Ring in the New Year with this 12-month plan for organizing your home and life. Since no one likes to live in disarray, this easy to follow month-by-month plan of simple tips will help rid your home from unnecessary clutter. Find out how to get organized this year with these 12 straightforward tips.
Clean Your Fridge and Pantry
Once all the holiday guests have gone home and you’re through entertaining, it’s a good time to clean out your fridge and pantry. Throw out (or compost) half-eaten leftovers, check expiration dates, and if you have foodstuffs you don’t plan on enjoying, donate it to a local food pantry. Take this opportunity to set up items with oldest in front to be used first and restock your go-to ingredients.
Tackle Paperwork and Piles
Tax time seems like the right time to organize your office space for maximum efficiency. Start by sorting through the piles of papers – what needs immediate attention, what can be filed for later and what gets sent to the shredder? Next, review your filing system and retire what you don’t need. Filing systems should be simple and easy to manage. Lastly, clean out your desk and back up important data on a hard drive.
Spring Clean and Host a Yard Sale
Spring cleaning can be unnerving, and most of us put this chore off as long as possible. But when you clean your house and make some money at the same time, it makes the process much more promising. As you clean and begin to go through your scattered clutter – kid’s toys in the den, stray hair accessories and items in the kitchen “junk drawer” – keep a catch-all ‘garage sale box’ that's set aside for items you want to unload – so much easier than trying to find space for unwanted objects. Price items to sell, and when your sale is over, donate leftover goods to a local charity.
Get Garden Ready
Now’s the time to put on your gardening gloves and set up an organized space to store your outdoor supplies. Clean and dry all of your garden accessories before creating an accessible space for these supplies in the garage, shed or basement. Also, make sure none of your fertilizers or pesticides are expired and keep them sealed up and kept safely out of reach of children.
De-Clutter Sports and Camping Equipment
Sports and camping equipment can take up a lot of space. If you’re short on storage, an over-the-door rack can work wonders for organizing balls, mitts, helmets and shoes. Storage tubs can also be a lifesaver. For camping equipment, compartmentalize your gear by cooking pots, stove and utensils, tent/sleeping essentials and various supplies. A check list can be handy to keep track of what you have or need to replace, and there are some excellent camp gear check lists available online for ideas.
Get Ready For Summer Fun
This month is all about streamlining summertime fun. Keep a basket by the back door full of sunscreen, bug spray and hats. Get beach and pool-ready with a bag of towels and swim suits. Stock up on refreshing snacks like Popsicles and juice-boxes and use Ziploc bags to portion out on-the-road nibble.
Get Your Car Road Ready
Some simple planning can help ensure your car runs properly and that you’re prepared to handle any unexpected on-the-road issues. Before you hit the highways, have a certified technician check your vehicle for safety. Further prepare for emergencies with membership in a 24/7 roadside assistance program like AAA. Now is also a good time to restock your travel first aid kit.
Back To School
Help your kids get off to a smart start with a little bit of prep and organization. Stock up on school supplies and avoid any last-minute project disasters. Buy in bulk to save money. Get a wall calendar and mark down appointments, after-school activities and important dates. Assign each kid a different color to keep obligations straight. Create a study space that will help promote positive homework habits. This may seem obvious, but a thoughtful environment can help encourage educational success.
Winterize Your House
Organize The Shed and Garage
Prep For Holiday Houseguests
The holidays can bring a number of houseguests. Get ready by doing a bit of heavy cleaning, washing linens, towels and a few spare sets if possible. Keep décor simple with a few little luxuries, like a vase of fresh-cut flowers, a pretty bar of scented soap or lotion. Set up a small sitting area stocked with local reading material; a local guide book or newspaper is a nice touch. If you’re unsure that a spare room is guest ready, spend a night and gauge its comfort for yourself.
Give To Charity
It’s the season for out with this old, in with the new. Most households will collect new presents around the holidays. Now is a good time to take inventory of what you own, use and overlook. Give old or damaged clothing and bedding to your local shelter. Goodwill is a great destination for secondhand books, electronics and appliances. A good rule of thumb is that unless an item has sentimental value, if you haven’t used or worn it in a year, get rid of it. There’s someone out there who will appreciate it.
Following these 12 monthly chores can make your home a better place to live and your life more streamlined and lighter. If these specific tasks don't apply to you, set down with a pen and pad of paper and come up with your own custom-made ideas. One domestic duty a month is a reasonable and undemanding amount of time to spend on de-cluttering and cleaning your home environment. Have a wonderful 2014!
~THE DOMESTIC CURATOR~