As if there is not enough to do during the last 3-4 months of the year, getting organized and ready for the new year should be one of them. I find the best time for me to do this is the week between Christmas and New Year’s Eve. Literally the last few hours of the year. Holidays are almost over, presents have been opened and put away, dishes are done, food is eaten, gluttony is on hold for another year.
Whether organizing thoughts, finances, spirit, or physical space, spending time ending one year and preparing for a new year sets a miraculous tone for less stress, a plan to guide you through the first week if not the first month and something to look forward to. This is not a resolution to do these things, this is a carefully thought-out step by step plan that YOU create, with appreciation in mind for self and gratitude for all that the old year held.
I have compiled a small list of ideas to get you started. See how they each fit in to your hopes and dreams for the new year and for your life. You will need 3 things: A large garbage bag and box labeled “Donations” and a full tank of gas in the car.
It is a wrap: This is the time to write down, think about what to once and for all do with all the holiday ornaments, wrapping paper, gift cards, items to return, broken pieces of holiday treasures, wrinkled ribbons, twisted fake trees, entangled lights, etc. Hold each item and really look at the condition it is in. Ask yourself if you still like it, would you want to use it again next year, is it time to replace it or retire it or junk it? Now is the best time to be honest and purge what does not fit your style anymore. This is also a great time to clean items from wax build-up, fingerprints, germs in general and organize according to like items or by area where you normally decorate with them. Make access to these holiday items as easy as possible. Do not forget to label, label, label.
Create a “Donation” Station: Old holiday items that you no longer want, or use can go into this box. You could also create a donation box of food items you did not use and do not want around the house in the new year. Clothing that you know you will not wear ever again go into this box or again you can create a donation box just for clothing. Starting the new year with a clean slate in these areas is like taking a deep cleansing breath. If you prefer to see if you can sell these items, then one of the tasks to look forward to in the new year is a garage sale. Box up what will go in the garage sale and label each box, so you have an easier time of setting up your tables when the time comes. Whatever does not sell you can then donate.
Oscar the Grouch is your best friend: Oscar loves garbage. Garbage could be things like food that has gone bad, expired gift cards from the year before or coupons you did not get to use by December 31st, old magazines, bills you scanned, holiday cards you do not want to save, store incentives that you never used. Now is a great time to deal with paper clutter and while you are at it you can start to collect the papers you will need for tax time.
Pantry Party: Perhaps you have friends or neighbors that could use a plate of leftovers or a frozen home- made dinner for later in the new year, or pantry foods you want to purge. Have a pantry party or pantry swap. This could include swapping or sharing holiday recipes or those leftovers, foods that are close to expiring but not quite there yet and you know you will not be using it anytime soon, foods that do not fit in with your healthy eating lifestyle and you need to create space for all the new and exciting foods that you will be buying come January. Creating an easy way to eat healthy is top of mind in any new year. Do not wait.
Toys, Toys, Toys: Out with the old, in with the new. One organizing rule that I absolutely stick to is the One In/One Out rule. It does not matter what the item is, if something new comes into the house, something old goes out. Have the kids help you if possible? Teach them why it is good to share their toys or help them be honest about whether they will ever play with a certain toy again. When they get to help in the decision making, they feel empowered and proud of themselves. If that is not a good fit right now, then simply rotate the toys. Not every toy has to be out in plain sight all at the same time. Rotating toys helps keep pieces where they belong and keeps play spaces easy to clean and makes for one happy parent with all the lesser clutter. Remember the old saying, “everything old is new again”, that certainly applies here.
Say “CHEESE”: Digital photos, photos from film, however you take pictures, get to labeling the photographs as soon as possible. Life moves so fast and it is easy to forget specific dates and times and event specifics. Emptying phone photos adds space back on to your phone and ready for a new year full of new adventures and memories. It is absolutely draining to have to constantly deal with the old year while trying to live in the new year.
This goes here, that goes there: Change the furniture around for a new, refreshing look to start the new year. New perspective excites the creativity in us and opens doors to possibilities we never imagined. Create storage for your newly organized things. Create new neural pathways for everything in your routine such as where you exercise, how you arrange your pantry, files for your paperwork, create a permanent donation station box that is easy to use and easy to take to your local donation location. This could also include a box or bag in your bedroom or closet for the items you do not want anymore. No more clothes on the floor or chair. Hang your clothes backwards in your closet. Whatever is still backwards by the end of a season or year you have proven you no longer need it or want it. Easy peasy.
Exercise with a purpose: I am one of those people who can set time aside and exercise thanks to my wonderful trainer. She makes working out something to look forward to and our virtual sessions are a great way to keep in touch in real time and not lose a beat, but sometimes I really need to get things done around the house and it feels like there is little time to specifically exercise. What I do then is create a weekly schedule and work my exercise into my cleaning tasks. I play music to help me move faster, I bend and stretch, I lift and carry, I do cardio going up and down the stairs. Knowing where things belong ahead of time, knowing where my supplies are helps me get started quicker and finished quicker because everything has a home.
If you delegate each of these items to one each day you will be in the best shape of your life literally and figuratively. No rush, no pressure, a secure plan, and a goal. If you need help just call Groom Your Room and together this new year will be amazing and ready for you.