Happy New Year!
I hope everyone enjoyed the holidays with their loved ones. I spent this holiday season at home, cooking new and old recipes with my family. In that down time, I reflected on how peaceful and calm a home can be when everything is in it’s place and when we have the time to spend simply being there. The New Year is often associated with a fresh start, and so I wanted to share my simple steps for keeping a care-free home year round:
1. Remove clutter
My general rule is that if you don’t use something for six months to a year, you don't need it. (Holiday decorations excluded, of course!) Nowadays there are so many places to donate unwanted items where they will be given to people in need.
Another great way to remove clutter is to get rid of or donate something old when you get something new. This is especially helpful to make room for new clothes, new books, or even new household items that make old ones obsolete.
With these two strategies, you will always know what you have and what you need, and your home won’t feel too crowded with extra junk. I always get compliments on how “clean” my home looks, simply because it’s clutter-free!
Once you’ve removed the extra clutter, it’s time to organize. Those items you no longer need will go into three piles: donate, trash, and storage. For storage, you will need a box or bin to place the items in. Label it and then this can go in a closet, the garage, or under your bed.
My home memory boxes are plastic bins labeled with a black marker. My daughters have one for birth through middle school, high school through college, and after college. All their special items are there for them to look back on and cherish. I also have bins for family photographs and heirlooms. We keep most of these bins in the garage, but special items go in the closet.
For items you need to access daily, you can get drawer and closet organizers, shelves, and bins, depending on the size of your space. You can even use old laptop boxes or shoe boxes to organize within drawers.
3. Have a schedule
Once your home is clutter-free and organized, it will be a lot easier to actually get work done! Creating a schedule will help keep your household running as efficiently as possible.
I keep a schedule for chores like laundry, changing bed sheets, grocery shopping, and even cooking meals. Each chore has a designated day or time. This schedule makes it so much easier to navigate my week—I don’t have to worry about those chores on the days they aren’t designated, which leaves me time for all of my other endeavors, be them work or social.
And remember, these steps are not necessarily a one-time deal. I do them whenever life starts to feel more hectic or when my family begins to accumulate more items than usual. It’s a constant cycle, but one that leaves more time to enjoy the simple joys of life!