New Year New You: Remove the Clutter

We’ve all got clutter. Even the most organized, on-top-of-it person has a little bit. Remember when it was revealed on the hit TV show FRIENDS that clean-freak, OCD Monica had a very junky closet? She kept it secret for seven seasons, but finding out about her private mess made
us feel a little better about ourselves, didn’t it?

One of the top ten resolutions for every new year is to get organized. But how many rooms/drawers/cabinets/garages actually get some cleaned-up lovin’? If you find yourself year after year, saying you’re going to get better organized and never do, read this! 2014 is for you.
It’s a new year and a new YOU!

1. Bring less into your house
Raise the bar on what you buy. If you don’t change spending habits first, then you’re only going to have more stuff to go through. Question yourself: “Do I really NEED another pair of blacks pumps?” Odds are – you don’t. Most of us already have a lot of stuff. Make sure before you bring something into your house you really, really LOVE it; make sure it adds value in some way. Once it enters in, its much harder to get rid of.

2. Know exactly where you will put what you’re bringing in
Think before you buy an object. If you can’t see in your mind where it will go, put it back on the shelf.

3. PAPER: Know exactly why you keep each piece
Paper can be a really big problem. Set up simple systems to streamline the paper flow. Keep the important ones near your desk. Assign big categories for filing: credit cards, taxes, health insurance, statements, warranties, etc. Go through the mail over the trash can and toss the junk first thing. Keep a shredder next to the trash can to get rid of all those credit card offers. Label a plastic bin for your child’s keepsake school/art work – but there’s no need to keep every piece.

4. Start small
Don’t think you have to organize the whole house in one Saturday. Tackle ONE cabinet or ONE drawer. Keep the trash bin close by for all the junk and a box close by for anything to donate. If you’ve got one particular room that needs help, work in it for just 15-30 minutes a day. Every
little bit helps.

5. Don’t mull over anything too long
If you’re going through clothes or shoes and can’t decide, or if you have to try something on to decide – get rid of it. Anything you truly want to keep won’t be a drawn-out, long thought process. If you’re still not sure, box it up, hide it somewhere and let it sit. If in a year, you haven’t missed it or pulled anything from the box, chunk it.

6. GET PREPARED: stock up.
The Dollar Tree is full of organizing tools: Sharpies, labels, bins, rubber bands, drawer organizers, stacking boxes, ziplock bags. These items are your friends. And if you need cardboard boxes for storing something in the attic, well, they’ve got a plethora of those too. Always go to battle prepared!

7. Give to good causes
It’s a little easier getting rid of some things when you know they are going to someone in need. A homeless shelter could always use extra bedding items, the police/sheriff departments love stuffed animals to give to frightened children at the scene of an emergency, a center for rape and family violence could use extra clothes and shoes. (For the current wish list for Chatham County’s Family Violence and Rape Crisis Services, click here: http://www.fvrc.org/simplesmall/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/WishList1.pdf)

So get to it this year! Tidy up and get clutter free. Ahhh, I can almost hear those label makers clicking.

For more information about Chatham County’s Family Violence and Rape Crisis Services, or to see how you can help visit www.fvrc.org

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