There’s something about the end of one year and the beginning of another that causes many home owners to want to unload and re-organize their space. Maybe you’re getting ready to sell, or you may have just moved into your dream home. Either way, the New Year is a good time to take a look at what you have and decide what needs to go.
Start in the Bedrooms
We all have clothes that we’ve been hanging onto that could be put to better use than just hanging in the closet. The familiar rule-of-thumb to follow is to get rid of things you haven’t worn in more than a year. Sort those things you plan to get rid of into piles: to be given away to charity or sold in a garage sale (for things that are still in good shape), and those things that are too worn/ stained to pass along. Clothing in the second group can be used as rags for cleaning around the house or in your car.
If you have children, be sure to include them when you’re going through their rooms, especially when it comes to toys they have long abandoned. Encourage them to give their “retired” toys to children who may not be as fortunate as they are. Again, there are many charities that would appreciate donations of gently-used children’s clothing and toys.
With all the newfound space in your closets, you can get really organized by using plastic hooks for accessories, shoe racks and hanging tiered garment bags for folding pieces like sweaters and sweatshirts. A word of caution here: wait until you know what you need before you go out to buy organizing products. The last thing you want is new clutter.
Wintertime can be hard on this part of your home, especially if you have several family members coming and going. If you’re trying to sell your home, this area deserves special focus, especially if your front entrance is the one with the most traffic.
One of the best ways to keep your entryway free of clutter is to have hooks and multiple storage bins designated for each person. There are many attractive options such as wooden or wicker benches with separate bins. Make sure each child (or adult) knows where to put their belongings when coming in the door.
Entryways can also be the drop-off point for keys, mail and other miscellaneous items, so it’s a good idea to have small trays or baskets there. But, don’t let the mail pile up there—plan to go through it once or twice a week to toss out or recycle junk mail and stay on top of items of importance.
Kitchen/ Home Office
Both of these areas have one thing in common: drawers that become dumping grounds for any number of seldom-used or useless odds and ends. Set aside a day to just clean out drawers in these spaces. Throw away things like broken pens and small utensils. Use drawer dividers (you probably already have one in your utensil drawer) to keep similar items together: paper clips, pens, pencils, post-its.
Organize your papers that may be piling up. Recycle newspapers and magazines, use file folders and/or hanging files for important papers and keep the area around your computer clutter free by using desktop organizers.
Once the holiday baking season is passed, it’s time to clean out the pantry by taking an inventory of spices, baking products, canned foods, cereals and other non-perishables. Throw away expired and stale products and make a list of what you need to replace.
A clean, uncluttered home will give you peace of mind, and be a more welcoming place if your goal is to show it to potential buyers. Take the opportunity the cold winter months bring to re-evaluate what you are just living with, and what you can’t live without.