Ask Jennifer Adams: Stick to your organizing resolutions with mini-goals

Jennifer Adams, FOR THE INQUIRER

Updated: Tuesday, January 9, 2018, 3:01 AM

Organize your home office with mini-goals.

Q: I want to get my home completely organized this year, especially my home office and the huge pile of papers and receipts I need for my taxes, but also my closets, garage, and guest room, where I’ve been accumulating all those things I can’t seem to get rid of. I almost want to move, just so that I can have a clean slate to live clutter-free. Getting more organized has been my resolution for the last few years, but how can I actually stick to it this year?

A: The new year is a great time for new ways. But resolutions are often vague and hard to maintain without a plan. If moving is truly a goal, make it a different, self-contained goal that makes sense for your life. Trust me: Your stacks of clutter will follow you anywhere you go unless you break that habit. Along with your organizing resolution, or any resolution for that matter, attach a “to-do” list of more specific goals, such as maintaining an organized home office, a garage you can park your car in, or a closet in which you can easily see everything. Then break down each of these goals into stepping-stones, or mini-goals, which are tasks you can more easily and quickly accomplish a bit at a time. Added together, these mini-goals will help you achieve your big goal.

For example, creating a clean, organized home office is a great goal that is already more specific than the resolution to “get organized.” Something else you can add to your goal is to set a new intention for your office. How do you want to feel when you’re working? Is it a place where you can be efficient and productive, rather than a just a place to store your paperwork? Think about it: What do you need this room to be and do?

Some mini-goals that will help you get there could include organizing just your receipts first, with a quick sort into categories, and placing each of those categories in a file folder or cubby. From there, you can further organize by payee, date, or whatever else will work for you. Another mini-goal would be to set up your files for next year so you can do this presorting more often. So as you bring home each receipt, it has a place to go that isn’t a big stack on the floor.

Use this process for any goal on your resolution list — your closets (one at a time) or your garage, for example, and I’m sure you’ll have more success. Good luck.

Have a design dilemma? Jennifer Adams is an award-winning designer, author of the upcoming book “Love Coming Home and TV personality. Send your questions to or for more design ideas, visit Jennifer’s blog on her website at

Jennifer Adams, FOR THE INQUIRER

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