Jan 9, 2014

De-clutter and Organize

It's a new year and a great time to purge, organize and make the whole year easier. Like everyone else, I have lots of 'stuff'. Some collected, some gifted, some purchased.  I think I have more than I need and certainly more than I want to take care of. My solution?  Make a New Year's Resolution that I WILL keep; organize and purge. Sure, I can create more storage. I can build my own cabinets, buy shelves and add a closet system in my guest room.  Is the cost to do that worth the items?  I think not. 

So..... what to do and how can it help you out?  Here are my ideas!

1. Clothes  Do you hold onto things in case it comes back in style one day? Don't. When it comes back you'll likely need new accessories, pieces to complete the look, and maybe even tailoring. Try starting with items you haven’t worn in the past year; I donate most everything but there are many places to sell designer items. While you're getting things in and out of the closet, reach for those things first and put them aside until you have a small collection....then away it goes.

2. Papers If you haven't read a newsletter or magazine before the next issue is out, you likely won't so give it away or recycle it.  Today, publications keep archived issues on line so you can refer back to and digitally save an article.  While you do need tax-related materials you likely don't need the monthly credit card statements. How about going paperless and get statements and receipts emailed to you?  

3. Electronics I have power cords and adapters for things I don't own anymore. You might too. Recycle them as E waste and clear out that drawer.  Do the same with old monitors, cell phones and other electronic gadgets. 

4. Unpaired items  My husband has socks that have lost their pairing partner.  They, along with plastic storage lids without their matching storage containers (and vice versa) and bed linens that don’t belong to a set are all candidates for removal!

5. Pantry Items. Believe it or not, cereal, cake mixes and pasta DO expire. I had vitamins and supplements with expired dates.  Same with cake mixes and canned goods.  One thing we rarely look at are herbs and spices which, like mine,  probably had time to go bad since you never really used them anyway.

6. Makeup Makeup does expire and mascara collects bacteria over time. Same with lipstick and eye pencils. Ditch colors you don't use. Its a good way to update too; I love to add one new color for every three I toss and it really does de-clutter my bathroom drawer. 

7. Kid stuff   As precious as your children's arts and crafts projects are, consider saving only the very special ones. When the art is whimsical and fun it can be framed and hung in a playroom or hallway; multiple boxes stored in closets aren't useful and visible.  A fabulous way to display drawings is to decoupage onto a dresser, stair riser,s or the back of a bookshelf. 

8. Books  If you’ve made the switch to a Kindle, Nook, tablet or Ipad, you may have books you won't read. Even if you don't have a device, consider eliminating books you've already read. Sort through your favorite ones, then donate the rest to your local library, charity or shelter,   The chance that you'll read those books again are slim to none, so give someone else the pleasure of a good read.

9. Holiday Decor  If you collect items for holidays, it's a good idea to sort through periodically to remove broken or damaged things, be sure you still love them, and pare down to what you really need.  Storing seasonal items is always a challenge.  I found that I don't do themed Christmas decor, so keep a clear glass and two colors to mix or to rotate.  It was such a pleasure to give away what I didn't really need as gift tags, to Goodwill, to the local Senior Center, or to young couples who are just starting out. 

10. Bedding and towels  Having switched to white towels so I don't have to worry about which bathroom they are for, I sometimes have to ditch a towel that simply doesn't come clean, is threadbare, or that no longer has hand towels or washcloths. There are many places to recycle them.  Even bed linens get worn over time. If you change your color scheme you really don't need the old ones hanging around. As I can afford, I switch to high thread count and all cotton - organic is soft and durable - that my older bedding gets donated