One of the pitfalls of New Year’s resolutions is that we often take on too many lifestyle changes at once. Or we take on changes that are so large that we get overwhelmed and give up on them too soon. Here’s a suggestion for a resolution that will allow you to take on as little or as much as you like: getting your home organized. It’s a good idea, because even if you do just a little, you’re improving your home and your lifestyle, and often making just a small change can give you the momentum you need to carry it through and finish the job.
Here are a few tips for bringing order to domestic chaos:
• Find a place for everything
Make sure everything in your house has a place to live. Whether it’s clothing, tools, toys or kitchen gadgets, give every item in your home an assigned storage location. And when you’re done using it, put it back in its place. If it’s something you use frequently, make sure the storage location is easily accessible. That will help prevent that item from being randomly dumped somewhere in the house and contributing to clutter.
• Be a gatekeeper
One of the best ways to prevent clutter in the house is to make sure things never enter the house in the first place. For example, we often receive freebie items like T-shirts and coffee mugs. But how often do we really use these things? More often than not, they get stuck in a drawer or a cabinet and add to clutter. Also consider borrowing books from the library instead of buying them. Be discriminating about what crosses your threshold.
• Save the bins for later
We often rush out to buy storage bins when getting organized. The pitfall, however, is that if you do that first, you’re more likely to simply transfer items to bins instead of ruthlessly culling what needs to leave the house. Do the decluttering first: Donate, trash, sell, whatever you have to do. Then go out and buy an appropriate number of storage containers to organize what remains.
• Beware nostalgia
Oh, how easy it is to keep that crayon drawing your child made in second grade. Or that clay sculpture of a dog that looks more like a dragon. Sure, it’s important to keep some of those things, but try to be more discriminating about what makes the cut. More than likely, your children will simply wind up inheriting all that clutter someday, and there’s a good chance that they’ll wind up throwing most of it out themselves.