What’s the number one New Year’s resolution? That’s an easy one: Losing weight. But do you know what #2 on the list is? This one’s not as obvious: it’s getting organized. The holidays do a number on our homes, bank accounts, and nerves; what better time to regroup and reorganize? So in the spirit of new beginnings, here are some tips that will help your living space become cleaner, more efficient, and more comfortable in 2018.
Organizing the Fridge
Like real estate, cold storage is all about location, location, location. These fridge tips will keep everything fresh and within reach.
- Invest in fridge baskets with labels to store foods of the same type (condiments, dairy, etc.) Labeling the baskets will keep them at a glance and help you get in the habit of using the baskets.
- Line your fridge shelves with plastic placemats or even Saran wrap for easy clean-up. Simply peel off and replace every few months.
- Before grocery trips, open up the fridge and move older items to the front.
- The door is the warmest part of the fridge: choose a different home for your milk, eggs, and other perishable foods.
- Designate your drawers for items of the same type (i.e. produce in the right crisper, meat in the left one).
Organizing Your Clothes
Traditional methods of closet storage simply don’t work. Drawers get overloaded and stuck, shoes find themselves scattered around, and things get lost because they’re not at-a-glance.
- Simplify your storage by grouping similar items into clusters. Some people group by season, hanging all of their sweaters together, tank tops together, and so on. Other people group clothing by color or pattern for easy pairing.
- Try to keep storage open. Instead of stuffing jeans inside a drawer, try stacking them on open shelves so that all pairs are in sight.
- Dump out your socks and underwear drawer and regroup them too! Free or inexpensive organizers like a shoebox can be inserted into drawers to help you group together items of the same type (low-cut socks, long socks, underwear, gloves, etc.)
Organizing Important Documents
- First you’ll need to gather up your documents and sort them into three different piles. While sorting through, ask yourself, “Is this document important, moderately important, or trash?”
- While you’re sorting, take a moment to really look at what you have. Obviously documents like birth certificates and social security cards are important, but there will also be documents you don’t need to keep. Be honest with yourself and shred or recycle what you can on the spot.
- Documents classified as “very important” should go into one pile. Birth or death certificates, social security cards, immunization records and passports are all things that are high priority items that should be stored in a secure location. Next, let’s sort through the less important stuff.
- Dave Ramsey has excellent reference sheet for documents you should hold onto and how long to keep them. Utility bills, bank statements, W2s, and more are included.
- Some people prefer to file traditionally with hanging folders, banker boxes, and other methods. It’s also a growing trend to store documents digitally, either on your computer’s hard drive or a cloud drive. After creating an organized folder system, simply scan your documents in and drag them to the appropriate folder. Enable password protection for added security.
What to do with hard copies of digital files?
|Always save…||Send to the shredder…|
|· Official certified documents and anything with a raised seal (like notarized documents)
· Title documents
· Trust documents
· Birth/death certificates
· Any short-term items you want at your fingertips, like flyers, clippings, and catalogs
|· Old pay stubs
· Expired warranties
· Utility bills
· ATM and bank deposit slips
· Sales receipts for minor purchases
· Other sensitive documents
Getting organized gives you more space to think, to work, or chase your kids around the living room. It’s also a mental practice that forces you to decide what’s actually important to you. When you have to be selective about the objects you keep, you gain understanding about what’s most valuable in your space and in your life.