Inside the mind of a professional organizer: Make a fresh start on paper in 2022

Jessi Bushman PHOTO CREDIT: TH file

A filing system near your entryway can help you maintain your organization. PHOTO CREDIT: Contributed

Containers and bins come in an assortment of shapes and sizes to help you stay organized. PHOTO CREDIT: Contributed

Purging and simplifying your closet space allows room for what you have, as well as room to grow. PHOTO CREDIT: Contributed

Purging and simplifying your closet space allows room for what you have, as well as room to grow. PHOTO CREDIT: Contributed

January: The beginning of a New Year, a new chapter, a new outlook and new experiences.

The majority of New Year’s resolutions focus on going to the gym and eating better. These are excellent goals but can sometimes be unrealistic because of time. Most of us believe we need to make sacrifices to do everything we want. But in reality, it’s a matter of delegating and time management.

Writing down your goals can be an excellent motivator. Here are a few ways making a commitment on paper might work well for you.

Fall in love with lists

Create a list of goals important to you and your lifestyle. This includes the frequency and duration it would take to complete them. I suspect spending more time with family, traveling, landing a new job, volunteering, saving money or becoming more organized are goals for many.

As you look at your list, you might realize you’ve overextended yourself. Now, double down and identify your priority goals. It’s possible that you will need to eliminate low priority items to make way for what’s really important to you and your family. Additionally, it might be time to delegate tasks to family members to support the household.

File your taxes

As you transition into 2022, improving your filing system is a great place to start, as it’s a new year of payments and receipts. To accomplish this, you only need plastic bins (designed for hanging files) and a box or two of hanging file folders.

Create piles of repeat paper items — utility bills, credit card receipts, bank statements, payroll stubs, insurance documents (health, dental, additional policies), tax records, vehicle information, business cards, kids items, etc. If you have something new come up at a later time, create a new folder or bin. It also might be useful to have designated bins for each family member to store important documents and memories.

Once you have identified your categories, create labels and arrange in alphabetical order. Make a commitment to clean this file out each February as you prepare for tax time. This allows time for all year-end documents to be mailed out.

Place the bin(s) close to where you open your mail. Unless you have a dedicated office, I suggest you rearrange items in a cabinet or closet near your entry door. Along with the bins, keep a pen, calculator, stapler and shredder/recycle tray. Storing documents near your incoming landing area creates a sense of routine and will help minimize misplaced documents, as well as improve your mail process.

Purge your closet

Another example to make a fresh start is with your apparel. I think it’s safe to say that we are living our new normal. Fashion expectations have shifted, and our wardrobes should reflect this. Your storage options, accessibility and honest approach are key factors while identifying multiple items and things no longer worn.

I recently downsized all of my T-shirts from volunteering events from 16 to eight — enough inventory to cover an entire week of wearing random T-shirts (which will never happen). This was a simple starting point and an easy way to build momentum to downsize clothing, coats, shoes and accessories. Ultimately, our favorite possessions need to fit within our available space, allowing room to grow.

Make a fresh start this New Year. If making a fresh start is something you need assistance with, professional organizers are happy to help.

Jessi Bushman is a professional organizer and owner of Organizer Jessi in Dubuque. Visit her at or on Facebook at OrganizerJessi. You also can email her at

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