Getting organized in the New Year is probably something that makes it to most of our “lists,” and this guest post by Maisie Knowles is perfectly timed.  I love her ideas for home and family and wanted to share at The Lounge.  – Amy

7 Ways to Get More Organized in 2013

By Maisie Knowles

I look at January as a time to organize and kick off the new year clutter-free. I purge, create new files, plan my family calendar and get a rush from doing all this! If you’re looking to get a bit more organized in 2013, here are some things I’ve learned over the years.

1. Start Small, Stay Simple
Don’t try to organize your life all within a week. Start by implementing organization with something small (like your email) then tackle your desk and so on. Keep organizing systems simple and easy to use, and don’t waste money on all the products designed for organization. Instead, go the DIY route with these 10 common tools recommended by Houzz.

2. Do, File, Trash
Every piece of paper that comes across my desk at home or work gets labeled as “do,” “file” or “trash.” For every item with “do” I make sure the take action on by the end of every week. I file whatever I can immediately and shred everything else. At the end of every week, all three collections should be empty.

3. Go Digital
Cut down on paper waste and go digital with everything you can. The NeatDesk desktop scanner scans and files receipts, business cards and documents while the software organizes key information to store on your computer. Avoid clipping paper coupons and use the mobile app Coupon Sherpa and Val-Pak instead. Create a shopping list on your smartphone and even share that list with a spouse who can add to it on the fly.

4. Zero Out Your Inbox
I never let my email inbox go over 10 items and every week I try to get down to zero messages in my inbox. Ever email gets categorized into folders, and if I’m not interested in something anymore I immediately unsubscribe. Whatever remains in my inbox needs some sort of action, making it easier to prioritize my tasks.

5. Develop a Family Calendar
Start using a web-based calendar system like iCal or Google Calendar. Set up each family member with their own calendar and color system so that you have a global view of what your family is up to each week. You can also use your calendar to schedule recurring tasks on specific days so that you don’t forget something important!  Editor’s Note:  I love iCal, but also know it overwhelms some people, so even if you have a paper calendar, use it & share it with your family so everyone has a snapshot of what is going on each week.

6. Archive Old Documents
Documents like tax returns and important receipts can find a new home in your basement or storage unit. Take the time at the beginning of the year to archive any old items and start new files for the new year. Take this a step further and store away seasonal clothes to avoid clutter in your closet.

7. Create and Stick to Routines
Keeping a routine helps keep your life organized and stay on top of things. Pick a day to go grocery shopping, get into a cleaning routine, and determine the right time to hit the gym. Stick with your routine and you’ll find life gets a little less chaotic and more predictable.

Author Bio:  Maisie Knowles is a working mother of two with three-year’s experience writing on parenting issues and business ownership. She co-founded Kinoli Inc. with her husband in 2005 and divides her time between managing the company and taking care of her two young girls. For more information, visit