Everything you need to get organized in the new year

As 2023 wraps up and we welcome a new year, the hope-filled plans of a new beginning hang around the crisp winter air. I quit making big New Year’s resolutions when I realized that I never stuck to them, but I still make small commitments to myself. 

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Every new year, emboldened by the spirit of the holiday season and the abundant talks of a fresh start, I look back on the year gone to see what changes I can make to be better in the new year. But beyond a new planner or bullet journal, I look to what I can do to make my daily life easier. Here’s what’s worked best for me. 

A digital calendar

My life has taken a serious turn for the better since getting a digital calendar. This can be a device that sits on a shelf or your wall and displays a calendar permanently or a smart display like an Echo Show or Google Nest Hub with a calendar you can access.

The Skylight Calendar is the organizational tool that’s made the most difference in my life since getting it. It’s a smart 15-inch display that can be set up on a table or wall and set up to display a calendar at all times, complete with chores, categories, and dinner plans. Events can be added directly on the calendar or family members can send them in from their phones.

The 15-inch Echo Show can’t display a calendar full-screen at all times like the Skylight Calendar, but it can permanently display the calendar on a third of the screen when added as a widget, and you get the added benefit of having Alexa, Amazon’s voice assistant, built-in.

If you’d rather have Google as your virtual assistant, then you’re likely better off with a Google Nest Hub. These smart displays work as a smart home hub for Google, but can display calendar events when prompted and Google Voice can give you event reminders.

A smart notebook

Smart notebooks let you write notes like you would on regular paper but then digitally upload them to cloud services. They are also reusable, reducing waste by letting you wipe your page clean and use it over and over again. 

The spiral Rocketbook Fusion smart notebook is a more casual alternative to the Rocketbook Pro, though it’s just as handy and eco-friendly. For $40 you get a 42-page reusable notebook with a flexible cover, available in nine colors and seven page styles.

A budgeting app

For most of us, a large part of getting organized involves setting up a budget. Think of a budget as one of those things that everyone can benefit from — and budgeting apps have made the entire process easier and more painless than ever. 

If you’ve always thought of making a budget but haven’t gotten serious about it until now, I’d recommend starting with You Need a Budget (YNAB). It has a 34-day free trial period that can help you determine if it’s right for you before committing to paying a $99 annual subscription, and it gives you real-time insight into your spending. 

Many of us on a tight budget don’t want to spend extra to make our budget, and Rocket Money is the best free app, complete with a sliding scale subscription if you want to add extra features. 

A label maker

Nothing screams ‘organization’ like a label maker; the term is enough to invoke thoughts of a stressed out, label-crazy person. But allow me to convince you how a label maker can make a huge difference in getting your life organized. Imagine being able to make matching labels for the plastic tote bins in your garage with summer sports stuff or holiday decorations, or labeling your small container to easily find screws and nails in your toolbox. A label maker can help from the pantry and the closet, to the garage and junk drawer.   

The palm-sized Niimbot B21 thermal label printer lets you quickly print black and white labels after designing them on an app on an iOS or Android smartphone. It can print up to 50mm x 50mm labels and has a battery that lets it go up to four hours of continuous working time. 

The Brother PTE300 is perfect for those looking for a heavy-duty or industrial-grade label maker. It’s built tough, with a rubberized design and an easy-to-use and large QWERTY keyboard, and delivers self-laminated labels that can withstand wear and fading. 

Review: Why I love my heavy-duty label maker so much

If you’re looking for a more budget-friendly label maker, the $25 Brother P-Touch is a crowd favorite. It features a QWERTY keyboard, nine type styles, 10 framing options, and over 200 symbols.

You might also need

These are great options to get yourself organized in the new year, but there are many other gadgets out there that can complement these and help you get through the day. Here’s what we recommend: 

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