12 Easy Steps for an Organized Life – Month 1

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12 Easy Steps for an Organized Life – Month 1

January 1.  

The first day of a brand new year.

We have twelve brand new months to create our dream lives or at least get us well on our way. 

12.  Seems like a long time right?

All of the optimism and good intentions are front and center as we look forward to the blank slate in front of us.

The problem is that we tend to start out strong, but our motivation starts flagging a few weeks in and by this time next year we wonder where those 12 months went.

This year I vow to do it differently.  

THIS year I will look back in 12 months and say – Wow!  Look at that!

Why Organization Matters

Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE my life.  I am blessed beyond measure.  But, there are things that I could improve and I’m always looking for ways to become a better me.  

One of the things that’s not where I’d like it to be is my lack of organization – in my house primarily, but at work, mentally, and in relationships too.  I want to decrease the chaos so I can focus on what really matters. 

Peter Walsh – author of Enough Already!: Clearing Mental Clutter to Become the Best You said the following on Oprah:

Walsh: My clients say things like, “I was buried under all that stuff,” “I was drowning,” “I feel like I’m suffocating.”  We use those metaphors because clutter robs us of life. It robs us socially, when we’re too embarrassed to have people over. It robs us spiritually, because we can’t be at peace in a cluttered home. And it robs us psychologically, by stealing our ability to feel motivated in our space. 

Read more: http://www.oprah.com/spirit/Peter-Walshs-Secrets-to-Cleaning-Up-Mess-and-Clutter#ixzz3NaknFbYi

12 Month Guide to an Organized Life

So here’s my plan.   Those daily plans – whether 30 or 365 -don’t work for me because I have too many responsibilities to be able to do something every single day.  I travel for work and skip a few days, then get demotivated and slowly stop doing anything.  

So instead of a daily task, I’m breaking this down into months.  If you’re ambitious you could dedicate a day and get them all done, you can split them out by week, or you can do them as time allows as long as you get them done before next month. Sound good?  

Easy Steps to Organize Your home and life


Month 1 Task for an Organized Home

The kitchen is the epicenter of a home.  If you have chaos in the kitchen you will feel it every single day.  Every time you open a cabinet to get a coffee mug or cup of water, every time you do dishes, every time you cook  you will be confronted with the chaos.  

Plus it’s a BIG job and we’ll need all that motivation and optimism that comes with the start of the year to get it done.  

So I’m starting there. 


There are 10 items in this list.  Maybe you get your calendar out an assign weeks you want to do each of them, maybe you count your cabinets, drawers, etc and assign one per day. Tackle these tasks however works best for you. 


  • Take everything out of your cabinets (one section at a time – so glasses or dishes would all be done at the same time, but maybe you do dishes another day).
  • Wipe down the shelves
  • Wash any dishes that may not be as clean as you’d like, either from dust or weren’t cleaned well the first time (anyone who has kids doing chores knows that they don’t always get as clean as we’d like :) )
  • Get rid of all those water bottles and travel mugs that don’t have lids or whose lids don’t fit well or that no one uses because you have others you like more
  • Put all like items together – water bottles, coffee mugs, wine glasses, plates, bowls, baking bowls etc. 
  • Consider reorganizing where you keep things in your kitchen.  If the plates would be more convenient near the sink and you have them 4 cabinets down or the glasses would be best on the left and you have them on the right, nows the time to move them. 
  • Tighten the screws on all the doors as needed.

organized cabinet

**I put all coffee items on the same shelf and up a  little since my kids don’t need that shelf.  All water bottles are on the bottom shelf because the kids access those a lot. Measuring cups and rice cooker on top because they are used the least.  Whatever your system, think about what works for you and what will be best for your family. 

organized cabinet for water bottles and wine glasses

**All wine glasses are on 2nd shelf and above since kids don’t use them. Water bottles are on bottom shelf for easier access for the shorties. 


  • Take everything out of the drawers and wipe down the inside.
  • Wash anything that needs it including pot holders and towels.  Consider throwing away the really stained kitchen towels and hot pads.  
  • IF you have the space for it, consider making one drawer for the top 5 or 10 items you use the most.  Can opener, wooden spoon, peeler, or whatever.  
  • Organize like items with like – baking supplies, silverware, serving spoons, pot holders, etc. 
  • FIX any drawers that need to be tightened or the track is off or whatever needs to be done. 

