Thursday, December 18, 2008

get rid of clutter before the new year

You have a few weeks left to get rid of your clutter and start 2009 off on a more organized note.

1) Fridge and Pantry. Start out the New Year fresh by cleaning out your fridge and pantry. Be sure to toss or donate all food that you have not used in the last six months. If you haven't used it in that time frame, you're not going to. Challenge yourself to use all of the food in your freezer that is older than two months old. Get rid of all of your old herbs and spices. Just because your spice rack has a bottle labeled 'Cardamom,' it doesn't mean you need it.

2) Linen Closet. Go through your linen closet. This is a perfect time of the year to make donations. Animal shelters especially will take old sheets, towels and blankets. Keep a maximum of 3 sets of sheets per bed. For a guest bed, only one set is really needed. There's no reason to keep extra mattress pads, dust ruffles, etc. One each per bed is plenty.

3) Publications. It's time to toss all publications, newsletters, magazines, newspapers from 2008 and older. Resist the urge to say, 'but I might need it or have to refer back to it.' The bottom line is… you probably won't. You will continue to have more arrive and the pile will just get larger.

4) Kids. If you have children, now is the time to help them go through their rooms and closets. Explain that it's important to toss or donate things they no longer love or play with before the inevitable influx of the holiday season. For every item they put on their holiday wish list, see if they will get rid of two things they have now.

5) Television. Do you tape TV shows to watch later using your VCR, DVD-recorder or TIVO type system? Do you have a lot of shows piled up that you haven't watched, but at the same time you still keep taping them? It's probably time to toss or delete some of them. If you really need to know what happened, almost all shows have written recaps available online that you can read to get caught up.

6) Mental Clutter. The most important things to toss at year's end are any preconceptions and limiting ideas you may have. If you see yourself as always being overwhelmed and in a state of constant crisis or chaos, you will be. If you always feel that you are behind the eight ball, it's time to move the ball. Your confidence and positive attitude are your most valuable assets. Before you can have a clean home and an organized life, you must be convinced that you CAN.

Never forget that being organized means having your life functioning in an efficient manner. It's not about having your stuff in perfectly matching, color-coordinated boxes. It's about having your things in a place where you can find and easily access them. It's about having systems in place that allow us to pay our bills when they are due, make it to appointments on time and prioritize our obligations in a way that best benefits ourselves and our families.

For more organizing ideas, visit my website: www.andreadekker.com

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