When you think of New Year’s resolutions, fitness goals and trying to save money may come to mind. But organizing your home on a regular basis is a resolution that can help you stay on top of your bills and keep your home secure and clean. If you’re looking for ways to organize your home, keep these tips in mind.
The start of a new year is a great opportunity to organize your medicine cabinet. Clean the cabinet’s surfaces and shelves, and consult the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for disposal guidelines for unused or expired medication. If you can’t remember when you last replaced your toothbrush, toss it; the American Dental Association recommends replacing a toothbrush every three to four months.
Creating and maintaining a filing system can help you stay on top of bills and other important notices. University of Illinois Extension recommends discarding anything any duplicate paperwork and shredding unneeded financial documents. Purchase a desktop organizer and label slots to sort items that require your attention. Next, use separate folders to store receipts and proof of payment. Reduce the amount of mail you receive by canceling subscriptions to magazines and catalogs you no longer need. Are you tired of receiving junk mail? You can further reduce the amount of clutter that comes to your home; according to the Federal Trade Commission, you can opt out of receiving some unsolicited mail.
When was the last time you saw the back of your closet? If it’s been a while, then your closet can probably use some organization. Toss anything that’s torn or stained beyond repair, and donate clothes that don’t fit. Pitch shoes that are well-worn, too; for example, Michigan State University Extension recommends replacing running shoes every 350 to 500 miles. When you organize your closet, don’t forget your accessories. ApartmentTherapy.com suggests using a number of different closet organizers, including racks and hooks, to store scarves, purses, jewelry and neckties.
If your storage area is crammed with boxes, then it’s time to get organized. Throw away or donate what you no longer want, then use proper storage boxes for your items. How can your keepsakes stay safe from insects and humidity? Consumerist.com advises using plastic tubs to stash your clean and dry clothing, while the Library of Congress recommends storing photographs in acid-free boxes.
Not knowing what’s already in your kitchen can result in spending excess time and money purchasing food you may already have on hand. To organize your kitchen, use the food storage chart on shelf-stable items from the U.S. Department of Agriculture as a guide and remove items from your pantry. But is it still safe to eat that turkey sitting in your freezer? Use FoodSafety.gov’s storage guidelines so you know what to toss and what to keep from your refrigerator and freezer. If you want to minimize your stockpile, donate unopened and non-perishable items that have not expired to a local food pantry.
Nearly everyone has a junk drawer that accumulates an assortment of pens, takeout menus and expired coupons, but with some organization, you can tame your family’s catch-all place. First, Better Homes & Gardens recommends cleaning out the entire drawer and discarding anything that’s broken, dirty or that you no longer need, then use open drawer containers in an assortment of sizes for pens, pencils and other small items. Voilà! It’s now easier to find what you need.
Remember to inform your family of any organizational systems you have in place so that everyone is on the same page. And don’t feel your organizational system is set in stone; you can always tweak your system to find one that works best for you.