As a small business owner, you spend an exorbitant amount of time trying to get organized around taxes, accounting, invoicing and that clutter-accumulating anomaly known as your “desk.” The holidays are a great time to set work aside, and relish some organizational me-time.

When you run your own business, it can be difficult to justify time spent organizing the hall closet or laundry room at home. After all, you have clients waiting! But as is the case for so many businesses, things slow down during the holidays. The end of the year is a fantastic time to take stock of your home and personal space and to see how you can get organized before the rush of business in the new year begins.

Evaluate your in-house real estate

You know all of those odds and ends that end up in mysterious, un-findable places? Like where on earth is the stapler, or that cool pair of scissors with the purple handles, or the tape measure? Or how about your kid’s left sock?

Everything needs real estate in your home, and we mean everything. No, you don’t have to have an entire drawer just for paper clips, but you should know that paper clips are assigned to a particular drawer.

What’s more, the “home” of each item should be intuitive and easy to reach. You’re probably not going to go fishing for a wine key in your bathroom or laundry room. Make sure you assign homes that make sense to you and your daily lifestyle. Once you’ve decided where each items lives, make sure its’ home is easily accessible. If you have to grab a foot stool or ladder every time you want to use your kitchen shears, chances are those shears need a new home.

Live and let go

The old adage applies to sweaters as well as long lost loves. One of the fastest ways to get organized is to eliminate unnecessary clutter. You may be surprised at how much you’ve been saving, “just in case.” Just in case of what, exactly? If you haven’t used it or worn it in a year, it may be time to donate to your nearest Goodwill or thrift store.

But what about things that have sentimental value? In this case, you need to be even more particular about what you choose to keep. Your space and your sanity are precious – just as precious as Uncle Emmett’s rhinestone cuff links and Aunt Martha’s creepy clown collection.

Give yourself a limit – you may keep, say, five items that are special to you but serve no practical purpose in your day-to-day living. Beyond that, preserve your memories by taking pictures, or even video, of whatever it is you want to remember. This way you’ll be able to indulge in nostalgia, share each item with your family and friends, and still be able to walk through your living room without tripping over hoarded items of yore.

Gift the gift of experience

To reduce clutter in the home, give and ask to receive gifts that are based on experiences, not stuff. Instead of a new coffeemaker or sweater set, ask for a massage, or a gift certificate to a nice restaurant. Lead the way by gifting your loved ones with clutter-free, experience-based gifts. You’ll still be able to enjoy the reason for the season without waking up with a holiday hangover.

In order to get organized in time for 2013, police yourself as you de-clutter the home and make way for organizational success in the new year. The habits that begin in the home will easily transfer to the office, and if you work from home, you’re already one step ahead of the game!

What’s your easiest and fastest tip for getting organized during the holidays?

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