In our pursuit to attain, and maintain, organizational bliss, the hardest part is deciding where to start.

As I write today’s column, I realize most of the ideas below are tasks that, for me, are routine, but I also know that for most people, having something in writing is a good motivator.

If you can’t do (or don’t want to do) everything on the list, don’t worry; what’s important is that you go at your own pace and try to do one or more of these:

January: Year-end tax forms, such as 1099s and W2s are supposed to be mailed no later than Jan. 31, so what better time to start sorting through your tax-related paperwork than the first month of the year?

February: Since this is a short month, try picking a smaller—more brawn, less brain—project, such as clearing out and organizing the garage. If you live in a warm clime, February should be cooler, making it easier to accomplish the task than it would be in the middle of summer.

March: There’s no avoiding it, you simply must organize each and every bathroom in your home! This means every shelf, drawer, cabinet and countertop needs to be cleared off and cleaned out, including sorting out the creams, shampoos and conditioners and, of course, the dreaded cosmetics drawer. While you’re at it, check all over-the-counter and prescription medicine expiration dates and dispose of in a safe and responsible manner. (www.CollierSheriff.org)

April: At least twice a year, you need to clear your closets of those things you no longer wear, like or want. Try my “Too” rule: if something is too big, too small, too short, too long, too tight, too loose, too tattered, too stained, too faded, too dated or too trendy, it’s time to say “adieu.” Remember, if you’re not getting rid of stuff, all you’re doing is rearranging the clutter. After the purge, “shop” in your own closet before running to the mall.

May: Review & replenish your hurricane supplies. https://professionalorganizerflorida.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/HurricaneChecklist_Ottenstein_LR.pdf

June: June is the ideal month to sort through the linen closet and get rid of all those threadbare, stained and torn sheets; pillows, pillowcases, pillow protectors and mattress protectors; tablecloths and napkins. Remember: If you don’t have twin beds, pitch the twin sheets.

July: In my opinion, having a paperless office is virtually impossible. I do believe it’s important to have hard copy files (no more than 25) for a few things, such as homeowners, auto and health insurances, medical records and warranties.

August: Review each and every utility bill, insurance policy and service contract with a fine-tooth comb to ensure you’re not paying for something you don’t need, want or worse, didn’t even know you were paying for. Don’t forget, August is the biannual marker for cleaning/organizing your closets (yes, again).

September: This is the perfect time to start sorting through and compiling the current year’s tax-related paperwork, including cross-referencing medical bills and statements, business-related expenses, cash and non-cash donations, IRA/Roth IRA contributions, etc. If you have investments, schedule a conference call with your accountant and financial adviser to discuss your third-quarter estimated tax payment, which is due the 15th of the month.

October: Before hitting the stores, it’s time to inventory your cache of greeting cards and gift-wrap supplies. This way, you’ll know in advance if you really need to buy more paper supplies. Please DONATE any unwanted gift supplies to a local thrift store, where they’ll be put to good use.

November: This is the perfect time to organize your kitchen and pantry in anticipation of Thanksgiving and the ensuing holidays. Any plates, glasses, bowls, flatware, pots and pans and serving dishes, etc. that are in good condition—but you no longer like, need or use—should be donated.

December: This is a “free” month to do as you please. If you feel like tackling the junk drawer, or any other small spaces in your home or office, go ahead, but try not to take on any B-I-G projects this month, as the holidays are stressful enough.

In your quest for organizational bliss, it’s important to remember: What you own does not define who you are.OR