Written by Lorie Marrero
As the year goes on, check in on yourself with your decluttering efforts... how are you doing on your organizing goals from the New Year? One of the secrets of thinking like an organized person is to not fall into the “All-or-Nothing” trap. You don’t have to be completely on or completely off a program of change—just keep putting yourself back on track and don’t give up. Here are a few areas to check in with and project ideas to get you going:
Closets: This time of year, people often switch out their seasonal clothing for warmer weather clothes, and it’s an excellent opportunity to make some choices about your wardrobe. As you re-organize, do yourself a big favor: Turn the heads of all the hangers backwards, so that the open side of the hook is facing you. Leave the hooks facing this backwards way until you actually wear the item. When you take an item down, you’ll wear it and when it returns to your closet, just hang it up normally with the hook facing away from you. Over a period of weeks and months, you’ll notice there are probably a lot of things still hanging backwards that you have not worn! And there is your cue to DONATE that item to Goodwill® and make room for new things. You can do this hanger technique twice a year if you like.
Image courtesy of Shade of Ashes
Kids’ Clothing: Take stock of your children’s closets, switching out seasonal items and assessing whether things fit them anymore. Go through each child’s clothing and decide whether to donate, discard, or give outgrown items to another child in your family. We always recommend clear containers for storing hand-me-down clothing. You can sort things into the containers by size and gender, such as “Boys Sizes 6-8.” Kitchen: Warmer weather brings more seasonal and bountiful fresh produce to enjoy! Go through your pantry and throw out all of the uneaten gift basket remnants from the holidays, the old Valentine's chocolate, the stale croutons, and the mixes you’ll never bake. Organize your refrigerator to make more room for the wonderful fresh spring produce. We recommend using one crisper drawer for fruits and the other for vegetables. You can also use plastic bins to contain sets of condiments and make them easier to bring to the table, such as all of the jams and jellies or all of the sandwich-making items put together in one bin.
Bathrooms: Nicer weather means being more active outdoors, so make sure you are prepared for scrapes, insects, and other accidents. Stock up on bandages, antibiotic ointment, hydrocortisone cream, allergy medication, and other first-aid consumable items. You’ll definitely want to throw away anything that is expired, and make sure you purchase new sunscreen and insect repellant. You may have received gifts of lotions, bubble bath, shower gels, and shampoos over the winter—now is also a good time to assess whether you need all of those items as well. Need more storage? Try ClosetMaid’s Cubeicals!
Home Office: Since you’ve just finished up your income taxes in the U.S. and Canada, it’s an excellent time to archive and purge old files. A rule of thumb we use is to keep things from the current and previous year in your active filing cabinet and archive anything older to a different location, such as a file box stored in an unused area of the house or garage. People always ask us how long to keep things, and that answer varies depending on what type of item you have. Real estate, investment-related papers and your tax returns should be kept indefinitely, but otherwise it’s generally okay to shred tax-supporting papers such as bank statements and receipts after seven years. Always check with your accountant or attorney if you are unsure, as your situation may be different. We’ll be checking in each quarter with some tips and suggestions to keep you on track!