The new year offers us a fresh start, a clean sweep, a new beginning! We can leave behind everything in the past that was not serving us and carry forward the things that resonate with us or that we can build on. As we reflect over the last year or two, it’s probably very obvious where we need to make some changes. Most of us have been home a lot so we’ve had plenty of time for personal and indoor introspection.
Clutter is a big obstacle for a lot of people. It’s hard to fathom just how much stuff we can amass and hoard over the years. For some, it’s a yearly ritual to take advantage of the week between Christmas and New Year’s to purge, declutter, dejunk, rearrange, reorganize, sort, tidy up their home, office, garage, and vehicles. Don’t be delusional or disheartened, it will most likely take you longer than a week to spruce up and organize your whole home.
Organizing is a big job so having an action plan where you achieve small incremental goals is your first step. Scan each room and make a list of all the changes you want to make and things that need repairing — big or small, leave nothing out. Focus on one room at a time and get your family to chip in to do their part. Depending on your personality, you may prefer to do the bigger rooms first and work your way down to your smaller rooms. That’s the way I roll, I prefer to get the bigger jobs done first. Once you’ve decided where you are going to start, discern how long it will take to do each room and make a schedule so you have an achievable game plan.
Everything in your home should have its own space. Are you finding clothes, toys, papers, books or holiday items cluttering up your counters and living space? If so, you need to decide if you are going to eliminate or donate these items or find better storage for them. Survey your needs and invest in some specific containers or cupboards for storage.
Two rooms that need the most attention in my home are my office and kitchen. These are the rooms that I will be tackling first and there are so many ways I can improve my workflow and efficiency.
With many people working from home now, our office space should reflect a healthy work environment. Our office can quickly look disheveled and messy with overflowing papers which can affect our concentration and productivity. Go paperless, purge and shred needless papers, file the important ones, revise your file system and thin out outdated files. Hide unsightly tangled wires and power bars. Hang some wires neatly with zip ties, velcro wraps, stick-on clips, under desk racks, and cable management trays.
Your desktop should be clean and clutter-free. Discard dried-up pens and erasers and stubby pencils. Have a pen and pencil holder that can accommodate all your supplies and get a tray for necessary papers. Have ample shelving with aesthetically pleasing baskets or plastic bins to keep things organized and label them. Put things back where they belong to avoid disharmony and the frustration of looking for things. Organize your drawers so you have your little items together like paper clips, tacks, post-it notes, stamps, envelopes, scissors, charger, etc.
Organizing your kitchen is a major workout because it’s the most used room in your home. It’s the gathering hub for the family, so it can easily get disorganized quickly. Addressing one at a time, take everything out of your cupboards and access what you have. Be hard on yourself, be disciplined, and be willing to toss out or donate less used, duplicates, unwanted or broken items. Wash your cupboards before filling them back up again.
Organize your wares and supplies into groups and store them in the same cupboard or clear containers. Keep smaller items neat and in order like mixes, powders, envelopes, and packets in a storage basket. Store food from bulk stores in pourable plastic containers with a lid.
Go through your reusable containers and discard stained, broken and all those extra lids you’ve been saving. Stack the ones you keep in the same space for easy accessibility. Keep your pots and pans, your baking dishes, trays, and muffin tins on the same shelf or cupboard. Purge your pantry! Check every item and discard expired, half-used or damaged packages. Organize cans, jars, cereal boxes, pasta packages, and spices neatly and restock according to their expiry date. Put heavier items on the bottom shelves and lightweight foodstuffs on the upper shelves. If you have an overabundance of some foods, donate items to your local food bank.
Sort out your appliances. If you are like most, when you get a new appliance, you keep the old one just in case. Well, the opportunity to use them never comes and you end up with a junkyard of used, outdated appliances. Be honest and discern if you will ever use them. Donate these kitchen items so someone else can use them.
And what about those utensils and junk drawers? In my home, they are always a mess and I can never find what I’m looking for. How many can openers and spatulas do you need? Thin out items that you have 2 or more of and donate them. Ever find a gadget that you have no idea what it’s used for? Well, I have a few of those as well. Google kitchen gadgets and see if you can discern their uses. To get organized, pair up the same kind of utensils and then get some drawer dividers to organize them.
Taking small organizing steps every day will get you closer to having a home that is clean, comfortable, peaceful, and enjoyable to live in. Feel free to share any insights and tips that have worked for you.