If you’re like most, you’ve probably accumulated lots of stuff throughout the year. So, at the onset of a new year, you might feel a strong urge to purge. A fresh new year is a perfect time to clean the slate and declutter your home. An organized home creates a more functional and stress-free environment.
We all have hectic lives, and whether it’s organizing your linen closet, tidying up after your kids, or juggling a deadline, we all struggle to find a spare moment, inspiration, and the right tools to keep on track and everything lined up systematically.
Decluttering a home can seem like a monumental task, but the following simple tips can help homeowners and apartment dwellers make the year ahead clutter-free.
*Scan important documents and save them on a computer. Some documents cannot be discarded, but that does not mean they have to be stored in bulky file cabinets or desk drawers taking up physical space real estate. Purchase an external hard drive as a safety net where you can store backups of important documents in case your computer crashes and cannot be rebooted.
*Organize the junk drawer. We all have them. You know the drawer where you toss everything or something that has no specific place or you’re too lazy to put it where it belongs. Pencils, shoelaces, twist ties, magnets, thumbtacks, tape, old eyeglass case, headphones, jar lids, screwdriver, measuring tape, sticky notes, elastics, batteries, cat toys, and the list can go on and on. Toss the junk, return things where they belong, and you may find you have an empty drawer.
*Tackle things daily. The more ignore bills, mail, and voice messages, the deeper they pile up. Don’t procrastinate, tend to these chores daily so you’re not overwhelmed at the end of the week or month. Create action files of things you have to “Do” and people you have to “Call” so when it comes time to deal with them, you’re prepared.
*Thin out your DVD and CD libraries. Thanks to streaming services and digital music players, DVD’s and CD’s have become somewhat obsolete. Discard or donate DVD’s that you can just as easily stream through your television, and convert your CD’s to digital files that you can play on your computer and MP3 players.
*Purchase furniture that doubles as storage. Storage ottomans and benches can help clear common areas and bedrooms of clutter such as blankets and bed linens that can make rooms feel more claustrophobic. Storage furniture might not get excess items out of the house, but such furnishings can create a more comfortable, welcoming environment.
*Thin our your books. If you’ve got stuffed shelves or piles of books on the floor that you’ve already read, or have no intentions of reading, donate them to a charity, a boys and girls club, or your local library.
*Switch to e-statements for bank documents and utility bills because paper can pile up and increase household clutter. That’s still the case even though many adults now pay the majority of their bills online. When given the chance to choose between paper or e-statements, opt for the latter so paperwork doesn’t pile up on your desk or crowd your filing cabinet. If you still want important hard copies, download them onto your computer and keep them in a designated folder on your desktop.
*Adopt an ‘out with the old’ and ‘in with the new’ mantra. Every time you purchase something new, resolve to discard, donate or regift one item that you haven’t used for a year. Hanging onto old items because they can still function and serve some utility purpose is a recipe for a cluttered house. Anytime you or a family member brings a new item home, be committed to removing the item it’s replacing.
Clearing clutter is a goal for many people at the dawn of a new year. As intimidating as clutter can seem, discarding stuff is more enjoyable and easier than it appears.