15 Ways to Organize Your Life in the New Year

Carrie Lowrance

Crosswalk Contributor
Updated Jan 15, 2024
15 Ways to Organize Your Life in the New Year

Are you ready to get your life organized?

One of the best things to do when the new year hits is organize your life. We just navigated a season full of chaos and clutter. Now it’s time to regroup and pull our lives together. It amazes me how much “stuff” we can accumulate. By “stuff,” I don’t mean just things in our living areas. We accumulate overflowing inboxes, tons of files and folders on our computers, and paper clutter in desks and boxes. 

It can be so overwhelming. However, once I go through things and clean them up, I have much more energy and mental clarity. Are you ready to get your life organized? 

Here are some different areas that you can think about organizing over the next few months:

Getting Rid of “Stuff”

1. Old electronics- Old electronics like phones, e-readers, televisions, computer towers, gaming systems, etc. are easy to accumulate because you can’t throw them in the trash. Instead, consider selling your electronics that work to a site like Declutter and calling a local “junk” company to come and pick up the rest. Some local land fields and dump sites allow you to discard electronics too.

2. Things that are broken- Go through your house and round up everything that is broken or not working and give the “junk” haulers a call to come and get your stuff. 

3. Clothes that don’t fit- Wanting to lose weight this year? Give yourself at least 90 days to see how much weight you lose, and then go through your closet and get rid of what doesn’t fit or you never wear anymore. One simple question to ask yourself is this: "Have I worn this in the past year?" If the answer is no, it's probably time to donate this item of clothing. Some resale stores will even buy your gently used clothes. 

4. Toys your kids don’t play with- Your kids just got a bunch of new toys and things for Christmas. Now is a great time to go through toy boxes and closets and donate what they don’t play with anymore. 

5. Your bookshelf- I love physical books just as much as e-books. However, sometimes our bookshelves can get crowded. Go through your paperbacks and hardbacks to see what you’ve already read or thought you wanted to read, but no longer have an interest. Then donate them to a little library in your area for others to enjoy or to a local nursing home. You could even call your local independent bookstore and see if they have book drives to help the community. You can also sell your books or start a neighborhood "Little Free Library."

6. Your pantry- Go through your pantry and see if there is anything expired that you have duplicates of or food you will not eat. Check the Internet for expiration date guidelines and then throw out items as needed. Then donate the remaining items you won’t eat to your local food pantry or homeless shelter.

7. Kitchen gadgets and small appliances- Go through your kitchen gadgets to make sure everything is in good condition and working. The same goes for your small appliances as well. Replace something that is worn or not in good condition as far as cooking/safety measures are concerned.

Other Things to Organize

8. Emails and newsletters- I don’t know about you, but one of my email accounts is chock full of messages. Every day I wake up to between 50-75 emails—it’s crazy! Now is the time to go through all the emails and newsletters you get and decide if they are benefitting you. If you haven’t opened an email from X sender in months, unsubscribe. If you are no longer interested in X newsletter, unsubscribe. Having a less cluttered inbox is good for everyone's sanity.

9. Folders and files on the computer- This is another area where I get an over-accumulation of stuff. I have tons of folders and files on my computer that I need to go through and organize or delete if I’m not using them. It’s so easy to become a digital pack-rat. 

10. Paper clutter- This is another area that I need to reign in better. My desk is a catch-all for mail, receipts, notebooks, etc. It can get very messy quickly. I have a bad habit of ignoring it (except for the mail) until it drives me nuts, then I do something about it. Can you relate? I’m going to strive to pick one day a week to clean my desk and keep this clutter under control.

11. Boxes with important papers- If you have a box with important papers in it, like folders with bills from different companies, car maintenance, your pets' records, and important info, etc., go through it and see what you need to chunk. You may have switched internet companies two years ago but still have papers from your previous company or maybe you switched electric companies or insurance companies. Go through your papers and see what needs to go and always shred documents that contain important personal information.

12. Your filing cabinet- Instead of a filing cabinet full of plain folders, go through and see if anything needs to be trashed and then color code them so you know where to find important papers, documents, etc. As mentioned above, always make sure you shred what you don’t need anymore, especially if it contains sensitive information.

13. Your closet- We have already talked about getting rid of clothes that don’t fit, but what about everything else in your closet? Like that yoga mat or that pair of dumbbells you never use? The twenty pairs of shoes you don’t wear? Or that collection of purses when you only carry one or two of them? Take some time to clean out the “other clutter” in your closet besides clothes. Then you can have your friends do the same and have a swap night or donate your items somewhere else.

14. The garage- You will want to wait for the weather to get warmer, but get together with your spouse and help him clean out the garage. Go through tools and make sure they are in good shape, organize the smaller things like nuts, bolts, etc., ensure the riding lawn mower is in good shape for spring, etc. It will be hard work, but your husband will appreciate your help and be glad that he will know where to find the things he needs.

15. Your car- Make sure you have all the important documents you need in your glove box, like registration, proof of insurance, receipts from tire purchases, your insurance company's roadside help card, etc. Instead of having these things loose in your glove box, put them all in an envelope. Also, make sure you have the phone numbers for your insurance company and their roadside help stored inside your phone. Other things to keep in your glove box include a tire gauge, napkins, and a flashlight. 

If you live where you get a lot of ice and snow, make sure you have a shovel, ice scraper, Deicer, and cat litter in your trunk. You may also want to add a pair of snow boots, a blanket, and some bottled water/snacks if you get stuck somewhere. A car charger for your phone would also be helpful. 

Also, if you haven’t done it yet, it’s never too late to take your car in for a winter maintenance check. Doing all these things will give you peace of mind because you know that you have everything you need if something should happen.

It can take some time to organize different areas of our lives, but once we do, we will have peace, be more relaxed, and have more mental clarity.

Photo Credit: ©Unsplash/Sarah Brown