Get Organized for the New Year!

xmas wrap    Suitcase & wrappings    IMG_4847

Make Getting Organized One of Your New Year’s Resolutions:

I stick to a pretty simple New Year’s resolution in regards to organizing. Rather than make it complicated or difficult for myself, I follow three simple resolutions; Clear, Sort, Store. And, I make a list of what task I am going to do first, and when to do the task. Because of my work and social schedule, I allow several weeks in early January to take care of all these things.

Below are the organizing tasks I recommend for the New Year:

– Holiday Gifts: If you know you won’t use particular gifts, and can bear to part with them, either exchange them for something you’d prefer or give them away instead of having them take up space. And, if someone gave you a present that you dislike, perhaps display it for a couple of months, and then give it away.

–  Holiday Gift Wrap and Ribbons: If you’ve got a lot of wrapping paper and ribbons left over, sort through the pieces that are worth saving and using again. Then, put them in a covered container; could be a plastic bin, a trunk, a vintage suitcase. And, if attractive, keep the container out so it can be seen. (as long as its not cluttering up the space).

– Holiday Decorations: Don’t let holiday decorations sit around for too long after New Year’s Day. Avoid clutter by packing them up and putting them back into storage.

Back and front hallway entrances: Un-clutter the vestibules that lead from the house to the exit doors. And, un-clutter landings that lead to the basement or other areas. For good energy and safety reasons, be sure to keep the area behind the doors clear of all things.

– Kitchen Pantry: Go through the shelves and drawers and throw out anything that has past its expiration date. Re-organize those shelves/drawers as they might be out of order.

– Bedroom: Sort through your clothing. Pack away any summer clothes and accessories still in the closet and drawers. Donate or give away clothing you haven’t worn in the past year.

– Living room, Study or TV room: Recycle magazines, newspapers and junk mail that is cluttering these rooms. Magazines can be donated to physician and therapist offices. Take stray mugs, glasses & plates to the kitchen to be cleaned.

– Home office: Tidy up your desk. Test all your pens to see if they still hold ink. If not, throw out. Recycle and re-organize the papers on your desk and in your files. Delete all of those hundreds of emails that are taking up too much space.

– Address book: Update the addresses in hand held paper and virtual address books.

I’d love to know the organizing you plan to do! 

If you live in the Boston area, and would like a FREE 1/2 hour telephone consultation to discuss your clutter issues, contact me at clutterclearercoach@comcast.net

Sentimentality, and My Kitchen Blender

blender

Saying hello to his mother’s blender

Old blender

Saying goodbye to my mother’s blender

Recently, I wrote a post about the blender that I’d inherited from my mother over 30 years ago. The blender is at least 50 years old.  The bottom of the glass pitcher had a minor leak during the past year. Unfortunately, the minor leak became major. I was so dismayed because using it brought back happy memories of my mother using the blender in her kitchen in New Jersey.

The leak was not repairable, so reluctantly, I threw the item away.

I asked my boyfriend to buy me a new blender for Christmas/Hanukkah. We both searched the internet for blenders with glass pitchers, as I didn’t want plastic, and was hoping for a classic vintage reproduction. After about a half hour looking online at various different types of blenders, he exclaimed, “Hey, I just remembered that my mother’s blender is still in the kitchen cupboard, and I haven’t used it since her passing seven years ago! You can have it.” He went into the kitchen, and brought back a vintage Osterizer blender with a glass pitcher which was in good working condition. I was so excited!

My mother’s blender was useful, and not clutter in my home. But, when sentimental objects don’t make you happy anymore, or are no longer useful or working, they become sentimental clutter. You’d like to get rid of them, but part of you can’t let go for the sake of the memories they bring, the people they symbolize, or the guilt you’d feel if you did get rid of them. In order to deal with this contradiction you must make a mental shift. Think about what you really want. Do you want to hold on to these items and stay stuck in your clutter and disorganization? Or, let go and have a sense of freedom, and peace of mind.

To make this mental shift, think about the people who can benefit from the items you could get rid of. Particularly during this holiday season! Do you have clothing and coats in your closet that were your mother’s but that you never, ever wear? Perhaps you can donate them to a homeless shelter to help cloth other women who are lacking. Or, have you got shelves full of children’s books that your kids no longer read? Maybe you can give them to an orphanage, preschool, or children’s hospital.

So, instead of clinging to these items, send them on a ‘Sentimental Journey’ that will bring usefulness and pleasure to the recipients (homeless women, other children, etc..)

I’d love to hear about the ‘sentimental items’ you are willing to part with; giving other’s in need some things they really could use.

If you live in the Boston area, and would like a FREE 1/2 hour telephone consultation to discuss your clutter issues, contact me at clutterclearercoach@comcast.net

Spring Cleaning & Clearing

Disorganized Drawer          Neat drawer

We were very fortunate to have a mild winter! This coming Saturday night, we turn back the clocks by one hour; a sure sign of spring. Yippy!

With the approach of spring it’s getting to be that time again to clean the home, and get rid of items you no longer use or need.

This past weekend I looked through files and drawers in my office, and removed outdated documents to be shredded, papers to recycle, and small decorative items I no longer like or use. I took the papers to be shredded to the Staples Office Store. They have secure locked bins they put your documents into, and a secure Iron Mountain Shredding truck picks them up to shred at their facility. I will bring the office and decorative items I don’t want anymore to Goodwill for others to enjoy and make use of. As for cleaning, I will do my weekly chores as well as a more thorough cleaning of the apartment.

Have you begun your cleaning and organizing for spring?

Here are some tips I offered from last year’s blog post to help you get started:

1.  Thoroughly clean one room each week. If your home isn’t too big, this should take you to the end of April. Vacuum, dust, rearrange furniture, purge, and organize the stuff in each room. This week, I continue to un-clutter and clean my office space.

2.  Sort through one shelf, drawer, box, cabinet and bin at a time. Keep it simple, so you do not get overwhelmed. I have sorted through and organized a drawer I keep nail polishing items, Band-Aids, over-the-counter meds, and other small toiletries in (see before and after photos of drawer above.) Yes, I let it get out of hand. But, it’s never too late to take control of your clutter.

3.   Practice the age old expression: ‘When in doubt, throw it out’.  If I don’t love, need, use, or want an item, I throw it out! Or, give it away, or recycle it.

4.  Don’t spend money, be creative and re-purpose the containers you already have! Look around and you will most likely find empty boxes, canvas shopping bags, or plastic containers for storage. I’ve been using my plastic covered containers as needed. You can also sort through and purge any full containers you have to make them re-usable. Perhaps you can use old ice cube trays, tiny cardboard boxes, or empty egg cartons for storing jewelry or other small items.

5.   Take a few minutes before work or after work to recycle plastics, wash a counter, sweep the floor. You’ll be pleasantly surprised that life will be easier if you take on this task each day. Yesterday , I cleaned the dish drain tray, which took about five minutes.

6.  Don’t worry about following someone else’s system for cleaning/organizing. Use the system that works for you. My way may be different from yours.

7.  And, make a promise to yourself to not procrastinate. Get it done! I’m a big procrastinator, but when I get a household task or organizing project accomplished, I feel great!

Do you have any TIPS for spring cleaning/organizing that work for you? I’d love to hear about them.