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A Fresh Start to 2019

By Bridget Graber

I don’t know about you – but there’s something about taking down the Christmas decorations that causes me to want to deep clean my house and declutter and make things neat and tidy again. I almost think of it as spring cleaning – but in January. Once the tree is out of the house – it feels like there is so much more space, and suddenly I get a massive itch to clean, and organize everything around me! If you are the same way – here are some great ways to start to declutter your home and get out from underneath all the “stuff” that we tend to gather and collect.

  1. Start small. Don’t think you can tackle your whole house in one day. It’s better to declutter and tidy in small batches. For instant, start with the medicine cabinets in your bathrooms. Or concentrate on your kitchen pantry. Go through your spice rack. Empty the refrigerator and clean the shelves. Take time to really focus on specific areas, and you won’t get overwhelmed. For instance, it might only take 20 minutes to go through your medicine cabinet. That’s not a big bulk of time. But doing that small piece will make you motivated to do something else. Baby steps is the key.
  2. Make your bed.  Call me weird, but I really can’t start my day until my bed is made. I do this for a few reasons. First of all, it makes my room look neat. And second of all, who wants to get into bed at night in a rumpled bed that hasn’t been made all day?  I personally like to climb in bed at night where the sheets feel fresh.  I just can’t do that if the bed hasn’t been made. In fact, if for some odd reason the bed hasn’t been made that day – I have been known to remake it before I go to bed for the night. Yes – I do this. For real. Even if it’s literally 2 minutes before bedtime. I make it.
  3. Take 5 minutes. Let’s face it. Mornings are tough to get out the door. Getting myself ready, and making sure the kids are ready can be a challenge. However, I take 5 minutes every single day before I leave for work to do a once-over of the kitchen and living room. I plump the throw pillows. I fold the throw blankets. I do any last minute dishes in the sink. I wipe down the counters. All of this takes me at most 5 minutes. It helps my living space feel clean and tidy, so that I know when I walk in after work – I am not walking into a mess. Those 5 minutes save me many minutes of aggravation later on in the evening.
  4. Have a rack or a bin ready. My kids are 13 and 10. They outgrow their clothes. This happens. The easiest way to handle this is to have a designated bin ready for those items. Once something is outgrown, that piece of  clothing  goes right to the bin. Once the bin is full, you can donate it, pass it on, or try and sell it. My kids are both really good about going through their closets and giving me stuff that doesn’t fit them anymore. I guess they have seen go through my cleaning rampages to know that they periodically need to clean out their stuff too!
  5. Be a minimalist.  I try very hard to be simple. I don’t want a lot of stuff in my house. Yes – I want it to look lived in and comfortable. But I don’t need a lot of knick knacks all over. The less stuff I have – the less I have to dust.  I really try hard to keep it simple. I ask myself twice before I buy something if I really need it? I mean, don’t get me wrong. I love Home Goods as much as the next person. But that doesn’t mean I need to buy something just because it looks cute.
  6. Rearrange a room. Sometimes on a Sunday afternoon if we are bored, we will re-arrange a room. This accomplishes a few things. First of all, it gives the space new life. Second of all – it makes you clean in all those places that you wouldn’t normally get to on a weekly basis. Like – under the bed, or under the couch. Thirdly – it makes you take a hard look at what you have. You might find new uses for things. Or you might find you don’t need something anymore and you can donate it. For instance – take this trunk in the picture. I have had this trunk for years. In fact, I think it was a wedding shower gift. It was literally sitting in a corner until last year when we had our living room painted. I finally decided I either had to get rid of the trunk, or give it new life. I looked on the internet for some ideas, and I came up with what is pictured. Now, the trunk has a purpose and I actually love it in its new spot.
  7. Invest in nice hangers. Get rid of all the wire hangers or plastic Target hangers in your closet. Just do it. First of all, you aren’t doing your clothing any favors by having crappy hangers. Second of all – your closet will look and feel neater with nice hangers that are all the same.
  8. Install hooks. Hooks are amazing. There are many different types of hooks out there that will fit your decor. We use them in our mudroom, bathroom and in the bedrooms for my kids. Basically they help things not get strewn on the floor, or on the back of the couch.They are life savers. Really. Go get some hooks and it will be life changing.
  9. Don’t get overwhelmed. It’s easy to think that you will never get it all done. Just take your time and do what you can. Remember- small blocks of time will add up to getting it done.  A decluttered house is freeing, and will allow to feel start fresh in this new year.