Getting organized can boost wellbeing

If you are not traveling to see family or have relatives staying with you over this holiday, you may have some downtime on your hands.

When many of us are juggling schedules and working on a never-ending list of to-do's, an organized space can seem like something nice to have rather than a priority. Plans to declutter and organize are usually the first to go when our cup is overflowing.

So, besides the great food and festive spirit of the holidays, I love the fact that I have spare time to get some stuff done.

Getting organized and taking care of chores that set me up for the new year gives me a great sense of accomplishment.

Here’s a list of my annual time off tasks.

  • I look though my contact list (or address book) to see who I haven’t been in touch with over the past year and give them a call or send them an email. It hopefully makes them feel good and it brightens my day.
  • I ask friends for recommendations and research the best book club books to find some great reads for the coming year.
  • Because I enjoy cooking, I am always tearing out recipes from magazines or printing them from the internet. I go through what I have collected and file the best in my three ring binders so that I can easily find them when I am looking for a new dish to try.
  • I clean out my freezer, throwing away freezer burned items. I make an inventory of what remains so that I can make sure to use it in the coming months.
  • Even though we bought our house many years ago, I go back to the notebook the home inspector gave us to see what might need fixing or updating in the coming year.
  • We are old school at our house, opting for paper copies of statements vs online ones. I use this downtime to shred or file old statements in order to make room for the ones coming in the new year.
  • Just like Marie Kondo, the professional organizer, I go through my closet to see what I have neglected to wear in the past year, give it a gentle hug goodbye and pack it up to take over to Senior Concerns’ Bargain Boutique.
  • I fill my new paper calendar with birthdays, anniversaries, and recurring meetings for the coming year.
  • I delete unnecessary emails and try to reduce my inbox as much as possible.  

These activities are cathartic for me. Clutter and disorganization create anxiety, and by doing these chores, I feel I am in some way taking control of my environment. I also feel I am clearing the way for more pressing things that will take over once the normal pace of my world resumes.

While I am doing these chores, the “Whistle While You Work” song from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs comes to mind. While I don’t have forest animals helping me organize, I do get into a happy zone. I find myself in a good mood, and that mood seems to stick around even when I am done. I also find that I sleep better after I am organized.

Maybe it is me, but I think organizing should be thought of as a regular wellness practice. It’s a healthy routine, if not taken to extreme, that can lead to positive feelings of satisfaction and feelings of self-control.

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Andrea GallagherAndrea Gallagher

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