Fresh Start for the New Year

January is a time for fresh starts and what better way to do that than with a purging of the old and welcoming in the new? Get organized and ready for your best year yet!

Holiday vacation might be over, but there’s still time in the evenings and weekends to declutter your home. Hopefully, you’ve put away your holiday decorations already, but if not, start the decluttering process there. When removing ornaments from the Christmas tree, think about if it has meaning or value (or if you even like it!) and decide whether that ornament is worth keeping. If there are any items in your storage bins that have not made it out this year, think about if you really need to keep them, too. Many families whose homes were damaged in Hurricane Harvey lost their holiday decorations, so consider donating to them.

Once you’ve reduced your holiday decoration supply down to what you really like and want, move on to the kids toys. If Santa was extra generous this year, then storage space is probably limited. Consider buying a shelf system with bins to store toys grouped by type. Take inventory and see if any toys have been outgrown or damaged and either donate or trash. You can even take gently used items to resale stores such as Once Upon A Child and get a few dollars back. Involve your kids in this process, not just to help you out, but also so they can make some decisions on what they want to keep and what they can part with.

Moving on to your kitchen, empty the junk drawer and get rid of expired coupons, last year’s math flash cards, pens that don’t work, and old batteries. Get a divided storage container to keep pens, scrap paper, coupons, tape, etc. all in its proper place – not only will it make things easier to find, it may help you think twice before you stuff new items in there. Then, tackle the pantry and throw out any expired seasonings or food. Use a hand-vac to clean crumbs off shelves and wipe them down before replacing food. Organize items by meal type – breakfast, lunch and dinner foods; snacks; baking supplies; etc. Dig through your kitchen utensil supply and trash broken, damaged, or never-used items. Ditto for eating utensils.

Your closet may seem like the most insurmountable place to clean out, but if you break it down into segments, it will be easier to manage. Start with your summer clothes and pull out anything that you didn’t wear all last year and set aside for donation. Fall/winter clothes are next. Shoes and accessories can be last, along with anything else that has accumulated on your closet shelves.

Remember, these projects don’t have to be done in a single day, weekend, or even month. Just take one and start – no matter how far down the list you get, at least you’ll have done something to help clear your living space and start fresh this year!