After the champagne has gone flat in our flutes, the noisemakers have silenced, and Ryan Seacrest has moved onto other TV venues, it’s time for the obligatory ritual carried out this time of year known collectively as…
Now I know what you’re thinking. You’re muttering under your breath (I hear you!) something about what does a junktiquing queen know about getting rid of stuff when most of my time is spent on acquiring things? And I agree…it seems a bit paradoxical, but even the most die-hard of us packrats can at least once a year see the benefit of shedding the old in an effort to make room for the new, be that new decor or a new attitude.
Sounds nice, doesn’t it? So with those positive-organizing thoughts in mind, let’s consider five simple ways to declutter our lives at the beginning of this new year.
- Look around your house, focusing on one area at a time. Perhaps spend one day going through your closet. Take out anything you’ve not worn in at least six months. Ignore that voice in your head that says, “but I am sure I’ll fit into it if I give up Rocky Road ice cream!” Instead, grab a large trashbag, toss those items in your wardrobe that have not seen the light of day since the last general election, and take the whole thing to a charity. You can carry on this purging all year; it does not have to be limited to the month of January. Resolve that for the next item of clothing you bring home, you’ll take out one item. That way, your look stays fresh and you don’t have to worry about reinforcing your closet hardware. Do the same thing for everyone else’s closet and I’ll bet you’ll be surprised how many items of clothing you’ll end up carting to Goodwill.
- Before you stuff all those holiday decorations in their appropriately (and well-marketed this time of year) plastic tubs, take a hard look at them and toss anything that’s chipped, has missing parts, may be duplicated, or is simply silly to keep…such as strings of lights that don’t light anymore (usually they die just before it’s time to put them on the tree and then the replacements die in the bin over the summer). Take your holiday cards and rather than toss them, send them to the St. Jude’s Ranch for Children in Nevada (see my previous post). Do you really need 5000 strings of tinsel or will a mere thousand do? Holiday stuff tends to pile up and it’s always a garage-sale favorite, so if you end up tossing something you regret later, I’d be willing to bet that you’ll find an adequate stand-in sometime this summer.
- Purge your paperwork! Aren’t we supposed to be a paperless society? Why is it, then, that around this time of year we’re bombarded with cleverly positioned filing materials and office supplies in our local mass-merchandisers, all with the goal of managing MORE paperwork? Think twice before printing out something from the internet. Do you REALLY need two copies of an obscure chicken recipe or can you scribble down the ingredients on a 3×5 card and put it in a nice recipe container on top of your stove? If you’re worried about important papers such as tax files, bank statements, receipts, I’d suggest you look at PublicationsUSA.gov. It’s a wonderful resource for such questions and should provide you with great guidelines.
- Since you’re not likely hanging out a whole lot outside (if you live in a Midwestern climate like me at least) and you’re even one-tenth the bookworm I am, now would be a good time to go through your personal library and purge volumes that have not seen the light of day since Ronald Reagan was in his second term. Check out PaperBackSwap. Therein you may find a long-lost tome of days gone by and in turn, you can divest yourself of your tattered copy of Carrie. While you’re at it, take a duster to those shelves, open the windows (for a moment!) and get the dust of ages out of your library. Perhaps in your purging you can rediscover an old friend or two and join in the challenge by Jeff Ryan on Slate.com, to read a book a day in 2013.
- Ditto for CDs, tapes (remember those?), VHS tapes, DVDs, and video games. Are you likely to watch another rerun of M*A*S*H? If not, take out a nice cardboard box, fill it up, and either put the whole kit-and-kaboodle on Freecycle or check out BlueVelvetChair for more ideas on how to recycle your old gems.
An old book meets a new friend
Now’s the time of year when we take inventory of ourselves and our surroundings; to purge ourselves of old habits and clear out the cobwebs of past years, to emerge anew and face this new, maybe tumultuous year, with a clean slate and an open mind, and maybe even a dust-free shelf or two.
Or we can simplify even more and take the advice of an anonymous someone even cleverer than me…
“My idea of housework is to sweep the room with a glance.”
Photos courtesy Yum and Zsuzsanna Kilian at sxc.hu