Under the Sink

  • Take everything out and wipe down the bottom of the cabinet.
  • Fix any leaks or loose screws.
  • Combine any like bottles such as the two bottles of Windex you find that are both 1/2 empty.
  • Make a list of what you need to stock up on.

Clean the Oven & Microwave


  • This is best done a day or two before trash day so you don’t have so much food sitting in your trash for a week.
  • Take EVERYTHING out of the fridge. 
  • Check expiration dates and throw away if expired.
  • Wipe down all shelves and drawers.
  • Organize your shelves to keep like items together. 
  • Replace any broken drawers or shelves or lights or filters.
  • Fill back up with the foods that will support any eating or health goals you made for the year.  (Even if not expired you may want to consider getting rid of any foods that aren’t in line with your fitness or health goals.)
  • Don’t forget the front of the fridge – whether last year’s photos, out of date lists, Broncos schedules that are no longer applicable – get rid of them.  
  • Pull out the fridge and vacuum the coils in the back.  
  • Clean under and on top of the fridge.


  • Take EVERYTHING out and wipe down shelves.
  • Check expiration dates and throw away if expired.
  • Organize your shelves to keep like items together. 
  • Replace any broken drawers or shelves or lights or…
  • Wipe down all light switches.
  • Fill back up with the foods that will support any eating or health goals you made for the year.  (Even if not expired you may want to consider getting rid of any foods that aren’t in line with your fitness or health goals.)
  • Recycle all the plastic grocery bags you aren’t going to use for trash cans.
  • Mop the floor.


  • Take out and wipe down shelves and bottles as needed (sometimes they get sticky).
  • Check for expiration dates.
  • Make list of what spices you need.
  • Organize for easy use – lazy susan, tiered shelves, etc.


  • Remove all items and wipe down.
  • Match all lids and containers.  
  • Get rid of any lids or containers without matches (unless you dedicate a few for arts and crafts or pet bowls or some other use, in which case you should take them out of the kitchen and in the appropriate spot for that new use).
  • Consider getting rid of them all and starting over with a new set – I have to admit to doing this a couple of times.  It was awesome!
  • Develop a system for storage so that they stay neat, easy to find lids, and usable by your family.  

Junk Drawers

  • Empty and wipe out.
  • Throw away/recycle as much as possible. 
  • Organize like items together.
  • Take old batteries to recycling center or hazardous waste pickup center.
  • Rethink what you’re keeping in there and confirm that you still need it and that it’s in the best place.


  • Take all that clutter off of your counter, get rid of most of it, put the rest in the appropriate spot such as your office or a drawer, or your kids’ rooms.
  • Seal counter if stone or tile. 
  • Check caulk around sink and backsplash – replace as needed. 
  • Clean off the window sill.


  • Wipe down all appliances
  • FIX any burners or doors or lights or order missing parts or whatever needs fixing.  (If in Denver I have a great, affordable appliance repair guy.)
  • Get rid of any appliances you haven’t used in the past year (or 2 if you want to be cautious). 
  • Pull out the oven and clean behind, sides and under it. 
  • Clean kitchen exhaust fan, hood and air filters.

Trash Can

  • Scrub the can to get all those things that have slipped past the bag, leaked, overflown – you know, the ones that you cringe about every time you see the actual bottom of the can, but always thing “next time”. 
  • Is your trash can is the best spot for how you use your kitchen? 

Next Month

I’m doing these as I go through my house too so will provide updates on how my kitchen turned out, and will discuss the next task.  I’m thinking it will be tackling closets if you get done with your kitchen and want to work ahead. :)

Please consider signing up for email delivery so that you’ll be reminded of next month’s task when I post it!  Along with all the other goodies :).  Some other ways to follow if you’d like:

Did you enter to win a CLEAN HOUSE?  I have a current giveaway for Denver area  folks going on until 1/7/2015 for $200 house cleaning credit at Cottage Care.  Go here to enter.

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