We are well into the new year, and many of us are not up for braving the outdoors. Winter has only graced us with its presence for a little over a month, and most of us are ready to send it packing back to its blustery cold home on the other side of the continent. Why not use this forced time indoors to take control of your home—and your life?
Simply thinking about the task of re-purposing, organizing and de-cluttering can be overwhelming. How in the world are you going to even begin to tackle those “junk” drawers, the laundry room or your closet? When will you find the time? First of all–start small. You don’t have to flip your house in one day. However, in order to stay motivated you need to give yourself a time limit and make a list. Start with one room and give yourself a (realistic) date to start and a date to finish. Only you know your time constraints, so make it reasonable to accommodate your schedule.
I try to follow the one year rule for my closet. If I haven’t worn it in a year, chances are I am not going to wear it again. Unless the weather just never permitted you to wear said clothing, then you are probably safe to give it away. Out of sight, out of mind! The Family Crisis Intervention Center and the Latrobe Street Mission are fantastic local non-profit organizations that take gently used clothing and household items.
Buy one, donate one. Thirty-One has fantastic organizing items, including my go-to Large Utility Tote that I use for all of my donations. If that isn’t your bag (pun intended), try a regular large plastic tote or something similar that fits in your closet. Whenever I buy something to hang in the closet or put in the drawer, I take out one thing to donate. I also use this rule for that dreaded “junk drawer”. A junk drawer (the singular tense is very important here, you do not want multiple junk drawers) is fine, as long as the drawer is actually full of things that you use. However, whenever you add something to it, try to find at least one item in it and re-evaluate whether or not it is important enough to keep/if it is still useful. You will get rid of more unnecessary clutter by using this method.
Speaking of junk drawers, there is an easier way to organize and de-clutter those, too. Find a container that fits your drawer and your items. Try a drawer organizer or even just an extra silverware holder. Staples has these simple, inexpensive organizers. It takes very little time to do, and will save you a lot of digging in the long run.
Keep a specific container for mail. Make sure the container is relatively small, that way you will not allow yourself to let it pile up or clutter other spaces in your home. This wall-mounted mail holder found on Amazon has multiple compartments that allow you to organize “what’s what” in your mail, and even provides a key holder. The design is contemporary and unisex, and is only $12.99!
Find a new home for old books. Are your bookshelves getting more than a little crowded? Go through our titles with a discerning eye and donate the ones you can live without to a Little Free Library. There are several locations in the Mid-Ohio Valley, just look for the brightly covered mailbox-sized house of books! This one is located outside of the Point Park Marketplace in downtown Parkersburg.
Set up a recycle bin for your home. You wouldn’t believe how many items you throw away that can be reused. If you’re not sure how to sign up for a recycling program, contact your local waste management provider and ask how. You should also receive a list of items that are recyclable. My outside recycle bin (Parkersburg) actually has a list right on it.
Ohio DropOff is a program that participates in the efforts of electronics recycling. Their website has the Goodwill location to drop off, their contact information and also a list of what they take. They take most household electronics at little to no cost to the consumer. If your roads are clear and you’re ready for your desktop to follow suit, give them a call and gather up your outdated and non-working technology!
If you are feeling crafty and motivated to repurpose some of the things in your “unwanted” piles around your house, Pinterest has thousands of ideas for just about anything you can think of—and then some. My next project is to create an ottoman out of an old sweater. Buzzfeed has a fabulous list of re-purposing ideas with sweaters that don’t take an exorbitant amount of money or time!
Let your organizational journey begin! May your home be refreshed and your hobbies renewed!