One of the top New Year’s goals every year is to get organized. Can you imagine if in 2024 your life changed because you slowly start to address every part of your home? I’m here to help get you started! Below is a list of 31 things to organize in January that requires only 15 minutes per day. Organize one item per day for 31 days! I have set up this list from my experience as a professional organizer, and I also considered the timing of the date and what day of the week it is. So for example, if there is a task you want to spend more than 15 minutes on, swap it out with another item on the list that you can do during the week or on days you have more time.
While this list is specific to January 2024, you can use it in any month and any order, which is why I'm giving you the entire list upfront. Also, if you need additional motivation, join me on Instagram as I'll be sharing my own journey of doing some of these items! Set a timer and go!
Protip: Make sure to just spend 15 minutes. If you have momentum, then great, go for more; but don't feel like everything has to be done and perfect in 15 minutes. The idea of doing this is to gain momentum and start to get organized.
1. Time to take down your holiday decor and organize it!
While the holiday season is over, if you have not already done so, spend 15 minutes going through the decor you did not place in your home or business, and if you have time leftover, walk through what you have placed out and see if there is anything that you didn’t really love that you can donate.
2. Organize your wallet
Make sure all your cash is facing the same direction, all your cards are sorted and you only have the one(s) you use most in your wallet; and make a plan to use any gift cards you have. If you have a lot of spare change, donate it or bring it to the bank, or give it to your kids. Lighter really is better!
3. Organize your purse
If you only have one large opening, make sure you’ve created compartments using smaller bags. Either way, have one area for make-up and one area for your wallet and anything important. If you carry “essentials” like tissues, floss, snacks, water, nail clippers, wipes, etc, keep this together in one compartment. If you keep receipts, it’s time to have a small zipper bag to keep them together. And if you have more than one purse, organize the one you use the most this time of year.
4. Organize your junk drawer
If you have more than one junk drawer, just pick the easiest one and start there. Here is a link to our favorite drawer organizers. We love that these are clear and they can be bought in different sizes. Protip: While they sell these in sets, I recommend buying them individually so that you have the right size for what you need to organize and to what fits in your drawer best. This way you can also return what you don’t use!
5. Organize your jackets
January is here and that brings cold weather, so put away the lighter coats and make sure the heavier ones are easier to access.
6. Organize your winter wear
Similar to the above, we love to organize by person in our house so that each person has a basket with their name on it that has their scarves, gloves, mittens and hats. Some of the baskets we use in closets that we love are these. They come in both dark gray and oatmeal - pick what fits into your decor best!
7. Organize your entryway
Sticking with the winter theme, make sure your front entryway has room for not only your things and your family’s things, but also that for guests. You always want to have a little room for your guest coats! We have such a small entryway in our house but we’ve made it work, so I know you can do it!
8. Clear your email clutter
Take your 15 minutes today to unsubscribe from as many emails as you can. It will make a huge difference in your day-to-day! Then go set a reminder at the beginning of every month to do this regularly.
9. Clean out your car
Nothing starts the new year off right like driving around in a clean car! Find your local car wash and have it vacuumed and cleaned if it’s been a while. If you have small children, put a change of clothes in a ziploc and have on hand extra tissues, a trash bag, water etc. While this one may take more than 15 minutes, you can just start by getting rid of any trash!
10. Organize your kitchen “cooking” drawer
This is anything you use to stir, cook, bake etc like spatulas, ladles, spoons, tongs, etc. Clear out anything you don’t use in the kitchen from this drawer. Don’t hang onto anything for the “one day” because it’s taking up space that could help you elsewhere (I’m getting to this…). We like to buy the individual clear drawer organizers or if your drawers are lighter inside, the bamboo version of these looks great! Protip: Make sure to order a few of each size, then return what you don’t use once you’ve finalized what you are keeping in the drawer.
11. Organize your utensil drawer
Maybe your forks are already with your forks, but one way to step up the organization of this drawer is to use the clear or bamboo organizers we’ve suggested in previous days. It makes the drawer shine and keeps everything neat and tidy. If you prefer to have just one affordable organizer, we like this one along with the other items for the kitchen.
12. Clear off the countertops
Take a good look at your counters and see if there is anything you can let go of or find a home in a drawer for. Protip: as part of our home organizing services, we prefer to put all cooking utensils in a drawer near the stovetop, which makes for easy access and one less item on your counter.
13. Clear off the countertops again
Yes, I’m giving you a second day to do this because if you have knives on your counter in a block, let’s find a new way. Find a knife organizer like this one to place in your drawer (don’t forget to measure!). And if it's not knives, see what else you can store away in drawers and cabinets to clear off your counters.
14. Go through your books
In the spirit of supporting “GO” month that the National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals (NAPO) supports every January, this year the focus is on books! I know many of us love to have books, but see if there are any you can donate to your local library and if there are, put them in your car right away so you don’t forget and they get out of the house.
15. Let’s get your pets organized
Do you have an abundance of collars, treats, leashes etc? If so, let’s find a basket or home for these so that they are all together. We like to keep all leashes by our front door so it’s easy to leave for a walk with our dog, while the food, treats, extra supplies etc are near our eat-in kitchen area.
