Getting Your Home Organized for the New Year

It’s the end of another year, and if you’re like me, perhaps you’ve looked around your home, and realized that you still haven’t reached your goal of getting organized. The New Year is the perfect time to start. Even as we go through the Christmas season, there are things that will help. Start with getting your Christmas decorations organized. As you put up your Christmas decorations this year (and take them down) go through your storage boxes, and see what you haven’t used in quite awhile. Eliminate those Christmas items that you don’t think you will use again. Perhaps you know a young couple, just starting out, that would really welcome some extra Christmas decorations. If not, donate them to a thrift store, where others may be able to use them. Test all your strings of Christmas lights, and get rid of any that don’t work. Yes, it’s good to keep a couple for replacement lights, but after that, it’s just confusing and cumbersome to have too many strings of Christmas lights that aren’t useful. This way, when you get your Christmas decoration storage boxes out next year, everything that you find will be something that you enjoy decorating with. And get some of those wonderful large Rubbermaid storage boxes. They are the perfect organizing tool. They all come with lids, and you can fit lots of smaller storage boxes inside them. They even come in attractive rainbow colors now, and a nice red for Christmas storage. (And they’re stackable.) Also, keep in mind that if you are moving, or unpacking things, and can’t get to them immediately, these storage containers don’t even look that bad sitting out in a corner of a room, until you can get to them. I have even been known to throw a tablecloth over two of them (neatly stacked), and use them like a table, until I could get them unpacked. And who can’t use an extra side table for the Christmas holidays?

Have you seen those wonderful Christmas wrapping paper storage holders, that have a separate area on top, for organizing your tape, scissors, ribbons, etc? I have one of these for organizing Christmas paper, and another one for organizing all occasion paper. I never have to look for all the items separately, as they are all there, in the top of the storage container. Now you can also find Christmas wreath storage containers, and many other specialty items for Christmas storage. That way your Christmas closet, garage, attic, or basement will look neat and organized all year long.

As you prepare your house for Christmas or New Years guests, it will be tempting to dash and stash–under the bed, in a junk room, or behind the couch, and that’s okay if you are really short on time, but if you will allow yourself just a few minutes more, you can easily put things away, using proper storage methods. Work on organizing your home in segments of 15-30 minutes at a time, and then allow yourself a break. The trouble with so many of us, is that we start these marathon cleaning sessions, and we completely burn out in a few hours. What seems like a gigantic task, is so much easier when it is broken down into smaller chunks. So allow yourself to relax after 15-30 minutes. Grab a cup of coffee, cocoa, or hot tea. Watch a bit of a Christmas program. Look through a favorite magazine, or read some emails, and then return to your task. Try it–you will be amazed how much more you get done. Set a timer if you need to. See how much you can get done in 15 or 20 minutes. It makes cleaning a little more fun.

My method for cleaning and organizing the house, is to start in one corner, and then work in a circular pattern around the entire room. It will give you a focus, and keep you from darting here and there, not really seeing any progress. This way you can immediately see the accomplishment in one area, as you methodically continue organizing the room. If you are pressed for time, always prioritize. For example, it’s more important to get rid of the clutter, than it is to dust and vacuum everything. Of course, you will want to do both, but if time runs out, you can do what my favorite organizational hero, Flylady, suggests. Take a feather duster and move quickly through the house with it. Ostrich feathers work the best, because the dust clings to them, instead of scattering everywhere. And if you don’t have time to vacuum under chairs, tables, and next to baseboards, just “vacuum the middles.” Keep the lights low, light a few candles for your Christmas party, and who’s the wiser? Sometimes we just make things too hard. And remember, don’t get bogged down with cleaning out your dresser drawers, or organizing your clothes closet. Organizing a room requires that you stay focused. I used to clean under my sink, and every nook and cranny when Christmas guests were coming. Honestly, who but you, ever looks under your sink? Again, stay focused, and don’t wear yourself out trying to make everything perfect for your Christmas company. You can deep clean later, when you’re not so busy. Your task at the moment is to declutter and organize, organize, organize. Start with kitchen and bathroom countertops, dresser tops, bedside tables, coffee tables, and the dining table. These are the classic hotspot places that need to be decluttered, so that your home appears orderly for your Christmas visitors..

