4 ways I’m getting organized in 2014

Green juice

Well Happy 2014 to ya! I’m about to get my juice on this morning. Can I make you a glass too?

So, I’ve been thinking long and hard about what my New Year’s resolutions would be. For the first time there isn’t much about my eats & exercise habits that I feel needs changing–except maybe drinking more water, which I’m working on, and cutting back on my consumption of french fries, but that’s not happening–so I decided this was the year to get organized.

Generally speaking, I’m an organized person. It’s embarrassing to say but my Google calendars are color coded and synced with each other so I never double-book a meeting or dinner party. And if you take a peek in my closet, you’ll find my blouses, sweaters, blazers, bottoms, skirts and dresses neatly hung together, facing the same direction.

But then there are things I have subconsciously ignored for quite some time now–like important paperwork, formulating a budget, the blog and my email inbox. 2014 is the year that’s going to change.

1. Important paperwork.  The hubs and I have had some major things on our to-do list since we got married 6 months ago. We met with a financial planner, which was one of them, but still have to take care of some not-so-pleasant necessities like establishing our own wills and setting up a trust.

Before that can happen though, I need to get my butt to the Social Security office to legally change my name. Also on this important paperwork task list getting my California Driver’s License (RIP cute North Carolina photo) and updating my passport. Painful stuff, isn’t it? I might just take a day or two of vacation time to bang these things out ASAP.

2. Family finances. The hubs and I have enjoyed spending as we like over the past six months but now it’s time to put some serious financial plans in place. This is the year for formulating a family budget, maxing out our retirement savings & starting to save for a house. I’ve already set up an account on Mint and we have plans to hash out a budget over brunch this weekend.

3.  The blog. A few months ago I signed up for an editorial calendar service to keep my blog and social media posts organized but with the busyness of the holidays, I just haven’t been able to get in the habit of using it–but this weekend that’s going to change. I’ve also put some blog housekeeping tasks on my to-do list like fixing broken links on my recipe page, switching to a mobile friendly theme and jazzing up my sidebars a bit. Basically, I just need to write up a long laundry list of wishes and find a designer to help. Oh, and I nearly forgot about my Pinterest boards! I’ve been wanting to organize them for like ever and spent most of the day yesterday doing just that. Yay for having one thing checked off my organization checklist!

4. My inbox.  I’ve developed a bad habit when it comes reading emails. I read them, and oftentimes, put off responding. Not my work emails of course–that would surely get me fired–but when it comes to my blog and personal emails, I tend to put those replies the back burner for no good reason. It really makes no sense since eventually, they all get responded to and just clutter my inbox in the meantime. I really want to be that person that responds to emails within 24 hours so this year I’m making it happen.

I’ve compiling a long checklist of my big 2014 to-dos and, while I’m shooting off email responses in a timely manner, I plan to check one item off at least every week or two! If you have any tips for tackling any of the above, by all means. I need all the help I can get.

Organizing: What needs a little in your life?

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  • Those are some really good resolutions. I also need to work on my organization skills this year. I’ve been trying to work on my organization skills for years, but I also somehow end up being lazy and putting them off instead.

    • Try choosing one or two specific things to organize – sometimes narrowing it down makes it not as daunting, or easy to ignore!

  • I have the SAME inbox problem… I don’t know why I put off replying, it really doesn’t take that long but I do. And I need to get on a budget too. I love shopping but I’d love a house (or just a larger apartment!) much more :) Happy 2014, Elle!

  • I’m the opposite, I spent last year getting organized after getting married. Now it’s time to focus on my health! My husband and I took the Dave Ramsey Financial Peace course long before we got married, it was SO helpful to starting a budget. Check it out!

  • Thankfully I’m pretty confident with where I’m at health wise this year so all of my resolutions are organization based as well. I’m sure you’ll meet all of your goals!

  • I love all things organization including this post and some of the suggestions in the comments! I really need to develop a system to keep photos organized on my laptop.

    • Not sure if this will work for you but I organize mine by year, month and event (i.e. 2013 –> 0513 Our Wedding) I also export them from my photo program with a descriptive title in the name so I can search for them once all the years start blending together. I know it’s bound to happen sooner or later. ;)

  • I color code my google calendar too! We also use mint and LOVE it! This year I’m training for a half marathon… and as far as organization goes, I want to work on the “little things”. We have a junk drawer that needs some serious TLC. Our hall closet needs some love too… it’s a mess! I need to go through and purge! Happy New Year!

  • I need to get my contacts in order in Outlook to help keep me organized & connected with people. I also want to create a better way to store recipes for myself!

    And to help with changing your name in CA: go to the Social Security office first, and then wait a few days before the DMV (takes 2-3 to update the database at Social Security.) As for passport, I believe you can get the new one for free if you do it within a year of changing your name for marriage.

    • Wow! Thanks SO much for the name changing tips. I was planning to try and do it all in one day but I guess I’ll have to break it up over the course of a week. I’ll look into the free passport, too!

    • i think the passport name change is only free if your passport was issued less than a year before your marriage (and therefore possible name change). i tried to get it free too :)

      regarding the driver’s license–if you are a member of AAA they will do it there for you, it’s really easy. don’t bother taking a day off!

      side question–on the financial side, i’m curious why you’d set up a trust pre-kids…I don’t know much about trusts, but I imagined doing it after kids.

      • Thanks for the tips, Julia! I believe our financial advisors said the trust & will could be written in a generic way so that our beneficiaries would be our children if/when we have them, no names needed. Might be worth looking into! :)

  • The Mailbox app is a great way to organize your inbox! I swear by it! :) I’m hoping to get my computer files organized this year…I’m using up so much space with useless things that are all over the place!

    Happy New Year!

    Lisa @ The Skinny on Health

    • Hi Lisa! Thanks so much for the recommendation – looking into the Mailbox app today! Regarding getting your computer files organized, I’ve found a great time to do this is while you’re flying somewhere! You get off the plane feeling super productive and the time flies by. :) Good luck with that!

  • These are great resolutions. I’ve just started using an editorial calendar plugin for my blog and I love it. I also spent some time organizing my Pinterest boards over the holidays – it felt awesome. Now I can easily find all those recipes and diy projects I want to do.