As you may have noticed if you’ve been in the checkout lane of the supermarket or read your weekly Target ad, January is the time to get everything organized, from matching your towels, boxing up your winter clothes, cleaning your bathroom, and traveling with your baby. January is the time that all of those things go on sale. Maybe they think you’ve put things off for the holidays, and now you need their expertise and sales to get things back in order. Some of that is probably true. We’re getting prepared for my daughter’s birthday party this weekend, and my husband asked about putting the Christmas tree away. My answer was an emphatic NO! For one thing, I like the tree. For another, it went up late, so I want it to remain a little bit longer. And for the last thing, if we put away the tree, we’ll have to put away the presents that are neatly being kept under it and it will take two weeks to get rid of all the pine needles (even artificial trees shed). I prefer the “Christmas mess” over the real cluttered mess that we usually have. However, there are other ways to begin the new year’s organization process even if you still want it to be Christmas.
1. The Mail. Deal with it! Bring it in the house, open it, read it, file it. If it’s junk, throw it away. Yes, now. If it’s sensitive information, shred it and then throw it away. You don’t have a shredder? Rip it into little pieces and mix it in with your food garbage. Make identity thieves work for it.
2. Lists. I swear by lists all year long, but January is the worst. Some things aren’t on the calendar yet. Things from school come home at the last minute (like tonight’s dance and sleepover – thanks for the notice!). My current list is too long to include, but some of the items are food shopping, vacuuming, workshop tomorrow, unpacking from last weekend’s retreat, clean off table for party, make goody bags, and take a shower.
3. Plan your week’s meals from what’s on sale in the supermarket ad. Go shopping once for the week, although you may need to replenish milk and bread. For a great sale, buy two and put one in the freezer for next week.
4. Take advantage of January’s stock up sales. If you have the space, it is much cheaper (and easier) to buy the huge package of toilet paper rather than the four pack that will run out before you’re barely home. Target has a lot of buy two of this, get a $5 gift card. Paper towels, garbage bags, laundry detergent, dish washing liquid, shampoo, soap. You save the money from buying the larger item and you also save the gas from not going when you run out.
5. Clear out the pantry and freezer. How many of your items are expired? And I don’t mean by a couple of weeks, but I bet there’s stuff from a couple of months, even a couple of years. While you’re clearing these out, do not donate expired or near-expired items to food pantries. They will only have to throw them out. Try and donate longer lasting items. The fall is the big rush to donate for Thanksgiving and Christmas, but food items are needed year round.
What are your best organizing tips for the new year?