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For Your Residence December 21, 2017

3 Big New Year Resolutions For Home Organization & Decluttering

2020, silhouette of a woman standing in the sunset, women empowerment, feminist new year holiday greeting card

When we think of New Year’s resolutions, home organization and decluttering aren’t usually top of mind. Universally, though, one of the most popular resolutions is “getting organized”. However, organization usually starts in the home – and that means decluttering. Of course, it’s enough of a puzzle to even know where to start, especially if you feel like you’re living inside a flea market. And because of the anxiety-inducing thought of sacrificing ridiculous amounts of time and effort, this is one subject which often ends up being all talk, and no action. But, with some simple guidelines, home organization and decluttering is easier to do than you might think. Come New Year’s Eve, here’s three resolutions you can easily take on to start creating a more streamlined and relaxing home.

Go digital to avoid clutter

You might be amazed at the amount of clutter that gets generated by paper and disc media. Unless you’ve got an incredible library and a bank of filing cabinets at your disposal, you might want to rethink hanging on to mass-market books that were only worth the one read, or any unnecessary paper documents. For music lovers, sometimes vinyl records can make great collectors’ items. But CDs? Usually not so much. And nowadays, the amount of MP3s, movies, and TV shows that can be downloaded or streamed is almost unlimited. As a result, hanging onto old CDs and DVDs (or worse, tapes!) might not make as much sense as it used to, at least not when it comes to saving space, a big part of home organization.

Decluttering tips:

  • Start subscribing to digital editions of magazines and newsletters
  • Save the trees and sign up for paperless bills and financial statements, if you haven’t already
  • Books – forget buying cheap paperbacks! Use Kindle or Kobo as an more affordable alternative
  • Convert CDs and movies to digital format and store them on a USB stick, external hard drive, or in the cloud.
  • If you need to keep them as master copies, store original discs in paper sleeves or organizer binders to save space

Just say “no” to impulse shopping which contributes to your clutter

This is probably a weakness we all share, whether it’s shoes, handbags, gadgets, books, or fashion. And that’s okay – until it gets out of hand and leads to over-accumulation. You know you’re guilty when you buy something, use or wear it once, and never touch it again. Instead of suffering from buyer’s remorse, make a shopping list before you head to the mall, and stick to it. Hate writing things down? There’s plenty of handy “to-do” smartphone apps that will help you keep track. After all, home organization efforts won’t be successful, if you keep adding to the clutter as you’re decluttering.

Economizing tips:

  • Before you purchase something, ask yourself if you really need it, or if it’s only a passing “want”
  • Think about where you would actually keep an item, if in fact you decide to buy it
  • As much as possible, only purchase those items that are important for maintaining your lifestyle/hobby/career, or for regular family use
  • Resist the temptation buy things just because they’re on sale

Optimize your storage system

Here’s another activity that you’re going to have to tackle, if you want really good home organization results: making better use of existing storage space. And that means cleaning out closets and going through your drawers. You’ll need to check out what’s actually inside all those old boxes hanging around the house and garage. In the midst of projects like major home organization or downsizing, renovations, or starting a business, you might also have a self-storage unit which provides you with additional space. If so, make sure to visit the storage unit periodically, and eliminate items which no longer serve any useful purpose. Remember, a good storage system allows you to put important things out the way, yet still within reach. But, it should also maximize the available space in your home at the same time.

Organizing tips:

  • Put up shelving or use a standing shelf unit to increase storage space
  • Use labelled organizer bins and containers to keep track of your items
  • Take advantage of space-savers that you can hang over a door or under your bed
  • Ask yourself if you use every item in your home or business on a routine basis, or if you’d be better served by keeping it off-site in a self-storage unit
  • Add “storage maintenance” to your list of important tasks or chores
  • Make a regular decluttering schedule, i.e. monthly or quarterly, for each storage area inside your home, and elsewhere, whether it’s boxes, closets, garage, storage unit, etc.

This New Year, don’t get stuck making vague promises about “getting in shape” or travelling to an exotic locale. Instead, knuckle down on the immanently doable. Make 2020 the year you resolve to become a home organization guru! You’ll find you won’t have to “escape” anymore to the mall/club/gym or the office, or resort to other excuses, to avoid dealing with the mess you leave behind in the house. By taking on good habits to manage clutter, you and your family can spend more quality time truly enjoying your home as it was meant to be!

(Editor’s note: This blog has been updated.)

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