Even if you haven't watched Marie Kondo's Netflix show yet, you might have an itch to get your house in order. January just has that effect on people – it's a great time to set personal goals and prepare for the upcoming year.
Planning and preparing for the future doesn’t have to be a complicated process. By taking just a few smart actions in your home, you can save time and streamline repeating activities.
Here are four easy ways homeowners can have a more organized new year.
1. Add important home-related dates to your calendar.
Keeping a calendar is a great way to stay on top of your to-do list. And if you track home-related tasks on that calendar, you can better manage finances and maintenance.
Make sure your calendar includes:
- Scheduled mortgage, insurance, property tax, and utility payments
- Importance maintenance tasks (here's a handy list and schedule)
- Upcoming inspections
Consult last year’s household files or simply work your way through the months of the year to find important dates. Then add each of these dates to your calendar.
You may also want to consider adding reminder dates a few weeks in advance so you have ample time to prepare.
2. Create appliance reference folders.
Ever find yourself searching high and low for appliance receipts and manuals only to come up empty-handed? Simplify your search by creating appliance reference folders for major appliances, such as refrigerators, stoves, washing machines, dryers, dishwashers, and freezers.
You can create physical file folders or digital folders; just make sure you can access and update the information easily. Store important appliance related information in these folders, including:
- Purchase receipts
- Warranty information
- Serial numbers
- Instruction manuals
Added bonus: If these items are damaged and you need to make a claim, this handy reference folder offers the information you need quickly.
3. Create a home storage chart.
No more searching for holiday decorations or hunting down your stowed summer clothes. Create a home storage chart that identifies storage locations for seasonal items and you won't scramble to find stored stuff again.
You can create your storage chart using pen and paper, a word processor, or spreadsheet. Once you’ve created your chart, be sure to store it in a prominent location so you can refer to it throughout the year.
4. Rein in your paperwork.
If you're like many homeowners, you may have important documents stored throughout the house. But you know they're important and you may need them one day.
Do yourself a big favor and sort these files now. Start simple and separate them into these categories:
- Homeownership documents (your deed, titles, closing paperwork, mortgage information, etc.)
- Tax information (W2s, 1099s, proof of health insurance, and receipts for deductible expenses)
- Other financial information (pay stubs, retirement statements, investments, etc.)
- Insurance policies (home insurance, car insurance, health insurance, etc.)
For extra credit, scan these documents and sort and store them digitally. That way if your physical files are destroyed, you have digital backups on hand.
About the Author
Rashelle Isip is a New York City-based professional organizer, blogger, and author. She is the founder of TheOrderExpert.com, a lifestyle site featuring practical organization tips, ideas, and inspiration. Her work has been featured in Good Housekeeping, Cosmopolitan, House Beautiful, Brit + Co, The Atlantic, Apartment Therapy, Refinery 29, and Fast Company. Get instant access to her free organization resource library filled with eBooks, worksheets, and checklists by visiting her website.