Start the New Year With a Plan

New Year’s Eve offers an occasion for reflection, even if you’re going to a big bash to watch the ball drop. Consider where 2018 has taken you: Are you more organized and clutter-free than you were at the start of the year? Are you happier, more fulfilled and less stressed? Make a resolution today to begin or reinvigorate your organizing efforts in 2019. First, make a place for all of the important personal and financial information you’ll want to access again throughout the year. Start by writing down all of the return addresses from your holiday cards and sorting out your bills and receipts from the last year, The Organized Home recommends, and you’ll get a headstart on correspondence and tax returns for 2019.

Happy New Year from ClothingDonations.org!

Organize Your Holiday Gift-Giving

With less than two weeks left until Christmas, many people are starting to feel the stress of the holidays — especially if they still have gifts to buy. It was relatively easy to shop until this point in the season, but the pressure is now on to find, buy, wrap and give those special gifts for everyone on your list.

If you like to shop online (and who doesn’t?), you must allow time for whatever it is to travel from the warehouse to your door in time for you to get it under the tree. This year, Free Shipping Day — the day many retailers offer to ship purchases free of charge with the guarantee they will arrive in time for the holiday — is Friday, Dec. 15. After that date, shoppers will need to pay expedited shipping fees or brave the crowds in stores to get their gifts in time.

The organized giver, however, has a list of people for whom they will be buying. If you make such a list ahead of time and stick to it, says Step-by-Step Declutter, you can avoid overspending and slash the stress of shopping. Use a spreadsheet to track recipients, gift ideas, spending and progress, but don’t feel you have to buy for everyone. Sometimes, a thoughtful card will show you care without adding to the clutter.

Several apps can help you manage your holiday shopping. Santa’s Bag can track your shopping list and spending on the iPhone, while Christmas Gift List can do the same on the Android OS. Stuck for ideas? Invite the giftees on your list — especially the kids — to make their wants known with an Amazon Wish List, which functions like a bridal gift registry for any occasion throughout the year.

If you go shopping during the last two weeks of the season, get creative by going beyond the strip mall. Thrift stores — many supplied by generous donations to ClothingDonations.org — are a great place to find unique, vintage items at low prices. Or you can give a home-cooked meal, baked goods, fruit or flowers instead of something that just adds to the clutter, Cambria Mortgage’s gift guide suggests.

You can share your knack for decluttering and still score a gifting “win” by giving the people on your list an experience instead of a thing, says the Our Streamlined Life blog. Give an Airbnb gift card to inspire adventures for those who like to travel frequently, or sponsor an evening class to encourage someone on your list to build a skill that will last a lifetime.

Some people will want things, of course, and once you buy them, you can keep the household clutter in check by establishing a gift-wrapping station. Better still, keep those rolls of paper, tape and ribbons in a single storage bin that you can pull out and put away quickly for every wrapping session.

An organized gift-giver is a confident, successful and stress-free gift-giver. And who knows? Maybe your penchant for organization will spread, and the gifts you get will be great, too. Happy Holidays!

Spring Fever Is Upon Us!

Step outside these days and you’ll probably noticed a decided uptick in the weather—spring is almost here! From sunny skies, to warm weather, it truly feels like it’s time to put winter behind use. Another subtle announcement that spring is fast approaching, is that Daylight Saving Time began. Yes, you lost an hour of sleep, but the grumbling about this was probably lost in the excitement over warmer, brighter days just ahead! While some people take their spring fever outside for walks, bike rides, and hiking, there’s one place that’s also ready for spring fever.

Your home.

It may be a little early to truly begin your spring cleaning efforts; however, if you’ve had your windows open lately to get a little fresh air, you might have noticed dust blowing around your home. It’s possible to get a head start on your spring cleaning. In fact, if you’ve been following through on your New Year’s Resolution to keep your home clean throughout the year, you’ve already started!

The first step in pre-spring cleaning is to dust everything. Bookshelves, dressers, window sills, and more. Basically, any surface in your house that can collect dust needs a good cleaning. With the windows open, this dust will float around your home, which taints the air quality and can also agitate any allergies you or your loved ones might have.

Once you’ve dusted, it’s time to tackle your closets. Remember, you should be checking your closets a few times a year to make sure you haven’t collected any unneeded clothing items or accessories. Try on your old spring and summer clothes. Do they still fit? Will you wear them this season? Are they in good shape? If you’ve answered no to any or all of these questions, it’s time to get them out of your closet and into the recycle bin—or the hands of some lucky new owners!

If you will not wear these clothes, but they’re in great shape, don’t throw them away. Donate them to us! Not only will you help someone else prepare for spring with a new wardrobe, but your donation also helps fund veterans programs. Simply visit our website to schedule a time for us to pick-up your gently used clothes, and place them in a box by your mailbox. We’ll pick them up for you!

Otherwise, if you’re planning to save these clothes for your garage sale, fold these items up and put them in a box. This way they’re already organized for your garage sale, and they’re no longer taking up space in your closet or dresser!

What pre-spring cleaning tips do you have? Share them with us!

Eye on the Prize!

Keeping your home organized all year isn’t easy. Creating small incentives as you work toward your goal can help you stay on track. Whether your incentive is to buy a new painting for your living room, or is completely unrelated to your home (maybe it’s buying a new outfit or treating yourself to a nice dinner), you’ll stay motivated to stay organized all year long!