16. Home organizing includes changing your furnace air filters too and tracking!
If you have already done this, make a clipboard with a piece of paper to start tracking when you change it and hang it nearby so you have it to reference and update for the next time. This visual is a great reminder to help you stay on top of this task, and you can also add it to your calendar!
17. Organize your batteries
This time of year we tend to need batteries and flashlights more often so make sure your supply is organized and take stock of the type of batteries you need for the house.
18. Organize your socks
Your socks are lonely! Try to match up all the socks in the house - seriously, bring them together regardless of who they belong to and match. You’ll be surprised that your kids may have your missing sock and you may have one of theirs! Make it a sock family party and get everyone to participate so that it really only takes a short time!
19. Organize your digital photos (in a small way!)
Do you take a lot of screenshots so that you can go back and remind yourself of something? Guess what, that is adding clutter to your phone. Spend 15 minutes tonight going through your screenshots and deleting what isn’t necessary or writing down what you were trying to do with the screenshot to begin with (like add an event to your calendar if you were thinking about going to something and took a screenshot to remind yourself to look back at it). On an iPhone, you can find your screenshots under Photos - Albums (hit twice) - scroll down and you’ll see the category “Screenshots.”
20. Organize a project area
Garage organizing is a big project and not something you can do in 15 minutes, but you could spend 15 minutes today and tomorrow making space for “projects.” Many times we find clients have hobbies or projects that they are working on and they are spread out. Once you bring this together, you may realize you have more than you can do in a lifetime! Make the space and decide what is priority.
21. Organize your tools
Garage organizing day 2 can either be an extension of the above on this list or you can focus on organizing something else. It could be your tools, moving things to your shed that piled up, bringing things to your car that you meant to donate but the pile is in your garage, or any variety of activities. Take 15 minutes and pick what bothers you most, even if you don’t finish, you’ve at least started.
22. Organize your snacks
Most likely you’ve restocked your pantry by now but have you organized everything into like categories? If you have kids, the key is to have all the snacks in one area to make it easy for them to take out and put back where it belongs. If you have any dietary restrictions like allergies or food preferences, bring all this food together in one area. You do not need to organize your entire pantry to make a big difference for the people in your home.
23. Organize your December photos
Let’s organize your photos, in the most minimalist way possible since you only have 15 minutes! As a professional photo organizer, this can be a huge project so let’s take it in pieces! It’s easier to delete photos as time passes so mark a day on your calendar toward the end of every month to go through the prior month’s photos on your phone. You most likely don’t need 3 of the same photo or a random picture of a building. This month, start with December of 2023 and see what you can delete. This month will most likely have more photos and videos than any other time of the year but is also fun to look back and see what you did.
24. Just Do It!
Today is Just Do It Day! It is a day to make something happen so when it comes to clearing out clutter and organizing, what is something that is not on this list or that you didn’t get to finish that you need to? It’s like a free pass to finish up and go into the last week strong!
25. Organize your closet
Yeah, that is not happening in 15 minutes but we have to start somewhere so the next few days we will try to address it in parts. Today, start with pulling out all clothes that don’t fit or you know has holes, stains etc on them. Just grab what you immediately see without digging into drawers or corners of closets. You don’t need to go through every item! I know it will be hard but resist and just spend the short time pulling out what you know isn’t something you can wear.
ProTip: When trying to decide on keeping clothes that don't fit anymore, I love what Laura shared from Everything In Its Space:
"I sometimes tell clients to keep one box of clothes in other sizes, as long as every piece inside is something they would unquestionably buy again and on the condition that they store that box in a place they rarely see it to prevent it from getting them down."
26. Organize your closet, day 2
Let’s bring all your t-shirts together hanging in one area as one category. You can separate out long sleeve from short sleeve but have them next to each other if in warmer states and maybe select a smaller amount of short-sleeve to be put away for seasonal rotation.
27. Organize your closet shelves
As a professional closet organizer, I am not a fan of folding. Most people do not love to do it but it does make a perfectly nice shelf look cluttered if items are not folded perfectly. Instead, spend your 15 minutes looking for something that would help with your shelves like shelf dividers or baskets.
28. Organize your purse or tie situation
Depending on which category applies to you, go through and let go what is beaten up, has stains, isn’t being worn or used, etc. Also evaluate how many you have versus how many you will likely use or wear.
29. Organize a dresser drawer
I’ll be honest, I don’t have a dresser as we’ve designed our closet to fit everything (and it is small in our new house!) but most of the homes I organize have dresser drawers. Pick the one that is struggling to close or will be soon and clear out what does not need to be there or is not being worn and then refold what is left. Try to fold it the Marie Kondo-method so that you can see what you have. We love these drawer dividers to help with dresser drawers.
30. Clear out what you have not worn this month
The month is nearing the end so if you have not worn any sweaters, sweatshirts or long-sleeve shirts yet from your closet, let’s remove them and donate.
31. Make the donation trip!
It’s time to make sure everything you have cleared out has been donated. Make the trip! If you have been dropping off donations as you’ve moved through this list, then use it as another day to spend more time on something you did not get to finish or missed in the month.
This list is far from conclusive in all the things we can do to get organized but these are the areas I see most struggle with right away and it is a great way to get started! So, how did you do? What worked and what didn’t? Please come back to this at the end of the month and tell me how you did! Remember, you got this!