What To Organize in January

What To Organize in January

The ball has dropped, the streamers have been thrown…January is here!  The new year can be an exciting time.  A time for new beginnings and change.  It can also be a launching point, or for organizers the perfect time to simplify.  So what do you organize in January?

Being more organized doesn’t happen in one day.  Getting organized is about all the little steps.  Tackling things on a consistent basis before they get out of hand.  I may love being organized, but that doesn’t mean my house always looks great, I still live in a house with 3 kids and life happens.  So even if our houses are never perfectly “organized,” that’s OK! 

With the beginning of a new year, there are a few organizing project that I always tackle. These are projects I only do once a year.  I find January is the perfect time since the previous year has just wrapped up. 

This post contains affiliate links, which means if you click on or make a purchase I may receive a small commission at no other cost to you. 

What Organizing Projects Should You Tackle In January?

1. Media

January is the perfect time to get all those pictures and home videos off of your phone (and any other devices you may use).  If you don’t want to load a million pictures on your computer, purchase a portable hard drive!  I take a lot of pictures between my family and the blog…and love my portable hard drive!  It allows me to keep all the pictures in one spot and easily categorize them.

If you have not organized your pictures in a while, this may seem like an overwhelming task!  Don’t be scared, tackle them one step at a time.  



How To Organize Your Photos and Videos

Step 1: Sort your media into two main files PHOTOS and VIDEOS.

Use the following steps for each of your media types:

Step 2: Make a folder for each year.  If you have photos or videos for more than 5 years, start by making a folder for the 3 most recent years and then create one folder for the rest labeled old photos/videos or labeled with multiple years like 2010-2015.  You can break this down into individual years later on…but we are trying to keep each goal attainable.  So start with your most recent 3 years.

Step 3:  Pick one year and then create 12 sub-folders, one for each month.  Begin sorting all the photos or videos into the correct month.  

Step 4:  Pick a month and then organize the pictures by events.  Create a folder for each event and label the folder to describe the event.  For example: Lauryn’s 3rd Birthday or Easter. 

If you like the events to be in order based on when they happened in the month, you can label your folders like this: MONTH, YEAR, NUMBER OF EVENT.  

1.2013.1 Kids Playing In Snow

1.2013.2 Lauryn’s Birthday

1.2013.3 Painting Living Room

I understand organizing videos and photos seem like a huge task.  When you have a system in place and every January you organize the past years media, it makes it so much more manageable!  Plus it saves a ton of time if you ever need to find a photo!  I realize it is easy to get distracted by looking at all the adorable photos of your family, just try your best to stay focused.  


2. Filing Cabinet

Filing cabinets get filled up, that is what they are made for.  However, January is the perfect time to doing a little sorting. 



Bill Clean Out

We keep our bills for 1 year (technically you only have to for 1 month).  Unless you grab the previous bills out each month, at the end of the year you will end up with two years of bills in your filing cabinet.  Go through and pull out the bills that are now 2 years old (leaving the most recent bills from that month).  

Benefit Papers

With a new year comes a new benefit plan.  I always like to remove any old papers and file all our new benefit plans and papers.  Sometimes I like to keep the older papers just to compare plans, but that is not always necessary.

Any Additional Papers

Look through and remove any additional papers to help keep your filing cabinet neat and sorted.  Make sure you know the recommended time to keep documents and don’t get rid of anything that may be needed!  Not sure how long you need to keep your documents?  I found a helpful article on Dave Ramsey’s site…CLICK HERE.  

Want to see how I organized my filing cabinet?  Check it out Here!


 3. Decluttering Your House

Whether it is toys, video games, or a closet…decluttering is an essential part of January.  Finding new places for all those Christmas gifts.  Sometimes more storage is needed, other times just sorting out what you don’t need is the key.  



3 Tips To Help Our House Stay Decluttered

Tip One:

In our house I like to stick to the principle for every new toy that comes in, one has to go.  I find my kids are much more willing to part with something if they know something new has to find a spot.  However, I never force them to get rid of anything they truly want and love…but I find it helps them get rid of the things they don’t play with as much.


Tip Two:

Bins!  If toys are always lost…even when they play, they can’t play with them.  Keeping bins handy and labeled allow everything to have a spot and for things to be found when they want to play with something.  Warning…bins are not magical and sometimes bins are just a band-aid.  We throw a bunch of little toys in a bin to hide them…and really the bin just gets dumped out everyday and a million special coloring sheets or sparkly necklaces are laying on the ground. 

I struggle with this too!  I try to be careful because my middle child loves her “little treasures,”  but within reason, try eliminating the junk.  The free necklaces, the little paper stage from Wendy’s, they are great to play with temporarily…but those things add clutter and just get dumped all over the floor.  Don’t let your bins just hide everything, be purposeful with what is in those bins.  Ultimately that eliminates the clutter.


Tip Three:

If you don’t love it and you don’t use it…pitch it (or donate it)!  How long do we hang on to Christmas decorations that we “might” use.  Or a candle we may use someday?  We never use that Christmas decoration that has stayed in our tub the past 3 years or the candle that hasn’t been lit in 5 years.  Sometimes we just need to part with things and it can be tough.  Just think of how much better it feels having a clean organized house rather than a messy cluttered house with more things.  More is not always better!  

So this January, be empowered to declutter!  In with the new and out with what you don’t need.


4. Organizing Your Finances

January is a great time to start a budget.  It is a clean break, a new beginning…the perfect time to organize your finances.  If you are interested in starting a budget…CLICK HERE to see how we budget!  We paid off $30,000 in 11 months following this Dave Ramsey Plan.  We haven’t had debt (except for our mortgage) in over 10 years and we are hoping to have our house paid off in 8 more years. 

See my post on Creating a Budget HERE!  



Don’t think of starting a budget as a restriction, think of it as a freedom.  The freedom to tell your money where to go!  If you are interested in this, I recommend reading The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey.  I have read this book multiple times and the first time, I couldn’t even put it down.  It will make you think differently about money.  It will guide you on how to create a budget and it will help change your financial future.   

If you already have a budget in place, focus on your financial goals for the year.  It is always good to sit down and re-evaluate what you are saving for and financially what you would like to accomplish this year!  


Implement One At A Time



If these are all new organizing projects for you, just pick one to start with!  Over the course of the year you can implement the others and by next January you will be right in sync.  Remember, organization is about consistently tackling projects…and over the years if you stick to these January projects it will help your home stay more organized!  Just think when your kids finally graduate from high school and you throw that open house…all your pictures will only be a click away! 

Happy January and happy organizing!  Thanks for checking out my post.


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