Cut Kitchen Clutter in the New Year

Experts agree that small, incremental New Year’s resolutions are easier to keep and may turn into healthy, lifelong habits. For example, Good Housekeeping suggests keeping the kitchen clutter-free by putting all recipe cards, small appliances and incoming groceries in their place immediately. One study found that women who were surrounded by kitchen clutter tended to eat more cookies, the magazine says; so, this resolution can contribute to other common goals such as losing weight and eating right.

Edible Gifts Can’t Contribute to Clutter

If you want to give a thoughtful Valentine’s Day gift, but don’t want it #cluttering up the house, try making something that can be consumed and enjoyed immediately by your loved one(s). Bread, biscotti, chocolate truffles, or a gourmet meal — anything that pleases their palates is a sure winner. Many adults appreciate a good bottle of wine, and while you may not want to stomp the grapes yourself, you can personalize the label with a love quote, Better Homes & Gardens suggests. Perhaps the recipient will offer to share the wine over a romantic dinner!

Give an Experience Instead of More Stuff

Instead of giving Mom a bread maker, Keurig coffee machine or yet another gadget that clutters up the countertops, says The Fun Sized Life, buy her a lesson instead. Perhaps she’d like to try out a yoga session, go to a wine tasting or take a pasta-making class. To give the gift of relaxation, get her a day of pampering that includes a massage and a mani/pedi or facial. On a budget? Make her a card or a photo album and spend some quality time with her. Unless she asks for something specific, you can keep your mother’s #clutter to a minimum and still show you care.

Give Mom Gifts That Don’t Create Clutter

Mother’s Day gifts don’t need to take up a lot of space to be appreciated. Try giving a basket full of her favorite gourmet foodstuffs, a box of fresh fruit or a case of wine, says Abundant Life With Less; such gifts will remind her that you care again and again as they disappear. Another idea? Give a digital course or subscription — it will take no space at all and perhaps expand Mom’s mind. You can also give a gift card toward a stay at an AirBnb or a photo-filing service such as Dropbox, the blog says; either will enrich her life without adding to the clutter.

Is Self Storage the Right Answer for You?

Did you inherit a bunch of furniture and memorabilia as part of a relative’s estate and need a place to store it safely? Maybe you recently downsized and need to “shelve” that overflow stuff until you can find a place for it or sell it. Or perhaps you are moving, renovating or divorcing and need a place to put everything until the dust settles.

There are all kinds of reasons people turn to self storage, and more Americans are doing just that every year. The self-storage industry has been growing an average of 3.8 percent annually since 2013, according to a report from IbisWorld, and is now worth more than $37 billion per year.

If you’re considering becoming the one in 11 people nationwide who pay for self-storage, however, you should first think about why you need the extra space and how long you expect to need it. Once all of that extra stuff is out of sight, it’s easy to ignore — even though warehousing it costs a premium every month.

There are good reasons to invest in a self-storage unit, says DoughRoller. When you’re buying, selling or renovating your home, you can keep your extra stuff safe in storage until it has a new home. If you have an end date in mind, you won’t pay the rental fee month after month just to keep your stuff hidden.

Another good reason to invest in a self-storage space is to protect an investment. If you have an antique car that you only drive in the summertime and no extra garage spots, it’s a good idea to store it in the winter. Another good use of self storage is to warehouse goods you sell or business documents you don’t need on a daily basis.

Too often, however, self storage is the final resting place for the things that people never really needed, but couldn’t bear to part with. If you rent a unit only in an attempt to get the #clutter out of your home, you’ll be wasting good money — $91 per month, on average — to keep that extra stuff out of sight and out of mind.

Like a gym membership, self storage can quickly turn into something you pay for without thinking or taking advantage of its full value. And remember: If you happen to miss a few payments without rehousing your stuff, the storage provider will solve your clutter problem on its own by seizing that stuff and auctioning it off.

Instead of turning to self storage to house your junk, get rid of it. Box up that old bread maker, kick that extra couch to the curb and contact ClothingDonations.org for a pickup. Your donation will not only help the nation’s veterans, but also save you the hassle of moving that stuff to another location and the cost involved with housing it. You’ll be better off without it.