The holidays come and go so soon. With every new year we consider what we would like to see. Was life too hectic in 2011? Did time run away from you? Maybe your household ran away from you, too! Consider what you would you like to change this year and also think about what you should consider dropping altogether. January is the perfect month for reflection, planning and a brand new start!
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Declare a war on clutter!
First you need to get rid of things that are getting in your way. Clutter, over time, produces inner turmoil. If you lack peace, it’s hard to get things done. You’re stepping over or around things and struggle to find a place to put things. The items you want to find, aren’t easy to find. You know that they’re there but getting to them is too much of a hassle. If this describes your household, then it’s time for the clutter to go!
1. Remove the holiday “leftovers”. By January 5th, “Twelfth Night”, most families are done with the Christmas tree. It’s time to take it down. Real trees can be recycled. Artificial can be packed up for another year. Put away the trimmings in plastic, safe from moisture that can damage them in a year’s time.
Tip: leave yourself a reminder for next year. It can be an electronic note on your online calendar or a printed note, right on top of the decorations that you are storing away. Jot down incidentals that you want to remember for next year. They could be anything from the holiday meal—what you would do differently or what everyone loved—to remembering that you need to buy a new string of lights because one burned out right at the end of the season. You’ll be so proud of yourself next December when you see your reminders!
2. Holiday home-clearance: for every gift that just came into your home, two things need to go! You can declutter by throwing away, giving away or selling items that are no longer of any use to you. If you keep this method in mind, you will reverse the tendency for more clutter to accumulate. Will you really be using those bows that you pulled from the packages? If you will, put them away. If you think they’ll look old by next year, pitch them now!
3. Overall decluttering: Set 30-60 minutes per week for a “decluttering event”. Pick a room and bring in a bag for “throw away”, a box for “give away” and another box for “put away”. Set a timer so that you don’t go over your time. Do not get hung up on reminiscing or moving things around. This is not a time to rearrange but a time to remove things from your house, permanently.
- “Throw away” goes immediately to the garbage can in the garage.
- “Give away” goes right to the car to be taken to the local Good Will store the next time you are out.
- “Put away” must go immediately to where it really belongs. If you’re a stay-at-home-mom (SAHM), you may be able to put this into motion more than one time a week during month of January. You will make amazing progress. Working moms (WMs) should feel good that you will get the job done, too, though it may take a little longer.
What matters the most? Has your busy schedule been shortchanging somebody or something? Now is the time to make a change.
Refocus your concentration on what really matters: relationships, spiritual matters, organizing your record keeping, your health, studying for a promotion or change in occupation. Whatever it is, keep this new focus in mind as you set your course for a great new year.
Itemize the things that are second and third on the list, as well. There are many elements to who you are and what may need your attention. Don’t get overwhelmed as you look at the big picture. This is just an exercise in “decluttering your thinking” and not a mandate for a complete overhaul in the first month of the year! You’ve got time.
Whenever you add something to your schedule, another area will probably lose. Identify the things that need to go away to make room for those things that are most important. Are you over-obligated? You may have to graciously drop some committees or extracurricular activities in order to redirect your attention to more important things.
After you clear out, you should set up. Organize your surroundings: your home, your office, your schedule, even your computer!
As you are making inroads in your decluttering project, organize the areas that affect you most, first. What room drives you crazy when it is disorganized? If it’s a room that you cannot close off and ignore for another time, that is the one that should be first on your list!
Article reprinted from Genesee Valley Parent Magazine article by Sinea Pies December 2010
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