When the new year arrives, many people focus on changes that can be implemented in the months of come.  This time of year is a popular one to make resolutions to clean and organize homes and offices.

There are plenty of things that can use a little organizational attention. There’s no ideal way to get organized. Whatever works is a good approach, but the following are six strategies to help individuals clear the clutter.

1. Utilize to-do lists

People tend to be less productive when they’re storing all of their tasks in their brains. The first step to getting organized is to remove those plans from the head and put them down on paper or in some other tracking tool. A digital to-do list manager, for example, enables you to see all of your tasks, deadlines and due dates in one place so you can get things done more efficiently. Carry around a notepad or use the digital notes app on a phone to jot down thoughts and needs as they come up.

2. Corral your “smalls”

Smalls are keys, phones, chargers, wallets, headphones, and other accessories. When these items are grouped together, they’re easier to find so you can stay on track. Invest in an attractive organizer and install it by the front door or another high-traffic area. You’ll cut down on trying to find those smaller items when running errands.

3. Conquer clutter regularly

It’s easy to be put off by cleaning and organizing when clutter has gotten out of control. Instead, by cleaning up items on a daily or weekly basis, it’s much easier to keep ahead of clutter. Treat it like a daily job, including sorting mail and tossing unnecessary items; emptying waste pails; dusting the desk; deleting emails; and putting items back where they belong.

4. Categorize emails

Utilize the folder creation option from popular email providers to sort your messages. Drop messages that need attention into categories of your choosing, such as school, health and receipts. Then you’ll know which folder to go into when searching for what you need, eliminating the time-consuming task of scrolling through a full inbox.

5. Give one; toss one

When bringing new items into the home, follow the procedure of giving away or throwing out one item for each new item that is received or purchased. This can help to tame clutter.

6. Mise en place your life

“Mise en place” is French for “put in place.” It is used in the kitchen to refer to preparing and setting out all ingredients needed in a recipe. The same concept can be used elsewhere. Lay out clothing on the dresser for the next day at work or school. Prep the foyer of a home with items you need, like an umbrella, shoes and paperwork. Organize backpacks so they’re ready for the school day. Establish a to-go bag at work for items that need to be brought home.

Getting organized can be as simple as taking small steps that have lasting impact.

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