Uncovering Your Clean Slate
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Many often look to January as a time for starting with a clean slate. The phrase “new year, new you” is often used in marketing slogans to get customers to change their mindset on January 1st. It’s nice to shift into a new year without baggage, literal or theoretical, but what do you do when the literal baggage takes over?
One of my biggest struggles post-holiday is the cleanup – especially with two little ones. The day after Christmas feels like a scene from any typical post-apocalyptic movie. You stand amid piles of rubble with nowhere to go. It can be overwhelming, but digging in there to organize can help prepare you for the new year. Removing clutter and cleaning up can provide a renewed sense of control over your environment, and improve competency and efficiency. Here are a few suggestions:
- Start with something as simple as the kitchen counter or dining room table
- Tackle one chunk of clutter at a time in 10-15 minute span whenever you get a chance, then move on to whole rooms
- Create a “home” for everything. If an item doesn’t fit, reevaluate keeping the item.
- Arrange or create a drop zone for items in one or more high traffic areas where clutter tends to pile up. Turn it into a functional place with color-coordinated bins, tags, and labels.
- Organize play rooms: I did this with my girls’ play corner. Each bin has a different type of toy, and each bin has a photo and label of the toy. My girls are 5 and 2, so the photo allows them to clean up independently and successfully while text label introduces them with matching text to a picture.
- Go through your wardrobe. If it doesn’t fit, you don’t wear it, or you simply don’t like the way it feels, get rid of it.
- Bathrooms! Bathrooms collect so much excess. Products you try and don’t like or don’t agree with your skin, trial sizes, toothbrushes from the dentist, and products that you’ve held on to for entirely too long. Cosmetics have an expiration date just like food! Check the ingredients list for a container icon and a label of 12m, 24m, etc.
- For larger areas, make quick sorting piles of things to keep, donate, and maybe (as a last resort).
- Keep things tend to be used in the last 6 months, things you use frequently, or things you need and love.
- Donate things are for charity, to give to family/friends, or recycle (I also add things to sell online or consign to this pile)
- Maybe things are the decisions you just aren’t ready to make. Some like to use it as a 6-month use it or lose it box. If the items stay in that box for 6 months and you don’t use them, you move them to donate.
There are larger measures you can take such as furniture with hidden storage, installing shelves, and creating a three month schedule for decluttering. Hopefully this short list will help get your decluttering started! Start the New Year off with a clean slate that’s easy to maintain throughout the next twelve months.