It’s a new year and a new you, right? “This is the time where you can start fresh and get organized and set yourself up for success all year long,” said Ruth Soukup, founder of Living Well, Spending Less, a financial advice blog.
But how do you actually get started? Try to focus on these three things.
Declutter your paper files
You get medical bills, bank statements and many other financial documents in paper form, so what should you do with all of them?
Most financial records need to be kept for seven years. Everything else can usually be discarded after about a year. Just make sure to hang on to your other really important documents—birth certificate, Social Security card, marriage license, etc.—and keep them in a safe spot.
Clean up your phone
Your phone = your productivity. The more cluttered it is, the less productive you’ll be all day. Soukup suggests getting rid of apps you don’t use regularly.
Put apps that you use occasionally in a folder. That American Airlines app can be paired with the Uber and Lyft apps in a travel folder. And stash your banking apps in a finance folder. Simplification is the key here. The apps on the main home screen should be the ones you use every single day. Try not to keep more than six to nine apps on your phone’s homepage.
“That can keep everything organized and make you feel less overwhelmed when you’re looking at your phone,” said Soukup.
Purge unnecessary gifts
“My rule of thumb for purging or getting rid of stuff [is to ask]: Is this something that is currently useful to me despite who gave it to me and despite how much it cost? You have to take those two things out of the equation,” said Soukup.
Have a yard sale, donate to a local charity. Clutter brings stress, and Soukup said your only obligation is to be grateful for someone’s thoughtfulness and say “thank you.”