A Resolution With Rewards 1

Get Organized for the New Year

The calendar’s turn to 2017 brings with it a turn to self-improvement: the New Year’s resolution. Whether it’s eating right, saving money or spending more time with family, everyone hopes to start fresh on January 1st. But one resolution might be the key to accomplishing all of these goals: getting organized.

According to Scott Bird and Lynne White, co-owners of Organize Asheville, organization makes room for the other habits people resolve to practice in the new year. “Getting organized isn’t just a freeing of space, but a way to let other things into your life,” explains Bird. Professional organizers throughout Asheville agree that creating order in your home can yield unexpected rewards.

Consider that most popular New Year’s resolution, getting fit. “A lot of people do fast food to avoid cooking—because they can’t find their way around their kitchen,” says White. When tools and ingredients are stashed in hard-to-reach spaces, crafting a meal can seem daunting. Better organization makes home cooking more convenient, which promotes healthier eating (and trimmer waistlines).

Organization also reduces the high stress levels that often cloud the holidays. Lauren Brown, owner of Ellesee Organizing, says that an orderly life is scientifically proven to bring calm. “Being organized feels good to the brain,” she explains. “When you walk into a home free of mess and clutter, your levels of the stress hormone cortisol begin to drop.” Lower cortisol levels can improve the symptoms of anxiety, high blood pressure and other common seasonal woes.

Brown emphasizes that mental organization is as crucial as physical tidiness for achieving peace in the new year. “Organization is about defining a home for every single thing in your life, and that includes mental clutter,” she points out. To that end, Brown advises her clients to create a “tickler file,” a system that collects to-dos and issues reminders for accomplishing those tasks. “A free online task manager like Todoist or Remember the Milk will give a home to all the stuff rolling around in your head and let you sleep easier,” she says.

Given organization’s many benefits, you may want to start tearing into your closets today. But Jenny Kristoff, owner of Jenny To The Rescue, says that you should first spend time organizing the way you get organized. “It’s important to consider the big picture and how to follow through with anything you want to get rid of,” she explains. “If you sit down and make a plan before jumping in, things will go much more smoothly.”

The best beginning, according to Kristoff, is to walk through your home and think about what each area needs to become organized. “Disorganization usually comes from either a lack of space or a lack of systems,” she says. “In a foyer with a big heap of coats and shoes, for example, you likely have the storage but don’t have a system to order the clothes.” In that case, adding inexpensive hooks and cubbies would define a clear place for each item.

If you need a little help wrangling your life into line, all of these organizers are more than happy to lend a hand. “There’s nothing we haven’t seen before,” assures Kristoff. “We love what we do, and we have the experience to get started on any space.”