluttering and organizing every space in your house is a big commitment, involving a lot of effort and time. Having an organized home is a completely reasonable goal, but where do you start?
The short answer is: start small! When a project seems too big and too daunting, start with the smallest achievable step. To find your smallest achievable step, ask yourself: What sounds so easy that it makes you laugh?
If you want to declutter your garage but the thought makes you nervous, scale it back. How about decluttering one category of item, like gardening tools? Maybe your smallest achievable step is sorting your toolbox. Maybe it’s the top half of your toolbox, or even one compartment!
When you’ve found a part of the project that is laughably doable, do it! Sort that single compartment in your toolbox, then congratulate yourself on a job well done. That one small task gets you closer to your goal and starts you off with a win. Little accomplishments are as addictive as big ones, and you’ll soon find yourself taking the next step, and the next. You’ll get the hang of organizing and start modifying what you do to achieve your goal even faster.
Success fuels success, and if you keep the momentum up, organizing will become part of your routine.
Now that you’ve reflected on life using the Wheel of Life and made a list of SMART PATH goals, it’s time to set priorities. As impressive as it would be to tackle every problem in your life simultaneously, it’s unrealistic. Not only would it be a whole lot of work, your focus would be everywhere at once!
What do you value most?
Are any of these values at the top of your list?
Time with family
Forging ahead with your career
Serving your community
Creating a cozy home
Creating a life that works
Everyone’s values are unique, and I can’t tell you what you should value most—it’s up to you! But asking yourself the question and finding out what you value most in life is important. It gives you a clearer focus and knowing what your value means you can structure your life to match it.
How do your values show up in your Wheel of Life? Are you allocating your time and energy in a way that matches your values? What is essential to you?
If you took the time to review your life last week, you’ll likely have at least one area of your life that you’d like to make some changes. So let’s set some goals. Common New Year’s resolutions include:
Get organized (Call us if you’re having trouble with this one!)
Get more sleep
Quit social media
Spend more time with family and friends
Keep a journal
What are your resolutions this year? Write them down and refer to them often; you’ll be more likely to achieve them.
Tackling too much
Now you have a list of goals. How do you make them all happen? I used to make BIG New Year’s resolutions. When I wanted to start running every day, on January 1st I laced up my shoes and hit the pavement. January 2nd I did it again, because that’s what I resolved to do!
By February, my resolution (and my running shoes) were gathering dust. What went wrong? If you want to start running every day, you should just run every day…right?
If you’re shaking your head and saying, “You’ll burn out!” you’re correct.
I didn’t make progress until I paid attention to the process rather than the end goal. Instead of making major changes immediately, I broke the process of creating goals down into the SMART PATH system.You’ve likely heard of SMART goals and adding the PATH to achieving them has made them so much easier to complete.
Are you ready to start living your best life? Look at where you are first!
The holidays are upon us! And with that comes the new year, and with the new year comes — you guessed it — resolutions! While goal-setting is an important part of life all year round, the approach of the new year reminds us to reflect on our life, and where we want to be.
What goals do you have for yourself? What’s the best way to accomplish those goals? It’s simple (if not easy):
assess your life as it is,
focus on the path toward the goal instead of the goal itself, and…
don’t try to do everything at once!
December is the perfect time to assess your life and your priorities. Use the Wheel to Life to review what you are thankful for. Honestly look at what you would like to be different in the future.
Tip 1: Use The Wheel of Life
The Wheel of Life is a great tool for keeping your life in perspective. It encompasses the eight main areas of life: career, relationships, family, friends, recreation, health, finance, and spirituality.
Of course, these areas of life all interconnect and affect each other, but taking a look at each area in turn can help you identify where things are going really well, and areas of concern that you may need to address in the future.
Thanksgiving was just a few days ago, and I encourage you to maintain that spirit of gratitude! The end of the year is approaching, and it’s a great time to review your 2022 to see what made it great, and what you can do without.
Grab a pen and some paper (or start an email to yourself!) and let’s make a Grateful List for 2022.
Who are you grateful for?
Are there certain friends or family members you’re particularly grateful for this year? Spend a few minutes writing down why you’re grateful for them. Were they extra supportive during a hard time? Did they help you with something? Are they just really fun to hang out with? Putting it into words can solidify their impact in your memory, and make you appreciate them that much more. Let them know how you feel, too! Expressing gratitude for people we care about makes everyone feel warm and fuzzy.
Lets get you set up to maintain your filing system!
Now that you’ve got your filing system set up and your action items in their proper places, it’s up to you to keep it that way! The best way to keep clutter from coming back is to maintain your filing system. Some tips on maintaining your filing system:
If you have temporary files, file them by month and year, which allows for quick archiving.
Purge your files regularly—I recommend at least annually. You could do it every six months or every quarter to cut down on the time it takes to purge.
File at least weekly, more often if you are a paper-intensive home. Ideally it’s best to file things as soon as possible, but setting aside time each week that’s dedicated to filing will make sure nothing slips through the cracks.
A lot of clients have tons of paperwork because they’re not sure how long they’re supposed to keep it. So how do you know what to hang on to, and what to shred? Different documents have different expiration dates.
Lifetime: Keep this paperwork for the life of the item. Ownership documents like car titles and deeds belong in this category. Once you no longer have the item, and are sure you won’t need to refer to the paperwork, then you can let it go.
Permanent: These things should be kept forever, like your social security card. Things that are crucial and difficult to replace go in this category.
The whole point of filing is to find paperwork fast! If your filing system is chaotic, you’re making yourself work harder. I don’t want that for you! Dial down the difficulty when searching for paperwork by using these tips.
Having standardized terminology for your files keeps search time to a minimum, with both digital and physical files. For physical files, use consistent dates and names. You want to make it easy on your eyes to follow along as you look through the files. If you’re looking through the files you have on home maintenance, and most of your files are labeled like “2020 Repair Bills,” and a few are named like, “Housekeeping – 2020,” you’re making your brain do extra work when you search. Keep it consistent, and save your brainpower for something more fun!
To make searching for digital files easier, include multiple search terms in the file name. Think about what you’ll want to know when you’re trying to find it. If you’re looking for a particular bank statement, what search terms would you use to find it? Adding the bank name, the account name, and the statement date means you can find it three different ways!
Paper Files: 5-20 Items Rule of Thumb
Use cascading hierarchies when creating your paper files. For instance, you could keep all your insurance paperwork together in one hanging folder, and have paperwork for the individual policies in separate interior folders. This means you only have one place to go to look for anything regarding insurance, and if you know which policy you’re looking for you can narrow it down even further. Instead of flipping through dozens of different pieces of paper, you can go right to what you’re looking for.
It’s hard to find paperwork fast when your files are three inches thick. The best rule of thumb I have for keeping hierarchies neat and easy to use is this: If you have fewer than five items in one category, that’s a sign that you could condense it with another. More than twenty items should be split up into subcategories.
For instance, say you have files relating to places you want to travel to. If you only want to go to New Zealand and visit Lord of the Rings locations, you only need one folder. If you want to go to every state in the US and have paperwork about each state you want to visit, then a folder for each state will be helpful. This helps avoid overstuffed folders that are difficult to look through and avoids having unnecessary folders as well.
Make it even easier on yourself by using labeling, color coding, or different locations for these categories. If you use your labels or colors consistently, soon you’ll be able to see what you’re looking for at a glance.