clutter home couchThe New Year compels all of us to relinquish the past and change our circumstances for the better. Hoping to literally wipe the slate clean? Look no further than your household. How many times have you vowed to keep things organized, only to discover that by mid-January, the clutter culprits are back in full force? To quote Obi-Wan: THEY WILL SOON BE BACK AND IN GREATER NUMBERS

Nothing kills New Year’s motivation faster than setting a goal beyond realistic reach, and if you don’t have a knack for organization, tackling your entire home will be impossible. Rather than organizing every nook and cranny, carry out a small-scale purge instead.

  1. Stock up on storage. Unloading more stuff at home seems completely counterproductive, but those bins and baskets will create order out of chaos. Place them at drop points around your house, such as near your main entrance, on your kitchen counter or coffee table, or in your home office. No need for a meticulous system – mail, coupons, takeout menus, instruction pamphlets and more can go in whichever catch-all is most convenient.
  2. Gift yourself a paper shredder. Papers tend to accumulate quickly at home, and sensitive documents can be a gateway to identity theft if not handled properly. And trust me – there’s nothing more exciting than watching your cross-cutting machine lay waste to piles of paperwork. Round up junk mail, bank statements, non-active membership documents, and any private information you’re not required to keep and get shredding.
  3. Pare down duplicates. Two isn’t always better than one. Consider donating multiples of common household items you haven’t had a need for in a year or more. My short list:
  • Spatulas or whisks
  • Cleaning buckets
  • Hand towels
  • Umbrellas
  • Vases
  • Artwork
  • Unused specialty soaps
  • Pot holders
  1. Get smart about space. Who has time for a closet overhaul? If your closets are bursting, don’t try to cram more into them. Instead, work within the parameters of the space. Vacuum seal items that are not in season, and use this space-saving trick for bed linens: store folded fitted and flat sheets and one pillowcase inside the accompanying pillowcase. For clothes, utilize the hanger strategy: flip your hanging garments so that the opening of the hanger faces you. Whenever you wear an item, put it back on the hanger and turn it to face away from you. After a few weeks, donate, toss or sell items on hangers still facing you.
  2. Cut computer clutter. Having too many files not only makes documents harder to find, but can slow down your computer’s processing speed and sap precious battery power from laptops. Remove programs that haven’t been used in six months or more, delete photos that aren’t album-worthy, and reserve space on your desktop for the applications you visit most frequently.

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