With 2018 behind us, January is great time to get inspired for a new year full of possibility. While I don’t subscribe to the “New Year = New You” mentality (after all, there’s nothing wrong with the Old You) like most people I do make a few resolutions. Along with hitting the gym more and cleaning up the diet, I am also trying to be more organized and not in the cram-it-in-the-cupboard-and-forget-about-it way.
Apparently so are a lot of other people since this year Marie Kondo, the Japanese organizing guru and best selling author, got her own show on Netflix – Tidying Up With Marie Kondo. Her basic philosophy is that if something doesn’t give you pure joy, you should get rid of it. She is VERY passionate about organizing (and folding) and I have to admit that her enthusiasm is infectious. So much so that I have resolved each Sunday to set aside some time and tackle an area in our house that needs organizing. Today while the stove is on the clean cycle I am tidying up the kitchen junk drawer and next week I’m diving into the bathroom vanity.
If getting your home messes under control is a part of your New Year’s Resolution here are a few key areas you should tackle. Remember that it doesn’t need to happen in one day. Set aside a few hours each weekend and clean up one area at a time – even if it’s only one drawer or cabinet. It won’t seem so overwhelming. Don’t know where to start? Here’s my list!
With all of those drawers and cabinets (don’t even get me started with the fridge) this is by far the biggest job. Unless you’re prepared for a marathon weekend clean up I would NOT recommend emptying everything onto the floor and trying to tidy up. Instead – start small. Look through the fridge and throw out all expired food. I recently found a jar of paprika that expired in 2015! Clean off the shelves and door compartment then organize everything that’s left. Same goes for the food cabinet or pantry.
Got a junk drawer (or two?). Throw out those manuals for appliances you no longer have. Same goes for that key collection to forgotten locks. I don’t know why I’ve been holding to keys for the house my dad sold two years ago. Organize everything that’s left into small bins or boxes – no loose rubber bands or paperclips!
I love to cook but I hate to admit there are pots and pans I will never use. Despite the fact that in eleven years of marriage I have NEVER used the wok it’s still in the cabinet – and taking up a lot of space (it’s huge). This is the month it’s going to a good home where it won’t just gather dust. I have delusions of baking bread but haven’t done that in a decade either (actually – never) so those loaf pans are leaving too. Same goes for the bunt cake pan. Go through your cookware and honestly evaluate what you use all the time and what you can part with to control the clutter. It’s also a good time to get rid of that mismatched dinnerware, glassware or utensil set and clean up the Tupperware collection.
It’s ironic but the cabinet under the sink (the one with all the CLEANING supplies) needs cleaning too. Throw out old sponges, empty bottles of cleaning detergent and that metal polish that went hard years ago. If you’re short on space I love this idea of installing a simple tension rod and hanging bottles instead.
While cooking Thanksgiving dinner last year I cut myself pretty badly. In search of a band aid, I came across tons of expired creams and lotions in the bathroom. That weekend, I threw out a trash bag full of junk from the vanity – everything from old sunscreen, half used tubes of toothpaste, empty perfume bottles and Advil that had long expired. Before any items were put back the bottoms of the drawers got a thorough scrub and now they’re clean and tidy.
If you’re a beauty product hoarder like me remember that everything has an expiration date (usually a little picture of a jar and a number of months printed on label). Every few months it’s a great habit to look through your drawers and throw out anything that’s expired. And sure, that lipstick shade seemed like a good idea when you bought it but chances are if you haven’t worn it in two years you probably won’t in the near future.
Remember that small spaces feel even smaller when they’re messy so organize your extra towels, toiletries and toilet paper into pretty baskets or put up an extra shelf to keep the space tidy.
Whenever my husband is away I always take the time to organize the closets. During the week when life is hectic and time is short, I often put away the laundry without a whole lot of thought which means that over time there is a pile of mismatched socks, messy jeans, and scattered t-shirts in the closet.
Getting your clothing under control can be hard – especially since we have a tendency to hold onto things we haven’t worn for sentimental reasons. Remember that lipstick you haven’t worn in two years? Same goes for that dress you bought on a whim in 2015. It can be emotional for a variety of reasons but take a hard look at items that can go. Start with things that are stained, ripped or damaged. Keep a few as gardening clothes or make into cleaning rags and get rid of the rest. Then move onto to items that no longer fit. I have a closet full of shoes that I bought in my 20’s and I love to look at them but if I’m being honest, some pairs are now too small and others are so uncomfortable that wearing them is torture. Donate those which are in good condition and you’ll have more space for the items you truly love and wear all the time (and maybe for a couple new pieces!).
Speaking of organizing your closet, Marie Kondo has a brilliant hack for making sure all of your clothing is accessible and easy to see. For example, if you stack your t-shirts ON TOP of one another, you will have to mess up the entire pile to find your favourite one (it’s usually at the bottom). If you arrange them IN A ROW you will see them all at once and picking up the right one will be quick and easy.
It’s no secret that I am passionate about doing the laundry. My favourite has be the bed linens and bathroom towels. I love slipping into clean sheets or drying off with a fluffy towel. However, over the years I have amassed quite a collection of both. Since they are washed frequently (often in hot water) both towels and sheets have a shelf life. Once a year go through and throw out anything that has been stained beyond saving, worn through or torn. Instead of throwing out, donate what you no longer use to an animal hospital or the SPCA – they always need towels for the animals. Match up pillow cases with sheets and duvets, hand towels with bath towels and so on then store for easy access. TIP: Put a complete set of sheets into its corresponding pillow case to keep it together!
WHEW! That certainly enough to keep me busy for a few Sundays to come! But remember – doing a little bit at a time will prevent you from getting overwhelmed and discouraged. Now if you excuse me – it’s time to tackle that cabinet under the kitchen.
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