As I write today’s column, I realize most of the ideas listed below are things I don’t consciously think about, but I also realize for most people, a schedule would be helpful in our pursuit of organizational bliss. My goal is that this list will help simplify your life, leaving you time to do the things you want to do.
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 slowly and remember, (excuse the cliché) “Rome wasn’t created in a day.”
January: Year-end papers, such as 1099’s, W-2’s and K-1’s are mailed no later than January 31, so start sorting through your tax-related paperwork now.
February: Because this is a short month, pick 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 every bathroom in your home! Every shelf, drawer, cabinet and counter top 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: Purge your closets of those things you no longer wear, like or want at least twice a year. 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.” 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. Please see Get Organized May 31, 2014 (bit.ly: http://bit.ly/ZcocCL)
June: With the kids out of school and summer routines still in the planning stages, June is the ideal month to sort through the linen closet and get rid of all those threadbare, stained and torn sheets; pillows, pillow cases, pillow protectors and mattress protectors; table cloths and napkins. Remember: if you don’t have twin beds, pitch the twin sheets.
July: Before the kids are back in school and life gets crazy all over again, it’s time to tackle your home office. To do this, set-up a simple filing system (maximum 25 files) for household-related bills, insurance papers, medical records and investments, etc. By creating a “place for everything,” filing things away will be easier.
Make a pact to open the mail daily and to have only one pile on top of your desk at the end of each day. Remember, a clear desk equals a clear mind.
August: Review each utility bill, insurance policy and service contract with a fine-tooth comb to ensure you’re not paying for something you don’t need, or worse, didn’t even know you were paying for. Don’t forget, August is the bi-annual marker for cleaning/organizing your closets (yes, again).
September: 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, and IRA/Roth IRA contributions, etc.
Also, if you have investments, call your accountant and financial advisor to review your estimated capital gains or losses in order to figure-out your estimated tax payment, which is due the 15th.
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. Donate any unwanted gift supplies to a local thrift store, where they’ll be put to good use. And don’t forget to update your In Case of Emergency (I.C.E. Card) once you’ve updated your supplemental health care plan.
Open enrollment for Medicare starts October 15th. Be prepared!
November: Organize your kitchen and pantry in anticipation of Thanksgiving and the ensuing holidays. Any plates, glasses, bowls and silverware, as well as any pots, pans and serving dishes you no longer like, need or use can be donated to a variety of local charities.
Open enrollment for the Affordable Care Act starts November 15th. Be prepared!
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.
HINT: Daylight Savings Time comes around twice a year, which is the perfect time to take care of a few annual/biannual “must do” projects, including, scheduling HVAC maintenance appointments, replacing the batteries in your smoke detectors, thermostats and garage door openers (once a year); rotating and vacuuming your mattresses, cleaning out the fridge/freezer and pantry and purging (donating) expired food; cleaning your air vents and ceiling fan blades; washing or replacing vinyl shower curtains and/or liners and wiping down baseboards and molding throughout your home, to name a few.