Starting a new year with an uncluttered home and and uncluttered life allows room to think, to breathe and to imagine. Removing the clutter and adding simple ways to stay organized will usher in the New Year with more energy and initiative and may bring about new ideas and a stress-free outlook. While being stress-free is a tall order – we all have stress – removing or changing areas of your life can make a big difference.
I feel like I have to get through the holidays first and bid 2011 a fond farewell. It was a good year – with many successes, some good-byes, good health, welcome additions and much laughter and love from friends and family. After Jan. 1, I say hello to the future and unclutter my life. Here are ways I plan on doing this. Maybe you can also incorporate some of these tips into your life and feel free to adapt them to any way that fits your family and your lifestyle.
- · Begin first with baby steps. I’m a big fan of this move. If we take on too much at first, we can easily become discouraged and give up altogether. So choose one thing at a time to complete, and once you have completed it, you will feel the warm glow of success and be energized to make more changes in our life.
- · Unsubscribe to unnecessary email lists. I sign a lot of petitions for many causes, from environmental issues, to human rights, to political and animal causes. Many of the petitions I sign are the same petitions from different groups so I have resolved to remove my name from some of these lists and narrow down the causes. Additionally, I do most of my shopping online so I receive way too many email blasts from places I rarely, if ever, shop at, so bye-bye to all these emails that clutter my inbox and hello to less email to clean out on Monday morning.
- · For every new article of clothing or new pair of shoes, get rid of something that’s been wasting away, unloved in your closet. Donate, consign or creatively reuse.
- · Clean the house. Dust the shelves and books and wipe down baseboards. If the day is clear and sunny, open windows and doors and let some fresh air in and clear out stale winter air.
- · Do an inventory in your kitchen. Do you have doubles of many items like too many spatulas, two sets of measuring cups, way too many dish sets or platters? Wine glasses you have picked up from wineries that have their names on it? Get rid of the extras and pare your kitchen down to what you really need. One of my pet peeves is those sets of dishes people keep that are for “good company.” Aren’t we all good company? What are you saving it for? And if you aren’t using it, there are plenty out there who would use it. If they are name brand items in good condition, sell them on eBay or try Craigslist for a quick sale.
- · Clean out that random kitchen drawer. You know which one I’m talking about. You will probably laugh at everything that’s in there and wonder why you have held onto it for so long.
- · Donate books you have already read to the library. It’s not doing you any good just sitting all by its lonesome on a shelf collecting dust.
- · Do you have a second refrigerator you keep in the garage? Is it really being used, or is it simply housing white wine and beer? (true confessions – that’s all we used ours for). If you answered yes, then maybe you need to reconsider keeping this extra appliance that you are paying for in higher utility bills.
- · Move art and furniture around. It will give your home a new look. And if you don’t love it, take it off the wall.
- · If you find you have an overabundance of old blankets and towels that are still in good condition, donate them to an animal shelter and give an animal a warm bed.
- · Go through paperwork from 2011, and get rid of unnecessary items like old receipts or utility bills. If you feel like you may need them later; scan them in and save as a .pdf, then recycle the paper. But…if the paperwork has important account numbers or your Social Security number on it, you must shred it first. I save all my items that need to be shredded in one bag and take them to my local UPS store where they have a secure shredder.
- · Take old paint cans and batteries down to your hazardous waste disposal site where they will safely dispose of it.
- · Discard cleaning products you don’t use, especially the toxic kinds.
- · Lastly, if you don’t use it, then don’t keep it. Memories in your head last forever. It doesn’t need to take up physical space in your home.