12 Days of Organizing!
It’s 2022! Who else is ready for a fresh start this year? I know I am after the craziness that was 2021. One trick I use for keeping even the little things organized is tying specific tasks to certain times of the year, like the first of the month, or the first day of a new quarter. It’s easy to set reminders for yourself to tackle little maintenance tasks using this method, so things don’t get forgotten about over the course of a busy year.
The first of the year is an especially good time to get some of these smaller, less glamorous jobs done – then you don’t have to worry about them the rest of the year! (Besides, it’s cold and you’re stuck inside anyway!)
Below are 12 tasks you can tackle this January to set yourself up for a great start to 2022! If you’re on social media, follow along with me @systemsbysusie. We’ll be talking about each task from January 3rd through January 15th. I’ll share tips and tricks and inspiration as we go. In case you’d like to get a head start or follow your own schedule, I’m including some of this information below!
Tip: Save this picture and print it, so you can mark off each win.
For each day, I’ve broken down the project into smaller items for your to-do list, included my favorite organizing products, and added in a fun family activity to do together to keep that holiday feeling going strong into the new year.
Day 1: Board Games
In the wintertime, board games get so much use! Start this organizing challenge off on a fun note, by making sure your games are consolidated in one spot, have all their pieces and are ready to go for snow days!
- Make a home for your games. A hall closet or a cabinet in the playroom are great options.
- If you’re not attached to the game boxes, ditch them! Decanting your games into plastic boxes or zippered bags really cuts down on the amount of space they take up in your home.
- As you organize the games, check to ensure all the pieces are accounted for. You may be able to make or order replacements for some.
Products we love: Clear Plastic Portfolios and Zippered Bags are great options if you want to decant your games. Both options fit well in bins with handles or sustainable open front The Home Edit bins from The Container Store.
Family Activity: Play a board game tonight!
Day 2: Craft Supplies
Your craft station may look a little worse for wear after the holiday break if you have some creative kiddos or if you used a lot of your supplies making cards or embellishing gifts. Refresh this space now so you can take advantage of post-holiday sales to restock what you need.
- After consolidating all of your craft supplies, divide into groups, and contain each supply in its own labeled bin.
- Store craft kits or sets together in a lidded container.
- Create an easy-access station for everyday craft items (like scissors, markers, and crayons). See photo for an example.
Products we love: To keep your crafts portable, use drop in organizers in a three-tiered cart. If organizing in a desk space or cabinet, use drawer dividers to separate small accessories. Use simple shoe box containers to store sets. They stack very well!
Family Activity: Do a craft with your kids. Here’s a list of easy crafts that don’t require any special equipment.
Day 3: Spices & Oils
The quickest way to give your kitchen a glow up? Organize your spice cabinet or drawer! Spices expire after a year, so it’s a good time to toss old ones and buy new.
- Decant your spices for a quick upgrade. Check expiration dates as you go.
- Organize spices in a drawer or using a tiered expandable shelf in a cabinet. Keep your most frequently used ones front and center, and backstock in a bin on a higher shelf.
- For oils and vinegars, use a lazy susan to make sure nothing is out of reach.
Products we love:
- Lazy Susan for oils and vinegars.
- Spice jar kit with labels.
- Tiered expandable shelf.
Find several options for each of these in my Amazon Shop.
Family Activity: Mix up your own Taco Seasoning & Italian Seasoning
Day 4: Food Storage Containers
This is the drawer or cabinet in everyone’s home that is easiest to neglect, but it’s one you use almost every day! Creating a system for your food storage containers will save you a lot of little annoyances this year!
- If you can, buy a coordinating set of containers so that they fit nicely together.
- Create a system where you store lids separately from bottoms. Use a drawer divider or bin to help the lids stand up for easy access.
- Nestle bottoms into one another so they take up less room. If short on space, stack smaller containers inside larger ones.
Products we love: I have a page on my Amazon Shop dedicated completely to Food Storage. Check it out!
Family Activity: When you’re meal planning this week, give each night a silly theme and run with it (food from books, yellow night, etc.).
Day 5: Recipes
In this day of digital recipes, print outs can clutter up kitchen counters quickly! There are a couple of options available to keep these under control.
- Consolidate your cook books and find a home for them in the pantry or kitchen. Bonus points for organizing by color or subject!
- Near the cookbooks, put a paper tray or bin to collect recipes that you print out this year.
- Alternatively, create a recipe binder to store these loose recipes. It’s super simple and makes a great gift!
Products we love:
Everything you need to create a recipe binder you can find here. A document box is a great options for storing loose recipes, or grab a beautiful hyacinth tray from The Container Store.
Family Activity: Choose a family favorite from your newly organized recipes and make it this weekend.
Day 6: Gift Cards
Chances are you have quite a collection of gift cards after the holidays. Do you have a bad habit of forgetting them or not having them when you need them? Here are a few tips to make sure you use them up this year! (Treat yourself!)
- Use an empty plastic gum container to store gift cards. Just remove the wrapper and add a label; they are the perfect size and fit so well in your purse or the glove box!
- Make sure you keep two sets – one for home and one for the car. In the car, put cards you’re likely to use while out (Starbucks, Target, Movie Theater, etc.) and at home keep ones you’re more likely to use when online shopping (clothing stores, online retailers, etc.).
- When you can, load gift cards into the store’s app on your phone.
Here is a list of apps that allow you to store your gift cards digitally, even if you don’t have the store’s dedicated app downloaded.
Family Activity: Use one of your gift cards this weekend!
