After the mountains of gifts and excess of holiday food leftovers spilling out of the refrigerator, the need to organize and declutter comes rushing in like the new year. Entering the new year with the proverbial clean slate starts the year out on the right foot. However, when faced with the insurmountable task of organizing hundreds of tiny Lego pieces or books or the pantry it can seem like the task is impossible. However, take it from someone who it took moving to discover there were boxes of rice that expired 4 years prior in the pantry (side note, who knew rice had an expiration date!): just do it. Put on your best yoga pants, pour yourself a glass of wine, turn up the music and get going. As an added incentive deep cleaning and organizing is a great workout. If you resolved to exercise more this year you are killing two birds with one stone. So where do you begin?
Update your Address Book
Before you throw away your all of your Christmas cards, make sure you have updated your address book. This will prevent you from scrambling to find addresses in the future when mailing birthday cards or next year’s Christmas card. A quick review now will save you hours of work in the future. While you are making the updates reconsider how you store this information. In my family we have a Google excel document that can easily be edited by any member and is a great, virtual way to stay up to date. If you are looking to declutter, ditching a physical address book for a virtual one may be one avenue to consider.
As the holiday gifts pile on top of all your other possessions, the feeling of having too much stuff can become overwhelming. A good -and ambitious – rule of thumb is that for every new thing that comes in, three old things go out. Instead of just trashing everything try to find items in your home that would make donations. During the holidays many organizations receive an abundance of donations; however, during the doldrums of winter many donations taper off while the need is still abundant. Work together as a family and instill the love of giving back throughout the year in your kids. An added benefit to feeling like you are helping give back to your community is less stuff in your house!
Put Everything Back
I have a corner where random things have been building since, well, I don’t even remember when. And to be frank, I am not sure what is at the bottom of the pile. It started as a neat stack, delicately perched on the dresser. “This weekend” was my mantra when passing by and guiltily not addressing it. The pile has since grown, and no longer is delicately perched. It is more an engineering marvel the way all the random things have been stacked up. Now is the time for me to tackle this stack and any other junk drawers or flies that seem to be in disarray. The key to organization is putting things back where they belong. It may be in the moment, or you may operate better on a weekly basis, but ensuring everything has a home and is not visible is a great way to declutter your life.
Declutter your Life
Everyone I know is overwhelmed by outside commitments. These commitments aren’t frivolous endeavors, instead they are needed tasks like taking care of aging parents, or making sure permission slips are signed and children are fed and feel loved. While caregivers do what they do out of genuine love and compassion and the desire for those in their life to succeed, we all need a break. Set aside time twice a week to just be alone. That can take mean taking a walk, reading at a coffee shop, or vegging on the couch catching up on your favorite show. Don’t feel guilty about saying no and putting self-care first. Setting aside dedicated time every week will restore balance to a crazy week and keep you feeling in control and rejuvenated.