Here’s another organizing tip. As you go through your Christmas linens, take a glance at all your tablecloths, place mats, and napkins. Are there any that you haven’t used in a long time, and probably won’t ever again? As I was organizing my Christmas table linens recently, I found some place mats that were a wedding present from many years ago, but they just weren’t my style, and I had never used them. So I sold them in my flea market/collectibles booth. These are the type of things that others will love, and you will have more space for the storage of items that you truly enjoy using. (If you don’t love it, or use it, get rid of it! Be a blessing to someone else.) Sort your cloth napkins according to kind and color, so that you won’t be scrambling to find a match, the next time you have someone over. Taking a few extra minutes to do this, while you are in your closet, looking for Christmas tablecloths and other Christmas linens, will really pay off, the next time that you have guests.

To keep you organized as you head out for errands or to work, create a landing pad area by the front door, for storage. Use attractive baskets (preferably with lids), decorative storage containers, or enclosed shelves to hold items such as book bags, keys, backpacks, briefcases, sunglasses, etc. This is where you will organize all your belongings, that will be needed as you head out the door the next day. Talk about stress relief! No more running around in a panic because you can’t find your purse, briefcase, wallet, or keys. Convenient storage places are the key to organizing your life.

And while you’re out Christmas shopping, (or immediately after Christmas) remember to get a new calendar. Write in all scheduled appointments immediately, as well as all known celebrations (birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, etc.) so that you won’t lose track of them. Don’t forget to pick up a pocket date book (calendar) as well. A small calendar book to put in my purse, has been a life saver for me. That way I don’t forget doctor appointments, dry cleaning, necessary errands, or social engagements. I also keep a larger calendar in my kitchen, so that all activities are written both places, in case my date book gets misplaced or lost. Try it, and you will see how much more organized you will be. You will always have the small calendar book with you, so that you won’t double book yourself.

Another idea for storage that I just love these days, are the adorable cardboard hatboxes and suitcases, that can be found in places like TJ Maxx, and Ross. These are so stylish, that you can decorate with them, and also hide your CDs, DVDs, paperwork, office supplies, or linens. If you are short on storage space, two or three of these, stacked on top of each other, gives a shabby chic or Victorian look, and serves as extra hidden storage as well. (These have been a Godsend for me.)

Not enough storage in your closet or bathroom? Invest in those fabulous 4 or 5 drawer Rubbermaid type containers. You can store folded T-shirts, sweaters, extra towels or linens, or just about anything else in these. They are wonderful, and who couldn’t use more drawer space for storage?

And just the other day, I found 2 storage/organizational items that I truly adore. One will help in organizing your bathroom vanity, and the other will eliminate so many of those surplus jewelry boxes. These are spinning cabinets that are made to hold your jewelry and makeup. These storage cabinets will easily fit on your vanity or dressing table, as the footprint of the base is no bigger than a toaster. They are designed by Lori Greiner, who makes many other wonderful storage and organizational products, and can be found on QVC, and occasionally on Ebay. Each cabinet has two storage areas–one in the front, and then you spin the cabinet around, and there’s another identical storage area on the back. They have mirrored doors, and are so attractive. I got mine in white, but they also come in cherry and oak. The jewelry storage cabinet has a place for 16 necklaces, 16 bracelets, 11 earring bars, a huge storage place for rings, and tilting shelves for decorative pins. It also has an anti-tarnish lining to preserve your silver jewelry pieces. The cosmetic storage cabinet has a lot of individual spaces for lipsticks, eye shadows, makeup foundation, nail polish, blushers, compacts, and a taller shelf on the bottom for storage of larger items such as perfume, deodorants, combs, etc. I have never found anything that I am so excited about for organization! Check these storage items out on QVC, and I know you’ll love them as much I do. When guests are in the house for Christmas, it’s nice to have all the bathroom vanity clutter stored away.

So these are just a few suggestions, for organizing your home for Christmas and the New Year. They are relatively painless, when done a little at a time, and they can make a huge difference in the appearance of your home. Once you’ve decluttered, take a few minutes every evening to clean your bathrooms, and return all misplaced items throughout the house, to their proper storage place. If done daily, you’ll never have to deal with organizing overwhelming clutter again. Have a very Merry Christmas, and let’s start the New Year right!

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