And now for a quick shameless plug… ☺
Don’t forget that we have gift cards available all year long for those living in/near Annapolis. The gift of organization is always the perfect gift. Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Birthday, Showers, Wedding, Housewarming – it’s the gift that keeps on giving and gives the recipient peace of mind. Reach out to purchase one any time this year!
Day 7: Emergency Supplies
It’s never fun to think about emergencies, but it is definitely smart to be prepared. The first of the year is a great time to get these items organized, as the super cold temps of January and February make their use more probable.
- Consider purchasing a fire safe if you don’t have one and adding your most important documents to it. If you do have one, make sure everything inside is in a plastic bag to protect from water damage, too, if it’s not also waterproof.
- Check expiration dates on emergency canned food supply and any snacks you keep in your car for emergencies.
- Make sure flashlights work and that you have backup batteries.
- Create a winter car kit to stay safe on cold days.
- Change the batteries in your smoke detectors and check them all to make sure they are working.
Products we love: Browse the lists linked below to find everything you need to be safe in your car this winter and to store emergency supplies at home.
Family Activity: Practice your fire escape plan. Drawing up plans for a quick exit can make this fun for kids! Set a timer and compete to see who can get out the fastest. Here are some tips from the National Fire Protection Association.
Day 8: Technology
How much time each year do you think you waste hunting down your charging cables, or looking for that email you know you received last week, or scrolling your phone looking for that photo you took of the kids at the park? Take some time today to get your technology in order.
- Zero out your inbox.
- Back up and organize your photos from the past year.
- Contain the cords! Gather up all the chargers, cables, and cords you can find, figure out what they’re for and label them! Use a divided lazy susan or other bin to contain them in categories.
- Creating a charging station. Choose a central location in the home. This is a great idea to keep phones and tablets out of kids rooms at bedtime and away from the dinner table.
Products we love: Shop here for my favorite cord wrangling and labeling supplies, plus charging stations!
Family Activity: Have the kids take photos of every room in your house and anything valuable – with your help. (Store on the cloud for insurance purposes and update annually.)
Day 9: Medicine Cabinet
Sadly, we’re still in the thick of the sick season, not to mention a pandemic. Refreshing your medicine cabinet yearly is a must to make sure you have the essentials on hand, that they are not expired, and that they are easily accessible (to adults)!
- Check expiration dates. Toss anything expired and make a list of what you need to restock.
- Store in a high cabinet in the bathroom or kitchen. A child lock on this cabinet is also a good idea if you have littles.
- Organize by symptom. Keep medicines for colds, stomach troubles, pain relief, and first aid in separate containers for easy access. Don’t forget to label!
Products we love: A Divided Lazy Susan or Bins with Handles work well for separating medicines into categories.
Family Activity: Restock the first aid kit in your car. (Let the kids pick out fun Band-Aids to include.)
Day 10: Junk Drawer
The bad news, we all have one. The good news, it takes less than an hour to whip it into shape with the right supplies.
- Follow the basic organizing rules for this project – take everything out, edit, sort into categories, contain and label.
- Measure the drawer before you shop to maximize the fit of the drawer dividers.
- As you put everything back, thoughtfully consider each item. Should it live somewhere else in your home? Don’t worry if you don’t use all the containers in the drawer. Leaving room to grow is a good thing!
Products we love: Here is a list of different types of drawer organizers, so you can find a look you love and what fits your space best.
Family Activity: Have a scavenger hunt. Use this template or make your own featuring some items in your newly organized junk drawer!
Day 11: Beauty Products
It’s important to clear our your old beauty products regularly, for safety and effectiveness and for the sake of space. These products have a habit of multiplying quickly!
- Check for product expiration dates. Here’s a guide to use as you investigate.
- Store your daily use items in the top drawer of your vanity or on top of the counter in a pretty organizer.
- Keep backstock in a linen closet or the back of your under-the-sink cabinet. If storing items under the sink, also be sure to take advantage of vertical space and measure well to work around pipes.
Products we love: Shop bathroom storage here.
Family Activity: Have a mini spa night. Use up those extra bath bombs and face masks you discovered today!
Day 12: Books
If you are a die-hard bibliophile who enjoys rereading your favorites, skip this section! For the rest of you, it’s time to purge.
- Go through books and donate any that you won’t read again or that your kids have outgrown. Pass them on to a friend or leave in your neighborhood’s Little Free Library.
- Make sure you’ve returned all library books/paid fines.
- If you use one, sync and update your Kindle and set up a Kindle charging station on your nightstand or in your reading nook.
No products needed for this activity!
Family Activity: Put books in the playroom or kids’ rooms in rainbow order. Sort into a pile for each color, then use ROYGBIV to place each group back onto the shelf.
As always, do what you can and don’t over do it, especially after the busy holiday season we just had. I never want you to feel any pressure from me! My goal is always to give you tips that will make your life EASIER in the long run! So have fun with this and have a very happy New Year.
If this list gets you motivated to tackle the rest of your house in the new year, look back on some of my old blogs for guidance:
- 8 Steps to Get Organized (For Good)
- New Year Reset: Home Organization Challenge
Or give us a call to get an organizing session on the books. The spring rush is a real thing in the organizing biz and it will be here before we know it, so get on our schedule early to have more flexibility in scheduling! We’d love to help make 2022 your best year yet.
Each of my career choices-wedding coordinator, event planner, and teacher — gave me the creative freedom to organize everyone and everything. I have always thrived on to-do lists, planners, and systems! Now, I lead a team of organizers to help me on my mission. Read more…