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2020 is finally over and we have a fresh start! Most of us have spent more time at home over the last year than ever before and that might have put a spotlight on the need to get organized. If you need some help getting started here are a few ideas to get you on your way.

By now most of the holiday decorations have come down and maybe your rooms are looking a little tired. Before you start deciding what to toss and what to keep, take inventory of your rooms. What pieces do you love, what do you hate and what falls right in the middle? Start with the things you know you can live without. Go room to room with a donate box and a trash bag. Anything that is still good but that you no longer want should go in the donate box. Anything that is not in good enough condition to donate should go in the trash bag. Starting the “surface” purge can make you feel like you are making progress quickly and can spur you on to the more time consuming “deep purge”.

Once you have completed the surface removal of the things you know you don’t want, the stakes get a little higher. The room by room de-clutter of the hidden surfaces like closets, drawers and cabinets. This is usually where we get a little overwhelmed at the prospect of all that stuff needed to be sorted through. If the big picture seems like too much, break it down into smaller tasks. Do one drawer a day or one closet a week. Having smaller goals can make you feel like you are still accomplishing something without investing a huge amount of time. Every time you go through a drawer, closet or cabinet have the donate box and trash bag handy. You might be surprised how quickly they both will fill up.

When you have completed your sweep and removed everything you no longer want or need, you can take inventory of what you still have that you love and what’s left that you like. Try to remove some of the least “liked” items next. Marie Kondo says to only keep those items that bring you joy. Not everything will bring you joy but you still might need a toilet brush! The point is to keep what is useful and what you really need along with those other items that you really do love.

The things that remain are those items that you really like. Try moving some of them to different rooms. Sometimes re-arranging the pieces you already have into a new area can make an entire space feel fresh and new. Try displaying a favorite pitcher or vase on a bookshelf in the living room instead of the kitchen. Use books to elevate framed photos on a side table or use a silver tray on your coffee table. If you have pieces you love, find a way to incorporate them into your rooms instead of hiding them in cabinets.

Lastly, resolve to keep a handle of the new clutter that makes its way into our homes largely unnoticed. Don’t let junk mail pile up! Go through it daily over the trash can and throw away what you don’t need immediately. Go through magazines, newspapers and catalogues as you receive them and recycle them as soon as you are through. Keep a designated spot for receipts, bills and records and only keep what you need in that spot. It will make finding those important pieces much easier and avoid the panic when you need to find an important document. I’m sure you have heard the rule that for everything new that comes in your house, 2 things should go out. If you are disciplined enough to follow that rule you will be well on your way to defeating the clutter take-over of 2021! Happy New Year!

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